Dust Jackets or Naked Books?

I undress my hardcovers before I take them onto the bus with me. (Did I feel somewhat sadistic when I typed that? Oh yes I did.)

Don’t get me wrong – I love hardcovers. I love how solid they feel in my hand, and how I can just toss them in my backpack and not be afraid of bent pages or wrecked covers. And there’s just something magical about hardcovers in bookstores that make my eyes light up and have the angels in my head start singing.

But DUST JACKETS. Did you know that back in the day, dust jackets could be discarded like wrapping paper? Here are my experiences of taking both books with and without dust jackets onto the bus with me, and you’ll understand why I ditch the dust jackets.

Books with dust jackets. Your book looks new, colorful, and shiny like your dog after he’s been to the groomer’s. You open it proudly on the bus, ready to read, but a stranger sees the title and starts gushing about how wonderful the book is and how it made him cry. Fifteen minutes later, you’re talking with him about your life and his life and it feels like a blind date. You don’t get any reading done. Repeat this scene ten times and your dust jacket starts looking worn and haggard, and you’re still on the second chapter, and you’re just tired of hearing people talk about how they loved the book. So you decide to take off the dust jacket…

Naked books. When you pull your naked book out from your bag in public, it instantly makes you seem ten times more mysterious and alluring. Strangers try (and fail) to sneak glimpses at the shiny title on the spine, and you’re relieved that you’re not attracting weird glances for reading a romance book in public. You’re already making plans to throw out all those dust jackets with half-naked guys on the cover away when you get back home. READING ACCOMPLISHED.

But at the end of the day, after I finish reading a naked book, I still put its dust jacket back on. And so my love-hate relationship with dust jackets continues, haha.

How do you feel about dust jackets?
Do you take them off or keep them on?

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21 thoughts on “Dust Jackets or Naked Books?

  1. I keep them on, unless I’ve borrowed a hardcover from someone–then I take it off to make sure that it doesn’t get damaged. If I see a used book that looks fine inside but has a damaged dust jacket, I’ll usually just throw it away. I have a friend who is horrified by that–she keeps all of her dust jackets stored away because she just never knows when she’ll want to use them or look at them.

  2. I always take the dust cover off and set it somewhere safe until I complete the book and then place it back on to return to the shelf….so agree a naked book makes you mysterious and peeps will ask, “What are you reading?”

    • Yes, that’s a great way of making sure the dust cover doesn’t get damaged! No one has asked me what I’m reading yet when I take naked books out, but it will probably happen eventually. 😀

  3. I always take a dust jacket off when reading–it just makes reading so much easier/pleasant when I don’t have to constantly fight the dust jacket. I don’t even really like reading library books with the dust jacket on, those though are taped into place so at least they don’t slide around. Jackets are pretty on the shelf, but always get in the way when I want to read.

    • Haha, the image of fighting with the dust jacket made me laugh. I agree with dust jackets on library books being less finicky, but I don’t think I could ever tape them on on my own books. Looks like we all have a love-hate relationship with dust jackets!

  4. Naked books! HAHAHA. Ok, childishness out of the system. Heh. Moving on.

    Dust jackets need to go! They’re the most annoying things to have wrapped around a book when reading. They slip around, get bent or squashed when I put them away while I read. I don’t mind people seeing the cover of the book I’m reading though, so for me, I’m all for covers being printed directly on the book.

    • LOL immaturity is contagious. I’m terribly sorry. I would make some stripping jokes, but apparently a stripped book is actually a thing (where covers are literally torn off of a book… ouch), so I stuck with “undressing” and “naked”. 😛

      I don’t mind people seeing the book cover either, except for the fact that my reading time is often cut short when people recognize the book I’m reading. They should make hardcovers with covers printed right on them! (But maybe that’s too expensive…)

  5. I always take the dust cover off my book and shove it back in the gap so it looks like the book is still there. I don’t like ruining the dust covers while reading, I have little kids so books can take a beating some times. Plus the dust covers are annoying while reading.

    • Oh, that’s a great idea, Jenn! I’m going to do that now with my extra dust jackets. I think they should just be made from waterproof, torn-proof material to make life easier, haha.

  6. I’m not a fan of hardcover books because I think they’re uncomfortable to hold. So, if a paperback version is available, I’ll usually go that route. But, in the case of new books, that it’s really an option. I always remove the dust cover and read from a naked book. I always do this with the intention of not damaging the dust cover, but for some reason they always get tears. The way I handle my books would probably make most book lovers weep.

    • Agreed, new hardcovers are so shiny and pretty, and I can’t resist their appeal either! And it’s okay, Jackie – wears and tears are signs that you truly love a book. 😉

  7. I prefer to remove the dust cover from the book, while reading it, and leave that at home on top of my bookshelf. Of course, the dust cover goes back on after reading the book, since I like to sell or trade off my books after reading them.

    Reading through comments, I saw mention of “stripped books” (resists urge to laugh), where the stores rip the covers off and return them to the publisher as “not sold”. I’ve seen that done in the store, and it’s saddening to watch. But, there used to be a thrift shop in MS, where I lived years ago, that would sell those coverless PB’s for like 25cents, so I had a few of them during my teen years.

    • I didn’t realize so many people like to take off the dust jacket! I actually didn’t start doing that until recently.

      Yeah, I was going to be more immature and use “stripped” books, but didn’t know that it was actually a thing, haha. 😛

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