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Why You Want (or Don't Want) a Dust Jacket for Your Self-Published Book

August 31, 2020 (Last Updated April 01, 2024)

Marcy G.

The journey of a self-published author is exciting and unique. And with it comes complete control over your book’s development.


Choosing how to present your book is an important step. There are so many book binding options and book styles available. Paperback, hardcover, coil bound or saddle-stitched - it’s your preference.


In addition to binding, you can decide if you want a dust jacket for your self-published book. What are the pros and cons of a book dust jacket?


History of the Dust Jacket

Dust jackets, also known as book jackets, first appeared on the scene in the 1800s. They weren’t decorative or used like they are now, though. These simple paper wrappers were meant to protect leather or silk-bound books and were removed and discarded by the reader.


Fast forward to the present. While dust jackets still add protection for hardcover books, additional uses have developed over time.


Benefits of a Book Dust Jacket

The most common benefit of having a book dust jacket is the extra protection it provides (if the reader decides to keep it intact). A well-designed dust jacket also lends a more professional and high-quality feel to your book.


A functional advantage of adding a dust jacket to your self-published book is additional space. The back panel or inner flaps of the dust jacket can hold author information, a summary of your book’s plot and a listing of any praise or reviews the book has received. This information can be a good selling point for prospective readers.


Some readers even use dust jackets as bookmarks to hold their place while reading, as well as using them as placeholders in a bookcase while the book is in use.  


Reasons to Avoid a Book Dust Jacket

Why might you want to avoid a dust jacket for your self-published book? There are a few situations in which a dust jacket might not be ideal. Consider the size of your book. It may be too small to warrant a dust jacket. Are you planning to print your book in paperback? Dust jackets can only be used for hardcover books, so a paperback book would rule out a dust jacket immediately.


Keep these points in mind when it’s time to decide whether you want (or don’t want) a dust jacket for your self-published book. There are no wrong answers! It’s really just personal preference and the details of your book printing.


When you’re ready to print your self-published book, partner with us! 48 Hour Books provides high-quality, affordable book printing and binding services. Get your printing cost today.


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