Saturday, February 18, 2006

Q&A: Saving grace for saving your place

Q: What’s the best way to save my place in a book?

A: Let’s start with the way not to save your place – folding over the corner of the page. It’s called a "dog ear," and it’s not good to do to a book just as it's not good to do to a dog. In addition, it reduces the value of the book.

I’m happy to say there are many better ways to save your place:

  1. There’s the really inexpensive way – shove a piece of paper between the pages. It can be any piece of scrap lying around the room, or it can be a flyer, handout, or envelope. Just keep it thin and free of grease, oil, or ink that could taint the page.
  2. Sometimes the bookstore will give you a paper bookmark, often in the form of an ad with store location, phone number, Web address, and hours. It will save your place as easily as any other method.
  3. Bookstores also usually sell more ornate bookmarks made of varying materials like metal, paper, plastic. The best ones are laminated (to avoid tainting a page and to keep it nice looking). Metal will hold up nicely, but they can be thick (which could bend or curve pages) and they sometimes are made to attach, which will mark or damage the page. Some also will stick to the page, which could leave a smudge or other taint mark.
  4. Ornate bookends make nice gifts and will usually serve the reader for some time. They’re available in lots of different styles, enough really to suit any reader’s personality or interest. Consider giving one for a birthday, anniversary, Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah, summer vacation, or at the same time you give that person a book.

More page-savers to avoid
I would also avoid using paper clips, alligator clips, page markers, or anything else not specifically designed for use in a book or that otherwise marks up a page.

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