The Sword and Laser discussion

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How badly do you treat your physical books?

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message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason Bergman (loonyboi) | 166 comments The recent bookmark discussion made me curious...how badly do you guys treat your physical books?

I confess that I rarely read physical books anymore, but when I did, I didn't use bookmarks, I just dog eared the pages. And I'm okay with that. To me, a standard book isn't an object to be revered...maybe the contents are, but the book itself is just a text delivery medium.

Obvious exceptions to this rule would be signed/limited editions or things like that. Also, for reasons I can't explain, I would never, ever dog ear a graphic novel. It feels totally wrong. I'm going to assume that's because so much of a graphic novel is in the pictures, and those would be damaged by folding down a corner (or something like that).

But I definitely have known people who worship every random paperback they pick up at a yard sale, and that just seems really strange to me.

How about you guys?


message 2: by JRush (new)

JRush | 64 comments I don't ever dog ear or bend or fold books. It really bothers me, and I'm not sure why. If I'm looking for a book at a used book store and it has been dog eared or folded weird, I won't buy it.

And because of that I don't like to lend out books to friends or family, and if I do I don't expect it back.

Its not book worship for me, just a pet peeve and super distracting while I'm reading.


message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian A. | 47 comments I treat mine very carefully, both hardcovers and paperbacks, no dogears, no bent spines etc.. There's typically no evidence that they have actually been read. Friends and family kid me about it and I usually don't lend my hardcovers out. People have asked my to borrow a particular book and I have bought them a copy myself rather than lend out mine. (I swear I'm not crazy...just like books)

I don't care so much about small paperbacks though, I just don't want to be the one to ruin it.

While I take your point about the contents, I like the thought of the process of printing and binding books and I enjoy the actual physicality. It doesn't bother me what other people do to the books they read though.


message 4: by Kevin (last edited Feb 23, 2012 12:32PM) (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments I try to treat all my books with respect like I do for others, so I don't dog ear or bend the spines on any of my books. But sometimes I drop the book or accidentally fold the cover or have water or snow on it along with sometimes the corners of hardcovers gets bend in my backpack.


message 5: by John (new)

John Bullock (beagrie) | 120 comments My book collection varies, as I didn't really care much when I started reading (and typically got my books second hand and in a not great state to begin with), so the books I've had for a while tend to look like they've been through the wars.

More recently, I try to buy digital instead of paperback (ie; cheap, read-once books) but when I do get paperbacks, I don't worry myself too much with keeping them in pristine condition. Though my OCD won't allow me to fold pages over, or leave pages that have been folded alone.

Hardcovers, on the other hand, I treat with reverence. I only buy hardcover books that are either new by an author I love, or a nice edition of a book I love. The latest example of this is Snuff by Terry Pratchett, where I ordered a signed hardcover copy and got the digital version. I've since finished reading Snuff, but have yet to open the hardcover edition, other than to look at the autograph!


message 6: by Jason (new)

Jason Bergman (loonyboi) | 166 comments Brian wrote: "I treat mine very carefully, both hardcovers and paperbacks, no dogears, no bent spines etc.. There's typically no evidence that they have actually been read."

See, that seems sad to me! A beat up book to me is one that's been read and loved.

But again, a dog-eared graphic novel horrifies me, and I have no idea why. :)


message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments I don't dog ear my books, because there's always something around to be used as a bookmark and it seems unnecessary, but I visit every other kind of horror upon them, I toss them in my hand bag, crack the spines, spill things on them, read them outside in the rain...


message 8: by Napoez3 (new)

Napoez3 | 158 comments I treat my books the best way I can, the same goes for my videogames and almost all my geeky things.

