Let's talk about book abuse.

??? What is this “loaning” of books? If I like a book enough to give it to someone I just buy them a new copy as a gift. Aside from a few books I especially love (a couple John Irvings and a couple Richard Russos I read over and over) I usually read a book then give it to someone/thrift store/hospital or doctor’s lobby/airport waiting area or plane seat pocket.

My friend Shirley has a couple bizarre book tenets: “Never give a book that you haven’t read yourself.” (Fair enough.)…and oddly, “Never read a used book.” because you don’t know if they’ve read it on the toilet. Paging Costanza!

My only beef is when people write in LIBRARY books. That cheeses me off to no end for some reason. Bitch, that AIN’T YOUR BOOK!

I remember reading a library book as a teen and some self-important adult had gone through and marked out all instances of the word “sex”. It was so bizarre - they’d only marked out the one word, so context made the word obvious. They’d used a black marker so sometimes it bled through and made words on the opposite side difficult to read. So strange.

(Emphasis added)

OTOH, one certain Pierre de Fermat did this once, and mathematicians spent the next 358 years madly tearing their hair out about it! :smack:
Fermat’s Last Theorem

None of those are a big deal to me except #4 - I’d prefer someone NOT write in a book I loaned to them.

But then I don’t loan out books that are important to me, anyway - just stuff I don’t care if I ever see again.

That depends. If it’s a paperback fiction, meh I don’t really care.

But if it’s a hard back or one of my paperback history, archaeology or art books, then* it’s on.*


And I’m assuming this is a book that I am loaning someone with the assumption that I will be getting it back after they have read it. If said book if some pristine museum piece first edition, I wouldn’t be loaning it out in the first place, right?

The licking fingers thing makes no sense to me. Are you watching them read, and have germophobia/OCD?

The writing in a book that isn’t yours? Unforgiveable. One strike rule. You do that and you will never be allowed to touch one of my books ever again.

Books are living things. They are not meant to be preserved like some holy relics, they are meant to be read, to travel rough in your pocket or backpack and so forth. Writing annotations, folding pages, scuffed edges and broken spines are simply the mark of a book that led a full life.

Now, I admit folding one end behind the other does make me cringe. And I do try to preserve books lent to me because their owners might not share my feelings on the matter. Finally, ripping pages for keepsakes is just NO. As is destroying a book intentionally.
But other than that, I’ll reiterate: a book’s gotta live.

Paperbacks retain zero value. I buy used paperbacks for less than $2 all the time.

I could care less if someone bends a corner or licks their finger. It’s a disposable item.

I agree with those who say books are for reading, but I still have 50+ year old paperbacks. They’re now falling apart (they’re the old Alfred Hitchcock mysteries), but that’s because of the glue and paper they were made of. I’ve read each of them dozens of times.

Just because a book (even a paperback) is meant to be used doesn’t mean it’s meant to be misused. Which is why I prefer to keep books for years–I have some my father gave me when I was 10 (hardbacks, but still…), and I even have some of his books, like his copy of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” published 1917, and inscribed by my father with his name and the date “July 1939”.

NOOOO!!! Would you bend the spine of a newborn baby? You lovingly open the book just a bit, just enough to see the words.

I’ve heard newborns are quite bendy. :slight_smile:

what book tape do you use?

I agree. After finding smashed, mummified insects in my new book a few times and getting books from the library with blood splatterings, spit just isn’t much of an issue.

My mother owned a used/antiquarian bookstore and taught me to revere books. I would no sooner crack open a spine or dog-ear a beloved book than I would handle family photographs with my fingers and thumbs all over 'em. As kids we drew on some of our children’s books (I had the almost compulsive need to draw smiles on Charlie Brown’s face whenever he looked sad), but that was the last time I put writing implement to the paper of a book. Except for textbooks, but even then I only used light pencil.

