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Book Strip

25 May

This weekend, I made the mistake of taking a break from the computer (give or take the odd hour) and now find myself so far behind with correspondence and blogs that I am hoping to catch up by this weekend so apologies for not visiting you for a while.  I shall be around your respective blogs tomorrow at the latest, as ever thanks for your patience and understanding and now onto today’s post…

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When I was younger the sight of a wall full of books without covers was galling to say the very least, all those possible adventures and no idea what they were, apart from the titles and a cursory flick through which usually confused me more.  One good thing was not being able to judge the book by its missing cover but still it would have been nice to have a happy medium of knowing what the book I was purchasing would be about, the fiction books always proved a lot more subtle of title than their non fiction counterparts.

Yet there is something more mystical about having to take the time to actually explore prospective purchases, weighing them up and finding some eccentric titles such as How to Look at Old Buildings, that just demand to be picked up and leafed through.  These days I don’t get annoyed by the sight of naked books any more but see it as a chance to take a punt on an unknown author and hopefully find some hidden gems.

Back in the day buying a book would mean that a lot of the time a dust jacket would be thrown away at point of purchase which I find crazy, surely the price has factored in the cost of a dust jacket so the reader would be out of pocket with no reference to what the book was if not read within a reasonable time.  I would have jealously guarded mine.  There are some lovely dust jackets out there and although it saddens me that so many have been lost, it is good to see so many brightly decorated specimens surviving with their often intriguing and colourful covers.

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Many a book lover has lost themselves amongst the stacks of multitudinous uncovered books, its fun to find a forgotten classic or a cheaper version of one at any case or to just read bits and bobs and see what authors catch your eye.  it makes me happy to be that guy and these days I am as much a lover of those books as their clothed and colourful counterparts.

Whilst we are on the subject, what do you do with your dust jackets whilst you read?  I tend to take it off and keep my investment in perfect condition so it will look good on my shelves. Some people like to leave them on and that is a mentality I don’t understand, it’ll get frayed and if it’s a book bought at full price then it’s like needless vandalism and older books need all the protecting they can get.  Of course sometimes taking it off reveals a sexy looking cover the reader didn’t expect or at least a recreation of the dust jacket, an added bonus which naturally encouraged me to spend some time stripping my tomes off in the ultimate erotic book experience.

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Personally I would like a hand crafted book, with those illustrated capital letters at the beginning of each chapter which monks used to love doing.  These days, it seems to save money books are losing their jackets in favour of an imprinted designs but thankfully keeping the blurb and cover designs. I remain intrigued to see what the publishers will do next, hopefully not lopping off the corners like they did in the new Battlestar Galactica but you wouldn’t put it past them to save pennies in such a way.

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57 Comments

Posted by on 25/05/2016 in Art, My Writings

 

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57 responses to “Book Strip

  1. Jill Weatherholt

    25/05/2016 at 12:57

    Although these days I read more on my Kindle, I’ve always taken the dust jacket off of my books so they don’t get torn. Funny, I’ve been considering taking a break from the computer this upcoming weekend in order to make some headway on my first draft. I’m afraid I’ll end up buried in emails.

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    • Ste J

      25/05/2016 at 13:03

      I only intended to have a day off but felt somewhat rough the day afterwards so left it, it has taken a bit commitment to get back to it, I am dreading my potential two week holiday in a month or so. I suspect your fellow bloggers will understand but I always like to try and keep up with things as much as possible.

      I do love a dust jacket, I always put them somewhere that they won’t get damaged and in the shop I always repack my books as the people at the chain stores have no idea how to make sure the jacket is level with the book. A Kindle lover eh? As it’s you I will let you off hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Jill Weatherholt

        25/05/2016 at 13:26

        LOL! Well, I swore I’d never get a Kindle because I love the feel, smell, etc. of a paper book. When my reading time became limited, I discovered I could read a Kindle while running on the treadmill. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

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        • Ste J

          25/05/2016 at 13:32

          That is a feasible excuse, funny how all you Kindle readers happen to have a logical reason to buy one lol. I shall never turn to the dark side myself, when travelling abroad I would rather sacrifice clothes to bring books, it’s lucky I only have about five decent items of clothing that are acceptable for public outings.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  2. Alastair Savage

    25/05/2016 at 13:00

    I’m not sure that publishers are looking to save money on the design, rather the contrary. With so much pressure from ebooks, they’re upping the design stakes so that people are keen to pick up the real product if they find it in a book store. If anything, we’re living through a golden age of book design, especially in the UK, where the covers are just amazing (and usually better than the book inside).
    I take the dust jacket off too when I read, by the way. I like to keep them pristine, like you!

