Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 119: How NOT to Treat a Mass Market Paperback

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

When reading a mass market paperback, 
many people fold the
front cover back, as if they
were reading a magazine. How do
you feel about this
common bookish habit?

(Submitted  by Maria @ 

My Answer

I have very strong feelings about this. I just can't do that to a book! I don't care that mass market paperbacks are cheaper than trade paperbacks and hardcovers. They're books, and therefore, sacred

A mass market paperback is obviously not a magazine, so I don't know why people fold the front cover back, as if it were, in fact, a magazine, instead of a book. I don't think that doing this makes these books easier to read, either.

I know that not all readers feel the way I do about this issue. Some readers are bookworms only, while others are bibliophiles as well as bookworms. There's a difference. According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, a bookworm is "A person unusually devoted to reading and study." (Check out the link HERE.) A bibliophile, according to the same dictionary, is "A lover of books, especially for qualities of format; also: a book collector." (Check out the link HERE.)  

What this means to me is the following: some people read for information and content alone, and really don't have a special regard for, or attachment to, books as objects in themselves. Thus, they will borrow books from libraries, then happily return them, swap books with their friends, lend books to them as well, fold back paperback covers and corners of pages, and read ebooks. Other readers, however, actually revere printed books as objects in themselves, in addition to the information contained within their covers. This is the group I'm in. I definitely revere books! Lol. I can't borrow books from libraries because, if I fall in love with them, they HAVE to be MINE. And I don't lend books to anyone, because others might not treat books with the care and respect that I do. Nor do I enjoy reading ebooks, although at times I have to, because I'm running low on money..... 

Furthermore, once I've fallen in love with a book I've bought for myself, I keep it. That book has become part of my soul, and I am unable to part with it. If I absolutely can't stand a book I've purchased, then I have no trouble at all getting rid of it! I usually donate such books to Goodwill.

Of course I'm a book collector -- an addicted one, in fact. Lol. No, I don't go to book auctions and spend thousands of dollars on priceless, rare editions. I just collect regularly-priced, new books, as well as cheaper, used books in "like new" or "very good" condition.

Based on all of the above, I am definitely a bibliophile as well as a bookworm. So I am very, very careful with my books. I treat them with LOTS of tender, loving care!

What are the effects of folding back the front cover of these books? Well, this creates very ugly creases in the book's spine. Sometimes the creases are so deep, that the book will automatically open to certain pages, and then there's the danger that some of the pages will come unglued from the spine.  See the photos below. They're both of the same book, from different angles.

Another very unsightly effect of folding back the front cover is that the book will then be tilted. Yes, that's right -- tilted. When you put a book that has been treated this way on top of a table, it won't sit straight on the surface. It will be tilted. This drives me NUTS!! See the photos below. UGH, UGH, UGH!!! (They show the same book, again from different angles.)

I do not like for my books to look as if they've been abused, and that's exactly how books with folded-back front covers look to me -- abused.  My books -- including my mass market paperbacks -- still look new after I have finished reading them, precisely because I NEVER fold back the front cover.

Furthermore, if I order a used mass market paperback from either Amazon or eBay, and I see, when I open the package, that the entire book is tilted, and the spine has creases on it, I will immediately contact the seller for a refund. If I'm in a secondhand bookstore, or at Goodwill, and see a book in this condition, I will not buy it, no matter how cheap it is.

The above pics are of a book I recently bought on eBay, and got a refund for. The seller said I didn't need to return it, so I'm donating it to Goodwill soon. Then I will buy another copy of the very same book, one that is NOT tilted, and has NO spine creases. Lol.

I'm also including pics of a mass market paperback from my personal library, which I read some time ago. The book's title is Blood Rights, and you can find my review of it HERE. (This is proof that I have, indeed, read it, lol.) I've owned if for five years, as you will see from one of the photos below. This book not only looks brand new, but I have even laminated it. I do this with books I especially love, whether they're trade paperbacks, hardcovers (I laminate the dust jacket), or mass market paperbacks. See the pics below. (The surface you see in all of the pictures in this post is the top of the lap desk I use with my laptop.)


The two photos below show that the spine is neither creased nor tilted.


The photos below show how I make a paperback book MINE (whether it's a mass market or trade). I print my complete name on the inside front cover, along with the year in which I bought the book, and then I laminate it. (I don't have the time or the money to do this with each and every paperback I own, but I at least put my name and year of purchase on each. Besides, I laminate only those books that I'm especially fond of.)

As you can see, I treat printed books -- no matter how cheap the edition -- as the treasures they truly are!

