An Ode to The Dog-Earrers

I'm a self-professed book worm, but I stand apart from a majority of bibliophiles in one respect - dog-earring pages. I've heard countless people revile the dog-earrer, the person who, by turning down the corner of a page, marks the whole beautiful book, renders its pristine perfection obsolete. I, for one, would like to make an argument to the contrary.

I ear-mark pages like no one else I know. I don't like to mar my books with notes in the margins unless they're for strictly academic purposes. Instead most of the thoughts that a particular volume generates in my mind are likely to find life on a blog post, within the pages of a notebook, or in a Word document filed away on my computer. But while it is highly unlikely that you'll find me notating the margins of library books, I love to revisit passages that were particularly well-put, enlightening, or poignant. A well-phrased sentence is to one of the highest forms of art and I have a profound appreciation for this type of accomplishment. So I dog-ear the pages containing noteworthy passages in order to allow myself the opportunity to revisit these words again and again.

I have plenty of books on my bookshelf that are particularly thick at the corners from folding and prodding - and I like them that way. A well-worn book is as comforting to me as a warm fire around the holidays. I find great beauty in the ways a book can wear its love, especially when that expression of love was demonstrated by a reader other than myself. And this is why I love dog-earred library books. I love to imagine who was the previous reader and what made them fold down the corner of a particular page with such care. Were they, like me, the type of reader to fold important passages in lieu of annotating a volume that did not belong to them? Or did they simply use the ear-mark as a sort of bookmark, a method of picking up exactly where they left off? And if so, why this particular point - were they growing bored with the story or was it simply time to make dinner, answer a phone call, or doze off for the night?

To some, these ponderings probably sound like a waste of time, if not entirely antiquated in a day and age when libraries are increasingly unpopular and more words than ever are printed on screens rather than tangible pages. But I hope that at least a small few of you out there will understand what I mean. Maybe you hate dog-earrers (sorry!) but maybe you can appreciate a well-loved book, the musty smell of   old volumes and the struggle of deciphering a stranger's long-ago notes in the margin. Maybe you have a love of words and find strength, joy, and clarity in revisiting them again and again, as do I. If nothing else, I hope that those anti-dog-earrers out there can recognize my behavior as a sign of love and affection, of being engaged and provoked by a book, rather than one done in ignorance and lending itself only to imperfection.


  1. You are the first one I know who dog-ears pages in a book... Me, I can't do it.. I have always had a bookmark- nothing fancy, scrap of paper, receipt, or post it...

  2. always been a dog-earrer, for the most part purely out of my inability to keep hold of a bookmark! I do mark special pages, occasionally though. I'm not so much a margin writer as an underliner!

  3. I have dog-earred books, but mostly I love those little sticky flags when I want to save a passage or recipe, I underline it or make a note beside it and flag it. I respect the library books (I work there after all), but my own books (which I have a lot of) I mark up at will. I actually like to buy used books that have notations on pages, I love reading what other people thought or taking note of where they have underlined something (thought maybe I was the only one who enjoyed that).


  4. Yes, I dog-ear books, but only my own. I sort and shelve books every week at a charity thrift shop, and all kinds of books pass through my hands. It is evident which books were well loved and read and which ones just sat on someone's shelf. The folded down pages, inscriptions and notes written inside a book only give it more personality as far as I'm concerned. :)

  5. I am a dog-earrer too. I underline all the time and I love worn covers and broken spines. I think all this wear shows how much the book is loved. It's evidence of the history between me and the book.

    One thing I have trouble with, however, is lending my books out to other people. I'm afraid I'd never get them back!


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