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March 29, 2010

Read 'n rip: How to enhance the paperback experience

This one I've never read as a tip but, rather, have seen remarked on in passing every few years.

Drum roll...: As you read, throw away the pages you've read.

That's right, rip them and the cover and back and whatever isn't the actual text of the book — blank pages, "a note on the type," reviews, previous books written, reviews, publication data, all of it, away and onto the floor or into the trash or fireplace.


1. If you're an inveterate, addicted reader like me you feel like you're doing something that's wrong and forbidden and completely transgressive — such emotions are to be welcomed and sought whenever possible, especially when they're incurred in the course of doing something completely legal.

2. If you like reading in bed, then your book gets more and more manageable as you proceed, which is physically a nice thing.

3. You can give the torn-out pages to a friend or stranger who can then enjoy reading the book as much as you are, even if they are condemned to being behind you. But what's wrong with free, even if it is second-hand? Good ideas don't lose their excellence just because they've been passed down through time.

March 29, 2010 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Do you offer counselling services to go with such scary posts? I'm typing this after having been picked up of the floor by my colleagues, apparantly my chair doesn't hold a fainting 6 footer very well.

Posted by: Graeme | Mar 29, 2010 10:18:40 PM

And that enhances the paperback experience how? -- I'm not getting that. Sounds like a federal offense or something. Now, I DO like to really give a book the business (assuming it's my book & not on loan, etc.) when I read it. But torn asunder? Never! I take notes in it, dogear pages, get the food du jour on the pages & so on, and feel no remorse. Just like a person should ideally be a husk when they die - all used up, the goodie sucked out - I'm happy for my books to look well-used, plundered, spent. Not an idea embraced by all... my brother will NEVER let me borrow a book, and he won't even handle one of his own without cotton gloves and tongs, under special lights.

Posted by: Flautist | Mar 29, 2010 8:03:53 PM

I didn't think you published obscenities on this web site.

Posted by: Becs | Mar 29, 2010 6:28:13 PM

This idea clearly comes from a book publisher; when I am done with a book, I take it back to Powell's and sell it back as a used book, for credit towards the new books that I am going to buy while I'm there (I could take the cash, but that's less money). Anything they won't take back gets donated to the local hospital, where thye will either distribute them to patients or sell them in the gift shop to help support hospital expenses.

Please find the originator of this idea and shove all the ripped-out pages you can find down his throat. Use a fencepost to rap them in good and hard.

Posted by: Morely Dotes | Mar 29, 2010 2:55:06 PM

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