Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jackets! That is book jackets.

Dust jackets (as some would say)! You either love them or hate them or maybe you just don't care. Well, anyway let's talk book jackets for a minute.

Do you remember when book jackets were not common? Or, how about when jackets were added and really wowed you because the book itself wasn't illustrated and its cover was a bit bland? Adult books still tend to have un-illustrated book covers, and even many of the children and young adult chapter book covers aren't illustrated unless they are soft or paper backs. But, when you add those jackets I find it really makes a difference when deciding to select one book over another. I know, I know home libraries do have a nice aesthetic look to them when all the bindings and book covers are simple and jacket free, but where is the fun in that.

There are a number of libraries I have been to that actually discard the jackets as soon as the book is unpacked. Other libraries send the jacket off to be encased in a clear, but smooth plastic cover to help preserve it and the book through many circulating hands. There are even book jackets that arrive from the publishers already in a plastic cover courtesy of a small fee. I personally love book jackets. Plus, they usually offer a bit more information about the book, author, and illustrator. However, the jackets, if not encased, do tend to look shabby after a number of handlings. I have gotten into the habit of taking the covers off here at home when reading them to lengthen its life.

Recently, I had this idea about using some of the wee one's book jackets for other uses. I am sure it is not a new idea, if anything many stores that sell artwork do this, but it was a new idea to me. That is to say I plan on using a few of the jackets to decorate. I have a couple of rooms that really are in need of some color. So, I thought how about framing some of these jackets. With so many jackets beaming with great artwork it seems a shame to just leave it wrapped around a book shelved amongst others where it can't be seen that often. Of to the arts and craft store I go where I plan on finding white mat board with black framing for the jackets.

So, have you done anything different with a book jacket other than read and enjoy it?


Blogger Nancy said...

I take the jackets off of books when I read them too. I was very sad that I finally had to give up and throw out the jacket on my Robert Frost poetry book, because it had been packed and unpacked so many times as it traveled around the country that I had just beaten it to shreds.

I know I've seen other products made with great book jackets -- like purses or tote bags. You could probably also make some very cool lamp shades with them.

4:44 PM  
Blogger PJ Librarian said...

Thanks for the great ideas Nancy and visiting. I hadn't thought of any of those suggestions. It is sad when a jacket goes bad. I'm still holding onto a Wizard of Oz one that was on a book that my mother had received in the early 50's. The book is holding up well, but the jacket is definitely in decline.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Frema said...

When I was younger I hated what I perceived to be the impracticality of book jackets. Now I think they add the perfect touch of sophistication.

9:29 AM  
Blogger daddy d said...

Nice thought. They do provide an overview. And then they are too much trouble to keep on the book during reading, sometime.

6:43 PM  
Blogger mjd said...

I know a Methodist minister that buys special protective covers for his book jackets. Of course, these books are often collector's editions.
I have a interesting cover that covers only a portion of the book. I like the covers as they provide a quick way to hold your place.

9:20 PM  

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