The Ethics of Book Abuse

"Every reader has a personal ethic for how to treat a book, a morality for what can and can’t be done to the physical object."  Is dog-earing a page a violation of the sanctity of the volume, or an easy way to hold your place?  What about highlighting key passages, or writing notes in the margins?  Or even (gasp!) throwing out an old book you don’t want anymore?

Here is the link.  I do not believe that books have rights, Nozickian or otherwise.  I am most likely to rip up travel books if only to minimize my carry burden.  But I don’t write in books because I wish to discover new ideas — and not just my old ideas — each time I open them up.  Dog-earing pages is useful because you can go back to old books and see how far in them you read and then decide you really shouldn’t give it another chance after all.

Here is a story about book left behind in hotel rooms, including a list of the top 10 most abandoned titles (UK).


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