Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hardbacks without dust jackets

Book sculpture by Brian Dettmer

Apparently, more and more publishers are coming out with hardbacks without dust jackets. Check out the news here. How do you feel about this, dear reader? I'm not sure if this is something new at all, since I've seen jacketless hardbacks for the longest time (e.g., the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books).

Dust jackets can be annoying. They can get in the way of holding the book with ease. I guess this is one of the reasons for covering the books in plastic. And if ever you do remove them when you read the book, you're left with ugly cloth-bound case-wraps.

Don't you just love those books published by McSweeney's? They hardly ever have dust jackets. And their paperback covers are very artistic.

20 comments:

Diane said...

My thoughts?? On Nancy Drew and Harry Boys --no problems. On books I read, BIG PROBLEM..LOL

I'm a fan of the covers.

Mark David said...

I agree with you. Dust jackets in hardbacks are the reason why I prefer trade paperbacks. I do wish they just start making hardbacks that have the cover art printed and laminated on the book itself. A good example of that would be the SF Masterworks edition of Dune by Frank Herbert... And an even more beautiful example is the Gift Edition of Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist. Now that very elegantly crafted book is a thing of beauty in itself :)

Stepford Mum said...

I'm all for saving trees, so would prefer dustjacket-less hardbound books as well. But then I do prefer trade paper on the whole as I tend to carry a book in my handbag and hardcovers are generally larger and heavier. Am very glad most publishing houses use more eco-friendly paper and ink nowadays.

Peter S. said...

@Diane: LOL indeed! Hehehe.

@Mark David: I haven't seen that edition of The Alchemist. Hmmmm... I'll google it.

@Stepford Mum: Even our national brodsheets use eco-friendly ink. In fact, you can eat the paper without worrying about the ink since the ink is soy-based.

Vivienne said...

I absolutely hate dust jackets and always taking the blooming things off. They are a pain.

Peter S. said...

Hello, Viviene! I never knew that many people would share my thing about dust jackets!

Anna said...

I always take the dust jacket off. It's always slipping, and I have book OCD so I wouldn't want it getting wrinkled or ripped. LOL I actually like the idea of hardcovers without dust jackets.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Mark David said...

I have the same "book OCD" Anna ;) LOL!

Peter S. said...

Hi Anna! I love that idea as well.

thebookaddict said...

I prefer hard covers to trade paperbacks so I would like to see the trend moving away from dust jackets. It would be good for saving the trees and all, plus no annoying jacket while you're reading or trying to locate the dust jacket you took off in order to protect it from damage while you were reading...LOL!

Peter S. said...

Hello, thebookaddict! I love hardbacks as well. If I had more money, I think I'll be buying all my books in hardbacks.

Ryan G said...

I guess I'm the only one who loves dust jackets. Now I take them off when I'm reading the book but I would miss them if they were gone for good.

Peter, stop by when you get a chance I have an award for you

Peter said...

Hello, Ryan! Thanks!

line of flight said...

cloth law books do not have dust jackets like encyclopedias they are intended for heavy use. on the other hand, i can't image my Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed, without the dust jacket.

mattviews said...

I don't mind not having dust jackets, which I actually take off first thing when I acquire the books. They obstruct the ease of holding a hold because they slide off, and they tend to pucker outwardly. I take good care of my books so that dust jackets are not necessary.

Peter said...

@line of flight: Hmmm... I should get a copy of the CMOS during the bookfair.

@mattviews: Oooohhh... I would love to see your books, Matt.

Patrick said...

I haven't really given much thought on this issue but now that I think about it... I'd be glad if we can get rid of dust jackets. I can't see how anyone can read a book with those on. And I feel so sad whenever I see state of the dust jackets of my older Harry Potter books. :(

It would be great if all hardbacks had their covers like the books 39 Clues and Series of Unfortunate Events. I wish they'd release Potter books in that format.

Peter S. said...

Hi Patrick! I'm sure they would eventually.

pachuvachuva said...

Hi, Peter! Kamusta? :)

Dust jackets are pretty "delicate" that you would have to be very careful in handling them. But sometimes they really look pretty that you just can't help but love them. Hehehe

One of the latest hardbound book I bought was without a dust jacket though not by design but rather by wear and tear so they didn't include it anymore. The price went down from P145 to P50. ^_^

Gem said...

I neither like nor hate dust jackets. When I buy second-hand hardback books, I make sure that the dust jacket is at least in good condition. I hate torn dust jackets, and if I really love the book with a torn hard jacket and it's a rare one, I nevertheless buy it and just use tape to put together the torn part. Then I use plastic to cover it. That's how I compensate for this poor book that endure so much suffering either from its previous owner or from being recklessly stocked by bookstores. :) Although I admire the formal and classic look of a book without its dust jacket, personally I think the book feels 'incomplete' or 'naked'. To prevent the dustjacket from getting in the way while I'm reading, I just put tape under its flaps so they don't fall off. I also cover the books with plastic. That way, I preserve the dust jacket and keeping the book 'complete'.