Disclaimer – All images courtesy of Google. I do not own any of the images used in this post. 

I know a lot of people don’t really care about the condition of their books or fret over how someone else may handle it, but to the 10% of us even unnecessarily flipping the pages will reward you with the stink eye. Here are 9 things you don’t do with a borrowed book! (or atleast my books) :

1. Dog-ear the pages.
Ever heard of a thing called “bookmark”? Yes? USE  IT! And stop being aesthetic with your triangular creases on my book pages. Some people shamelessly fold the edges to continue from where they stopped the last time. Here’s an idea, if you are that interested in the book – remember where you left off! Or atleast be humble and use a bill to mark the page.

2. Write on it.
No, you don’t need to leave sticky notes or highlighted segments in my own book. I know how to appreciate a good text without you having to draw circles or lines to help me remember. Also if you’re the kind to scribble phone numbers or reminders on any available surface, carry a notepad please. I’m really not interested in finding out what you’ve been upto lately through the careless scrawls on my book.

3. Lend it to someone else.
There’s no need to “share the book-love”. I am parting with my book so that you may enjoy it, aren’t I? That’s more than enough of sharing I can deal with. Now if you go behind my back and lend my book to someone else, don’t expect to have a merciful death!

4. Eat or drink while reading.
Spare the book and be multitasking some other time. While you are reading, keep them hands away from anything that could possibly spill and leave a stain on the pages. I don’t want to have to decipher words through gravy splotches or watered down letters.

5. Lose the book.
You DO NOT borrow my book, if there’s even the slightest chance that you are so aloof, you don’t realize you lost a book, a three dimensional object in your possession. Given the minute case that you do indeed lose it, be smart about it, buy the same copy and return it to me without a word. Feeling honest and open? You might as well bring a coffin with my copy of the book!

6. Take forever to read & return it.
I may have been patient enough to read that 600 paged volume, but that’s where my patience ends. If you think you can borrow my book and subtly make it a part of your bare minimum collection, then think again. I will hunt you down, if I have to, for even the thin comic that you took and never returned. When I say, “please return it soon”, I don’t think I meant two months. More like two weeks, and that’s if I am feeling generous or you are just a nice person.

7. Peel the plastic over the book cover.
Some people have this infuriating habit of picking at the plastic layering on the surface of book covers. They are there for a reason. And no, it doesn’t make the cover look anymore beautiful. So stop with the exploring! How would you feel if I were to run my nails against your skin, hoping to peel or scrape all that’s on the surface. Surely you have more than one layer of skin, right? So that should be okay, right? Pfft.

8. Crack the spine.
Book spines rank top in one of the things why we pay extra for a fancy cover. I like to be able to read the name of the book and author when it’s stacked on my bookshelf. Unnecessarily flipping through the book or stretching the pages wide apart (just because you can) will leave these horrible cracks from top to bottom of the spine. I’m sure you aren’t awaiting the day you are all bony and crinkly skinned, neither are these books.

9. Damage it in any other way.
While I’ve covered almost all the major ways people might be neglectful and stupid with respect to a borrowed book, there are those artsy ones who manage to capture a bug in between the pages or even return it with a rather thick smattering of dust. What did you do? Wait for Tinkerbell to spread fairy dust? Oh wait, did you like the depth of narration in page 112? Is that why you decided to rip it out for your convenience? Come on, be nice to my book. Atleast as nice as you expect me to be with you!

So that’s that. Next time you want to borrow a book, keep these in mind. Its really not nice to have to buy another copy of the same book because some idiot friend didn’t care for it enough. Also, we don’t like to be bitter about such things, after all we are book-lovers (the best kind of lovers in the world, really). Hence be thoughtful and let’s all just live in a happy world filled with books.

– Meera

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