Hold That Page: Do You Use a Bookmark?

As an English teacher and avid reader, friends, family, and students often give me book-themed gifts.  To that end, I’ve amassed quite a collection of bookmarks. 

I have traditional paper bookmarks with images of Shakespeare or flowers emblazoned on them; I have ribbon bookmarks with beads and trinkets dangling from the end; I have metal bookmarks that are essentially ornate paperclips.  What I’m trying to say is that I have whole drawers (or draws as we say in Jersey) full of bookmarks.

So, are you ready for the punchline, or did you see it coming from a mile off? 

I rarely, if ever, use any of the bookmarks.  Usually, I  grab whatever’s handy to mark my place–a ponytail holder, a bill, a stray piece of grosgrain ribbon, or even a dollar or coin. 

I’m not sure why I don’t use my bookmarks–maybe because I don’t have them handy when I’m reading?  What I can tell you is that under no circumstances will I dog-ear a page or leave the book open to my page, face down, in a cruel, spine breaking Russian-split.  (I can hear the book screaming in agony and protest!)

I’m not persnickety when it comes to marking my pages and will grab whatever’s handy…but how about YOU?  Are you a spine-breaker?  A dog-ear-er?  Or do you have a favorite bookmark that you just can’t live without?


  • At 2009.03.20 00:40, bybee said:

    I’m a bookmark user and collector. I dog-eared for years though…till I was 20 or 21. Now I shudder at the idea.
    Anything can be a bookmark…often it’s movie tickets.
    My good friend went to Japan for holiday and brought me back an exquisitely painted balsa-wood bookmark.

    • At 2009.03.20 02:16, claire said:

      I never dog-ear, too. I will use anything nearby for a bookmark, usually grocery receipts. But for the most part I use bookmarks of bookish ads that I get from libraries. I have favourites, depending on the content of the bookmark. I don’t like embellished bookmarks, or anything that isn’t completely flat, and I don’t like anything that isn’t paper, as I fear they might damage the pages.

      • At 2009.03.20 02:30, Anne said:

        Usually I use about anything…like you. I’ve used hair ties, candy wrappers, paper scraps..etc. I only dog-ear when I REALLY can’t find anything…or if I’m in bed and too lazy, and even then sometimes I’ll just do my best to remember the page number or find a good chapter stopping point. I do love pretty bookmarks, though.

        • At 2009.03.20 03:09, emma said:

          I do it all. I dog-ear (gasp!), but only to paperbacks that I’m not enjoying. I’m a spine breaker. I have a handful of pretty bookmarks, none of which I use. The book receipt tends to be what holds my place most often, or a hardcover’s jacket.

          • At 2009.03.20 07:50, Stephanie of Stopbouncing said:

            T.P. makes a good bookmark.

            I do not dogear as I feel it’s book abuse (plus, I borrow books and feel like I should return them in the same state of which they’re lent).

            My mom got me a magnetic one so you could mark exactly where you left off. I used it for a while and then it got lost in the bed. 🙁
            Right now, I’m using my brass “friends” one. I also have one with a penguin on it.

            • At 2009.03.20 09:11, Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) said:

              i love bookmarks, but i really need to keep post-its near me more often to mark passages…because without them I either have to remember the page number of the passage or dog-ear the page…which I hate doing.

              • At 2009.03.21 14:53, natalie said:

                yep, movie tickets here too. anything handy, really.

                • At 2009.03.20 10:09, Emily said:

                  funny that your rating system is bookmarks when you don’t actually USE bookmarks…haha 🙂 I do usually use a bookmark. At one point I had a huge collection of them, but somewhere along the way I lost most of them. Now I use either some cardstock ones with pretty paper that I got for a couple bucks on etsy.com (there are some really cute ones on there!) or a small, narrow metal one with the quote “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” on it.

                  • At 2009.03.21 14:51, natalie said:

                    i’ve gone the grocery receipt route myself. and movie ticket stubs…

                    • At 2009.03.23 11:01, mariah said:

                      with a 15 yr old and a 2 month old…sometimes the place where tp is most handy is the only piece of solitude i get to actually read. there is no shame in my game…i’m a bathroom reader! so if you borrow a book from me, it’s most likely been flagged. lol

                      • At 2009.03.20 10:31, erinstraza said:

                        I use unlined index cards as bookmarks, mostly b/c as I’m reading I tend to jot notes or words of interest (or my grocery list or a call I need to make). I have stacks of index cards about the house—in the kitchen drawer, at my desk, in my purse—always handy for when I start a new read.

                        • At 2009.03.21 14:53, natalie said:

                          candy wrappers-ha! i’m guilty as charged.

                          • At 2009.03.20 10:57, mariah said:

                            no dog earing…no spine breaking…just one square of TP (2 at most).

                            • At 2009.03.21 14:50, natalie said:

                              i burn paperbacks that i don’t enjoy. no, just teasing!

                              • At 2009.03.20 13:32, Cathy said:

                                Mother the Librarian trained me well. No book abuse in this household, and I always use a bookmark–usually a magnetic one so I don’t have to worry about fall-out. I normally have a small batch of post-it flags as well, which I use to mark passages.

                                • At 2009.03.21 14:49, natalie said:

                                  again, i hesitate to ask why TP is so handy…

                                  • At 2009.03.20 13:43, pannonica said:

                                    I either use bookmarks or attempt to remember the stopping point. I never dog-ear and avoid using improvised items (especially toilet paper, which is just too wispy and sloppy).