I think it's a common obsessive compulsive disorder that a tone of people share... like keeping the original boxes every tech thing that comes to my possession... Not only for resale value, but for "collector value".


message 9: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 319 comments I dog-ear paperbacks, but other than that I'm a little irrational about books getting hurt. I once lost a paperback set of Lord of the Rings to an unfortunate humidifier accident and I cried like I'd run over a puppy.


message 10: by John (new)

John Bullock (beagrie) | 120 comments Jess wrote: "I dog-ear paperbacks, but other than that I'm a little irrational about books getting hurt. I once lost a paperback set of Lord of the Rings to an unfortunate humidifier accident and I cried like ..."

If I'd run over a puppy, I would say I'd cried like I lost my paperback Lord of the Rings set.


message 11: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4132 comments I'm very nice to hardback books. Paper books, on the other hand, are a crapshoot. I often dog-ear those pages, or break the binding to lay it flat. I loan them out. I eat and drink while reading them. And, some I've read multiple multiple times, so that handling just makes some of them more...loved.


message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric | 60 comments I'm a little less careful now, but when I was a kid I was obsessed with keeping my books in the best possible condition. Even a crease on the back of a mass market paperback was anathema. Hated lending books to people because I knew that they wouldn't treat them the same way.


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (kskryptonian) | 202 comments I kill paperbacks. Bad spines, never loan a trade or a pocket book to me.


message 14: by Leavey (new)

Leavey | 83 comments I'm definitely guilty of book abuse. The only horror I don't visit upon them are dog-ears, I just flip them over or remember where I was.
Otherwise they get used to press plants or prop up tabel legs while they are not being read. If a book has empty pages in the beginning or the end, they sooner or later end up as shopping lists or something. Well loved books often loose their covers and have them reatched.
I just don't see the point in trying to keep books looking new, the content doesn't change either way.
I don't resell or borrow books from people and those who want to borrow from me, just have to live with cracked spines and the occasional scribble.


message 15: by roosterSause (new)

roosterSause | 15 comments I love my dead tree books until they are undead...
It's not abuse to me it's love! dog eared pages, broken spines and all.
When I get used books I scrounge for the most "loved" copy too. Of course that's just because they cost less and I'm cheap that way.


message 16: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2254 comments My paperbacks I try to keep in decent shape; ones that I've owned since I was young tend to show more wear & tear. (My paperback Star Wars novelization has the cover held on with Scotch tape.) I also buy a lot of used books, so the condition there is, well, whatever they were when I found them.

For my hardcovers I used to always remove the dust jacket from the one I was reading; in recent years, I've started buying library-style plastic covers for everything.


message 17: by kvon (new)

kvon | 562 comments In a new book, if I lose my bookmark, I can tell about where I stopped by the fingerprints on the outside of the book. That's about it. I've tried dogearing, and writing notes in books, and when I go back and reread I find it distracting (ie what did I note on this page? why?) I'm unlikely to lend out my signed books, which is why I like to have book 2 autographed instead of book 1.


message 18: by A.J. (new)

A.J. (ajbobo) | 72 comments Most of the books I own are paperbacks and they are (mostly) in pretty good shape. It really bugs me when the spines are broken. It looks bad and often makes it too hard to read the book again later. A lot of the books I have are big, thick monstrosities that I'd either like to read again, or that I just pull down and read a few pages from every once in a while. My mom often accuses me of not actually reading my books, but I'm just careful. That's all.

There's a certain amount of damage that I tend to inflict on my books that I can live with. The ink on the corners of the covers often gets rubbed off a bit (that's related to how I hold a paperback open) and there's a weird stripe along the middle of the side opposite the spine where my thumbs go. There's a little bit of wear-and-tear (hopefully not too much tearing, though) but I try to keep the spines beautiful.


message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael A (Greylikestorms) | 14 comments I'm very careful with my books, and I always treat them well. If a paperback I own has a creased spine, it's because I've read it so often, not because I break the spine on purpose. I'm also really good at remembering where I am in a novel, so I don't dog-ear the pages or use bookmarks.


message 20: by Procrastinador (last edited Feb 26, 2012 03:03PM) (new)

Procrastinador Diletante | 104 comments Well, I don't want them looking new but they cost money, so I tend to keep them in a good condition, properly stored after reading. You can tell they were read but they don't look like they went through a war or something like that.

