Buying Guide for Book Sleeves
Why buy book sleeves?
Also known as book protectors, book sleeves were made to protect books and their covers or dust jackets. When a book sleeve is wrapped around a book, it’ll shield the cover from getting ripped or damaged by mistake. If you have a particularly rare or valuable book and cover that you want to keep in pristine condition, or you’ve borrowed a book from a friend and want to ensure you don’t ruin it, a book sleeve is a great way to help protect it. These two factors make book sleeves a great option for students and anyone else who tosses several books or textbooks into their backpack or shoulder bag and carries them around all day or in their carry-on bag when traveling. That said, there’s no reason you can’t wrap your books in book sleeves even when they’re just sitting between bookends on your shelves or your bookcase, and never leave your home. Book sleeves can also help prevent books from gathering dust when they’re sitting on shelves or your nightstand, and certain types can shield your books from dampness and mold.
What should you look for in book sleeves?
- Type: Most book sleeves are designed to fit or stretch around a book’s cover. These are the most common, and they’ll protect covers and dust jackets admirably, but they expose the edges of a book or pages. More all-encompassing book sleeves encase the entire book when it’s not being read, offering greater protection. These models also tend to zipper open and shut so you can open them and read your book without taking off the sleeve. Both types may come with extra handy touches, like a storage pocket or ribbon bookmark. There are also transparent laminate-style book sleeves that you can use to encase the soft or hardcover of your book.
- Size: Not all books have the same dimensions in length, width, or depth, and hardcover books will be thicker than paperbacks. Textbooks are much larger and bulkier than standard books, and some people like to use book sleeves for photo albums or journals, which have their distinct dimensions as well. Thus book sleeves are not one-size-fits-all. Remember that the sleeve’s dimensions should be slightly larger than the book’s since it’ll have to wrap around the cover or entire book unless it’s a particularly stretchy model.
- Protection: The firmer the outer shell of the book sleeve, the better it’ll protect against bumps and drops, and the less likely the sleeve itself will be ripped or torn. Water-resistant or, better yet, water-repellent or waterproof sleeves are ideal for shielding against spills and other moisture. Double-layered models add an extra layer of protection, and dustproof ones will better shield your books against dust and debris.
What is the best material for book sleeves?
Fabric sleeves are nice because they’re often machine washable, reusable, sometimes come with interfaces and pockets, and many are stretchy to better accommodate a slightly wider range of book sides. Zippered, case-like models that protect the entire book are also often fabric. Nylon is a good choice if you want a stretchy book sleeve, though it’s more likely to rip or tear and won’t be as water-resistant unless it’s been treated. A canvas/polyester blend is a good bet if you want something stiffer and firmer that’s still machine-washable, though it’s less flexible. Laminate book sleeves are nice if you don’t want to hide the front cover that your book comes with, plus they’re waterproof and easy to wipe clean. Many are also self-adhering, and you can trim them down to your book cover’s exact size, so figuring out the proper size and dimensions is much easier.
Our Picks for the Best Book Sleeves
LParkin Moon and Star Book Protector
This pretty book sleeve zips closed to protect your entire book from top to bottom.
Pros: This book sleeve doesn’t just protect the cover or dust jacket of your book—it’ll shield the pages as well. This double-layered canvas/polyester sleeve features a zipper closure so you can unzip it without removing it when it’s time to read and zipper it shut to encase the entire book when you’re not. The material is waterproof and dustproof, so spills and stains won’t be a problem, nor will your book collect dust on a shelf. The deep blue-purple color and stars-and-moon pattern are lovely, and there’s even a handy outer pocket that’s big enough to hold a smartphone and other small items.
Cons: Due to its zipper closure and firmer fabric, this book sleeve can’t stretch to accommodate different-sized books the way some sleeves do. If your book is larger than 9.5 x 7 x 1.3 inches in size, it won’t fit inside this book sleeve at all.
Bottom Line: Book sleeves that encase the entire book and zip shut when you’re not ready are especially desirable for many people since they protect the pages and the whole book, not just the covers. Between this factor and its dust and waterproof capabilities, you know your novel or book will be nice and protected while in this sleeve.
KICNIC Black Book Covers
Durable, economical, and easy to keep clean, these black book sleeves stretch wide enough to fit even your hardcover books.
