The big problem with the original jewel case design was using hard/brittle plastic. All of the
librarians on this list know what I'm talking about. The jewel cases don't stand up to hard use like
library circulation. The Gaylord cases, made of soft plastic, are much better. However, they are
more expensive than commodity-priced jewel cases. I for one do not like cardboard slip-covers for
CDs. They don't protect the disc surface well (neither do jewel cases that have been mangled).
The SACD-style jewel cases have a more rigorous center-spindle holder, so they are probably less
likely to get broken in that place from heavy use. However, they still have brittle plastic hinges,
and that is a prime weak spot in the design.
I have offered, several times, to do a free seminar for librarians in the local county-wide library
system, about proper handling and care of CDs and DVDs. No takers. I guess it's cheaper to replace
broken ones (or just keep them in circulation) than to get educated and educate patrons about proper
handling. Of course, the record companies did a bad job on this from day 1 by saying CDs were "more
robust" than LPs. They're not except in very specific cases like straight-line center-to-edge
With so many titles going out of print on CD, and with budgets tight, libraries should strive to
take better care of their media assets, and insist that patrons do, too.
-- Tom Fine