Before we get started, I'll have you know that I'm
participating in NaBloPoMo (yes, try to say it, and see where that gets
you). This means I am going to attempt to post every single day from
now to June 30, and I fear that the depth and richness of my posts (or
at least the length) will be…compromised. So I am prefixing all with
this caveat emptor. Though there is no emptor-ing going on, which is a
story for another day.

So here is the not-at-all-literary question: what am I
supposed to do with the dust jackets to books that are strewn all
around the house? Diana appears to be allergic to dust jackets, to
respond to them the way I do to perfumed inserts in magazines: get rid
of them as quickly as possible.

Which means, of course, that they are everywhere. And I, in my futile
and Sisyphean way, pick them up and fold them back around the book in
question, if I can find it, and repeat.

Because…I don't know, aren't they supposed to be there? Don't they
protect the book, from dust or something? Aren't they important for 50
years from now when we discover that have an incredibly valuable copy
of some book, the one collectors are clamoring for? And my
grandchildren-to-be will only be able to afford college (or whatever
passes for college in 2060) if they can sell the first edition,
complete with dust jacket. (Never mind the by-now-petrified toast
etc between the pages.) Doesn't that mean I should save them?

Also, they're pretty (some of them, anyway) and it feels weird and
wrong to dump them in the recycling. Except that's what I've taken to
doing. I find it, I recycle it. But can this be the right thing to do? What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Dust-up

  1. I know! I have been guilty of recycling them too. My kids hate them, and I don’t really understand why. I think they are pretty too. I don’t have an answer, I just totally have thought the exact same thing you just wrote.


  2. I never read with dust jackets on because I just end up tearing them. I have them piled up in our bookcases, where they usually get smooshed and eventually torn as well. I keep them. One day I may put them back on.


  3. This must be the season. A friend who is undertaking a multi-state move just wrote an angsty post about whether she should move the dust jackets for her kids’ books or just recycle them. If I were moving 1000 miles I think I’d give myself permission to recycle. On some days, I think I’m going to frame my favorites. But let’s face it, if right now, while they are the favored books, those covers are not on the wall, the likelihood of them ever being on the wall is slim.
    So they stay on the shelves in the closet.
    Thanks for letting us all know we’re not alone!


  4. I take them off before I give the books to the kids. I keep them altogether in a magazine file box in the study. Just in case… But them I’m a hoarder-extraordinairer.


  5. I use them to decorate the library area in my classroom. I pick my favorite/most beautiful ones and make kind of a frieze with them around the top of the wall. The kids like to look up at them and remember favorite books. I imagine it would like nice in a young child’s bedroom too.


  6. We store ours in a flat-ish storage bin – my kids are little, 2 and 5, so I find it’s better to remove them. I intend to reunite the dust jackets and books one day!


  7. You have struck a chord, Diamond!
    We inherited many of our books from my sister, who gave them to us with perfectly intact, nary-a-wrinkle dust jackets, despite said books having been used by both my niece AND my nephew.
    In our house? They appear on the floor, having suffered grievous creases and the odd rip or slash. I, not knowing what to do, pick them up and chuck them in a safe place behind the bookcase. Or at least that’s what I did until we moved and they…got recycled.


  8. Me too! My kid refuses to leave them on, and I have a pile (ok maybe multiple piles) of them hanging around, and I feel immense guilt at the idea of recycling them.


  9. My daughter does the same thing. I stick them on a high shelf and forget about them, except the ones for library books (which she takes off if they are too loose and wiggly) which go on the library book shelf until returns day. (I once tried to return a book without its jacket. No go. No bar code.)
    I suppose I will probably recycle them one day, since the books are likely to go off to friends or yard sales without them.


  10. Don’t throw them out! Give them to the school librarian, she/he (or a teacher) will use them as display art for bulletin boards, etc. Or hang the ones you like up on a door or someplace that doesn’t get an art-workout. My kids and husband always removed dust jackets, too, and that’s what I learned to do with them. Also dust jackets make great wrapping paper or collage project material.


  11. I’ve spent my entire anal retentive life replacing, smoothing, and reassuring dust jackets. Then one day, as I was trying to save the dust jacket from “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” my husband gently suggested that we could just get rid of them; I mean, these aren’t first editions that are going to be in pristine shape. They are books that get read to death, and the dust jacket does nothing to delay that process. So, with a sweet sense of freedom, I’ve developed a recent habit of removing and recycling every dust jacket we inherit. It’s not a lot, since I strongly prefer to buy (cheaper) paperbacks anyway, but I can’t overemphasize the relief that comes with knowing that the book police aren’t going to break down my door because I gave in and discarded a dust jacket!


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