Dog Ear Bookmarking

The other day my dad saw me dog ear my book to save my place, and he made a comment about it. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I also sometimes make notes on the margins, and mark interesting quotes and passages in the books that I own. It seems that a lot of people get hung up about these things. No dog earing, no putting an open book face down on the table, no scribbling in the books and etc… And these are not just pet peeves of few bibliophiles – these are quite widely held beliefs.

But why is that? It is just a hard copy! A $5 paperback edition and there is a million of copies just like this one. A book is just a storage medium – it is designed to store information in a human accessible way. The data which it contains is the important and valuable commodity. The paper based container however – is for a lack or a better word disposable. And it comes with a built in bookmark functionality. Why not use it?

In fact I would argue that by adding my notes, scribbles and permanent dog-ear bookmarks I’m actually adding value to my copy. Now it has annotations that will help me find interesting passages, or remind me about the parts that I found worth remembering when I pick up the book second time around. It’s almost like having a time capsule – as you re-read the book that had a profound impact on you, you see what used to be important to you in the past. So the paper medium is not only containing data but also my markup and notes.

So I guess this is just a difference of the point of view. Which one are you? Do you dog ear and scribble in your books, or do you keep them in pristine condition? Are you one of the people who think dog earing is a criminal offense? Let me know. I’d love to hear arguments from both sides – to see how people treat their reading material and why.

[tags]books, dog ear, bookmarks[/tags]

This entry was posted in literature. Bookmark the permalink.



17 Responses to Dog Ear Bookmarking

  1. Ricardo INDIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I actually don’t care when it’s my own book although perhaps a dog ear might degrade the quality of the paper quicker. I agree when you say it’s “just a hard copy”.

    However, I prefer to mark pages and passages digitally because it is easier to get back to them later (And I get the added bonus of writing as much as I want, adding links or pictures if necessary). I can also let a desktop search engine index my notes to help me find related topics in different books I’ve read. It is very useful when I’m writing a research project.

    Reply  |  Quote
  2. Mack UNITED KINGDOM Safari Mac OS says:

    Dog earing, leaving books around, crumpled spines, all things I don’t mind much at all- But notes in margins, and underlining, or just MARKING the paper in any way- God no. I follow a school of artistic thought that says nothing should really be there apart from the finished, final hardcopy of perfection, and marring it is a moral offense. I’ve lent books to my dad before and I always know if he’s bothered to read them or not because he makes pencil notes all over the page. It’s horrible, like he’s violated my property. After I got back my copy of Jeykll and Hyde from him, and found it pencilised, I resolved never to let him near my books again.

    Reply  |  Quote
  3. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    The amount of marking I do is a factor of how well I need/want to know the contents of the book. When I read casebooks, I mark like a fiend. When I read fiction, I don’t.

    Of course there are other factors – never mark a book you don’t own (library or friend copy), and I’m careful marking something another person might read later (do I really want my personal thoughts about this book being read by my future kids?).

    So generally I don’t mark fiction texts, but I have no problem with dogearing, leaving a book open face-down, leaving the dust jacket on while reading, and other things the some bibliophiles get all hung up about.

    Reply  |  Quote
  4. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Solaris Terminalist says:

    I tend to use Post-It flags to mark pages. I actually have a color code based on these as well. Sometimes I write info on the map to guide me to that page.

    If I am taking a course, I like to god-ear pages I wrote notes on in the book provided for the class. Makes it easier to review after the class is over.

    I have no preference when it comes to my technical reference books. I only care that I can find the information I need and find it quickly. However, when it comes to any other books, I am strict about no dog-earing anf writing on the pages.

    Reply  |  Quote
  5. Aaron UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    If someone else is using my book, if they even look at it wrong…

    For my own books, I don’t dog ear pages because the little creases start to irritate me after a while. However, I’ve been known to mark my place by sticking whatever is closest into the book — up to and including shoes.

    As for writing, I only do it in pencil and when the writing adds something to the book, and usually only in “literature.” In those types of books, I end up having a “conversation” with the author, but in most others, I don’t bother.

    I don’t underline or mark within the text itself, but any and all margins are fair game.

    Reply  |  Quote
  6. Ido ISRAEL Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I never dog ear, scribble or do anything else that harms the book. I do leave the book open, face-down but it does irritate me if the book looses it’s shape as a result. I also have a hard time disposing of books I own.

    I have my personal bookmark, which I carry with me, from book to book for about 10 years (I don’t like to read two books at once, I prefer to sink wholly into the book)

    I guess that this behavior comes from respect to the book and the medium (I’m not saying that others don’t respect books). In my opinion there is something almost sacred about books and therefor I try not to harm them…

    Reply  |  Quote
  7. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Wouldn’t make any marks in a book unless its something I’m learning about or learning from. Folding down a corner doesn’t bother me although I’ll normally try and smooth it back to how it was when I pick it up again since it’s just a temporary mark of where I got to.

