How-To Tuesday: Different Kinds of Book Covers and When to Use Them

Posted by Kristina Pino

via Etsy

Book covers are awesome. If you haven't wrapped a book since your elementary school days, I'm going to give you some reasons to do it again. 

Before that though, let's briefly talk about kinds of book covers. There are different types for different occasions and personalities, after all. You've got the clear plastic by the roll and plain ol' paper bags (nifty tutorial for that one here!), wrapping paper, bits of newspaper, maps, and all manner of foldable (or knittable!) things to decorate your book with.

And then of course, you've got the pre-made elastic book covers you can buy by the buttload if you aren't a DIY sort of person. The possibilities are endless. But there are, nonetheless, so many fun ways to cover your books. 

Now, hear me out on when's a good time to use book covers.


Protect your privacy in public: You want to read on the airplane, or in the park, on the train, or at your desk at work, but are always risking snoops (or creeps like Gaston) checking out the cover/spine and trying to chat you up about what you're reading. Sure, there's a well-intentioned friendly chatter here and there, but the bottom line is that when you don't want to be disturbed, it's important to take as many measures as you can against inviting conversation. 

Bonus: Shy about reading romance in public but lack an ereader? Book cover. Bam.

Protect the book itself: If you're anything like me, and you just toss your current read into whatever bag or knapsack you're carrying around that day, it gets all jumbled up with all the other junk you packed. All kinds of things can happen in there, and again, if you're like me, you don't like to see the covers any more worn out than they already get just by being handled and read.

A plain, sturdy book cover might come in handy here. Bonus: If you're the type who lends books out, this is just another step you can take towards getting it back in good condition.

Via Shelterrific

Artsy self-expression: I mentioned a few different wrapping options above, like using maps or newspaper, but you could always grab some color Sharpies or ballpoint pens and go to town on paper bags wrapped around your books.

If you're the doodling type, you'll have a book cover to unleash your imagination on every time you start a new read. Can you imagine a bookshelf lined up with a whole set of your own self-drawn covers? And if you have or have seen such a thing, can you send me a picture?

Replace dust covers on hardbacks: Let's face it: most hardbacks look better without their dust covers, but the dang things are just so useful. We don't have to go by their rules, though. We don't need their dust covers, because we can make our own fabulous ones. Fight the power!

Image via Flickr

Surprise someone: As book lovers, we know the joy of getting our hands on a book we've been waiting for for ages, or getting book mail, or unwrapping a book-shaped gift and just dying to catch a glimpse of the cover. We can make it even more fun for folks we gift books to by creating custom covers, personalizing them without actually writing anything inside. 

I'm not saying it's bad to dedicate a book to someone with a personal note in it, I'm just saying there's another way. Plus, this frees the giftee from having to decide whether the book you gave them is OK to give away to someone else (another family member, used book store, library, etc.), since they can then do anything with the book and just keep your cover as a memento.

And these, folks, are just a few of the reasons why you should consider wrapping your books.