June 11, 2011

Pajama Musings - Book abuse

Call me funny, but I seriously think that there should be an organization like People for the Ethical Treatment of Books. I don't mean to sound like I'm some kind of bookish extremist who will run around screaming "I'd rather go naked than abuse a book!", but the bottom line is that I could definitely scream when I see what some people do to books. Any books. Their own. Those from the library. Or even the ones in bookstores.

Of course it's none of my business what you do to the books in your possession, but still it is beyond me how some folks manage to make books look like they've been dragged through half the continent (and back), I wonder if they've got respect for the printed word at all.

Breaking the spine?
Oh dear me. The only thing that should have to do with "breaking" and "books" should be "breaking out in a sweat" when you drag your book loot home from the store. I realize not everyone will be a careful reader such as myself (and to answer your question, nooo I'm not squinting at pages so as not to unnecessarily crease the spine) where you often don't even notice a book has been read at all, because it looks like new and only the thicker tomes will have a barely noticeable crease on the spine. And then there are those who will pick up a virginal book and they won't just open it up, they will bend it so the front and back cover meet and ... oh what a gruesome thought ... next topic, please.

Dog ears?
Bookmark is all I'm saying. Why dog-ear your book? Bookmarks are practical and cute. And if you don't have one, get one. Or use just any piece of paper. Take a piece from your loo roll if you must. Remember - dog ears are the things flapping on a dog that comes running.

Alright, I admit, when I was a kid I'd often eat chocolate while reading a book and left the odd chocolaty fingerprint. But some people use books as coasters it seems. This is not what books are for. Need a coaster? Buy a coaster. Or revert to that loo roll again.

Making notes?
Argh!!! Why, I'm asking you? Why???
This is ok for books you need to study, alright. But for any other books, please resort to making mental notes or use post-its, just don't go and have your pen and highlighter have a field day in an ordinary novel. No one does that. Except for some very odd specimens of the human species.

Leaving it out in the rain?
Don't ask me why or how this happens, but I've seen the occasional book at fleamarkets that looked like they've been completely soaked in water and are now sporting wavy pages. On second thought, maybe you should only read light paperbacks when in the tub and not the heaviest tomes available. Or better yet, don't read in the bath at all.

Treat your books with respect.
Read them, love them, but don't abuse them!


  1. Sign after each and every word! That's why I stopped lending my books to people. They would either get mysteriously lost or come back ripped apart. My heart just couldn't withstand this sort of stress. I had the same question "how could you?"

  2. Ok, remind me not to read in front of you! The spines of my books are broken, and there is the occasional dogear. But they are MY books, not library books. And lets not forget, occasionally they take a trip through the washer! The cruelest thing of all. :)

  3. Great post! I rarely break a spine as I am mindful I will pass on my books. I have had an occasional coffee spill on my nightstand and it got the edge of a book -- sadly it happens.
    I can't imagine writing in a book - except my own Bible! Especially I wouldn't do that to a library book.
    If I got a book wet like that (Amy - in the washer, really?) I would expect to pay the library for replacement. Altho I did have some of my private collection (boxed books from childhood) get wet in storage. So sad. :-(
    So that leaves dog ears....uh.....okay, I'm guilty. I do use bookmarks and for review books I TRY to have a notepad or stickies handy (check out the ones I'll be giving away from eTreasures during the Blogoversary - very cool!) but I'm not always prepared so I do dog ear. BUT I unfold them when I write my reviews - does that help? Hmmm hadn't thought of loo paper to mark pages but that is possible since that is a place I read sometimes. LOL

  4. Arrgh! That first photo!! REALLY? What's wrong with these people?! That's not right. Especially since it's a library book.

    I'm so glad I'm not alone in this. I wonder sometimes if it's me that's the weird one but it's good to know there's other's out there like me :D Seeing those photo's just give me the horrors *shudder*

    My son bought himself a new book last week and took it to college with him to read at lunch. He had it sitting on the table when his classmate knocked over a bottle of water with a loose cap. My son made a snatch for his book and managed to save it but not before a little of the water had soaked a few pages. He set it in front of the radiator with a few heavy books on top to try and dry it flat and it mostly worked.

    When he got home the only thing he could talk about was his ruined book, lol. It was only a 'very' slight wave to a few pages but he considered buying another copy to put on his shelves. He hasn't, so far as I know, but the fact that he even cosidered it tells me that my book foibles must have rubbed off on him over the years.

    Maybe it's just something that someone is born with though. I know I certainly didn't get my book care habits from my mum anyway.

  5. Hello - I am getting ready to do presentation my fellow librarians about what you can learn from the shape of the books on the shelves. I wonder if you would let me borrow one of the photos from this post for my PowerPoint? I'm sorry to leave this as a comment, but could not find contact infor for you. You can contact me at jessi.barrientos@gmail.com. Thanks - Jessi