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Protecting Dust Jackets: A Query

As Nomi and I were waiting on line last Thursday for the Jasper Fforde reading, I noticed that the fellow waiting behind us had a plastic cover protecting his book's dust jacket. The cover looked exactly like the kind that libraries use to protect their hardcover dust jackets, only the dust jacket wasn't glued or taped to the book.

For years I've meant to look into protective covers for my own personal library, but I've never actually taken the time to do so. I asked the guy where he got the dust jacket cover, and he said I should check out Brodart Library Supplies & Furnishings. Apparently, that's the company that produces these book jacket covers; in fact, now that I know that, I've found their name and logo imprinted on the inside of the book jacket covers used at our own local library.

I began browsing through their page to find the most appropriate item for me to order, but I started getting confused by all the selections. Since I know that there are other bibliophiles and some librarians out there, I thought I'd ask for advice about book jacket covers on this blog.

I'm looking for something that's inexpensive, easy to apply, and that doesn't use any sort of adhesive to stick to either the book jacket or the book. The fellow on the line behind us recommend buying a roll, which can be cut into sizes as you need it, but Brodart makes more than one kind of roll as well. So if anyone out there could offer a suggestion as to what sorts of book jacket cover supplies I ought to buy, I'd be very appreciative.


I have purchased covers from Brodart (actually, I may have bought them from a different supply company) for my own personal library. These do not use any kind of adhesive. It takes a little practice to get good at putting them on, but then you're golden. And it's the kind of thing you can do while watching TV or listening to music.

I don't recommend buying a roll, however, only because I think they would be difficult and/or tedious to cut. Instead, I purchased several sizes, and I've donen very well with them (although I'm not nearly through covering my books; I'm doing the more valuable ones first). I don't have the size info at hand, but can check when I get home this evening and post another comment.
I don't recommend buying a roll, however, only because I think they would be difficult and/or tedious to cut.

i've watched lisatheriveter use hers, and it's actually really easy. the roll comes in a dispensing-box much like aluminum foil or saran wrap. all you need is a flat surface and perhaps some scissors or a sharp paper-cutter.

By the way, do they make a similar item for paperbacks? (And I'd also probably be looking for covers for large-size books as well.)
Were you able to check the size info last night?
Sorry for the delay in responding. I forgot that I had my writing group last night, and I didn't get home until well after midnight!

I purchased my covers from Gaylord Brothers (also a library and office supply company). They're on the Web, of course, but they also have a toll-free number: 1-800-634-6307.

I purchased:

#9 -- 8 1/8 to 9" high
#12 -- 10 1/8 to 12" high
#14 - 12 1/8 - 14" high

The only problem is, I don't know if the actual BRAND I purchased was Gaylord or Brodart. But I am going home for lunch so should have a quick answer for you on that.

The #9 covers I use for small hardbacks. I collect a lot of young adult fiction from the 1940s to the 1960s, and they fit that size (a bit like a trade paperback size, only thicker and in hardback). Come to think of it, this size MIGHT work for book club editions, but I'd have to check to be sure.

I use #12 for most standard hardcovers. I got the #14 because I have a lot of children's picture books.

I've never looked into anything for paperbacks. It would be a bit tricker to do that without adhesive, I'd think.

Hope this is helpful. I'll try to confirm the brand name of my covers.
They are Gaylord brand. I've been quite happy with them.
Thanks! I'll look into Gaylord as well.
I know lisatheriveter keeps several rolls of the stuff handy, but she's hardly ever on LJ these days. I will ask her to poke her nose back in here when next I see her online. I'm sure she'd be happy to give you suggestions.
Brodart is pretty cool - we got our kitchen Kik-Step from them.
I will ask Crystal [Michael's and my semi-daughter] what specific type of Brodart product she buys.

She is a collector of first editions.
Hey, if you do order from them, could I trouble you to add a bone folder (item B on this page) to your order, and I'll reimburse you for it? It seems silly to pay for shipping on one bone folder.

I'm sure we can; I'm curious as to what you need it for, though. (Brodart recommends using them for folding the dust jacket covers.)
They're used in bookbinding for getting a good strong crease on the signatures.
We use Brodart here.

I'd buy a roll - go ahead and buy the cheap stuff if all you're looking to do is protect dust jackets. You pull it out of the box like Saran Wrap, cut off a length just a bit longer than the dj in question (where "a little bit" means "a quarter of an inch") slide the open dj all the way down into one of the folds in the brodart, trim the other side so it'll fold over nicely, overlapping a bit on the inside. Use a pen (like a sharpie!) to fold the top edge of the plastic down even with the top of the dj. You can tape the brodart to itself if you wish, but I don't.
They seem to have different kinds of rolls; is there any particular one you use?
um. HBS uses recycled bubble wrap. We probably use the cheapest Brodart too.

(I'll go look at a roll...)

the box says: CAT 10-4327-010, Fold-On Archival Quality, up to 16"

I mean, CAT 10-427-010
That's kind of funny: the first thing I do when I get a hardcover book (not that it happens often) is to take the dustjacket off and discard it.
One of the things that makes a hardcover book valuable to collectors is the condition of the dust jacket. A hardcover without a dust jacket loses value. Ironic, given that dust jackets were originally invented to be what their name describes. They were usually made of a coarse white paper, and they would gather dust and protect the book.
I don't buy books for collectors. I buy books for me.
I also buy books for me. But I consider myself a collector.

For example, when I was younger I got many of my Isaac Asimov hardcovers autographed. Some of those are now worth a few hundred dollars, and one is even worth close to a thousand. I'd like to protect their value as much as I can. (And since then I've had many other books signed personally to me by various writers; some collectors would consider those books to have "association" value.)

I don't plan to sell my books at this point, but should I need the money (for, say, a college fund), it seems to me a good idea to protect my investment, even though I didn't necessarily think of the books as an investment when I bought them.

And I'm also one of those people who likes to take good care of his books, as you may recall. I don't break the spines of my paperbacks, and I try not to let the dust jackets of my hardcovers become worn.

But, on the other hand, I don't treat my books like artifacts either. Yes, I know I have a few books that have acquired some value; but I still enjoy taking them off the shelf and reading them. I'll feel a little more comfortable doing that if I have the dust jackets protected.
Speaking of "association copies", I've been reading a fascinating book called "The Book Nobody Read", by Owen Gingerich. You might have known him at Hahvahd. It's the story of how he put together the census of all known 1st and 2nd edition copies of Copernicus' "De Revolutionibus." Going all over the world, finding copies, studying the notes, working out the importance of similar notes appearing in different copies - what that tells us about who studied with whom, where, who influenced whom, how different people's ideas developed over time, etc. The notes demonstrate that their owners read them, at the very least.
I didn't know him at Harvard but one of my good friend had him as a thesis advisor. And Nomi and I were on a panel with him about Pluto last February.
i just take the dust jacket covers off when i read the books. some people may regard that as defeating the purpose, i don't know.
I do that too, sometimes, but even for simple shelving, I'd like to have the jackets covered.
The MITSFS library covers its hardcovers. I would suggest emailing them, finding out which current keyholders are actively on book covering duty, and stopping by their hours sometime if possible (or arranging a time to meet in the library). They'll probably be able to show you the covering material we use, and may even be willing to show you how to do it. It's been so long since I last did it that I don't really remember, and it's probably easier to understand the process if you see it in person.

December 2016

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