Editorial: I Hate Dust Jackets

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.

About Jesse 29 Articles
The Master and Overlord or better known as the hubby who keeps LE running. He rarely reviews, but he's the one who keeps everything running smoothly from the IT perspective.


  1. Actually, the purpose of dust jackets is to protect the book. :) I am a former librarian, and had to tell students this quite often.

  2. I know what you mean. Why not just print the book on glossy paper and make it have a nice cover like a paperback. I never know what to do with them, so I try to keep them on but like you said they move around and things. Than if you borrow a book of someones and it has one, you have to take it off so that you don’t make it worse than it was.

  3. I have a problem with dust jackets as well. i usually try to avoid buying a hardcover book because of them or the weight of the book. I like getting the hardcovers from the library where they put plastic over the cover and it holds it place. I just don’t see what the dust jacket is protecting. Its just protecting the front of the book which has nothing on it to begin with. It doesn’t actually protect the pages of the book. All the older books don’t have dust jackets and if someone took it off, the hard cover protects the pages inside. I agree we need to do away with the dust jackets.

  4. Dust jackets are okay. They seem like a waste of paper to me since I never leave them on unless they are sitting on the shelves. However, I do not get why publishers put dust jackets on children’s books. Kids are hard enough on books, there’s no hope for dust jackets IMO. *grin*

  5. I agree! Dust jackets are annoying and I wish publishers would get rid of them. I could never throw one away, though. The thought of that makes me gasp in horror.

  6. My husband and I have this ongoing argument. I am of the belief that dust jackets are like really pretty wrapping paper. There are people who do wonderful things with wrapping paper – transforming them into art projects or lining their drawers…who knows? And while I consider myself a crafty person, my process is to toss them to my husband. What he does with them, I have no idea. If they are around when I’m done reading the book, I may put them back on before they go on my shelf, but that is the extent of it.

  7. Jesse Jesse Jesse – you blaspheme! But, you are not doomed to eternal damnation, yet. Dust jackets are an intregal part of a hardcover book. If you are fortunate to have a picture on the jacket, it can make even the dullest drivel seem enticing and worth picking up. Perhaps, you only have the title in lettering – but, that too can persuade and call out to you, if they use a lot of reds and yellows. And, let us not forget THE most important reason for a dust jacket … you get to see what the author looks like, and all the accolades he/she has accumulated in a life time. Also, if you are lucky, a reviewer comment is made by someone that you have actually heard of, instead of the usual journalist from a newpaper in Dallas.
    I will finish my persuasion with one final comment to ponder. I do not know if you are old enough to remember vinyl records. They came tightly sealed in plastic wrap protecting the artistry of the cover, the linear notes, and most importantly – – the WORDS TO THE SONGS. Why some people actually bought albums with absolutely no intention of listening to the music, but were drawn to the originalty of the artwork created on the sleeve. Akin to the Ark of the Covenant holding its precious cargo, sometimes a book’s dust jacket is not just a book’s dust jacket.

  8. I agree. I found this editorial after I googled “I hate Dust Jackets on Books”, because I hate them so much and wondered if I was alone. We are not alone, we are of many.

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