Bookmarks: Why I (Almost) Never Use Them

20140903_132658I admit it.  I almost never use a bookmark (I do use them for hardcover editions that I consider collectible, such as my Outlander books).  I dog-ear the pages of my books, even the ones I get from the library or friends.  Terrible, right?

Now before you go judging me and never lend me another book, let me explain myself.  Reading a print book is, by nature, a physical act. When I read a print book, I am engaging with not only with the story, but with the paper and the words printed on the pages.  While I love my Kindle, there’s just something about putting your hands on the pages, smelling the fresh ink of a brand new book or the mustiness of a thrift store find.  And it is that very physicality that leads me to simply dog-ear a page when I need to close the book.  The many dog-eared pages that make up my book collection are all evidence of the love I have for my books.

Inserting a bookmark between the pages of a book is a somewhat detached way of marking my place.  It feels too much like distancing myself from the book, suddenly closing the book around a bookmark without leaving my own mark on the pages.  No matter where I dog-ear the page (left or right, small or big), I always have a much easier time finding my place than with a bookmark.  A dog-eared page almost feels like a brief goodbye hug, one that holds the promise of a swift return.

So if you have a problem with dog-eared pages, you probably don’t want to lend me your books.  But if you, like I, see dog-ears as a sign of affection, I’m happy to add my dog-ears to yours.

Do you use bookmarks?  How do you feel when someone returns a book and they’ve dog-eared the pages?  How does the experience of a print book differ (for you) from an e-book?

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Sunny Smith

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone describe dog-earing quite so poetically, haha.

    I honestly I no problem if someone dog-ears one of my books, so long as it’s not to the point where half the page is folded. I almost never do it though, because I like to use all the pretty bookmarks that people give me:)

    1. Leila

      Didn’t realize I was being poetic. I’m all happy now. 🙂

  2. Annie

    I feel the same way. I have tons of bookmarks but never use them. Sometimes I’ll use my notepad, my book light or a napkin to mark my spot and but the ever reliable dog ear is the fallback position.

    “Real books” versus Kindle books? I love both of them. I love the smell of physical books, and it’s like a big invitation to my senses that knowledge or adventure lives here. But I’m hooked on my Kindle too – so many books in one tiny little device, opens right to the page you left off on, delivers the book within seconds of buying it – hard to beat. So I say, whatever the format, books are the best.

    Great post, Leila. Loved it.


    1. Leila

      I think mos truly avid readers rarely use bookmarks. We just don’t have the time.

      And I agree that both paper and ebooks have merits. I love eARCs, because I don’t think publishers would send me physical ones. Whole new worlds opened up once I got my Kindle. But I’ll always always have shelves of paper books.

      Happy you enjoyed it. 🙂

    1. Leila

      I’ll try to remember that if I borrow a book from you.

  3. I typically use bookmarks, just because it seems like the ‘right’ way to treat the book, or so people are always saying. It doesn’t bother me either way, as long as I can find my place, I’m good. I typically end up tearing of a corner of paper to use as a bookmark. I DO love grabbing pretty bookmarks when I see them, though. But I rarely use them. I don’t think I think too much about the subject, not as much as you do anyway, but I think you have a very interesting perspective on the topic! 🙂 Oh! And I love your new design!

    1. Leila

      I’m really amazed at how many perspectives there are on how to treat books. I don’t usually think so much about it (I just figured I needed to start doing more than reviews).

      Glad you like the design. I’m floundering about until Ashley at Creative Whim opens up for new clients again.

  4. Ashley

    I do not like dog-eared pages. (Insert frowny librarian face here.) I like my books kept as pristine as possible. Kind of neurotic like that. This is partly due to my personal book-buying philosophy – I rarely buy a book I haven’t already read. I check books out from the library, and a few truly great ones earn the privilege of becoming part of my personal collection.

    That being said, I an very guilty of using dust jacket flaps as bookmarks. Two other common bookmarks for me are receipts and squares of toilet paper. (Now you know a little more than you bargained for about my reading habits.) I have a couple of nice bookmarks, but I can never find them when I’m looking for them. Not infrequently, I just commit to memory the chapter or page I’m on.

    1. Leila

      I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that you don’t approve of dog-earing books. Since you’re my friend I’ll keep that in mind if I borrow a book from you. But I think the book jacket bookmark and toilet paper make us about even. 🙂

Leave a Reply