It seems as if the “thing” in the book blogging community lately has been treat your books like babies. You shouldn’t do anything that might harm your book in any way, or make it look anything other than fresh of the presses.
Basically, all of the following things out Out Of Limits:
- Dogging-earing your pages
- Bending the covers
- Breaking the spine
- Eating while reading
- Reading it anywhere that might get it wet
- Removing the dust jacket and throwing it away
- Basically anything that makes the book not in pristine condition anymore.
And I have to admit: I do these things. I like my books to look brand new. But why do I like them like that? For purely aesthetic reasons. I think books in pristine condition are prettier. That’s all.
But, even when I buy used books, I treat them the exact same way as I treat my new/new looking ones, but only because I’m in the habit of using bookmarks and not getting books wet. I’m perfectly fine buying a dog-eared, ripped cover book (as long as it’s at a decent price!).
I know not everyone is like that. I know there are people who read (and drop) their books in the bathtub, eat with one hand and read with the other, break the pine, bend the covers, and be perfectly fine doing it. I once watched someone accidently tear the dust jacket of a book she bought only fifteen minutes previous, and without even hesitating peeled it off and threw it away.
But…I’ve seen people abused for daring to do something that takes a book out of pristine condition. I know someone who has someone on Instagram tell them not to bend the cover of the book, I know someone on Tumblr who had an anon contact them after they posted a picture of a dog-eared, bend book basically insulting them and telling them they weren’t a true bookworm because they dared to treat their book as anything less then something irreplaceable.
And yet. Notice it was their book. Not the anon’s. Not anyone else’s. Their book. Really, the whole thing comes down to this. Books are just paper, and everyone has the right to treat their books the way they want. They should not get random people abusing and insulting them simply for folding over a page corner. Even the people who try to do it “nicely” are in the wrong, because they’re implying that the person is wrong.
It’s their book. Not anyone else’s. They should be able to do what they want to it, just as you should be able to do what you want to yours. Toss it out the car window for all I care (or don’t. That’s littering).
I think, however, there is a time when you should keep a book in perfect condition.
When it’s someone else’s book.
There is one friend who I don’t lend books to anymore because they always came back abused. I’m not talking one or two dog eared pages. I’m talking ripped, stained, wrinkled, and basically looking like someone had run it through the dishwasher. This happened several times, to several pristine books, and because I don’t like conflict (says the girl who has gotten into way to many arguments on the internet), I always let it go.
Here’s the thing. If you borrow someone else’s book, don’t treat it how you treat your books. You should be giving the book back in the exact same condition that they gave it to you in. There’s no “if” on the matter. It’s like someone borrowing a shirt and giving it back to you with a huge stain down the front. You wouldn’t like it.
If you do damage the book, buy them a new one. And get them the exact same edition, as well. If they lent you a hardcover, don’t get them a paperback to replace it. And, sometimes, you can find books that have the movie poster as a cover for cheaper, but if the book they lent you didn’t have the poster as a cover? Don’t get them the one with the poster for a cover.
So, blogglings, what condition do you keep your books in, and why? Have you ever lent out a book and had it come back destroyed? Have you ever been the destroyer?