In Defense of Dog-earing Books

Once upon a time, in a Facebook group of usually positive and supportive readers, I was torn apart for posting a picture of a book I was reading. Why? Not because of the book’s title or anything like that.

But because of a small dog-ear on the page I was currently reading.

Firstly, I couldn’t believe the amount of public shaming that could occur from a small bend in a page of paper. Didn’t these people have better things to do? Books to read?

But since I’m an avid reader and book lover/blogger myself, I decided to delve a bit deeper into exactly why dog-ears bother people.

Here’s what I found via a very insightful Twitter thread I started, asking if people dog-ear or not, and if they hate it, exactly why they do:

54% of you said you either deplore dog-earing a page or you prefer not to. Reasons for not dog-earing include liking bookmarks better, having OCD or anxiety about bent pages, wanting to keep the book looking new as long as possible, and fears of damaging the book.

However, a solid 46% of you said you do dog-ear your books. Reasons for dog-earing include not having enough bookmarks around, wanting to mark interesting pages, and liking an ‘aged’ looking book. One responder went so far as to say books are meant to grow a person so they should dog-ear, write in it, or whatever they want. Some people made it clear they’d only dog-ear their own personal books.

Now, here’s my take.

First, I agree that dog-earing could be considered damaging a book and its worth so I don’t think it is right to dog-ear books that don’t belong to you, such as library books or one borrowed from a friend.

THAT SAID, if it’s your own personal book you bought and own? I don’t see the problem. Yes, I prefer a bookmark or random scrap of paper, but if times are tough and there’s nothing around? Dang right, I dog-ear the page. My books are my books, and I’ve learned over time that people have all sorts of ways of interacting with them. Some people even write in their books, folks. (Which, granted, I don’t do because it would bother me, but I don’t give a holler if somebody else does it in their own personal book.)

Bottom line, your book, your choice. Let’s agree, as a community of book lovers, not to shame other people for their book choices, whether that’s the genre they enjoy the most, characters they love or hate, or even if they write in or dog-ear the pages.

I don’t know about my fellow book bloggers, but I came here for the variety. I’m allowed to not agree with a blogger’s opinion on a book, a book character or even their book habits, of course. But I would never shame them for it.

Because when you feel shame for your book preferences, you don’t share them. And if bloggers and our readers aren’t sharing, then what kind of a community will we have?

Do you dog-ear your books? Why or why not? I’d also love to hear your other ‘bad’ book habits and no worries, no shame here. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. June 30, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    I do dog ear some of my books, but if I consider a book a favorite, I definitely take care of it more. Meaning I avoid to dog ear it. Books are so precious to me, but I guess it doesnt affect the influence of the book on you if you dog ear them. For me, it’s more important that you value what is inside that what you see outside 🙂 great great share!!! Love it!

    Ellaine | In Betweens

    • Cailin
      Author
      June 30, 2018 / 1:15 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  2. June 30, 2018 / 1:13 pm

    Great post! I personally dog ear my books sometimes. It doesn’t bother me. But I would never shame someone else for their own personal choices. I agree not to do it to someone else’s book, but your own, well that’s fair game. I like aged books and believe that books are there to be used and enjoyed not preserved 🙂

    • Cailin
      Author
      June 30, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      I agree. I’m never out to destroy a book but books are supposed to be enjoyed, whatever your style is. 🙂

  3. June 30, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    Aha I’ve been reading since I literally could and my parents basically raised me to take good care of things, I fell in love with my books and so I sort of try to keep them looking as new as possible. I’ve never dog eared a book in my life so far…nor do I plan to. I get why others do dog ear though, still hurts me inside cause I like books to be all nice and the pages not bent etc. I’d never shame someone for it though (I mean we all have our own habits right?), I may pass them a bookmark if like they were about to do it front of me just for the sake of it not killing me off inside.

    That being said I have a pretty bad habit in that I read the back pages of books sometimes before I finish a book, so erm I’m not overly fussed about spoilers. Loved this post!

    • Cailin
      Author
      June 30, 2018 / 3:54 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts. A lot of people on the thread said dog-earring bothered their OCD which I hadn’t thought about before. Different people, different quirks!

  4. July 1, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Great points here! While I can agree that it is “damaging” the book, it’s still YOUR book. Treat it as any other piece of property, really. If you want to bend, write, or even RIP PAGES out of your own book, then so be it. You paid for it, so I don’t really see the need for others so judge, let alone SHAME other people for doing so. Thank you for writing this because even though we’re just taking about books here, people need to see the big picture. Sorry to put it so blunt, but people need to kind their own business sometimes…. respectfully. Lol 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Cailin
      Author
      July 1, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      Totally agree! That was the whole point of my post actually haha A gentle reminder that we gotta respect others’ preferences! 🙂

  5. July 2, 2018 / 8:28 am

    omg I’d never thought this would be something would be so opinionated about! I bought a lovely magnetic bookmark but also have another book I’m reading at the moment and dog-earing that one…as you said don’t really see it as a problem if it’s your own book! x

    G

    https://www.teawithgi.com

    • Cailin
      Author
      July 2, 2018 / 9:21 am

      Some people feel super strongly about it. Haha One person told me if they see someone dog-earing a page they try to hand them a bookmark lol

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