BOOKS: Handle with care | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 01, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 01, 2019

BOOKS: Handle with care

A new trend in the world of literature is the availability of bookstores which have their own reading areas. Essentially, you can take a book off their shelves, and sit down at your leisure and read to your heart’s content.

With more of these types of book stores popping up in Bangladesh, a point that comes to mind is how to handle books. It doesn’t just have to apply to books you read in the store, in fact, it would be useful to follow these unspoken rules when handling your own personal collection.

As pompous as this might sound, book handling etiquettes are a basic form of respect, mostly in the case of books you are only reading in the store, and are yet to purchase. These are copies that will, in the future, be purchased by someone else. Therefore, treating it with care and respect is a basic courtesy.

That’s why I want to introduce everyone to some common book handling etiquettes that you should familiarise yourself with for future reference.

Be gentle

Don’t just take books out of their shelves or return them to their original spots carelessly. You might end up damaging both the one you took, as well as its neighbour. Treat them with care and caution. Don’t just yank it out off its place on a shelf or a pile with no concern.

Open carefully

If you’re one of those people that likes to spread open a book over a table and read to your heart’s content, more power to you. But buy the book first, then do whatever you want with it. And don’t let another bibliophile know what you’re doing. Doing so usually damages the spine, and doing that to a book someone else might purchase is just mean.

Don’t eat and read

These bookstores sometimes have their own cafeteria that serves tea/coffee and snacks. This might lead you to grab a shingara and eat while you read the borrowed book. However, the oil residue on your hands will damage the pages and the cover of the book in question. And let’s not begin to talk about coffee stains on a page.

Bending is bad

Do not, under any circumstance, bend the cover. Anyone buying the book will usually look at the condition of the cover first. If they wanted something with a damaged cover, they’d go to Nilkhet and buy a secondhand book instead of paying a premium for a brand new book with creases all over the cover. Sometimes, damaged books get stuck in stores forever as no one wants to buy them.

You might ask why you should be careful when handling a few hundred printed pages bound together. But it’s a piece of art. Someone put their heart and soul into writing their book and getting it published, and someone out there will someday pay good money to buy it.

So the least you could do is be considerate enough to handle the book with care, mostly when you’re getting the privilege of reading it for free.


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