There is no need to hate dust jackets. Apart from protecting books from dust—the feature for which they are evidently named—they bring many other benefits.
- Most jackets contain helpful quick-reference information, such as a summary of the book or information about the author, that are lost if the jacket is discarded.
- A dust jacket guards against scratches, scuffs, jelly, and other distortions unworthy of a book’s perfection. In this regard it resembles a tonsil, absorbing abuse on behalf of a larger, more important body of which it is a constituent. The cupbearer in the court of an ancient king functions as another metaphor which may aid in understanding.
- Books, like people, generally look better when clad.
- The inside flaps may be used as the best of bookmarks. I normally use the front flap to hold my place in the first half of the book and the back flap otherwise.
As you see, the benefits of the dust jacket are many. If you are, like my son, a despiser of this crucial feature of the modern book, I urge you on these bases to reconsider your position.