The dustcover dilemma

I have a problem with dustcovers on books. On one hand they prevent the real cover from fading and dirt and books usually have a higher resell value with an intact dustcover, but on the other hand they are usually not as attractive as the real cover. I have books bound in fake leather with gilded lettering that look quite beautiful naked on the shelves, but with dustcovers they are not as attractive, but admittedly less prone to fading. All this makes me waver between using the dustcovers and not using them.

Some of my books look much better without dustcovers, while others look better with the dustcovers on, usually because the bindings are an ugly colour or one that clashes with the rest of the books on the shelf. I have many books that need to be together on the shelves because they share a subject. Some have such ugly bindings that the dustcover is a blessing, but sitting side by side with naked books they look like clothed visitors in a nudist colony. Fortunately my library is not of the kind that is used for decoration purposes, so I usually just keep the dustcovers on them for protection. But the technicolour view of my bookshelves sometimes hurts the eye, especially when the mind is aware that under some particularly gaudy cover there lurks a beautiful book.


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