I found a book-related meme on personal habits and practices on taking care of books on my watchlist in Livejournal, and after a while of hemming and hawing I’ve decided to fill it out.
Are you careful with the spines? Or do you crack your books open to make them lay flat? I never open my books all the way, and can be rather careful with books. Not anal-retentive careful, though; some well-read books have creases. I just try and make sure that the pages won’t come out and the book won’t break, and other such stuff. Usually, for hardbacks, their spines tend to be in better shape.
Do you use bookmarks? Or do you dog-ear the corners? If you do use bookmarks, do you use those fashionable metal ones? Or paper? I used to dog-ear a lot when I want to get back to a certain section of the book: usually for important plot points, things I feel I should go back to afterward, quotes, etc. Nowadays I don’t. If I’m reading a book and stop in the middle of it, half of the time I don’t use bookmarks, I just take note of the page number. While I probably won’t remember the exact page number, I do remember the general vicinity and can just take it from there. Say, around 350… oh there it is, it’s 356. That sort of thing. When I do use bookmarks, I tend to go for paper-based bookmarks. The fashionable metal ones are nifty though, I’ve always felt that I want to try it sometime. I have a few that just didn’t work for me, but who knows? ;) (Any feedback would be awesome.)
Do you write in your books? Ever? If you do, do you make small marks, or write in as much blank space as you can find? Pen or pencil? Highlighter? Your name on the front page? More often than not, I write my name on the first page of books. I’ve always planned to have a stamp pad or a sticker or something of the sort, as I’m almost never pleased with the way I write my name on books (usually I wouldn’t open the book all the way, so my writing tends to become cramped). When I was younger, I never missed a chance to write my name on books! My name and my signature. For a while I even wrote stuff like “You will love this book!” as a sort of dedication to those who will be borrowing it; and at the end I’d have “I hope you liked the book! Please return it.” For some books I also have a few lines and passages highlighted, but I stopped doing that pretty quickly.
Do you toss your books on the floor? Into book bags? Or do you treat them tenderly, with respect? I don’t toss them around, and get quite upset when they do get tossed around. However, I do sometimes put them in a handbag, which can result in edges getting worn.
Do you ever lay your book face-down, to save your place? Never. Of course, as a kid, I used to. What I usually end up doing is that if I’m leaving for just a short while (like, I need to get a drink, or answer the phone, etc) I try and find something to put between the pages. If I have a bookmark, great! Otherwise it can be any number of (relatively slender) things: edge of a pillow or blanket (most usual), a pencil or a pen, my cellular phone… those sorts of things.
Do you bathe with your books? Hold them with wet hands? Read out in the rain? Anything of that sort? No, I try to keep my books dry as much as possible! They’re very seldom in the bathroom. No book-reading in the rain, either. When they’re in a bag, and I’m getting hit by rain, and my bag is not waterproof, I usually move my bag in front of me, under the umbrella. Or wrap my arms around the bag to shield it — I never use the bag (or books) to shield myself from the rain.
Are your books lined up on a bookshelf? Or crammed in any which way? Stacked on the floor? Shelf, definitely! There may be one or two or a couple in my bedside table, ones which I’m reading. But I love shelves and I love books and shelves. They’re usually arranged by genre and then by, er, book height. I hate it when books are lined up but the heights are jagged! Which is why series books must be in the same editions! They also look prettier that way. :D
Do you make a distinction–as regards book care–between hardcovers and paperbacks? Not usually, other than what can be supposed as a given. For example, hardbacks are generally harder to open unless forced, so they generally have better spines. As for dust jackets, I take them off when I’m reading the books, and put them back on when they’re on the shelf.