The Great Dust Jacket Debate

So...let me just say, that when I posted my question on twitter (Show of hands people. Do you take off the dustjacket when you read books so you don't damage it? Because I do & I feel stupid every time.) that I had no idea so many people would weigh in with their two cents. And I NEVER intended it to turn into a blog post, but after so many people weighed in, well, I'd like to hear what the rest of you think.

The reason I asked is because every time I pick up one of my hardcovers to read, I slip off the dust jacket and put it back on the shelf, and I feel really, really dumb about it.

You see, I have always been under the impression that the dust jackets were there to protect the book*, and here I was, letting the book go out into the wild (aka my purse) unaccompanied by what was essentially its bodyguard. Because the bodyguard was just so. damn. PRETTY. Honestly, it's ridiculous. The other day, IMMEDIATELY after I took the dust jacket off a book I DROPPED THE BOOK. And that didn't bother me. At ALL. I shrugged, picked the book back up, and went along my way. And the adorable dust jacket bodyguard just sat on the shelf, giggled prettily, and began painting her nails.

Okay, that part didn't happen. But you know what I mean.

Seriously, does ANYONE else think this way? I feel so ridiculous so much of the time.

I hate to say it, but the safety of the bodyguard somehow became more important than the safety of the guy she's supposed to be guarding!

Okay... *deep breath*
I KNOW that the dust jackets have become a pretty nifty promotional tool over the years. They're gorgeous, and they make me want to buy the books even more (shameless cover-judger here) but really, it's gotten to the point where I've seriously considered buying these things which are essentially bullet-proof vests for the cute bodyguard so that I can protect them even more.

What do you think? Have I gone mad?

It's entirely possible.

Okay, it's time for you two weigh-in, my darlings. Are you obsessive about your dust jackets like I am? Do you protect them, or use them to protect the book? Or do you just toss them out (according to wikipedia, historically, that's what people DID...I'm a little shocked, not gonna lie).

Do you think I'm insane?

All comments welcome (and encouraged)!

Happy Reading!


*Okay, I might be basing my entire "the dust jackets were there to protect the book" belief on this scene from Back to the Future 2. Don't judge.


  1. Not gonna lie. I take the covers off as well. I tend to destroy things, drop things, spill things, etc. The last thing I want to do is to do that on the dust jacket.

    I may need to get a transferrable hevy duty cover myself!

  2. I always take the covers off when I read hardback books. Personally, besides the fact that I don't want to destroy the pretty, the dust jackets also annoy the crap out of me when I try to read. My book tends to slip out of my hands or something if I leave the dust jacket on. Have you seen those dust jackets created by some bloggers? The "go away I'm reading" and such. That can be a good alternative to protecting the books! :-)

  3. I always take the covers off as well! I usually just shove whatever book I;m reading in my purse so I don't want to get all ripped/tattered. I don't think you're strange at all!

  4. I always take them off because I hate it when they get damaged. I'm also the girl who would rather only open her paperback just enough to make out the words rather than break the spine ^^''
    P.S.: Whenever I hear the word 'dustjacket' I also think of THAT EXACT MOVIE SCENE!!! It must have really impressed my 5-year-old self.

  5. Like everyone else I ALWAYS take them off as well. It's mostly because I don't want the dust jacket ruined/ripped, and I know it would get like that when reading. Plus I think it would be uncomfortable to try and hold the dust jacket/keep it on the book while you're reading.

  6. I ALWAYS take off the dust jacket too! I love the cover (I'm a cover snob) so I take off the dust jacket in order to protect it. It's kind of funny that I'm more worried about harming the dust jacket then the book itself :P

  7. If I really like the dust jacket (and most times I do!) I always take it off before I read it. But, sometimes I take it off just because some dust jackets don't fit the book perfectly and disrupt my reading experience. I don't think you're crazy!

  8. Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my dust jacket debate! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! If anyone else out there wants to share their side of the argument, I'd love to hear from you! (I'm amazed how many people have given this actual thought)

  9. I think the dust jackets get in the way of my reading, so I always take them off. It does keep them in pretty condition - I prefer having a pretty cover on my book when they are on the shelf. I'm a shameless cover judger too.

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