A removable paper covering for a book, usually on a hardcover book, the book jacket protects the book cover and binding and provides space for promotional information about the book and author. It is part of the case components in book design.
The book jacket may mimic the artwork on the book cover itself or may offer additional illustration that doesn't appear elsewhere on or in the book. The book jacket itself is as tall as the book but wider than the covers and spine combined so that flaps at the ends of the book jacket can wrap around the front and back covers to help hold the book jacket in place. When samples of upcoming books are creating for preview and promotional use, the Blad may contain a proof of the book jacket.
The elements of a book jacket vary from book to book and from one publisher to another but typically includes some or all of these items:
- illustration or artwork for front of jacket with book title, name of author
- description or summary of the book (often on the inside flaps or back of jacket)
- photo or illustrations from within the book
- author's bio
- author's photo
- quotes or review excerpts about the book
- quotes or review excerpts of previous works by the same author
- contact information for the author
- contact information for the publisher
The term book cover may refer to the book jacket, the actual hardcover or softcover portion of the book, or another covering added to the book (with or without the book jacket) to protect the outside of the book.
Designing a Book JacketA graphic designer may design the book, its cover, and its book jacket. If self-publishing, the designer may also be the writer. However, these tasks are also sometimes handled by different people, especially in traditional book publishing. A graphic designer may specialize in page layout of books while another may specialize in book cover or book jacket illustration and design.
"Working in book design can mean ... creating elaborate book covers and jacket designs from scratch … hours of detailed-oriented layout work." — Eric Miller for About.com Graphic Design: Working as a Book Designer
- About.com Desktop Publishing readers have tried their hand at designing book jackets by doing a makeover on a book jacket for the fictional "My Life is a Poem." Browse these book jacket redesigns.
- Make a Gift Idea: Custom Book Cover describes ideas for making a personalized covering or jacket for a book given as a gift.
- Designing Book Covers and Jackets includes tutorials, tips, and illustrations.
- The Art of Design describes the job of the designer in the creation of the book, including a book jacket. This is written for the writer of children's books, describing what goes on in book publishing beyond just writing the book.
Beyond the Book JacketThe book jacket isn't the only part of a book designed to protect the book. And sometimes the jacket itself needs protection.
- A book jacket cover is a clear covering that wraps over the book and the book jacket. Book jacket covers are typically used in libraries and other places where books are handled frequently. They protect the paper cover and provide longer shelf life for the book and its jacket.
- There are a variety of book covers for covering school books. Text books don't generally have book jackets so these book covers wrap around the front and back covers and spine of the book protecting it from wear and tear. The simplest of this type of book covering is the homemade Paper Bag Book Cover. Here's the illustrated tutorial.
- The slipcase is a cardboard box that comes with some books, often a set of books in a series. The front of the slipcase is open (or has a flap that opens) leaving the book spines visible.