André


message 21: by Christine (new)

Christine (ladysioned) | 32 comments I have my a complete Terry Goodkind collection in hardcover. I borrowed the first half of the series to my bother after I read them so they were still looking good. I usually take off the cover to keep it nice while I read. Anyway my brother likes the books and decides to borrow my books to his friend. When I get them back the are all beat up and ugly :(. I felt a little better when I took them to be signed and Terry Goodkind complimented me on having well loved books.

Makes me think love does not mean you lock something away and never read it because you are afraid to ruin it. The words are what I love not the physical book. Even with the books I have signed by authors still get picked up and read.


message 22: by Ewan (new)

Ewan (ewanreads) | 94 comments I waver between intense book worship of the dead tree version I've built up over life and brutal destruction. Especially my favourite series'. I love them and hate for other people to handle them but I dog ear and bend the spines and abuse them in cruel and unusual ways as read and re-read them.


message 23: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments Christine wrote: "I have my a complete Terry Goodkind collection in hardcover. I borrowed the first half of the series to my bother after I read them so they were still looking good. I usually take off the cover to ..."

Nice! I have the last three books, ending with Confessor mass signed by him as Tor sometimes do with their books.


message 24: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) Bah, I like my books to look they've been enjoyed and had a grand adventure -- bent pages, cracked spines, weathered exterior. I take them camping, take them hiking, like for them to come away from the end of a read looking like we've had one hell of a time together. I don't intentionally batter them, but a few dings and scars are issue for me. I don't trust books in pristine condition.


message 25: by Mike (new)

Mike | 43 comments I figure a good book will be well read. For example, I just finished A Clash of Kings. It had many dog-eared pages, bit of water damage from a spilled drink, bashed in edges from my backpack and the plastic film on the cover was pealing off (mostly I think thanks to my 1 and 3 year old).


message 26: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2469 comments I am in the 'keep all books in pristine condition' camp. Not only because I hate to damage them, but also for potential resale. I always remove the dust jackets from hardbacks when I read them to prevent damage. Unless it's something special, a hardback without the dust jacket is worth a LOT less than one with it.


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim Chaseley (jimchaseley) | 11 comments I bought my first physical book in months recently, and I did so partially because the cover looked and felt awesome (Conn Iggulden's Conqueror). Running out of the house one morning, I clumsily stuffed the book into my backpack....RIIIIIP! Dust jacket torn right down the midde. I stared at it in mute horror for a few moments, giving myself a mental kicking.

I know, I know, it's terrible. I'm one step down from a filthy book burner!

I borrowed a book froma friend once, got to the middle and found that he'd sneezed all over it...I've even been loaned a book with a squashed fly near the end!


message 28: by Josh (new)

Josh Miller (docjosh) | 5 comments Hah, I baby them. I have a zipper case for my paperbacks and never fold pages. With hard cover books, I remove the dust jacket and make a temporary book cover out of brown paper, just like I used to for text books in high school. Now I have a kindle and I'm loving it, though I have a feeling that I'm going to miss having new books to populate my bookshelf once I finally have a place big enough to fit them. They are all boxed up in the basement now.


message 29: by Chris (new)

Chris Haynes | 18 comments I treat all my books very well. I never break the spines or dog-ear pages. I have some paperbacks that are 20 years old or more, that I've read several times, and you can't even tell they've been read.

I had a girlfriend once who thought the way I treat books was silly so she picked up one of my paperbacks and promptly broke the spine. She didn't want to read it, she just wanted to break it to prove a point. She's not my girlfriend any more. My wife won't borrow my books because she's afraid she might damage them. She'll borrow them from the library instead.

I never loan my books to anyone. If I run out of storage room for my books and I need to get rid of some, I donate them to my local library.