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    • Ste J

      25/05/2016 at 13:10

      That is an intriguing point, I do gravitate to the ‘beautiful books’ section in a certain famous bookstore which do look lovely, although are more pricey compared to the U.S. counterparts. There is a lot that goes into most book covers, I can happily leave anything that is ridiculously similar to the cover of a famous book just to piggy back on its success.

      I am glad I am not alone with the dust jacket foible, our investments look so much better when all neat and cared for. It also protects from people striking up conversations when out and about reading.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Liz

    25/05/2016 at 13:02

    I love the ‘reveal’ of something gorgeous underneath a book jacket – it is something I always immediately check for. I know what you mean about jackets getting scruffy if you leave them on the book while reading – I can’t bear even the tiniest rip/crease/dink in a new book. Of course if I acquire an old book with ‘wear and tear’ then this is entirely acceptable, indeed a pleasurable aspect of this type of book. Ah – nothing like a good paradox in one’s life, is there.

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    • Ste J

      25/05/2016 at 13:14

      I forget which book it is but I removed the jacket and there was a shocking orange book covering, it was unexpected but I loved the unexpected madness of it, it was a history or serious travel book I think. I don’t mind wear and tear when getting an old book, it shows we are journeying where others already have and I like that idea, it’s a bit romantic any damage to new books makes me really sad. Some people made find out idiosyncrasies odd but they just can’t understand the pain of a tiny tear that only we can see.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Jessica

    25/05/2016 at 15:40

    I personally hate book jackets! The only thing they’re good for are as bookmarks – they always seem to get in the way for me. I don’t watch Battlestar Galactica, but whaat, lopped off corners?

    Kudos to you for being screen-free for a weekend! I always want to make time to unplug, but I find myself glued to the screen for much longer than reasonable…

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    • Ste J

      25/05/2016 at 15:47

      On Battlestar, they took off the corners, so they would look like space books but by doing that actually created more corners. Dust jackets can be annoying at times but bookmarks…interesting.

      All the blogging and talking to people does consume so much time, I even got out of the house as well. We all need it but it’s just breaking that addictive cycle.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Jessica

        25/05/2016 at 16:08

        Hahaha space books – that is too goofy! Don’t you use the flaps of dust jackets to mark your place in a book?

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        • Ste J

          25/05/2016 at 16:10

          My dust jackets are put up on a high shelf where they won’t get damaged, I really can’t abide any bending or creasing of them. I seem to have thousands of bookmarks but only use one such is my oddness.

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  5. Sarah

    25/05/2016 at 15:51

    I tend to buy my books ready trashed, but would probably make your hair curl by the way I treat my books, even the new ones! I scrawl in the margins – in pencil – but only because ink bleeds, and I feel a fool saying it but it’s never even occurred to me to remove a book’s dust jacket. That would feel like exposure. I can see that’s an irrational response, but there it is. Although maybe if you lived in wet and windy West Wales you’d think twice about enforced book naturism! 😉

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    • Ste J

      25/05/2016 at 16:02

      In Wales your books already come with some moisture I would expect. It is more exhibitionist to keep on or remove a cover, or paradoxically both. I will let you off with the marginalia but please don’t torture me with any of your other book torture.

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  6. Liz Dexter

    25/05/2016 at 18:26

    I take nice or battered dust jackets off to save them, but sometimes leave second-hand ones on if the book is think enough to use the flaps as a bookmark or they’re a bit battered but not perilous. I love the gold or black tooling on some of the older hardbacks that didn’t have dust jackets in the first place (I have similar editions to some in the top picture). I like the new hardbacks coming out with pretty hard (and no dust) covers although don’t get led into buying them because of the pretty covers, as am basically mean and cheap!