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  


  1. Another interesting post that goes into all sorts of intriguing directions Maria.

    I would not fold book covers back. The difference between bibliophile and bookworm is very interesting. In recent years, though I have taken care of my books, I have not really acted like a bibliophile as I have embraced ebooks. With that, I look at collecting books as a great thing that I would like to do. I have not devoted the time and energy to it. So I guess I can be labeled as a non - bibliophile who admires bibliophiles.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks for the good word!! :) :)

      Even before you stated that, I figured you wouldn't. I think you love books enough that you wouldn't do something like this! :)

      I've had to read ebooks myself, although I wouldn't say that I have embraced them, exactly. I see them more as sort of "a necessary evil". They do save me money, and, if I'm at a place where a printed book would not be a convenient thing to carry (like the beauty salon, when I'm getting my hair colored), they do serve a purpose. But, of course, I will NEVER love them. I will never prefer them to printed books.

      It appears to me that you have quite a lot of books, so I would say you are indeed a bibliophile. Perhaps, though, you're not quite as obsessed about buying books as I am. Lol. Any time I visit a department store, I always check to see if they carry books. If they don't, then I'm not interested in that store. LOL.

      Amber @ The Literary Phoenix (she's in the blog hop linkup) mentioned, in her answer to this question, that some of her paperbacks have gotten damaged by being carried around in her purse. I have found this to be true myself, so I'm no longer doing this. You would think a book would be safe inside a purse, right? Unfortunately, no. Objects inside the purse can bump against it, creating dents. Also, the edges can become worn. Incredible, right? This is another way that an ebook can be much more convenient, ironically enough!

      I think that most of us bookworms are also bibliophiles. It's just that some of us are more obsessed about collecting (i.e., hoarding) books! Lol.

      Hope you have a great weekend, too! Thanks for the great comment!! <3 :)

  2. Another marvelous post by you, Maria.

    Excellent the photos especially the one showing how you put your imprint on the book and make it your own.

    Love the definitions too.

    Thanks as always for a well-thought-out answer. You said it would be "meaty," and it definitely is.



    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      Awwww....THANKS!!! Yeah, I ALWAYS do my best to have interesting posts, with plenty of information, if applicable.

      I'm glad you love the photos!! <3 <3 I wanted to show how AWFUL creased spines look, as well as tilted books! And the photos showing how I make a book my own show just how MUCH I LOVE printed books!! I added something to this part of the post, though: the fact that I have neither the time nor the money to laminate ALL of my paperbacks -- be they mass market or trade. I do this with certain favorites, though.

      Glad you love the definitions, too!! There's indeed a difference between a bookworm and a bibliophile. They're not the same. However, I would say that many, if not most, of us bookworms are also bibliophiles.

      Yeah, I do try to create "meaty" posts! Lol. I am just incapable of writing short posts, lol. However, sometimes I do write shorter ones. :)

      (As you can see, I also LOVE to write LOOOOONG comments!! Hee, hee!!! :) :)

      Thanks so much for your always LOVELY comments!! HUGS!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    2. I agree that most of us are both bookworms and bibliophiles. :)

  3. I don't buy mass market paperbacks if I can help it because the previous books will only get hurt. :'(

    1. Hi, Steph!

      I do buy them, but, as you can see from this post, I take VERY good care of them! Lol. In fact, they STILL look BRAND NEW even after I have finished reading them.

      I'm not sure what you mean, though, when you say that "the previous books will only get hurt". Could you explain this? <3 <3

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. Great discussion post, Maria! I hope you are well.

    I like the think of myself more as a book dragon rather than a bookworm. It's semantics really, I suppose, but I like the image better. I like to think books give me wings to fly, however (which is why I prefer book dragon to bookwrym). While I tend to treat my books very well, I've been known to fold the cover all the way back if it's a used book with an already severely creased cover. I have nothing against used books that look used. I don't even mind writing in them (like footprints through the pages). Although, I tend to use pencil if I do it myself. My first choice though would be to write in my reading journal or use a post it note to mark a page over writing in it. Writing in a book is a last resort for me. But I'm not above it, and I don't look down on anyone who does it. I also dog ear on occasion. Especially my poetry books when I come across a poem that moves me. While I am very picky about who I loan books to (and I have rules), I do loan them. And I do give books away from time to time.

    I used to be more strict with my books, taking great care with them, wanting them to appear brand new at all cost, dreading loaning them out--but somehow in recent years that has changed for me. I am definitely more about the reading, the story, the life and heart inside the cover rather than the book as an object itself. Maybe it is in part because I appreciate books in all forms--audio, e-books, and physical books.

    I still collect physical books and have a huge collection of them. I am always careful with a book that is not mine--although I rarely borrow books.

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      What I most like about you is that you LOVE writing long comments just as much as I do!! Lol. I enjoy reading and writing such comments, because it's almost as if I were having an actual conversation with other bloggers! :) :)

      (NOTE: It turns out that this comment is MUCH too long, so the system will not accept it. I have therefore divided it into two parts. LOL.)

