Saturday, 22 January 2011

What Kind of a Reader Are You?

People treat their books differently. They love their books differently. One person's habit could be another person's nightmare. Forget about e-books for a moment, and think of all the paperbacks and hardbacks you love(d) before the E-Reader Army arrived in town. How do you treat your books?

Are you a spine breaker? Are your pages dog-eared? Do you care if the books are used or new? Do you keep them? Do you write in them? Do you leave the book open, lying face down? Does it matter what your book looks like? 

I will share my own idiosyncrasies. 

  1. I almost always buy new books. I have few used ones, where I might have picked them up from a second-hand shop or charity shop. But these would have been something that caught my interest, but not necessarily something I desperately wanted. These would have been bargains that were so cheap I felt it wouldn't be a waste even if I never touched them or didn't keep them, and even if used, they would be in relatively good condition. If it's a messed up book, dog eared ages, broken spines, food splashes - I wouldn't buy it for a penny. 
  2. In all of my books I write my name and a date when I got the book. If I bought it from somewhere unusual - like while I was travelling in another country - then I write down the place I bought it from. 
  3. I don't really lend my books, and I don't borrow other people's. Having lent them to few people previously, I have learned my lesson. I don't trust other people to handle my books. I lend occasional book to my husband. But he doesn't read a lot and I buy plenty for him as various presents than he ever reads, so it's not a big thing. But even when I give him one of my books, I supply it with a book mark and instructions to be careful. 
  4. I do have double standards. I write in my books. I can scribble across the margins, underline pages, and it's okay. It adds to the character. If anyone else as much as puts a dot in it, they wouldn't be my favourite person for a long long time. 
  5. I always use bookmarks. I may leave a book open and facing down for two seconds if I am just trying to grab something and needs hands free, but no more than that. I have a handy supply of bookmarks around, so it's never a problem, and besides, as soon as I pick up a book to read, a bookmark is the first thing that goes in there. 
  6. I take care of my books, but not at the cost of pleasure. I am naturally careful with them, so if I have read a book only once, it will almost always look brand new. But the books I read again and again, begin to show wear and tear. And I like that. It adds to their character, and it makes sense that my favourite books would fall into that category.
  7. I keep all my books.


  1. Great post, Dolly! :-)

    My book habits seem similar to yours:

    1. Same. I only buy used if I'm low on funds, and I make sure the book is in great quality.
    2. I differ here. The only time I write in books is if it's a present for somebody. :)
    3. I don't lend at all, other than to my mother, who's as careful as I am. ;)
    4. Ack! I never do that, unless they're textbooks/manuals! Sacrilege! :-P
    5. Same as me, word for word.
    6. Yup, same again, though I don't really reread multiple times.
    7. I think I've sold 4 book in my life, and I regret even those lol :-P


  2. Wow, we do have a lot of habits in common :-))

    As for writing, I didn't always do that, except in textbooks for school/college. But that's when I discovered, that as I wrote/underlined, it captured my views/opinions at the time. It just wasn't the same making separate notes, because now, when I flip through the books and I see some notes, it's a reflection of my character too. I don't do this a lot (only because half the time I am too impatient to stop and wait, instead of reading on), but it makes my books much more personal.

  3. :-)

    I do it with my books on writing, etc, but I can't bring myself to touch mah stories. ;-)


  4. Well, let's have a look, how much we two have in common! :-)
    1. Dito. I have only a handful books second hand, if you don't count the inherited ones from my Mom.
    2. I had a time, when I put an address sticker in my books, but then my phone number changed and I gave up that habit very quickly. In my reading books, I generally do NOT write!
    3. Dito. I don't lend my books, but I don't have problems with borrowing books. Those who know me, know their books treated very well.
    4. Like I said, I don't write in my reading books, but that doesn't count for my working books. There I feel free to underline, highlight, put in notes, etc. - but even then in a very delicate manner.
    5. Dito. I can't stand dog ears and broken spines! Period!
    6. Well, besides darkening pages and really unavoidable broken spines in very thick books, you'll never know, which book is brand new or already in use for a couple of years.
    7. I keep all my FAVORITE books, the books I want to read a second time. All the others find their way to eBay or friends or charity.

  5. LOL - You'd all cringe at my shelves. The first thing I do with a new book is break the's just too much work to hold a book with a stiff spine and see the words farthest in. My husband doesn't, so that's how I can tell which books I've read or not - if the spine's not broken, I haven't read it yet. ;-)

    I dog-ear pages frequently, though I have plenty of bookmarks. I even use them occasionally. I do leave books open and face down (no matter, 'cause the spine's already broken, right?), and I used to read in the bathtub all the time (plenty of water marks, etc).

    I will not write in books. I actually cringe signing my name to those I've written. LOL

    I don't buy many used books, but I do pass books I've read around to others and get books given to me by others. I don't lend (hubby and I share though) - I'm more likely to just give my copy to someone if I know I won't read it again. I rarely re-read books, because there are so very many on my TBR list.

    I buy/read mostly ebooks now, so when I buy a paperback, it's usually for the cover and/or the author's signature. Those stay nice, of course, because I don't actually read them - I read the digital copy instead. :-)

  6. Oh, and I *never* borrow books...because I know I'm hard on them, and I don't want to worry about ruining someone else's book.

  7. Jamie,

    You mean, you actually purposefully break spines? I think I am having a seizure. I know...none of my business...but can't help the panic reaction ;)

  8. Karin,

    The main reason why I would never ask to borrow anyone's book is because then I wouldn't feel comfortable saying no if they asked for mine. It keeps things simple, not lending and not borrowing ;)

  9. BREAK the spines?!

    Dear god! :P

    My spines are intact, no matter the number of times I read. They barely even crease. In fact a friend didn't believe I'd read my LoTR boxset because they looked brand new. ;)


  10. Some of my spines crease - usually happens in really chunky books, or omnibus additions - like LOTR, because I have all in one edition. There may have been occasional broken spine (I think it happened with a used book), but on the whole, it's not a problem. Even creases I think happen more because I take my books everywhere with me. The ones I read only at home, remain in much "new" condition.

  11. Speaking of LOTR ---I really should re-read it now. It's been ages.

  12. OMG Jamie! Breaking spines? Dog earring pages? I'm with Dolly, I think I'm having a seizure here. Or at the very least hyper-ventilating at the very thought!:-p

    1. I buy mostly new books although I have been know to go crazy at the yearly church book sale, but the books I buy here are usually hard back and non-fiction. I used to get a lot of used books given to me, and I accept all donations gratefully.

    2. I do write my name in the books on my keeper shelves.

    3. Ditto. Although mostly I don't lend books because I've lost a few favourites that way. If you do borrow a book from me I have a form for you to sign that says if you lose/damage my book you will replace it. Seriously!

    Still trying to wrap my mind about someone deliberately breaking the spine of a book! *shudder*

    4. Other than my name, I never write in my books, not even my textbooks when I was in school.

    5. Ditto. Word for word. I have a large collection of bookmarks and if there isn't one handy I'll tear a piece of paper off a notepad.

    6. Again, word for word.

    7. I used to keep all my books *sigh* but the house was becoming a fire hazard so I've learned to let go of the odd one I didn't enjoy.