Alert! Book jackets are now listed as an endangered art!

May 2nd, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

“They say you can’t judge by its book cover, but that doesn’t mean a good book cover doesn’t have something to say.” – Photo caption on CNN

While we certainly should not determine if the story will be good or not if we judge by the book cover, the book cover and the title are the very first things we see on a book.  When people look at a shelf full of books at libraries or bookstores, in order for them to determine which book they should pull out of the shelf to view, they are going to pick out the books based on titles and designs of the cover.  Therefore, a good quality cover is critical in order to catch the customers’ eyes.

While book covers influence which books we pull from the shelves, but they also give us a feeling of a memorable property:

The existence of a gorgeous jacket amplifies the truth that a book is not, or at least should not be, disposable. It is a part of your life that is there for the long run. You might not read a book a second time, but its jacket wrapped around it, sitting in your home, is a reminder of certain things: what you were going through as you first held it, who in the world was important to you, how the words on those pages made you feel.

Bob Green who wrote the CNN article, Book jackets: An endangered art, spoke regarding the concerns of book jackets becoming extinct due to the trends of e-readers and why it is important to preserve book jackets.  While there will still be book cover designs, the experience of viewing the cover design on an electronic device is not the same as holding the actual book.  A good analogy would be that while we can view paintings by Claude Monet in textbooks and online, coming into contact with real paintings at Musée d’Orsay is a very different experience because we see the texture of the brushstrokes and take the time to stand in front of the paintings to remember what we’re seeing and to think about them.  Book jackets have various textures to feel, as there are many different type of papers including both rough and smooth textures.  Also, some book jackets present emboss in the design, which enhances the the experience of viewing and touching the designs.

I still prefer to purchase books rather than e-books because I feel like I’m purchasing a painting or a house decoration.  I enjoy admiring my bookshelf filled with books with beautiful, artistic covers.



May 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

As an avid bookwarm..I will agree with you in the thrill of holding a book , enjoying the art cover , turning the pages , smelling it.Seeing it in my library , taking pride on it’s position.

A new book , in its unread glory for me it means a new travel.Be it the well worn travel in Paolini’s or Tolkien’s works , or the more flimsy Princess diaries for a laugh – it is a form of escape for me.And I relish it.

However…e-readers are useful.What about college books that are thick and voluminous – straining our arms or packs that get quickly outdated? What about travelling – especially with the weight limits airflight rules presents?

For me technology advances , and it is ready to be incorporated – but I think we will never forget the joy of turning pages in books .What will be extinct might be the *yawn* heavy and voluminous books for learning at universities and schools.Or with newspapers and magazines , that we dispose of them – costing us hundreds of trees.Even with recycling.

Maybe our children won’t carry huge backpacks to accommodate for all the books they are given.Did you know that the average primary pupil has to carry at least one third of its weight in books ( in Greece at least ) and that number increases each grade ?

So , we still haven’t seen where this journey will bring us so far..If nothing , we’ll see where the technology begins and the old custom of holding a real book will end…which is not for a good while at least. And I think these two can coexist if we give them a chance.

There was a similar debate between 36mm film and digital cameras , and they still coexist.*smile*


May 6, 2010 at 11:35 am


When it comes to textbooks for school, I’m all for an e-reader for the sake of my and other people’s health! I remember having back pains from carrying all the textbooks in middle and high school.

Yes, e-readers would definitely help conserve trees BIG time! There is no question. Since you reminded me that e-readers would be a huge help to the environment, you made me re-think about the great benefits of e-books. I should consider looking into it, and for the books that I truly love, I could purchase a hard copy for my shelf.

I totally agree that books and e-books can co-exist like 35mm film cameras and digital cameras. As a photographer, I still use film! 🙂

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