Beautiful Books and What They Hide Beneath

Posted February 23, 2018 by Amber in Memes / 24 Comments


I recently became aware that hardback books have hidden covers.

I read all my hardcover books with the dust jackets on!  I feel like I’ve been missing out on this whole magnificent world.  So, recently, I went through all the hardbacks on my shelf and discovered that about 10% of them do have something beneath the cover.

Some of these things are fairly simple, like Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, which only has a simple emboss of the keyhole from the cover art.

Others are more practical, like the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White, which show the titles in simple foil.

I have a couple, like Lemony Snickett’s All the Wrong Questions series, with colored embossing.  These ones are particularly simple, with just a colored silhouette.

Whereas others, like this OwlCrate exclusive of Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills are full embossed pressings and colored to match the cover.

But my absolutely, unquestioningly most beautiful hidden cover is on the Illumicrate copy of received of Artemis by Andy Weir.

I love that these things are hidden under the book jackets.  While I still think I’ll keep the jackets on them, I am definitely going to start checking for new hidden covers on my hardbacks.

This week’s Book Blogger Hop asked:

Do you read hardcovers with the dust jacket on or off? Why or why not?


Short answer:  On!  I use the book flaps as a bookmark, and honestly I’ve never even considered removing them.  Where would you keep them where they wouldn’t be damaged?  Do people just… toss them?  They’re art!  Explain.


Do you have any books with hidden covers?

Do you keep the dust jackets on books?

If not, what do you do with them?

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24 responses to “Beautiful Books and What They Hide Beneath

  1. Haha, I use the book jacket flaps as bookmarks, too! Sometimes I’ll take the jacket off, if I plan on carrying the book around with me a lot. Otherwise, I leave it on. It’s part of the book! But man, some of those hidden covers are so nice!

    • Amber

      Man, taking the jacket off for travel is *smart* I definitely have travel-related jacket damage, especially from books I had in high school!

  2. This is awesome! Now I really want to go home and check all my hardcover copies for hidden stuff! Unfortunately I don’t own a lot of hardcover books 🙁 but I have never taken off the book jackets (I also use the flaps as bookmarks) so maybe there are some cool ones! Thanks 🙂

  3. I can’t read books with the dust jacket on. I’ll do if it it’s absolutely necessary, like if it’s a library book, or I’m out and can’t take the dust jacket off, but they drive me CRAZY! Part of my original reason was actually that I’ve damaged far more of them with them on then off… I take the dust jacket off, and neatly set it either on the coffee table or on top of the books on my bookshelf. I haven’t damaged one yet, where as with them on I tend to rip them.
    Although I admit, I’ve been known to put them back on to use them as a bookmark…

    Iris @ Hoard of Books recently posted: January Wrap-Up – Lateness + Failed Goals
    • Amber

      I definitely see myself repositioning dust jackets as I’m reading hardcover books (why must they slide up and down?!) but if you’re afraid of ripping them or they annoy you, you should definitely take them off!

    • Amber

      Do it, do it! It was such a fun little adventure to find all the bits and pieces. Foolish Hearts surprised me the most – that was just a subscription box book, I wasn’t expecting anything fancy!

  4. I knew – from being a dust jacket remover – that some covers had embellishment underneath but I never gave it much thought. I’m tempted to go searching through mine now and see what treasures are hidden on the shelves!

  5. Oh God I totally feel your love for hidden covers! I always used to miss them or ignore them until I got “A Thousand Nights” by E. K. Johnston—which has my favorite hidden cover because it’s just beautiful! I wish I could show it to you but I don’t have my copy with me since the hurricane (because one of my friend has it) 😭

    For the dust jackets, I guess it depends if it’s comfortable or not because I’ve had books where the dust jacket just folds up and really bothers me so I just get them off and hide it in a drawer or somewhere safe where my can’t won’t find it 😂

    • Amber

      Oh no! Have you ever had your cat destroy a dust jacket? I can definitely see EITHER of mine deciding to chew on one!!!

  6. I love discovering what’s underneath the jacket! Though I hated A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston it’s so beautiful without its jacket I can’t get rid of it haha.
    I always take the jackets off, as I’m afraid I’ll damage them while reading. I also find them a bit impractical. I just put them on my table or shelf, whichever is nearest and put them back on once I finished reading 🙂

    • Amber

      This book must be truly gorgeous – you’re the second person to bring it up! I’ll have to find a copy and see it. 🙂

      I would agree that technically speaking, dust jackets are impractical. At this stage, there’s no reason why publishers can’t print directly on to the hardback and do away with them altogether.

    • Amber

      Most of mine are plain – I knew about Artemis but was surprised when I unveiled Foolish Hearts! 🙂 It was a fun little project.

  7. Saxmei

    I’ve been tearing off dust jackets for years! They used to bother me when I’d put them in my back pack and they’d tear or slip off. I used them as bookmarks for a while, but decided the frustration wasn’t worth it. And I always prefer the simplicity of the underneath cover designs.
    Related: I discovered that same year that socks make excellent bookmarks.