Books & Dust Jackets

Some books have beautiful hardcovers and really ugly dust jackets. For example, BDAG’s dust jacket is pink – dj’s should never be pink! Or consider the older NIC volumes – both Old and New Testament volumes. The covers themselves were a very nice grey for the OT and a nice dark blue for the New, but they’re dust jackets were the really ugly puke yellow for the New Testament and bright magenta for the Old. Yuck!

Other books have beautiful dust jackets and atrocious covers. A good example of this is the Pillar New Testmanet Commentary series. The dust jackets are a nice blue and white, but the covers themselves are a kind of glossy blue that just kind of blinds you – way too much saturation. Then there’s also certain printings of F. F. Bruce’s Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free from the 80’s. The dust jacket is gorgeous with its combination of blocks of colors, but the book itself is a horrendous puke yellow like that of the old NICNT dustjackets. Or how about the older printings of Vanhoozer’s Is There a Meaning in this Text? The jacket is an acceptable tanish brown, but the cover itself is orange – newer copies have the same tan.

I don’t understand why its so hard to have both! Some books like D. A. Carson’s The Gagging of God have bad jackets (a dull pink base color) and even worse covers (a mostly pink hardcover).

In general, I’ve been very impressed with Baker, IVP and the past decade of Eerdmans publishing. Continuum does a good job too with the TT Clark volumes though it needs work on the Journal for New Testament Studies Supplement Series (now Library of New Testament Studies). The covers on these are great, but often the color schemes of the jackets are really strange (Logos has some good pictures of what I mean).

Anyone else have good examples?

9 thoughts on “Books & Dust Jackets

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  1. IVP jackets are very poor quality. If you rub the jacket on McGrath’s ‘Dawkins Delusion’, the silver lettering comes off! In general the layout and design of IVP books is also very poor and extremely dated.

  2. The NICNT has awful dust jacket and book cover. Ugly brown and thatch/straw looking respectively.

    NAC book cover is really nice. Kind of an ugly green until you get used to it. Then a red portion on the spine with gold lettering.

    I like the non-dust jacket hardcover way of handling like the ECNT and NIVAC. Also the NLTSB and ESVSB hardcover are similar even though they have dust jackets of the same design.

    The strangest book cover has to be <a href=”″Greek for the Rest of Us. I don’t if they were trying to go retro or if there was a horrible mistake in choosing an 8 year old to do the design.

  3. The NICNT d.j. is red, not brown. I’ve always liked the look of both the NT and OT in that series, but I’ve seen complaints by people calling it ugly before this.

    NIGTC has a nice look now, but I wasn’t a fan of the original d.j. The books themselves have always looked nice, I think.

    I really like the Apollos series covers. I’m undecided on the books.

    The Baker OT wisdom and psalms series looks nice for both, but the books deteriorate quickly, as the NICNT and NICOT ones do. Even the NAC series holds up better, and that’s not as sturdy as I’d like.

  4. Jeremy, you liked the yellow and pink? Agreed on Apollos. Are the BOTCWS series sewn or glued in the binding? I really wish they would sew the NIC volumes like they use. The old djs may have been ugly but the books themselves held together better.

    Jeff: I agree on Greek for the rest of us, but I do like the present NICNT design.

  5. Anonymous: I don’t read the apologetic stuff, but as far as I’ve seen their academic stuff, e.g. Early Christian Mission by Schnabel is excellent both in its binding, cover, and jacket.

  6. One of my favorites in this regard is Blenkinsopp’s “The Pentateuch”. The dust jacket has someone writing a Hebrew scroll and looks nice. But the actual cover is better. It is two tone, with a black spine whose black extends about an inch and a half into the regular cover, and a medium brown for the rest. The wording on the spine is a shiny copper. Shiny copper on black looks very nice.

    And I agree whole-heartedly on both BDAG and Pillar.

  7. Eric, I’m going to have to look for a copy of Blenkinsopp in the library this week to see what you’re talking about. Unfortunately, Trinity Western’s library removes all dustjackets when they catelogue books.

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