On “Damaging” and Borrowing Books


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?

Happy Wednesday,



7 thoughts on “On “Damaging” and Borrowing Books

  1. I agree – I love books in any condition, but take very good care of mine. And I only lend to people who treat them the same way. (My sister will NEVER get a book of mine again – I once handed her a book (a new one) to read while she was visiting, and watched her open it on the table and press down on the spine to break it, so it would stay flat. And when she gave it back to me, it was torn and dog-eared and ruined.)


  2. *nods along* I know what you’re saying here. Everyone has their own standards for their books. Some people will not do anything in that is the least bit abusive while others do everything to their books. And then there are people like me who draw certain lines. I’ll eat while reading (saves time), but break the spine? No way! Those people on instagram who take beach photos of their books I always consider to be brave. If I did that I would, somehow some way, drop my book in the ocean. XD It’s just inevitable. (Books at the beach though do make awesome photos. I’m definitely jealous.)

    BUT I don’t go around telling other people how to treat THEIR books. I’ll ask them not to abuse my own, but their books are theirs. I’ve no right to tell them how to treat their own books. I really don’t understand people who have designated themselves the book police and try to stick their noses into other people’s books. Um, no.

    I do try to be more careful with other people’s books though. It’s just common sense/common courtesy. Especially if you want to keep borrowing books from someone. I had some friends who would repair the spines of library books when they borrowed broken ones (sometimes they actually borrowed the book just to repair it). And after they finished one of my paperbacks, they would sandwich it between some heavy books so when they returned it to me the front cover didn’t curl over. Now that’s dedicated bookwormship. 😉

    Awesome post!


    1. I know! I always bring my books to the beach, intending to take photos, but then there’s always sand and I don’t want sand in my books.
      And it just doesn’t make sense, right? Like, why do you care about how someone else treats their books?
      I always do the squish the paperback between heavy things trick. But it’s less for other people’s benefit and more for mine, because I really dislike it when the pages curl up.


  3. I think sometimes it’s even worse when you lend someone a book, and it doesn’t come back at all! I’ve had that happen way too often and then it’s time to never lend that person something, ever again. That’s why I usually try to do a ‘trial’ book first, haha. One that I don’t care about AS much if I never see it again or if it’s destroyed. Then, depending on how that goes, they’re welcome to borrow more (and ones I like better!)


    1. That is SO FRUSTRATING. I had like three books go missing because I had lent them to a friend and she moved, and she lost them in the move. She didn’t even buy me new ones!
      But the trial book thing is a good idea. I might use that the next time someone asks to use my “library”


  4. ????? What the heck???? It’s not their book???? Anon pls chill.
    I bend the spines of books a lot, simply because that makes it easier for me to read laying down in bed – it’s a lot easier to hold up a book with a bent spine then one without one.
    I definitely agree, though, that if it’s someone else’s book you should return it in the exact same condition you got it in.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality


    1. I think it’s kind of like someone saying “oh, don’t do your hair/makeup that way, don’t wear that color/style of clothing”. It’s an aethestic thing, and people feel the need to comment on someone else’s.


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