There’s a taboo in the book world, a deep, dark secret that few discuss openly. Its something only mentioned in passing; a situation that no one has dared to solve. It has often left me sleepless at night, wondering how to deal with the problem.
Why the hell do publishers keep making Dust Jackets? What am I supposed to do with it?
Those simple tri-fold pieces of paper? I hate them. If you take it off the book, what are you supposed to do with it? You can’t just throw them away because it’s part of the book. Destroying a dust jacket is like a mortal sin; its like you’re burning a book, or worse, tearing out a handful of random pages. Destroying the jacket carries some heavy mental baggage, the type that will haunt you for years. Should I have thrown it away? Who will want my book now that it’s incomplete?
Those of you who have not contemplated this horror may ask “why not just leave it on the book?” Well, that’s just as bad. If you leave it on the book while you read it, the jacket will slide around and get all bent up and mangled around the edges. Tiny little white cracks and tears around the edges and creases – it looks like you gnawed on your books or otherwise treated them poorly.
So if you don’t want to throw them out, and you can’t leave them on, that means you’re taking them off whenever you’re reading the book. Oh, and you better have a safe place to store them, otherwise they’ll get another book laid on top of them and get ugly creases. Once you get that crease, it’s permanently damaged and you look like an evil book-hater.
At one time I had 15 or 20 dust jackets in a box before I said hell with it and threw it out. It was tough, but very liberating. I still have nightmares about them finding their way home.
Publishers, why do you insist on making us feel guilty? Get rid of these worthless strips of paper – we don’t want them. Are your cover artists complaining? Is that why you keep them? Instead, put their image on the front of the book where it’ll never be removed. No room for a blurb on the inside sleeve? Put it on the back. I know those things aren’t that cheap; threefold jumbo-size glossy print paper that perfectly contours a book? That’s gotta add at least twenty five cents to the price. Save everyone some money and ditch them!
Come on now, this isn’t rocket science. My son recently got a book that had the images and blurbs on the hard cover…underneath a dust jacket that was identical to the cover! WHY? His poor confused four year old brain couldn’t comprehend why it was there and was unable to rationalize it. Why are you so cruel to children?
I’ll admit, this is a blatant attempt to use my wife’s website as a platform to launch my anti-dust jacket revolution. Please, feel free to share your anti-dust jacket stories below. Together, perhaps we can rise up against the Big Dust Jacket Industry and destroy these abominations without an ounce of guilt.