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 09:41

      Mean and cheap, that made me laugh. I love the beautiful covers section in Waterstones, not that anything from there has had anything but a good ogling from me but when I need a new copy of a favourite book maybe one day that will be a deserved treat. The charting of dust jacket design is an intriguing one that needs exploring more methinks although never considered using the flaps as a bookmark oddly.

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      • Liz Dexter

        26/05/2016 at 15:25

        OH, I’ve always done the flap tucking thing (except when the book is too fat) – you get to swap to the back flap when you get to the middle page, too … I am mean and cheap, I’m afraid. I’d rather have a tatty old cheaper edition than a fancy-pants one, most of the time.

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        • Ste J

          27/05/2016 at 13:29

          It is a cringeworthy moment breaking in those new books so to speak as the spines open up. Worn in books are easier on the ear and old fonts are always better too. I may try the book flap bookmark when caught short as I often am.

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          • Liz Dexter

            31/05/2016 at 11:55

            I asked two friends about the flap-bookmark thing: one does it, one had never thought of it. So …

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            • Ste J

              31/05/2016 at 21:13

              the ever fascinating world of book covers…who knew! Hehe.

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  7. gargoylebruce

    25/05/2016 at 22:00

    Stripping off an innocent book’s jacket, you pervert! I always check what’s under the jacket, in case the publisher has blessed us with an exciting design surprise, but then I replace it reverently to give the book some dignity. I like how the Kontiki Expedition is written by someone named Thor. The cover looks a bit misleading though. Shouldn’t it feature a bus full of drunk young people in various states of undress?

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 10:07

      The cover is pretty spot on at various times through the book, which makes for some drama and then some. Were it a book as you suggested it may not have been photographed but left quietly on the top shelf out of view of the public, to protect my reputation and all that, whatever that may be. I like those book covers that have a cover a different image on the back which comes as a complete surprise and makes you feel like you are the first to discover it.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Resa

    25/05/2016 at 23:52

    I adore dust jackets. I wonder if someone out there collects them? Not the books, just the jackets.

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 08:48

      I bet there are some people who do, if they have books they don’t want I will take them off their hands as well. Everybody is happy that way.

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  9. Lyn

    26/05/2016 at 00:52

    Some publishers not only gave you a dust jacket, but the hard cover underneath was a repeat of the dust jacket. That’s a pretty cool way of doing things. Yep, I always take the dust jackets off mine too. Seeing the pictures of those books reminded me that we read The Kon-Tiki Expedition in grade 8 and had to memorize a poem about it. LOL not that I can remember it now.

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 09:16

      I like that idea, then if you take it off, people know what you’re reading without the worry of ripping the jacket. I really enjoyed Kon-Tiki, such a crazy risk but so much fun and informative as well. Then I read Aku-Aku and got stressed out by all the claustrophobic bits. I was really looking forward to the poem as well hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. clarepooley33

    26/05/2016 at 01:20

    I never know whether to leave the dust jacket on or take it off. I hate to see a creased jacket but I also don’t want to scuff my new book, and the dust jacket is there to protect the book underneath – oh no! What to do! I often start the book with the cover on and then get fed up with it sliding up and down the book and getting in danger of being damaged so I take it off.
    I recently discovered a new-to-me second-hand bookshop. It is stuffed full of books and in some kind of order – history, music, architecture etc but no attempt whatsoever has been made to put any of the books into alphabetical order. This is great if I have all day to browse but not so good if I am looking for a specific title.

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 09:24

      It is bothersome that it slips and if it is one of those shiny covers then it’s like a slippy slidey ice level in a platform game, how I don’t miss those! I’ve never really considered the scuffing of the actual book cover but that is because I tend to wrap my books up if I take them out and about as you never know when it will rain.

