11 Things Dog-Earing Readers Will Never Understand About Bookmark Users
by Charlotte Ahlin
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We live in an increasingly partisan world. It often feels as though we have lost all ability to reach across the aisle, to connect with our fellow man despite ideological differences. So, in these trying times, as we all strive towards some distant, future age of camaraderie and human empathy, here are several things that people who dog-ear books will never understand about people who use bookmarks.

I think we all know that, as with all things in life, there is not a strict binary of bookmark people and dog-ear people. But there is a vocal population in the book nerd community who have drawn a firm line in the sand when it comes to not dog-earing books. They are team bookmark for life. It is their hill to die on. They seem to regard dog-earing as a moral failing, rather than a convenient (if lazy) way of keeping track of one's reading.

So, as a habitual dog-earer of books, I am here to represent the dog-ear faction in the dog-ear vs. bookmark debate. Bookmarkers, here are a few things that we just don't understand. Enlighten us, if you would:


How do you always have bookmarks?

Yeah, I also get free bookmarks pelted at me every time I walk into a bookstore. But I put those bookmarks in my purse, and they are immediately sucked into the nether realm of loose tic tacs, pencil shavings, and old receipts, never to be seen again. Whenever I put down a book, there is never, ever a bookmark anywhere in sight. So I do what needs to be done, and dog-ear that mess. Where are you getting all these bookmarks?


How do the bookmarks not fall out?

OK, yes, once in a while there's a bookmark around. So I put it in my book, I put my book in my bag, and then later I take out my book and the bookmark has evaporated into the crisp, morning air. How do you guys keep your bookmarks in your books? Am I using bookmarks wrong? I mean...all I'm saying is that dog-ear technology is incapable of falling out of your book.


What do you do when you lose a bookmark?

Level with me, bookmark people. I know that you've lost a bookmark before, because bookmarks are not that good at their job. What do you do? Leave your book splayed open? Lose your place? Write page numbers on your arm like some kind of well-read serial killer? Or do you sometimes dog-ear the occasional page, you filthy hypocrites?


Do you only use real bookmarks as bookmarks?

You claim that you always use bookmarks, bookmark people. But can we at least agree that your bookmarks aren't always real bookmarks? Be honest. You sometimes use receipts, old Post-it notes, business cards, candy wrappers, etc. to mark your place. And that's just a slippery slope to the good old fashioned dog-ear. I'm watching you, bookmark people. You're right on the edge.


Do you really think that dog-earing damages the book?

I'll concede that dog-earing library books or very expensive art books is not the classiest move. But dog-earing your own book doesn't ruin it, or make it forever unreadable. Slightly creasing the corner of a page for a short period of time doesn't actually affect the words or the story or your connection to the characters. Books are about the content, not the physical paper. If you can still read a dog-eared book and get emotionally invested in Harry/Frodo/Lizzie Bennet's journey, the book hasn't really been damaged, now, has it?


But isn’t half the fun searching frantically to find where you left off reading?

I'm kidding! (Mostly.) Dog-earing is actually quite effective for finding your place. But even if you leave a couple of corners folded, and you have to flip for a minute to find your place in the book...that's OK. That ups your anticipation for jumping back into the plot. Reading isn't just about efficiency, bookmarkers. Live a little.


Can you guys just...chill?

Does your need to control everything affect other areas of your life, bookmarkers? Do you believe that by insisting on the wide use of bookmarks, you have insulated yourself from chaos and confusion? You haven't, bookmarkers. Your book could still fall in a puddle at any moment. Life is chaos. Take a deep breath. It's going to be OK.


You understand that expensive bookmarks are a waste of money, right?

I mean, have you guys tried those metal bookmarks that clip to the pages? Because if you want to talk about damaging books, those things will tear your pages right up, no question about it. If you're spending more than zero dollars on bookmarks annually, you have made a terrible mistake.


I bet you don’t write in the margins, either

The best part about picking up a secondhand book is getting to see what the previous owner scribbled in the margins. Where they dog-eared the pages (did they think it was a good stopping point? Did they get called away on important business?). Where they spilled their tea. It feels like you're truly interacting with the book, connecting with all the previous readers over the years. Or... you know, I guess you could leave your books in pristine condition and never learn how to have fun, like the banker dad at the beginning of Mary Poppins.


All things in this life are temporary, bookmark people

I don't mean to get morbid in a listicle about bookmarks, bookmark people. But why are you wasting emotional energy getting upset about people dog-earing their books when life is so short? Kiss your loved ones! Run in a stream! Read good books without worrying about tiny creases in the corners of your pages!


Don't you love your books?

This is an unfair question, because I'm sure that bookmark people do, indeed, love their books, in their own overly protective way. But when I really love a book, I take it everywhere. I shove it into purses and suitcases, read it in the bathtub, spill coffee on it, underline the best parts, dog-ear the pages, and basically read and re-read it until it falls apart. There's a reason that a "well-loved" book doesn't usually look like it just came fresh from the bookstore. A dog-eared page is a sign of love, and you can't tell me any different.