While out picking up some OOP books, I found an old Random House Modern Library edition of Swinburne's poems, no copyright or pub date, but probably circa 1940's.*
I have to read Algernon in small doses, as he tends to howl in my head for days afterward, but I bought the book because I don't own a copy of this particular collection -- best described as everything he wrote that really pissed off the Victorian critics -- and it had an intact, largely undamaged cover jacket with it.
In the olden days of selling paperback-size hardcovers for ninety-five cents, Modern Library also did one more neat thing. They printed their complete title list on the inside of their cover jackets. I'm not kidding. The top line printed on the inside the cover jacket reads Which of these 316 outstanding books do you want to read? (great selling tag line) and the inside of the right end flap states This is a complete list of Modern Library books.
Today I'm not seeing publishers printing anything on the inside of cover jackets for hardcovers. Advertising generally ends up in the back of the mass market editions, which some readers find convenient and others find annoying. I mostly skip mm back page advertising, although I do read Harlequin's upcoming title lists and short synopses on the inside of back covers for Presents; that gives me a heads-up on titles by three authors I buy regularly.
I know some of the printing processes (metallicizing, embossing, plasticizing, etc.) involved with producing cover jackets today might make it difficult for publishers to take advantage of the inside of the front cover jacket. But if publishers would be willing to give up the fancy special effects stuff, their title lists (or the author's backlist, for that matter) could be printed on the inside of a cover jacket.
If you were going to use the inside of a cover jacket for some other purpose, what would you put on it? Or should we keep the inside blank?
*Added: I did a little research, and for once I nailed the date -- 1942, according to this ML collector's page.