Thursday, February 08, 2007

Carl's Meme Made Me Think . . .

Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings wrote a meme that was bouncing around in various forms, a couple of weeks ago. And, it has had me thinking about book covers.

Which looks better? No cover at all? Slightly torn covers?

All four of these have at least a small tear in the cover and you can see the top two have spots at the top where a chunk is missing . I believe they were all published in the 1950's, so after 50 years you can expect some wear. Personally, I think a tear is a negligible thing when a slipcover adds so much beauty and character to a book. What do you think?


  1. I agree with you, Nancy. The covers give the books personality.

  2. Anonymous5:13 AM

    I love dust jackets on books. I think book covers are so plain and tell you nothing at all about what's inside. The only books that look good without dust jackets are those really expensive leather books, like the ones from Easton Press. I'd love to have some of those, but just can't justify the cost right now.

  3. Wendy,

    I'm glad you agree. :) I never throw away book jackets - even if they're in tatters. I'm a whiz with a roll of tape. LOL


    Exactly! Cloth covers don't give you an indication of what's inside. I know there are people who simply throw away dust jackets and that kind of baffles me. Leather is just so classy-looking, I guess it tosses the info rule out the window. I can't justify them, myself. :)

  4. Definitely with the covers. The coverless books remind me of those old boring library books that didn't give the reader/browser any indication of the story or author. I confess. I judge books by their covers! :)

  5. Anonymous4:15 PM

    I think they look much better with the dust jackets even if the dust jackets are barely hanging on.

    Throw away the dust jackets? Why would they do that? Oh, never mind. People are weird.

  6. Les,

    Me, too. I once ordered a book from AmazonUK because I hated the American cover. Then, I decided that was going a little too far. But, still . . . I do like a pretty book cover.


    I don't know; I sure don't get it. I guess maybe there are some people who just think dust jackets get in the way? Lawrence Block once mentioned that tossing out the dust jacket of a book also tosses out its collectible value. I'm collect to read, not to sell, but it's an interesting thought!

  7. Throw away a dust jacket??? It's true, you'd be throwing away a lot of it's collectible value. I know people who remove it while reading, but put it back for the shelf. I just read it with; I like the look of a good cover. The ones from the 50's that you show are so appealin. I noticed that in the publishing season of Fall 2006 there were THREE new - unrelated - novels in catalogues that had the same stock image on the cover. Now that's another reason for publishers not to cheap out and rely on image libraries instead of artists!

  8. Anonymous9:16 PM

    I love the dust jackets too. How else can we judge these books :)

  9. Melanie,

    I set dust jackets aside because I do think they get in the way while I'm reading, but I just can't fathom throwing them out!

    Oh, wow. That's both fascinating and horrifying that three different books have the same stock image. I don't think I've ever seen that happen!


    Your comment makes it occur to me that dust jackets may be one reason I prefer paperbacks. All the information you need is on the cover of a PB and you can't set that cover aside or lose it, although they can be just as easily torn. :)

  10. Nancy, I like the covers! But if you want to prevent them from any more wear and tear because of their age, it might help to cover the books with a plastic covering like they do library books. I've done that with some of my really old books and I can now admire the old covers without worrying that they are going to tear or fray.

  11. Lotus,

    That's a great idea, thanks!

  12. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Definitely keep the covers on! I don't like naked books, either. You'd think printers would be able to come up with a way to make dust jackets more durable ...

  13. Lesley,

    I like that - "naked books". It must be why they call them dust "jackets". ;)

    It does seem strange that they haven't come up with a way to put the pretty picture directly onto a hardback cover so that there's no flimsy paper thing, doesn't it?


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