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]