      At least they put them into subjects, imagine the insanity otherwise. It is an annoyance when looking for a specific book but then usually the eye catches something else worth picking up to, so it really is swings and roundabouts.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  11. Gitanjali Singh Cherian

    26/05/2016 at 10:43

    I ALWAYS take the dust jackets off 🙂 Hate to see them mutilated! But sometimes if I take long to read the book in question, I can’t find the dust jacket that I’ve stored ‘so safely’ somewhere :-/ And speaking of days off from the computer….I have just opened mine after a month!! A month!! I was away on vacation and have so much to catch up on, in addition to having many book reviews to post.

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    • Ste J

      26/05/2016 at 10:50

      I bet that is stressful to mislay those dust jackets even if they are safe. I don’t envy your backlog but you’ll conquer it in no time and it’ll be great to read more reviews too.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. shadowoperator

    26/05/2016 at 11:09

    It’s funny, isn’t it, that dust jackets are called “dust jackets”? I mean, most books gather a huge amount of dust, while the jacket is really to prevent wear and tear on the book, not dust. What to call it, what to call it, “wear and tear jacket”? Too wordy!

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    • Ste J

      27/05/2016 at 13:20

      The annoying thing would probably be the most accurate term, it’s a stress keeping them tidy and there is no need for them really. Dust jacket is a strange term, I hadn’t really thought back of it but now you mention it, even a book jacket would be a better term.

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  13. Jilanne Hoffmann

    26/05/2016 at 20:37

    I like walking by a bookshelf and seeing what jumps out at me. Literally, they sometimes fall on the floor in front of me. I do, however, tend to get annoyed at having to rifle through any number of books that have no jackets. This is when I depend on serendipity to find a treasure. I don’t read every spine. I don’t have the patience for it. 😀

    I may or may not take the book jacket off when reading. It depends on where the book is traveling with me. If it’s only on my bedside table, I usually leave it on. If it’s going in my bag, then no. The jacket stays at home.

    On a different note, some children’s books are now being printed in unusual ways, meaning there’s a different graphic printed on the inside of the book jacket. For picture books, the book usually looks the same when the jacket is removed, making it easier to identify the book after the jacket has been damaged by children. Maybe they should do this for adult books, too.

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    • Ste J

      27/05/2016 at 19:04

      It is great to have those little flourishes such as the cover impression being the same as a jacket, it just gives the eye something to appreciate when kids eat the dust jacket or whatever. Even at home I have to take it off, just in case,going out is like a dangerous business for books as well, my bag has so much padding in it that I’m embarrassed to admit it. I like your style of book archaeology, no patient uncovering but more of a bung a bit of dynamite in the hole and see what comes to hand, as it were.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Jilanne Hoffmann

        27/05/2016 at 21:54

        LOL, I do like my “discovered” books to be in one piece, so no dynamite involved. Just a little serendipity. But the image you just described is priceless!

        Liked by 1 person

         
  14. Asha

    27/05/2016 at 14:13

    I find there’s something quintessentially attractive about those titles emblazoned in gold like in those old novels with rugged dark green, black covers with the fabrickish feel about them.
    I always keep them super safe while arranging on the shelves. Surprisingly, I don’t bother as much about the designed covers with glossy feel and look about them. So yes, stripping books of their classic elegance, it sure has become.

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    • Ste J

      27/05/2016 at 14:21

      I hate glossy covers, my fingers slip around and my fingermarks are all over them. The touch of the bare cover is very unique, I like the gold leafing on books as well. I really feel the need to go buy loads of books now, just to take more photos and swap book titles with you.

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      • Asha

        27/05/2016 at 14:31

        Yes. It looks a meek attempt at overmarketing the book. My eyes burn at the mere sight of them shouting for attention amongst other books on the shelves in stores. I love the hiding ones. The minute my eyes find them I go, ‘I found you’. 🙂

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        • Ste J

          27/05/2016 at 14:37

          The worst thing is book covers with the film characters on the front, there is no need for that! It’s great to go hunting in the dark corners and finding the unassuming books, we are of much the same mind when it comes to our shared passion.

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          • Asha

            27/05/2016 at 14:45

            True, that’s the most annoying. New books with covers etched with film characters. Thar’s the new trend presently. I don’t know why books need to be dressed that way.

