Saturday, March 01, 2008

A pet peeve

I like books. I like bookstores. I like the nice, new books I find in bookstores.

Not too long ago, I was in a bookstore looking for a particular book. There was only one copy left... and some putz had broken the spine of the book!

I know that people will thumb through books sometimes, but if you open it enough to crack the spine of the book, you should buy it. If that equation doesn't work, go to the library!

For anyone looking for a new copy of a book, the book should be pristine. Cracks running down the spine just don't cut it. How about the old "if you break it, you buy it" rule? Shouldn't that apply?


Squirrel said...

I agree that a new book should be pristine--but I wouldn't make people buy stuff they damaged since so many people are on psychotropic medications or intellectually challenged or don't understand that they have the strength to break a book if they thoughtlessly pull it wide open to read. (people are often in an imaginary rush!)
Also often kids run around bookstores knocking books around and punishing them.
So the damaged book would return to the publisher and a pristine book would be ordered for the customer. Some lots of books have flaws like weaker bindings, and other things.

(Can you tell that I once worked in a bookstore? --and briefly, in publishing?)

Jess said...

Squirrel: So my plan to have roving enforcers in my favorite bookstores, carrying electric cattle prods to deal with book spine breakers, is too harsh? ;) Seriously, I see your point, but I remain annoyed by the thoughtlessness of people. Yes, some may inadvertently do damage, as you suggest, but it's clear from other things (like how they drive) that some people just don't think about anyone else.

Ms. Wollstonecraft said...

Many people don't respect books, the rules of the road... and the list of things is endless. Best just to not engage people like that, forget them.

Cattle prods in bookshops a good idea though! The very people who need books the most seem to abuse them

ATG said...

I don't buy books with broken spines either. In fact, I'm more gentle with new books still in the stores than new books I bring home, barely opening the book to read a random page on the inside.

Cattle prods..tee hee.

Jess said...

Ms. W: "The very people who need books the most seem to abuse them." No doubt!

ATG: Me, too. In fact, I rarely page through a book in a bookstore. I don't really see the point. I can't learn enough about the book that way, so I read reviews (usually a combination of commercial reviews and online customer reviews) and buy based on those. On occasion, I'll buy something that looks interesting, even if I haven't done research in advance, especially if it's by an author I like. Thumbing through a book rarely seems productive.