Alex's quote about books collecting memories is very interesting but I don't think I could treat my books that way.


message 30: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) While I never intentionally mistreat my physical books, life happens and there are more important things for me to worry about than some colored tree pulp.

Some of my books have grown bloated from being dropped in the tub. I suspect there isn't a book in my house that doesn't sport at least one set of puncture marks from cat teeth. I had a cat who hacked up a hair ball on the cover of one beloved book. It sat there long enough to soak through, so I ripped off the cover and read the book again. :D

I have never sold a book in my life, and I give them away only when unloading was required due to moving, so I really don't care what other people think of the condition. I tend to throw the dust covers from hardbacks away as soon as I get them. I hate to loan books, but only because it can be so difficult to get them back.

The only peeve I have is writing in books. I despise it with a passion. I don't even like signed books.


message 31: by Samus5678 (new)

Samus5678 | 17 comments for me, if it's a new book I don't do anything to it, but an older book ahere the pages are usually softer I dog ear them.


message 32: by Skaw (new)

Skaw | 116 comments My family knows better to mistreat books in front of me. All I have to is give them the steely eye, and the book is sheepishly uncurled. I try and restrain my anal retentiveness for my own books however. My sister-in-law told me how she and her husband both liked the book I gave her for Christmas. They were on a camping trip and she wasn't finished with it, and he wanted to start it - so she ripped it in half.
In half! I cried a little on the inside, but maintained my smile.


message 33: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 76 comments Anne Fadiman (in an essay in Ex Libris) writes about courtly and carnal lovers of books.

Courtly lovers of books are gentle, respectful, even reverent toward books.

Carnal lovers are more ... um ... rough.

I'm on the courtly side (with books at least). Books are objects of beauty and reverence. I use a kindle for many of my books, but I still buy ones that I want to refer to again and again, so I can have them on my bookshelves to draw me in. Even just to enjoy as physical works of art.


message 34: by Dennis (new)

Dennis | 90 comments I love to read while eating. So most of my books get food stains on them.

Sometimes I will hold my place in the book with a coffee cup.


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael A (Greylikestorms) | 14 comments Chris said: "I had a girlfriend once who thought the way I treat books was silly so she picked up one of my paperbacks and promptly broke the spine. She didn't want to read it, she just wanted to break it to prove a point. "

All I can say to that is.... wow. I can't even imagine deliberately mistreating someone else's property like that. Sounds like breaking up with her was a good move.

My mom always used to break the spines on her books, and I cringed every time I heard that sound... but those were her books, so she was free to use/read them in whatever way she wanted.
I don't loan out books anymore either, because I've had them come back in terrible condition, or not come back at all.


message 36: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) I hate damaging books - I even read paperbacks without creasing the spine.

A few of my favourite books I own in hardback (for the bookcase) and paperback (to read) formats so that I can keep the hardback version in mint condition whilst still being able to read the book several times.

In that sense the Kindle is a dream - no spines to break, edges to dinge, corners to catch or bindings to break. Excellent!

Worst case I can replace the Kindle and keep all the same books in its library.


message 37: by Jared (new)

Jared (jaredforshey) | 32 comments I never dog-ear pages, but I don't necessarily try too hard to keep things pristine. If something does happen to a book I own, it doesn't bother me because it's the words that matter! I kind of like reading a used book that looks like it's been through the ringer - it's like a shared history.

When I borrow books, though, I treat them with reverence!


message 38: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4132 comments Jared wrote: "When I borrow books, though, I treat them with reverence! "

Me too. If someone hands me a book in pristine condition (or even less than that), I can't imagine giving it back in any other form.

As I wrote earlier, I'm very nice to the hardback books I own. I will buy paper copies of books so that I can loan books out. Paperback books get rather abused in my house.


message 39: by Jim (new)

Jim Chaseley (jimchaseley) | 11 comments I thought there was going to be a murder in my office once when a guy who was a bit of a book nut (nowt wrong with that), lent a paperback to another chap.

