Librarian Insider | How to Use a Book Jacket Cover

One of the skills I consider necessary to leading a happy, successful life is being able to put a book jacket cover on hardback books. I've learned this skill while volunteering at my library. 

I've also learned that there are many advantages to adding a dust jacket cover to a book. It's water resistant, and it helps your books last longer. It's also easy to clean. Basically, it's a magical bubble that protects your books from a dangerous world.

However, it's okay if you don't use a dust jacket cover. They are designed for books that get a lot of use. At this point I don't use them on my own books, since they get about 1/167 the use of a library book, and probably don't need a jacket cover.

if you do decide to use a jacket cover, here is a blog post that will show you how to put it on your book. This is a fairly safe activity. Potential injuries include paper cuts. 

You'll need a book jacket cover (this one comes in a roll) scissors, scotch tape and a book, of course. One of the books waiting to be prepared for the shelves at my library was Innocence, by Dean Koontz, so I used it as a model.

Spread the dust jacket flat on a length of plastic so you can measure how much you need. This isn't flat, but I wasn't able to hold it flat and take a picture at the same time because I haven't been certified as a Super Photographer Librarian. Probably never will be - I don't think there is such a certification.

Cut the plastic so that the dust jacket overlaps the it by about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on each end. It looks like I didn't measure my plastic that way - but I did. I just moved the jacket out of the way before I started cutting. I've learned to plan ahead like that.

Tuck the bottom (or the top, it doesn't matter) into the paper that is attached to the plastic, make sure it's at the very bottom of the fold. Then tape the paper to the jacket. Repeat with the top part of the plastic. The plastic is often taller than the dust jacket, and will need to be pulled down so it fits the jacket nicely.

Put the newly covered jacket on the book, fold the inside flaps around it. It's stiff, so I like to mold it around the book a little.

Then it's time to tape the jacket to the book. This part is important, because the jacket needs to be loose enough so that you can close the book, but tight enough so it doesn't flap around like an untidy sandwich. Here's an example of what a good fit will look like, don't worry about the gap, it will disappear when you close the book.

Then tape the jacket to the book. You'll want to put the other end of the tape on the actual cardboard cover of the book, underneath the dust jacket. It may take a couple of tries to get the fit right, but that's okay. Tape it on top and bottom, front and back.

And you're done! This book is ready to hit the shelves!

Was this helpful/relevant to you? Would you be interested in other library-inspired posts like this one? Let me know!


  1. Bravo! I absolutely love this post, although like you, I don't read quiiite enough to justify giving my own books dust jacket covers. Will librarian insider be a post series? That would be awesome!

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

      Yes, I'm thinking of doing a series of library inspired posts, it probably won't be very consistent at first, but I'm trying to think of more content!

  2. I've actually always wondered about this! Thanks for shedding some light on the subject =)

    1. You're welcome! It was a fun post to put together.

  3. Many thanks for this tutorial. I've been thinking about investing in some dust jacket cover for my International Standard Bible Encyclopedias and several other hardcovers with quality dust jackets.

    Do you have any suggestions as to which brands are better, and how much it runs? Though I expect its probably purchased from one of those members-only library suppliers. :P

  4. You're welcome!

    Brodart is a good choice, it's acid free and pretty affordable.You can find some good options at and Demco is more library-oriented, but you can also create a personal account there.

    1. Bookmarked.

      Thank you for your recommendations and swift reply.


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