      It's interesting that you've mentioned you prefer the term "book dragon" to "bookworm". I recently bought myself a T-shirt with these words on it, but had to return it, as it was too small.

      Here's the link:

      I agree that this term is MUCH better than "bookworm"! Lol. It must have come into use very recently, as this was the first time I had ever heard it.

      Then I bought myself another, oversized T-shirt, with the saying, "It's not HOARDING, it's a LIBRARY." LOL. I wanted a T-shirt to sleep in, so I made SURE this one would be too big for me! Lol. I bought it on Amazon.

      Here's the link:

      I could go back and get the book dragon shirt in an Extra Large, but, the one I had to return was a LARGE. So it seems to run small. It's too bad, since I LOVE this shirt....

      (MORE COMING.....)


      I have at times received a book with a heavily creased spine from either eBay or Amazon. As soon as I open the package and see that, I initiate a refund process. Then I order the same book from another seller. I just can't stand to read a book in this condition! You know, from this post, how much that bothers me! Lol.

      As for writing in books, that's another no-no for me. I do have one book I've written in, but I made sure to get a second copy of it, one that is totally PRISTINE. Both are laminated, too. Then, one day, I saw a rip in the plastic covering this second book. So I bought a THIRD one, which I ALSO laminated. Yeah, I guess I'm OBSESSED. Lol. This is the only book I've done this with, though. Obviously, it could get VERY expensive if I did this with every book I wanted to write in! So I think that I will definitely need to get myself a book journal in the VERY near future.

      In case you're curious about this book I've mentioned, it's titled "Personal Power Through Awareness", by Sanaya Roman. It's a New Age, nonfiction book that I read some time back. My review is listed on my "Book REviews" page. I found this book to be totally FASCINATING, although I disagreed with some of the opinions expressed. Thus the note-writing inside the book.

      Needless to say, I don't fold page corners, either. I always use a bookmark. In a pinch, I'll use a receipt, or a scrap piece of paper.

      As you know from this post, I do prefer to have my books look as new as possible after I finish reading them. It's interesting that you used to be this way, but have changed in recent years. The only change I've gone through is that I've gotten even MORE obsessive about keeping my books in PRISTINE condition! Lol.

      One change I've gone through is that I've come to grudgingly accept ebooks. I now see them as "a necessary evil", haha! They can at times be convenient. Plus, they tend to be cheaper than printed books although that's not always the case. I REFUSE to spend more than $4.99 on an ebook. The only exception is that I do have an ebook copy of "Twilight", which I bought for $6.99. (Of course, I also have several copies of the ENTIRE series, in different printed formats.)

      I'm not much into audiobooks. I do have all of the books in The Twilight Saga on audiobook, though. I wanted to enjoy the books again in that format. But I won't start a book in that format. The printed format is ALWAYS my preferred one!

      Of course, I don't lend out my books. I did that once, back in high school, with my copy of "Jane Eyre". When I got it back, it was in TERRIBLE condition. I promised myself, "Never again!" Lol. And, if I borrow a book myself, it's merely for the purpose of dipping into it to see if I might want to own it. Recently, I borrowed three books from one of my brothers-in-law. After checking them out more thoroughly at home, I decided I wanted my own copy of each, and promptly ordered them all from Amazon. Of course, I returned his copies right away.

      While I am VERY careful with my own books, different readers have different ways of handling theirs. As long as we all revere the process of reading, then we all win! I just need to go on being the way I am with books, as it makes me VERY happy!!

      Thanks for such a WONDERFUL, thoughtful comment, Wendy!! HUGS TO YOU AND MOUSE!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  5. I try not to do it either! I like keeping my books in the best condition I can. But I don't care much if others do it. Happy reading!

    My Book Blogger Hop!

    1. Hi, Heather!

      Oh, ABSOLUTELY!! I just can't treat books carelessly. It's the way I am. Other people might be okay with it, but not me. To each their own, though. It makes me VERY HAPPY to keep my books in PRISTINE condition!

      Happy reading to you, too!! Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

  6. very interesting! I had not thought about it or noticed it until you mentioned Maria. I don't do it but you are right, many people do! I'm not sure whether it is ok or not since they own them but I don't like it :)

    1. Hi, Daniela!

      Oh, I've noticed it on several occasions, like when I visit a used bookstore, and see books with heavily-creased and tilted spines sitting on the shelves. I've also received several such books through orders on eBay and Amazon. I always request a refund, as well as a prepaid return shipping label! Lol. Darned if I'm gonna go stand in line at the post office and PAY to return one of these books!! Lol.

      Yeah, I guess people are free to do whatever they want with their books, but, if I see someone actually doing this, I can't help but CRINGE. UGH.

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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