Breaking the Spine

The way I treat my books would horrify most book bloggers, who have shelves lined with pristine book spines and pages that have never, ever been dog-eared. The books on my shelf have a lifespan because I’m guilty of folding the corners of pages to mark where I left off. I write in the margins and underline passages that are meaningful to me. And the condition of the book cover and spine is a reflection of how much a love a book; the more I love a book, the more worn it will become because I’ve read it so often– that’s why pages fall from my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that book. I feel no shame about this, and expecting books that I love to remain flawless is impractical to me. But then, my mom bought me replacement copies for all of my Harry Potter book this Christmas…

Harry Potter covers

The book spines have not a single crack and the edges are not at all torn or worn. Most importantly! They still have the artwork on the front. My old copies are hardback and I seem to have lost all of the dust jackets. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the cover art that I have forgotten what some of it looks like. Yikes!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Cover O

These books are beautiful…and suddenly I feel afraid to read them because I don’t want to tarnish them. I find that I’m holding the books delicately, I’m not opening them all they way, and I’m using a book mark…well, I’m using a receipt…

When will this madness end?! I’m half-tempted to just crack the spines. Get it done and over with so I can read on without anxiety.

For those of you who prefer flawless books, how do you keep your books in good condition when you read them? For those of you who don’t mind that a book looks well-read, have you ever come across a book that suddenly you were afraid to handle?

9 Comments on “Breaking the Spine

  1. I’m totally someone who wants my books to be flawless, my sister makes fun of me lol. I never crack the spine or fold pages. I very delicately open it so that I don’t bend the spine too much. Idk why I care so much! I like the idea of worn books due to reading them so much…but I can’t bring myself to do it!


  2. I am one of those readers who try and keep their books in as god a condition as possible. I can’t stand those mass market paperbacks as it’s almost impossible to keep those nice looking, although nowadays I don’t travel with my books as much as I used to, so they usually stay in good condition.
    I always handle my books with care, don’t put them on places were they might fall and if peopel visit I remove my books from the room. I always use a bookmark and try not to crack the spine, you can still read the book, but don’t open the book too far. You cna still enjoy and read a book and have it looking nice afterwards.


    • Perhaps that is my downfall! I prefer paperbacks over hardcover…mostly because they are cheaper and I am frugal. I’ve definitely gotten better at holding paperbacks though; whenever I would read in school, I would lay them flat on my desk.


  3. I’m “one of those” people who likes to keep their books in good condition, as well. Mostly, it’s just impulse because I want to have my own personal library room someday and would like to have as many of my original editions as possible for it. I have a little bookmark holder where I keep odds and ends (actual bookmarks, old tickets, and other rectangular slips) to use as bookmarks and I keep two journals: one for my thoughts on what I’m reading and another for any memorable quotes I come across. My methods seem to work for me, but like I said, it’s more impulse than anything else!


    • Ooooh, to have a personal library of my own is a dream of mine too! Alas, I haven’t even had bookshelves in ages– just crates that I stack my books in– which is why I probably haven’t given much thought to book spines =\


  4. It seems the majority here are those that like to keep their books in good condition. I’m one of those too. But I’m also one to love books to death. I have a destroyed copy of Leaves of Grass and my sister bought me a new copy because it was so bad. Yet I keep reading the old copy and just display the new one. The same thing happened with my much beloved Witch of Blackbird Pond.

    With the advent of the kindle, it’s gotten easier for me. I buy hardcovers of ones I want to display and really love and use the kindle for more disposable one. But I do read my hardcovers, I’m just very careful with them. Ask me friends about the lectures I’ve given them when I loan a book…


  5. I make a point to take care of my books, but not so much that I can’t just relax and enjoy reading them! I think a worm out book shows love ❤ If a spine cracks a bit then that's fine. Sometimes the edges of my paperbacks get a little scuffed from putting them in my purse…but what's the alternative? Leaving a good book at home just so it stays in good condition? What fun is that?! Hahah.


  6. Pingback: Weekly Recap| Dec 28, 2014 – Jan 3, 2015 | Oh, the Books!

  7. Hubby got me a new set of HP for Christmas last year, with the new covers, all wrapped up safely. I have yet to open the plastic because I am too nervous about the books being ruined. And I’ve never cared about the ‘safety’ of books before!


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