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Vinyl CD Sleeves that hold the Tray Card / Inlay Card

Drew's JewelSleeve Review and Recommendations

Review By: Andrew B. Davidson - andrewdavidson/at\andrewdavidson/dom\com
Copyright © 2006 Andrew B. Davidson. All Rights Reserved.
Review Written: October 2006
CD sleeves are great for CD, DVD, and game disc storage when space or portability is a concern, however, most CD sleeves and CD binders have a fatal flaw when storing commercial store-bought audio CDs: they don't hold the tray card (also known as the inlay card). This is the card that shows on the back of a commercial audio CD, and it typically displays the track list. Many CD sleeves have a pocket for storing the cover artwork booklet, but that leaves you with a bunch of empty jewel cases with tray cards still in them. I would never just throw those cards away, and it certainly seems a shame to not have them available with the CD to view the track list.

Luckily, a while back I found a sleeve that's perfect for storage of all parts of a commercial audio CD: the CD, the cover booklet, and the tray card. This CD sleeve is called JewelSleeve and it is available on JewelSleeve.com. I have been using these for several years and they are my preferred CD sleeve for commercial audio CDs.

With the JewelSleeve there are essentially 4 pockets on each sleeve: the front pocket for the cover booklet, the double-sided-padded middle pocket for the CD itself, and the back pocket for the completely unfolded inlay card. You don't need to fold the inlay card to fit it in the JewelSleeve, it is designed to fit the inlay card with the spine folds folded out. There is also a small 4th pocket, that can hold an extra slip with custom information if you desire (such as CD index number, artist, title, genre, etc). This pocket is there due to the fact that the inlay card completely unfolded is larger than the CD cover.

Because of the size of the unfolded inlay cards, these CD sleeves are not the same size as a jewel case or other CD sleeves that are typically available. They are a little larger. However, this is unavoidable for storage of the inlay card completely unfolded.

Unlike the CD holder sleeves and envelopes out there that are paper, tyvek, plastic or even cardboard, JewelSleeve is vinyl, and so they are pretty wear-resistant and tear-resistant. I have used mine regularly, replacing the cover art and inlay card occasionally, and I've never had one wear out. They are a lot more thick and sturdy than the plastic CD sleeves you see.

JewelSleeve.com also offers companion products to their sleeve: portable DJ cases that can hold hundreds of CDs in sleeves, stationary furniture with drawers that can hold hundreds of CDs, and wooden trays designed to hold the sleeves. I have not tried those, just the sleeves themselves.

JewelSleeve is specifically for CDs that come with the jewel case form factor, but it would work equally well with DVDs or game discs that are packaged in jewel cases and so have the same size inlay card.

JewelSleeve definitely beats almost any other high-density CD storage solution (slim cases, clamshell cases, CD spindles, spools, etc.) especially for CDs with covert books and back cover tray cards. However I do recommend CD binders for CD storage of CDs that do not have inlay cards.

Supposedly there are other CD sleeves out there that do this same thing, but I have not tried those.

Pros

Holds all parts of a commercial CD: the CD, the cover art/booklet, and the tray (inlay) card.

Fit four times as many CDs in approximately the same amount of space as a standard jewel case.

Soft inner liner protects entire surface of both the top and bottom of the CD.

Reusable and sturdy. I've never had one come apart or tear, and I've switched them out from disc to disc many times.

Reading from the back of the sleeves, the text on the spine of the inlay card is right side up.

Extra pouch on front to put a slip with extra info that won't obscure the artwork/text on the cover.

Cons

They are expensive.

Not designed to hold double CDs.

Can warp slightly, and are not as solid as a jewel case, so your artwork may not stay 100% pristine. I would recommend sticking with jewel cases if you need absolutely perfect collector-quality booklets.

Sticks to each other sometimes, probably due to humidity.

Slightly textured surface may very slightly impede viewing artwork. Can't see this unless you look closely and doesn't affect reading text.

Not exactly the same size as a CD jewel case or regular CD sleeves, so may not work in many cases designed for jewel case or smaller style sleeves.

Sleeves can be a little snug with thick cover booklets.

Can't read the spine anymore as you can with audio CDs. However this is a problem with all CD sleeves, because there is no spine. Luckily with JewelSleeves the former spine is directly at the top of the sleeve, right side up.

Because the padded pocket covers the entire CD, it's a little difficult to take the CD in and out without touching the surface. It's not like a jewel case where you can grab the CD by the edges.

Doesn't protect the CD from breakage as much as a sturdy jewel case. But this is the case with any sleeve.

Conclusion

The JewelSleeve is a great CD sleeve if you need to save some space. They are expensive, but they solve the problem of storing all parts of an audio CD in a single sleeve. They have disadvantages, but the advantages of being able to easily transport so many more CDs, with their full cover art and inlay card, outweigh those disadvantages for me.

Feedback?

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