One of the difficulties in dealing primarily with secondhand material is, well, that you deal primarily with secondhand material. A donation came in two weeks ago which included something that I have never, NEVER, seen in brand new condition. I clutched them to me with the fervor of a child who has opened a present and found something even he wasn’t greedy enough to write on the list. I was not just thrilled, fried prunebread: I was overcome. There were tears in my eyes at the sight of not one, not ten, but ONE HUNDRED of these things.
I do hate them that desperately.
They come in ten sizes, and are really quite a clever device. I want to make it clear that they perform exactly as advertised, and do what they are supposed to do. I want to make this clear because a) it is the truth and b) I don’t sell enough books to pay for a lawsuit.
What they are, currant cupcake, are adjustable vinyl book protectors. They honestly do fit any thickness of books, as advertised. You slide the pocket on the front over the front cover of the book, but instead of a pocket on the back for the back cover, there is a strap which slides into position wherever you happen to need it. This cover is see-through, so you know which book you’re reading, but it protects the book from spills, greasy thumbprints, and other ills that the book is heir to.
It’s the cover of the cover that gets me. I have had books come in with these covers on, and they are all unpleasant to the touch. Now that I have touched brand new ones, I can report that they are not like that, so it must be something that happens to the vinyl over time. The outside gets sticky, or perhaps the word I want is gummy. Dust adheres to them. Sometimes the covers of other books, which have not been protected with a vinyl protector, stick to them. It has gotten so that when I pick up a book and say “Eeyew”, it is, nine times out of ten, because the book has been protected with one of these covers. (Yes, plum gravy, the tenth time is more interesting reading, but that’s for another day.)
What is amazing is that the inside of the cover, presumably made of the same plastic that is millimeters away on the outside, does not go through this reaction. This is as dry and as clean as the day it was put on the book, and it is really wonderful how nice and bright the book inside is. It is also really wonderful how fast I rip these covers off the books as they come in, because no matter how well-protected it is, the book inside a) looks dingy because of the dust stuck to the outside of the cover, and b) is awfully hard to sell if the first thing customers think of when they pick it up is “Eeyew!”
Yes, I will probably sell these covers a) because I have seen how nicely they keep the books inside them, and b) because I want them out of my sight as soon as possible.