Using Brodart Book Covers; Or, How to Protect Your Investment in 6 Easy Steps

Brodart (or, for Canadians, Brodart) is not the only maker of those handy dust jacket covers you see on library books, but they’re the classic. And their “How to Apply Brodart Center-Slit Book Jacket Covers” instructions come in both English and French, so that’s cool.

Book covers are a relatively cheap way to protect the dust jackets on your best-beloved, favorite, and/or collectible books from damage. They’re also kind of fun to put on, if by “fun” you mean “requiring way too much attention to detail and not something the cat can help you with at all.” Therefore, allow me to present How to Use Dust Jacket Covers (In Just 72 Easy Steps):

Step One: remove the complimentary cat from your box of book covers. Note: Brodart does not actually supply a complimentary cat. Cat may have been enlarged to show texture. DO NOT EAT.

Step One: According to Brodart’s instructions, Step One is to “place book jacket cover – film side down, paper side up – on a flat surface.”

So far, so good.

Step Two: “Remove dust jacket from book and insert it – printed side down – between center-slit reinforcing paper and film. If the cover is an exact fit, proceed to step 5.”

…Maybe I should not have used an off-white dust jacket, yes? This is the jacket for Kay Ryan’s The Best of It, by the way. Shown here inserted under the bottom half of the paper, but not the top.

Step Two Point Five: Brodart doesn’t mention this one, probably because its instructions are written for the individual center-slit jackets, not the ones that come on the roll (which is what I’m using here, obvs). But trust me on this one, for it’s important: Mark the spot where the dust jacket ends with a pencil, then tug the dust jacket out of the way while you cut along the pencil line.

My pencil line is where the pencil is. I swear.

The alternative is to leave the dust jacket in place while you cut, which, if you’re a klutz like me, is a great way to chop right through the edge of a dust jacket. Please do not ask which beautiful book I mangled in figuring this out.

The dust jacket cover, cut off the roll on the handy pencil line I mentioned earlier. Notice how I had the sense to pull the dust jacket out to the left slightly so I wouldn’t cut through it, too.

Step 3:  “If the cover is not an exact fit, position edge of dust jacket where film and paper are joined together.”

The one in my photos isn’t.  It doesn’t much matter whether you line up the top or the bottom edge.  I didn’t photograph this step because, if you’ve done it right, the dust jacket is completely encased in the dust jacket protector and you can’t see it anyway.

A quick perusal of my new crop of library books indicates that the library staff, instead of positioning one edge of the dust jacket at the edge of the cover, positioned it more or less in the middle and folded both long ends over.  It probably doesn’t matter which you use as far as book protection is concerned, but the library’s covers do look much less amateur than mine.  (The library used adhesive, though, which THOU SHALT NOT DO if the value of the book matters at all to you.  If not, then Adhere What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law, and so on.)

Step Four: “Fold opposite edge of cover along the edge of the dust jacket and crease.”

My creased dust jacket cover, with the dust jacket for “The Best of It” hanging out inside. These things are a bit difficult to crease – it would probably be easier with two sets of hands, but all I have is a cat, and we know how helpful SHE is. Here I’m using the scissors to hold the crease down long enough for me to photograph it.

Step Five: “Wrap the cover and the dust jacket around the book.”

Step Five Point Three: Look around. Realize the book is nowhere in sight. Freak out.
Step Five Point Six: Locate the book under the instruction sheet for using the dust jacket covers. Breathe sigh of relief. Suspect the cat is secretly laughing at you.

Step Six: Do not use adhesive. Unless you are a librarian. Then you might want to use adhesive.  Librarians: curiously sticky since 1939.

Step Six: Success!

Ta Da!

Next time: another reason not to write your name in a book; the only adhesive you should ever allow to touch a collectible book and the only situation in which you should use it; and Bill Moyers Is Awesome, But He Really Needs To Stop Signing Books On The Flyleaf.



  1. If I had followed these instructions, my cat would have found a way to roll on the dust jacket cover and her her little black hairs all stuck under it. No matter how many times I yell an chase her away, she remains determined to roll on every adhesive/protective surface in my house. I only have two hands, so it’s hard to tape a package, hold the package steady, and push a cat away at the same time, thus every package I send has little black hairs stuck all over it and every book I own has little black hairs all stuck in it somewhere.

    I ate some eggs the other day and realized there were little black hairs stuck in them too, but I closed my eyes and ate them anyway, because they were the only food I had. I still don’t know how she got her hairs in those eggs. I suspect she plucked them and sent them floating in the air right when I was making the eggs.


  2. Dani Alexis says:

    Knowing Bella, that’s exactly what she did to your eggs. 😛 I swear that cat is magic. Now if only she’d do more of the “look mom I just found money!” magic and less of the “look mom, my hair is in EVERYTHING!” magic.


  3. michael f. brookman says:

    Your instructions were an immense help, but didn’t include enough about cats and their assistance. Of my several, only two were trying to help. Pepper Norman and Roscoe. One had been playing in the cats’ water dish prior to helping and the evidence was left on the protective paper whilst my back was away from the furry bostarts (pun intended). I’ve been using Brodart’s jackets for some time, but purchased my first center cut just last week. I don’t like the way the backing paper leaves so much dust jacket unprotected, but my larger books just don’t come in the exact Brodart sizes. Any suggestions? michael brookman: author, retired cop and general nuisance.


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