It’s Time to Stop Judging People for the Way They Treat Their Books

Posted March 19, 2019 by Amber in Bookish Things, Reading / 14 Comments


I am sometimes that person who judges you for dog-earring your books.

I’m a bookmark enthusiast, and I hate it when covers get folded and bent, when pages get folded… I like my books to look neat and tidy.  I think I’ll always like my books like that… but lately, I’ve been thinking.

Why are we so judgmental about what people do with their books?

I wrote a post last year outlining some of the things that drive me crazy… and admitting to my own bad habits.  This year, I’m rethinking that.  I’m all for taking good care of our possessions, but why do book lovers think they can tell people how to treat their own books?  Why if dog-earring a page a guilty confessionWhy can’t we live and let live?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  At the beginning of the year, I took a leap and decided to purchase a stamp.

As you can see, it’s pretty basic.  It’s intended to mark the books I intend to keep, and I’ve decided that starting with the books in my Great Bookcase Crusade, I will keep track of my ratings, too.  It’s like a little time capsule within each book that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story (see my post about annotations).

I’m incapable of stamping it straight.

Also, how many of you are cringing right now?

By stamping these books, I am:

  • Reducing their value.
  • Making them less-than-mint.
  • Labeling them FOREVER.

And I’ve decided… I don’t care?

Okay, so think about it this way – if I don’t intend to sell my books, why am I trying to keep them in mint condition?  I’m not saying you should be deliberately cruel to your books… but why can’t a reader simply let her books feel… loved?

At the end of the day, I’m not a reader who intends to sell the books down the road and make money on them.  Even the signed ones – I am delighted that they are signed, but I don’t see myself selling them.  It’s nice to know I have a thing of value without wanting to part with it.

I think that we tend to judge other people’s treatment of book by our own standards.  I’m going to try and stop doing that.  You want to dog-ear your books – it is officially okay with me!  For me, books are adventures I go on over and over again.  As long as my books aren’t falling apart… I’m going to write in them or crack the spines as I want.

And I apologize for nothing.


Are all your books in mint condition?  Do you do little things that lower the value of your books?  Share your confessions in the comments!

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14 responses to “It’s Time to Stop Judging People for the Way They Treat Their Books

  1. 100% agree with you! It drives me mad when readers are made to feel ashamed for bending their books or writing in them or tearing pages out of them. No one has a right to tell anyone what they’re allowed to do with their own books. I like to use bookmarks, but I also quite like breaking the spines of my books – for me it shows they’ve been read and loved. I don’t try to do it on purpose, but people who try to keep them in mint condition… honestly I feel like there are more productive things they could be doing with their time? Great post!

    Jess @ Jessticulates recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday | My Spring 2019 TBR!
    • Amber

      Right! I’m the same way. I didn’t even realize people *avoided* breaking the spines until I was in college? I don’t force me books to lay flat, but at the same time, it’s hard to avoid reading some of those mass market paperbacks WITHOUT breaking the spines.

  2. Yay!!!! I love your stamp! I didn’t know I needed one till now haha. I am totally the person that dog ears their books. I think a well worn book is a well loved book! I do take care of my special editions and signed books, but my everyday off the shelf copy gets to be “loved” <3 Love this post!

    Brittany recently posted: Female Authors #WHMReadingChallenge
    • Amber

      Thank you! @caseyrosereads on Instagram posted hers FOREVER ago and I’ve been toying with the stamp idea ever since. Then I realized the only thing holding me back was the stigma on marking up my books? Then I decided – I’m just gonna do it. XD

  3. I will admit that I am one of those that enjoy books in mint condition… BUT I kinda feel like Marie Kondie about this… their your things so if you love them keep them… and I extend that to annotating them or dog-earing or whatever! Posts where we share out bookish shames and such are kinda fun too though… Like proudly saying I do this so there. Hahaha I love your new commitment and that stamp is super adorable! ❤️

    • Amber

      See, as far as I’m concerned, you can keep your books in mint and that’s great. 😀 I have to admit that have a lot of mint books still (though not all of them for sure). It’s more the posts where people call each other out for loving their books that drive me crazy. 🙂

  4. I LOVE that you stamp your books… I might consider making a stamp design for a summer project and doing the same thing! It sounds like a cool idea

    • Amber

      I got the idea from @caseyrosereads on Instagram a while back – when I was a kid I used to put a sticker in the book and write my name. XD This just seemed tidier. I’d love to see the design you come up with!

    • Amber

      I definitely have nothing against today books, but it’s so nice to not feel the pressure of keeping them perfect to meet someone else’s expectations!

      Also I LOVE notes in gift books?

  5. For years I have bought most of my books use . I like finding stamps, stickers and bookmarks . It amazed me of what people will use as a bookmarks.

    Do what you want with your books. Make them your own and if you decide to pass the book on, then in a way the book has its own history. It let the next owner know that a book has been well loved.

    • Amber

      Yes, yes, yes! Used books are the best. I like the ones with stickers and dedications in them… in places that don’t disrupt the story, but tell that the book has a history.