I've been thinking a bit about books lately. Partly because I've actually been starting to read them again (I tend to go through phases).
I was musing through my bookshelves this evening, and decided to put all the hard backs on one shelf. Nearly all of my books are paperbacks (I'm one of those cheapskates who will always wait for the paperback to come out, 6 months or so after the initial hardback release). So the books of mine that are in hard back are all unusual in some way. Looking through them, they're all either gifts, cookery books or non-fiction books which would never be released as a paperback.
There was something bothering me about seeing all these books together though. Lined up like that, they look a bit... garish. The spines all seem to scream for attention, as if you're in a bookshop
That's when an idea struck me: what would it look like if you removed all the dust jackets? Let's see the books naked:
Much better! It turns out that beneath the dust jackets, books are bound in beautiful, desaturated colours, with neat embossed typography on the spine. Why aren't all books displayed like this?
It turns out, according to Wikipedia's entry on dust jackets at least, that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dust jackets were discarded soon after purchase, as people preferred to show off the actual bookbinding.
I think we should return to these days. Leave the dust jackets, with their marketing-spiel blurbs, for the bookshops - think of them as the adverts you get stuffed inside magazines. When you get a book home, display it as it should be seen - ditch the dust jacket.