Pros: You get a little more leeway with these book sleeves, thanks to their stretchy and flexible fabric. Both sizes (medium and large, 8 x 10 inches and 9 x 11 inches) can stretch about 15 extra inches lengthwise. Thus, they’re perfect for accommodating bigger books or those with thicker covers than their given size indicates, including hardcover books. Besides these undeniable benefits, each book sleeve comes with a built-in ribbon bookmark plus a sheet of label stickers. Since you get these two features plus three sleeves for one low price, you know you’re getting good value for your money.
Cons: Unfortunately, solid black is the only option for these book sleeves, so you will need to look elsewhere if you want something more decorative. Though reusable, the fabric may stretch thin and become partially see-through over time.
Bottom Line: Finding book sleeves suitable for hardcover books with thicker bindings can be trickier than finding them for paperbacks. Fortunately, these fabric book sleeves are nice and stretchy enough to encase and protect hardcover books without ripping or tearing comfortably.
Feela Jumbo Stretchable Book Covers
Protect your textbooks while adding some colorful design to their covers with these eye-catching nylon book sleeves.
Pros: These extra-large nylon sleeves should suit your needs admirably, whether you’ve got several books that need a sleeve or have textbooks or bigger, bulkier books. The nylon fabric is nice and stretchy and provides good protection against dirt and scratches. Nylon doesn’t tear easily, so you’re less likely to have issues with accidental rips. The designs are fun and colorful, with each of the seven sleeves sporting a different color scheme and pattern. The higher volume of sleeves and the included labels give you good value.
Cons: These book sleeves don’t come in any alternate sizes, so if your books are too big or too small to fit properly, you’ll have to look elsewhere. While they do provide some protection against spills, note that they’re not 100% waterproof.
Bottom Line: Textbooks can benefit from the protective covering of a book sleeve just as much as more standard-sized books. Finding book sleeves that fit is even more complicated than finding those that accommodate hardcover books. Fortunately, these sleeves have you covered.
BAZIC Products Adhesive Laminate Book Cover
If you want to protect your book but don't want to hide the artwork on the cover, this self-adhesive laminate book sleeve allows you to do both.
Pros: Want a book sleeve for your favorite novel but don’t want to cover up the artwork on the front? This laminate book sleeve offers just the solution. It’s clear and see-through, so it won’t hide your covers and will provide them with a nice glossy sheen. It’s especially adept at preventing your covering from getting wet; the laminate is waterproof, and any spills or stains will easily wipe clean. Nor will you have to worry about removing this cover and washing it by hand or in the washing machine, unlike fabric covers. You can cut the laminate down to the exact size and shape you need without fussing to ensure you have the right sleeve for your book, and it has its adhesive, so applying the sleeve takes minimal effort. There are several different quantity options available if you have more than one book that needs a sleeve or a bulky book that needs more than one sheet.
Cons: While this laminate’s self-adhesiveness makes it easy to apply, getting it to lay perfectly flat without any creases or bumps is another matter. While removable in theory, this sleeve is hard to take off without ripping the cover or leaving behind residue.
Bottom Line: If you’ve ever checked a book out of the library, you’ve probably noticed that a laminate coating shielded its covers to protect against spills and the wear and tear of being passed around by so many people. This glossy laminate book sleeve allows you to bring that sort of protection into your own home.
LParkin Sloth Book Cover
Kids and teens will love this adorable yet sturdy book sleeve to protect their favorite book or novel.
Pros: It doesn’t get much cuter than this book sleeve and its pattern of adorable cartoon sloths. Cuteness isn’t the only factor this sleeve has going for it, either. The fabric is a nice canvas/polyester blend that combines the strength of canvas with the softness of polyester; it’s firm enough to protect your book but will still feel comfortable in your hands. The fabric also has an interfaced interior for greater protection. It wipes clean easily and repels water in case of spills. If this sleeve gets stained or dirty beyond wipe or spot cleaning, you can also throw it in the washing machine.
Cons: This book sleeve is only available in a medium size, so it may be too loose on small books and won’t stretch to fit bigger, bulkier books. It’s also water-resistant, though not completely waterproof, so moisture will soak through if heavy enough.
Bottom Line: Book sleeves don’t have to be plain, as this product aptly proves. They’re available in many different colors and patterns, and designs. If you or your little one is fond of animals, this pick should be right up your or their alley.
Book sleeves are a time-honored way of protecting books from accidental damage. They’re affordable, simple to use, decorative, and, in many cases, reusable. Buying even several book sleeves at a time is often less expensive than buying a new book altogether, especially if the book has sentimental value and can’t be replaced by a quick trip to the bookstore.