The borrower said, "Cheers, mate," and then promptly opened the book and broke its spine by pulling the covers back to back. He did that to stop the pages flipping over when he laid the book flat.

The book nut just stared at his book in mute horror. It wasn't just the destruction of his property it was the very violation of the book itself. He snapped at the borrower, who didn't quite get it, but apologised anyway. They barely spoke for a week after that!


message 40: by Louise (new)

Louise I once dropped a book while I was in the tub...


message 41: by Matt (new)

Matt (SkippyMcHaggis) | 8 comments I take very good care of my books. A book that looks a bit beat up in my collection looks that way because it's been read A LOT, not because I kicked it down the street. No folding page corners, no intentionally cracking spines...

Additionally, if I loan you a book, I expect it to be returned in the same condition as when it was lent.

The more care you treat your books with, the more people that will be able to read it.


message 42: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) Louise wrote: "I once dropped a book while I was in the tub..."
I can't count how many times my wife has done that. Not as expensive as dropping an iPad in the bath though!


message 43: by A.J. (new)

A.J. (ajbobo) | 72 comments Alex@31 - I love that quote, but I have news for you: books that are in good condition still pick up memories. When I go back through my loved, but still in great condition, books I remember where I was and how I felt when I read them. Sometimes the memories can be associated with damage, but they don't have to be.


message 44: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4132 comments Louise wrote: "I once dropped a book while I was in the tub..."

I won't lie, so have I.

I've also used my Kindle in the tub...sealed in 2 ziploc bags. Actually, I do that more often than I should admit.


message 45: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) I treat my books like I treat my children - I don't abuse them or bash them around but I don't wrap them in cotton wool either. I enjoy their company so I take them with me which means they are exposed to the elements and the world. And they clearly show all the signs of being well loved.


message 46: by terpkristin (last edited Mar 03, 2012 04:28PM) (new)

terpkristin | 4132 comments This came up in my feed reader today, I immediately thought of this thread. I don't think I could ever do this. http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/201...


message 47: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments terpkristin wrote: "This came up in my feed reader today, I immediately thought of this thread. I don't think I could ever do this. http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/201..."

Five or sixth years ago, I saw on ebay some people selling hollowed out books. The seller hollowed out some Sword of Truth book, and were selling them for around $50.


message 48: by Chris (new)

Chris Haynes | 18 comments terpkristin wrote: "This came up in my feed reader today, I immediately thought of this thread. I don't think I could ever do this. http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/201..."
A while back I saw a DIY article for making a kindle cover out of a hollowed out book. I thought it was a pretty cool idea but I never tried it. Plus, I have a nook, not a kindle. Yes, that was a shameless plug... :)


message 49: by Achim (last edited Mar 04, 2012 01:23AM) (new)

Achim Barczok | 4 comments If I love a book, I continue reading it anywhere, like at the beach, in the park, while eating, on the train, in the bath tub ... so when you look at my shelves, you can easily spot my favorites, and I like that.

The first book of the Harry Potter series I read as a paperback, and lent it to 4 other people. After that it looked really, really worn out. But I loved the idea, that simply by its appearance it could tell me the story of how many people had read and enjoyed it, and it reminded me of the people I shared that book with.

Maybe that's the single one thing I miss in ebooks.


message 50: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) Chris wrote: "A while back I saw a DIY article for making a kindle cover out of a hollowed out book. I thought it was a pretty cool idea but I never tried it. Plus, I have a nook, not a kindle. Yes, that was a shameless plug... :)"
I got one of those luxury leather covers for my Kindle as a present at Christmas (with an integrated light). It's been fantastic and makes the Kindle feel much more like a book, especially as I can now hold it in the same way.
I'm always very protective on my physical books so an e-reader is ideal - no vulnerable paper pages, binding or cover to damage.


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