I like used book stores and libraries because when you enter and look around, you get the sense that the books have been read and enjoyed before. The books almost have a kind of “history” within them. It amuses me when I open a book and find out that notes have been scribbled in the margins, or a previous reader has written a commentary on how stupid he thought the characters are. I even found one book where a spoiler was written on the first page. And of course, there are all those books that have been scribbled on by little kids. And all those books that have had pages torn out. One time, I checked Stephen King’s Insomnia out of the library, and was about midway through the book when I noticed ten pages were missing. The book was so fat I never would have noticed the ten pages were missing… and I have never picked the book back up, even though I have my own copy now.
I’ve found airplane tickets, movie tickets, shopping lists, random notes, and of course, bookmarks inside books. Buying a book in a used book store or checking one out of the library to find that it has a bookmark in it is like getting an added bonus, especially if the bookmark is really neat.
I’m guilty of leaving things in books for others to find. In my freshman year of high school, my class had to read Lord of the Flies, which I thought was an incredibly awesome novel. The copies of Lord of the Flies that were loaned to my class were beaten up and falling apart from having been used for so many semesters. there was a lot of history within those pages, mostly students writing notes in which they griped about how much they hated the book. So I wrote a note on a sheet of paper, addressed it to the next student who would pick up the book, folded it, and stuck it in the middle of the pages. I don’t remember a word the note said, but I definitely did not include any spoilers.
And that is one of the reasons why I prefer paper books to Kindles or other electronic reading devices. The sense of history. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a nerd. 🙂