|Poetry book with a beautiful decorative detail.|
While I was laying low, not only did I watch bad television, I also managed to see several movies, went through the entire and fantastic Downton Abbey series (courtesy of Mr. A&A and the Blockbuster kiosk) and had the opportunity to read quite a few books (courtesy of Amazon and Mr. UPS) that were really good. As I unwrapped some of my new books and was throwing away the shrink wrap....and the jackets, I thought once again about why so many people have this odd attachment to the dust jackets on their books. I was only able to salvage three to photo for this post!
|Before: books with dust jackets.|
Not me. I also happen to be one of those people who rips or cuts off the tags on my pillows, sometimes my clothes, and yes even the mattresses in our houses. The mattress and label police have yet to come knocking on my door.
|Penguin classic books. I went nuts the first time I laid eyes on these beauties! I have them all now.|
Whenever I buy books, I ditch the jackets. Why? Dust jackets are little more than modern day advertisements. In addition to attracting a potential buyer with an appealing jacket, much like a magazine cover shot, they also protect the cloth cover of the book from dirt and fingerprints from the masses handling them in bookstores so that they remain "sellable". Only in rare cases are jackets valuable. A book can survive hundreds of years under extreme temperature fluctuations and tremendous amounts of use, and remain amazingly intact without the "aid" of dust jacket.
|This set of classics once occupied space in my parents library and now are among my favorite volumes.|
|A few of my design books in all their glorious color!|
Consider the beauty of old books. The spines in particular are often incredibly gorgeous. Many old books are embossed, have hand tooled details and titles in beautiful script. Most new books have good lettering and the book cloth colors are so attractive. Although most books made now have black, gray, brown or navy blue spines. Thankfully, design books come in every color in the rainbow! Sometimes, when you remove a cover there is a little surprise waiting. How sad would that be not to enjoy it?
|A sampling from my husbands "side" of our library.|
Selections range from antique German books to sports to his favorite topic: history.
I think it's perfectly fine to mix antique books with modern selections.
For those still not convinced to ditch their jackets, here are the reasons I've heard most often from resisters:
- I don't want my books to get dirty. May I suggest that you refrain from reading just after gardening or eating fried chicken. Oh, and dust once a month with a soft cloth or Swiffer.
- I use the jacket flap as a bookmark. Really? It's not very efficient. It has been my experience that it slips out and you end up re-reading several pages. This is especially problematic with large books. Not to mention, if you leave the flap tucked in between pages for prolonged periods it makes the jacket wonky...forever. Tip: buy a spool of ribbon in your favorite color and place a cut piece in all of your favorite books as well as your current read. Some bookmakers still sew ribbon into the bindings...which I love!!!!
- I want to save information about the author or book included in the back flap. Okay, cut that portion off the jacket and stick it inside the book. Bonus: you now have a free bookmark!
|If I had left the dust jacket on this book, I would have missed this magnificent detail!|
My reasons for ditching the jackets and showing all my spines:
- It makes any library and/or bookshelves look so much better! In fact, it will make the whole room look more attractive. I love bookstores, but I don't want my house to look like one. Do you?
- I have NEVER thrown a jacket away and then regretted it. For those of you who like to get your books signed, always be sure to do so on the inside, because.....
- Eventually, all dust jackets rip and fray and end up looking quite shabby.
- It's another way to Live Beautifully Everyday!
|Before: spines coverd with jackets.|
|After: jackets ditched and beautiful spines showing!|
In case you're still not sure if you can take the leap...remove the jackets from all your books and store them in a closet or somewhere out of sight. After six months if you don't miss them....ditch them for good. And, if your feeling really crazy, rip your mattress tag off too!