Clear hardcover jackets (1 Viewer)


Founding member
Does anyone know if the clear jackets used for Black Sparrow hardcovers are acetate or mylar?

I'm thinking they are .007" acetate - especially the older ones - since I have a few that are split, brittle or badly scuffed. Acetate breaks down over time, which would explain the brittleness and discoloration you see sometimes (I recently picked up a copy of the Dorbin bibliography, and tiny pieces of the jacket break off every time I open it).

Maybe they switched to mylar for the later covers? Those seem a lot more flexible and less prone to discoloration. But they still scuff really easily, so I've been looking for a good clear replacement jacket material, and I think this may work:

This Dura-Lar stuff has the added bonus of being archival, and it comes on rolls. With the average Black Sparrow clear jacket being 9" x 20", I figure I can get 32 new jackets (more than I need) out of a 40" x 12' roll.

Then again, maybe I'll get it and it will be all wrong, but I'll let you know.

Or maybe replacing the jackets is like refinishing that Stikley chair in the attic, and will destroy the value of the book, I don't know. ;) I'm going to do it anyway.


It is what it is
I can't offer any intelligent comments re replacement material for the jackets, but I can say that I've never given them a second thought.
As in... I see the book as valuable but if I purchase a lettered copy and my numbered copy has a better condition jacket, I'll swap them before selling the numbered edition.
I don't think it makes any difference at all to the value of the book as a collectable.

Do let us know how you get on with the Dura-Lar.


lothario speedwagon
i used duralar to cover my copy of a very expensive, mysterious non-bukowski book. it worked well. here's the thing- it's kind of stiff, so you pretty much need to crease it to make it wrap around the book. without creasing it, it kind of bulges around the spine... and creased, it looks fine, just different from the BSP covers, which are wrapped around the books. also, it's clear and kind of shiny... and the BSP covers are mostly matte and just a tiny bit translucent. i haven't found a material that looks like the BSP covers... maybe someone who knows john martin can ask where he sourced them? i'd definitely buy a roll. unlike ROC, i've given all mine a 2nd thought. i've even bought other, really cheap BSP hardcovers off of ABE just to get the jackets (and now i have a nice collection of other BSP books with wrinkled jackets).


Founding member
Well jordan, you're right about the Dura-Lar not being flexible and being quite shiny.

I just did a test cover from the 12 foot long roll of the stuff I bought seven months ago (yeah, so I'm not real quick about things), and it's way too thick, so the folding is problematic. But I bought the 7 mil, and we also just cut some 5 mil acetate for a screen printing thing Carol is doing, and I think the Sparrow clear covers are even less than 5 mil. maybe 3. Very thin compared to the two thicknesses I worked with tonight.

I might still try some 3 mil Dura-Lar (just for the fact that it's acid-free), but man, cutting new covers for even a dozen books would be a real pain in the ass (long steel ruler + cutting mat that isn't as wide as the material + razor sharp x-acto blades = frustration). So I may just side with ROC on this one. ;)

But I do have a couple that badly need new covers, so I'll find something that works.
I can't be completely sure, because "acetate" is a very generic term in polymer chemistry. From what I understand (trained in organic chemistry; worked in the field for 8 years before changing to environmental), acetate plastics tend to be more brittle than Mylar. So, I would guess that most BSP clear covers are "acetate." Most polymers have additives, such as Bisphenol A or phthalates to change their physical properties (FYI, a big health concern these days due to potential leaching from plastics into water bottles, for example). So, these potential additives cloud the issue. But, I digress.

Then again, I think it was either ROC or Chronic who wondered about some limited editions from the 1970's that have more pliable dust jackets. Cases in point: You Kissed Lilly and Scarlet. Both of mine have much more flexible dust jackets; Scarlet in particular.

One should consider the possibility of additives affecting the integrity of the book covers.

Crap: didn't notice that this tread was 7 months old...


old and in the way
If the main purpose is to protect the covers, you could always go with Brodart and just trim to size. It wouldn't match the original material but would definitely work for protection.

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