This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:
All other things being equal–do you prefer used books? Or new books? (The physical specimen, that is, not the title.) Does your preference differentiate between a standard kind of used book, and a pristine, leather-bound copy?
I love this question, because my preference has a negative consequence on my pocketbook. I am extremely anal about the condition of the books I read. I cannot abide a book with a bent spine, a warped cover, or tattered pages. Highlighting or notes in the margins? Nah-uh! This has been a issue since I was a child. Wrinkled covers put me in an incredibly foul mood. I gingerly handle a book while reading it, careful to never crease the spine, and I have always used bookmarks so the pages aren’t bent to hold my place. While I no longer do this, I at one time carefully enclosed my "keepers” in a water-proof bag, and stored them away in boxes (plastic, if I could afford them). I do not eat while I am reading – a stray crumb or spatter would destroy my appetite.
Most of my family makes fun of me for this obsessive behavior, because I don’t feel that way about anything else. Certainly not about my clothes or my car, and even my beloved laptop plays second fiddle to my books. If a library book is too battle scarred, I can’t read it. I would love to purchase more used books, but I am so particular about what condition they are in that I don’t . Even if I know that I am probably not going to keep a book, I still prefer to read a new, fresh copy. I don’t lend out my favorite titles, because they never come back in pristine condition. I will not even tell you how mortified I felt when my niece returned A Game of Thrones in pieces. She is lucky that I love her, and that’s all I will say about that!
I think that I am this way because I derive so much enjoyment from books. I feel that they need to be respected and, dare I say it, even loved. Despite the teasing I receive, I can’t see this changing, either. My clothes may be wrinkled and a bit weary, but my books never will be!
Do you care what condition a book is in before you pick it up to read? What’s your answer to this week’s question?