Here’s a real tale of book abuse. One of my most disturbing memories is from a few years after my mom died and my father was preparing to sell our house. He didn’t know what to do with the hundreds (probably nearly 1000) of books that had returned to our home after her store had closed. I was about 22 and no longer lived at home, but I was desperate that they be donated or sold or really anything but thrown out.

Pop had someone appraise the books and some were sold, but for whatever reason, he didn’t have the patience to handle the process. Maybe it was painful for him, maybe he just wanted the whole ordeal over with so he could move on. I begged him to let me handle it, but unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough or responsible enough or I just don’t know, I guess I was procrastinating because I really didn’t want to give up these books.

Anyway, one rainy weekend I came home, vowing to deal with the issue already. But when I arrived, I saw, at the edge of our driveway, huge piles of old, leather-bound, gilt-edged books, tied up and waiting for the garbage man to pick up. They were already warped and sagging from the rain.

I grabbed a few from the bottom of the pile that weren’t badly damaged, and then went inside and wept and wept. I felt like I’d lost my mom all over again, and that I’d failed her by not preventing her treasured books from destruction. It was a stab in the gut then, and even now dredging up the image in my mind causes a visceral ache. Took me a long time to stop resenting my father and being furious with myself for that incident.

So yeah, I treat books, even crappy mass-market paperbacks, with reverence. It makes me feel closer to my mother.

That said, I understand why some people don’t, and like others have mentioned I do kinda enjoy seeing bits of writing in the margins of old books, or dedications from whoever had given the book as a gift to someone else. It’s like having a pen-pal from the past.

Don’t know the name of it. A half used roll I was given at one of the kid’s school libraries while volunteering there. The librarian said it was “not the best stuff, but the best we can afford stuff”

I’ve had it for years and haven’t noticed any discolouration or loss of adhesion yet.

Yes books are for reading, not for leaving on the shelf.

But reading doesn’t mean the same as abusing, though some people who are lazy, careless or thoughtless use this as an excuse for their behaviour.

They can do whatever they like to their own property, but its not their property its yours.

Its usually the people who never actually lend books that are in good condition (If they lend at all ) who come out with this.

And they usually treat anything lent them just as thoughtlessly.
(Why should they care they didn’t pay for it)

If you lent someone your car and they came back with it scratched and dented and then said "Oh its all right cars are for driving so it doesn’t matter, I would expect your respomse to be less then calm.

Personally I rarely lend a book that I want to keep unless I trust the person implicitely.
Other books I give away rather then loan.

If I borrow a book, no matter what condition, I hand it back in the same condition.

Its all very well saying that you can buy second hand really cheap; but that ignores the fact that you might not be able to find that old out of print on sale anywhere, or it might have sentimental value; a gift from an ex lover or a deceased family member.

So no, IMO there is no excuse ever for damaging other peoples property that they have been kind enough to lend to you.

That’s a different matter entirely. I would never lend this kind of book out to anybody, no matter how much I trusted them. It’s just not worth it–you can be super-careful with a book and things can still happen–you could accidentally spill something on it, misplace it, your cat or dog could get hold of it…no thanks. For a book with strong sentimental value, it stays in my house. At least if I spill something on it or my cat drags it off, I can’t blame anyone but myself. :slight_smile:

I’d more concerned about this if I’d lent them my Kindle. :stuck_out_tongue:

I doubt it adds anything to the discussion, but how weird is it that my Mum (who willfully and with careless disregard snaps books’ spines) will *not *drive my car in case she puts a scratch on it?

There is a value difference the two. I am unlikely to take out a bank loan for a book & I would be upset if Mum (willfully and with careless disregard) permamnently damaged my car to make driving it a little easier.

But having said that, it there were a genuine accident (stone chip in the windscreen / parking ding) I’d put that down to “Shit Happens”, as it certainly happens to me.

Books are objects to me, not sacred relics. I’m one of those people who can read a book and you can’t even tell it’s been read, but if someone dogears one of my books or breaks the spine because that makes it easier to read, that doesn’t bother me. Writing only bothers me if I can’t read past it.