    I do like having books in good condition, but not to an obsessive degree.

    Reply  |  Quote
  8. Muhammad SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    If it’s a novel or comic, I do not want to harm it by dog-earing or smudging it with scribbles. I love to display them on my bookshelf in my room, so I prefer to have them in good condition.

    If it’s my college textbook, then I wouldn’t mind scribbling all over the place. Or folding them and placing mini-sticky notes all over.

    Somehow, I get the feeling that if I scribble on my novel/comics, I am spoiling or vandalizing them. But if I do it to my texts, it shows I actually read and bother to try to understand the concepts. :P

    Reply  |  Quote
  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Ricardo – good point about the electronic resources. But often I find myself more comfortable reading a regular paper book rather than an electronic copy on the screen.

    [quote post=”2329″]Of course there are other factors – never mark a book you don’t own (library or friend copy)[/quote]

    Same here. I only mark the books which I own. I actually go out of my way and use something flat and made out of paper as a bookmark when I’m using a borrowed book.

    [quote post=”2329″]If it’s a novel or comic, I do not want to harm it by dog-earing or smudging it with scribbles.[/quote]

    I definitely don’t dog-ear or mark up graphic novels, as they usually don’t have margins to begin with and the creases left by the dog-ears do affect the way the artwork look.

    Reply  |  Quote
  10. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Books are there to be loved, and there’s something special about a well-handled book. Marking the book is something that should be reserved for the book’s owner though, and it’s not something I do except perhaps in a textbook.

    My mother used to run a bookstore and loved to highlight or underline passages in books she read. More than once I’ve had to stop her absentmindedly putting a marked book back on the shelves for sale. :)

    Reply  |  Quote
  11. ths UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I love my books, and I’d never dog-ear or write into. When I see my wife do it I remove the dog-ear or turn around and close the book, putting a marker where she left off.

    Reply  |  Quote
  12. Ricardo INDIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Oh no, Luke. I also prefer the hard copy. I just start a doc file and add my notes mentioning the page and/or paragraph in the hard copy. Sometimes, I even copy an excerpt.

    Of course reading a hard copy this way takes a lot more time and is a bit more inconvenient (a need my laptop nearby) but the payoffs months later are worth the effort for me.

    Reply  |  Quote
  13. Adam Kahtava CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I’m a margin writing junkie, dogearer, and open spine lover. My train of thought is: If I bought the book, then I’m entitled to make use of it in anyway I feel – even if it includes cutting out the pages and pinning them to the wall. That being said, my book selection is pretty modest, I only buy a book if it’s been recommended, I’ve enjoyed a couple chapters of the online version, and so on…

    Reply  |  Quote
  14. Marcus GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux says:

    Making notes on the margins and marking text is working with the book. Dog earing is hurting the book.

    My girl friend showed me this trick to mark not only the page but also the line with the closing adhesive strip of a handkerchief package. And if you have an allergy or two, a handkerchief package will never be too far away.

    Reply  |  Quote
  15. jaymz UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    like many people here, if its anything but a technical book, i try and avoid damaging it in any way at all. i used to be that way with tech books too but realise that scribbling, highlights and note taking inline are actually pretty good in the long run for that format.

    Reply  |  Quote
  16. Adam Kahtava CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I wonder if there’s a connection between ppl who don’t dog ear, “likes static typing but not type inference”, “is organized to the point of being…” - Steve Yegge – Good Agile, Bad Agile

    Reply  |  Quote
  17. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    [quote post=”2329″]Oh no, Luke. I also prefer the hard copy. I just start a doc file and add my notes mentioning the page and/or paragraph in the hard copy. Sometimes, I even copy an excerpt.[/quote]

    Ah, ok. Makes sense now. :P

    [quote post=”2329″]And if you have an allergy or two, a handkerchief package will never be too far away.[/quote]

    Thankfully, I have no allergies (knock on wood) so I actually rarely carry these packages.

    When reading borrowed books I used all kinds of weird things as bookmarks: tissues, toilet paper strips, index cards, those little fake plastic credit card things they send you wit CC offers in the mail (these make great bookmarks btw), floppy disks and etc…

    [quote comment=”8435″]I wonder if there’s a connection between ppl who don’t dog ear, “likes static typing but not type inference”, “is organized to the point of being…” - Steve Yegge – Good Agile, Bad Agile[/quote]

    Hmmm… We can actually cross examine it, by looking at the programming language thread. ;) Let’s see if there is a correlation. lol

    Reply  |  Quote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>