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            • Ste J

              27/05/2016 at 14:53

              I try and pick up books that will be come films before they get the rubbish covers into the shops, that way I keep my book standards up hehe.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • Asha

                27/05/2016 at 15:15

                That’s a smart move. Really. I hardly ever buy new ones. Usually pick them off the rent out shops or old bookstores, that way I still get the sacred copies.

                Liked by 1 person

                 
  15. Andrea Stephenson

    28/05/2016 at 18:57

    The few books that I remember having in the house as a child were all without jackets – not very friendly to a child, but looking back there was something interesting about them. If I have a book with a book jacket I leave it on while I read – I often use one edge of it as a bookmark!

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    • Ste J

      28/05/2016 at 19:20

      There is an air of mystery to books with no covers that never gets old. Your book jacket/mark seems to be a popular choice, I almost feel like a novice reader!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  16. Love, Life and Whatever

    31/05/2016 at 14:42

    In an era of kindles and the way we sometimes rely on blurbs….you write about these….some of the best books which I read while growing up even in vernaculars were mostly with jackets and you took me to that place….

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    • Ste J

      31/05/2016 at 21:21

      Half the experience is choosing a book with no idea what it’s like apart from the title. Searching online is cheating but it really does give a nostalgic feel to the books.

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  17. Lucy

    02/06/2016 at 21:39

    I love tatty jackets (there’s a joke in there about baked potatoes in Scotland but I can’t find it), I can’t bear to throw them away, especially ones with names of owners or prices in old money, but they can look at bit ropey on the shelves. I hate hardbacks with printing directly on the cover, as this is only suitable for Dandy and Beano annuals.

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    • Ste J

      03/06/2016 at 13:01

      It does seem a little lazy that they can’t stretch to a jacket, if I was a book I would hate to be naked on a shelf, as I would be as a human. I like the word tatty and also your hoarding skills, you are an inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  18. anna amundsen

    06/06/2016 at 17:55

    I love finding a book with nothing on the clothed covers. I have to open it to see what’s inside.
    I am not a big fan of dust jackets – sometimes they are very sensitive and get torn easily, sometimes they are ugly, covering very pretty book covers. Sometimes, though, they are very beautiful. Those I tend to take off when I am reading, not wanting to stain them..
    Did you know that I handcraft books? 🙂
    I made several for some of my friends – Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Gilgamesh.. I made Seamus Heaney’s ‘Death of a Naturalist’ for myself.

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    • Ste J

      07/06/2016 at 13:52

      I perhaps did know this from a distant time but I seem to forget so much that isn’t written in a book, so please forgive me that one. I would love to see some examples of your craft!

      Dust jackets can be a bane for the reader but I would prefer the option of having one to not. Old books though really are a wonder and a mystery when you have to delve to find out what it’s about, it’s such a rich landscape, a second hand bookshop with loads of clothed and naked books.

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      • anna amundsen

        08/06/2016 at 16:41

        I will post some pictures of my handcrafted books as soon as I finish the latest one..
        It will not be many since I gave Sylvia and Dickinson without taking pictures of them. Pity.

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        • Ste J

          09/06/2016 at 13:55

          It’ll be worth the wait, you should always showcase your talents my friend, you never know you may get commissions because of it which would be awesome.

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  19. macjam47

    28/06/2016 at 01:15

    I love book covers and would never think of removing them. Handcrafted books are works of art, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for them. I suppose it has to do with expense, plus covers sell books.

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    • Ste J

      28/06/2016 at 19:18

      I find the beautiful books in America to be a lot cheaper than over this way, I would rather purchase a labour of love than just a random book. I pu=icked only one book up in America and made sure it got some proper love so it didn’t get damaged on the flight back.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • macjam47

        29/06/2016 at 00:08

        Hey Steve. I wish I could have hopped on up to Boston while you were here. It would have been lovely to be able to meet in person.

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        • Ste J

          29/06/2016 at 18:09

          I have family out there so no doubt I shall be back soon and this time will be more wide ranging in my wandering so a meet us still on!

          Liked by 1 person

           

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