My Take | On Lending Books, Dogearing Pages, Writing in Books, and Other Bookish Sins

This is kind of a jumbled up post that’s gonna address a bunch of topics.  I began with the idea of having a discussion on lending books. A lot of people are shocked to find that I lend books. Why are they so shocked? Well usually they’re worried about the care of the book. Will it come back to us with the spine cracked? Or (*gulp*) dogeared?! Or, worst of all, written in (*GASP*)?!?!! Even it you’re okay with that stuff happening to a book, it may just be that you want to be the one doing it.

Now I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to lending books. I’ll keep the dust jacket, but go for the inside! Maybe, though, that’s because I myself already commit a lot of those so called “bookish sins.” I dogear pages. I write in books. I do try not to crack spines though (*shudder*). The thing is: it’s a habit. I began dogearing pages at a young age and just never stopped. I learned to write in books in school in English class (it’s called annotation). Is this okay? I think so.

Books are kind of like shoes in my opinion in that, just as shoes are meant to be worn, and therefore look worn, books are meant to be read and therefore look read. And in a way, the marks on my books are memories of how much I enjoyed them. That dogeared page may contain a treasured line of wisdom. I may have written down what I thought about a certain section of the book on the side of the pages.

What’s my main point here? I guess it’s that it’s your book to do with as you please. A few months ago, a Tumblr user got a TON of hate for photographing his/her book on what looked like wet gravel. To put it mildly, Tumblr exploded. People were spewing hate because said user had “damaged” a precious book in their eyes. Others fought back, saying it was the user’s book and therefore the user could do as they pleased. I have to say I’m probably in the second camp.

How you treat your books is none of my business and we shouldn’t make others feel ashamed for what they do. Some people might prefer their books to look worn. Or not. Some people may prefer their books to be pristine. WHO CARES?!?!! Not me. So go forth and do what you will to books and don’t make others feel bad for how they treat their books!

Do you commit any bookish sins? Does it bother you when other people do? Do you lend your books out? Tell me in the comments (and please remember to be respectful)!


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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

20 thoughts on “My Take | On Lending Books, Dogearing Pages, Writing in Books, and Other Bookish Sins

  1. I am really weird about my books. I only lend books if the loanee can offer evidence of a proven record of keeping spines intact. It is much easier to just give books away. All my books look like nobody has ever touched them because I only open them about 2cm wide to avoid spine-breakage. I really have a lot of issues. Well done to you for being a far more well-balanced individual!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My grandmother always lended books and had very bad experiences of lending doing so. She once got back not only a written all over book but also the last chapter was torn off because the friend loved it too much and wanted to have it. Like really?

    Personally, I hardly ever lend books. I keep them in the best condition possible because they are a treasure to me.

    But I don’t really mind if others do it. Everyone does what they feel like doing. Their books their rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally understand committing bookish sins out of habit, I do all of them, so all my books look very worn (especially HP 1&5), but I do understand the desire to keep books intact. If I own a special edition, then I’ll usually treat it a bit better, otherwise I don’t really care so much about how it looks (of course this can lead to accidents like the time I dropped a book in the bath while reading but let’s not talk about that).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. my hp books have sections falling out of them XP but i do try to take better are of my books now. for instance, my tmi books are in *much* better condition!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I learned to annotate in English class as well, and I love to highlight quotes or write notes in the margins of books! I also highlight a ton in my kindle! I generally don’t write in a physical book on a first read (except for class) but I do reread my favorites with a pen in hand!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great discussion post! I, myself, do not commit such crimes, but I also don’t bash people for doing so with their books. Like you said, it’s that individual person’s novel & if they feel that they want to annotate or dogear or even lend it to someone else, that is their ultimate choice. I actually love annotating in textbooks — I think it’s a good way to reflect on what I read.

    I understand the analogy between shoes & novels because yes, you want it to look like you actually take use in the novel rather than just having it for decoration. But, for me, I still like to keep my books in good enough condition so that in the future, if I decide to read the novel again, it’ll still be legible & useful.

    Your opinion is very well expressed & this post was great! 🙂

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

    Liked by 1 person

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