                                    Bookmarks in my quiver: I have a couple of composite artsy things from MOMA that I use most often. I also know how to origami-fold a nifty deltoid “cap” that sits unobtrusively on a page’s corner.

                                    PannieTip™ The best free bookmarks are paint samples from the hardware store. If you always have a selection on hand, you can pick one that color-coordinates with your current read.

                                    nat says: sometimes i play the memory game too–try to remember where i left off without a marker. usually it ends in frustration and me skimming a bunch of pages.

                                    • At 2009.03.21 14:48, natalie said:

                                      it physically pains me to dog ear. seriously. i always feel so guilty. when i was a kid i dog-ear-ed with abandon. today, not so much.

                                      • At 2009.03.20 15:06, Connie said:

                                        Gasp…Guilty as charged…but never to library books or to books that don’t belong to me. I also have been known to write in the margins esp. with book club selections. I have a lovely collection of bookmarks…never can find them. Use a post it note lots of times. or those darn inserts that fall out of magazines.

                                        • At 2009.03.21 14:47, natalie said:

                                          i know, the irony hadn’t escaped me. 🙂

                                          • At 2009.03.20 21:07, J.C. Montgomery said:

                                            I use an envelope holder thingy…and yes, I’m sure thet’s the technical term…to hold all of mine.

                                            I have that many to ensure that there is always a colorful and diverse selection available as, and don’t laugh, to match the book I’m reading.

                                            Okay, you can giggle if you like, but I am one that has this thing about the bookmark matching the cover of whatever I’m reading at the time.

                                            I see a bookmark not only as a useful tool but an accessory. And I have no clue why.

                                            • At 2009.03.21 14:45, natalie said:

                                              i’m afraid to ask why TP is so handy when you need to mark your page. i’m not even going to go there.

                                              • At 2009.03.21 14:43, natalie said:

                                                what exactly is an evelope holder thingy? i’m trying to imagine. as for bookmarks matching books–who am i to judge? i organize my bookshelves by COLOR. ha.

                                                • At 2009.03.21 14:40, debbie said:

                                                  You should hear the arguments that occur around my house about this very subject. We are all such book lovers and we argue about who is breaking a spine, who is using something they shouldn’t for a bookmark, etc. I love to use one. I just have to get one out when I get the book out!

                                                  • At 2009.03.21 14:46, natalie said:

                                                    i like the index card idea–this way i can keep notes on the books i’m reviewing. good suggestion!

                                                    • At 2009.03.21 14:42, natalie said:

                                                      once, in desperation, i used a tweezer for a bookmark and my husband shambled me. he told me i was damaging the spine and the pages. 🙂

                                                      • At 2009.03.21 14:45, natalie said:

                                                        i’m going to have to dig up my magnetic ones–i think i have some with little frogs on them. but i have no idea where i put them…

                                                        • At 2009.03.21 15:41, bermudaonion said:

                                                          Thanks for sending me the link to your blog! I love it. I’m a bookmark girl.

                                                          • At 2009.03.22 10:34, Hayden Tompkins said:

                                                            I usually try to remember the page and, if that doesn’t work, I flip through to the last part of the story that I remember. It’s no big deal and it takes less than a minute to find my place.

                                                            My father once reamed me out for dog earing pages and I never did it again.

                                                            • At 2009.03.22 14:16, Holley said:

                                                              no dogeared pages for me either…lately I have gravitated towards the magnetic bookmarks. If I don’t have one available, then I use a scrap of whatever flat thing is nearby…it’s funny how many of us use movie ticket stubs for the same thing 🙂

                                                              • At 2009.03.22 21:00, pannonica said:

                                                                Get this: I never highlighted or wrote in my college textbooks. When I returned them to the bookstore they looked new.

                                                                • At 2009.03.23 00:14, kittykay said:

                                                                  Mainly my bookmarks are either free bookmarks I received in a bookshop, or some receipts. I rarely let the book open, mainly because I hate to break their spine, but also because I tend to drop it and the lose the page. Arg!

                                                                  • At 2009.03.23 01:03, Planet Books said:

                                                                    Dogearing is bad, bad, bad. I use random bookmarks that I get out of O Magazine or from authors/publicists when they send me books. My favorite bookmark lately has been a bookmark I got from the Metropolitan Opera in a mailing. Also, on the Kindle bookmarking is very easy I don’t have to worry about a physical bookmark falling out.

                                                                    • At 2009.03.23 05:29, Susan from WhelanFlynn said:

                                                                      For books I’m reviewing, I use the media release form. That way I have something handy to write any notes.

                                                                      For general reading, no bookmarks for me at all. I usually have a couple of books going at a time and I can generally find where I am up to reasonably quickly.

                                                                      If I do resort to using something to mark my place (no dog-ears or spine-bending for me) I like something flat and usually use whatever scrap of paper I can find. Business cards are especially good.

                                                                      • At 2009.03.23 21:14, Megan said:

                                                                        Oh God — as with most things in my life, I’m totally OCD about my bookmarks. My favorite ones are thin, preferably made of cardstock or a similarly thick paper and not too long — I hate when bookmarks hang out of both ends of a book! Distasteful!

                                                                        If I’m really desperate, I use the Borders receipts or whatever to mark my place. But I’ve actually gotten to the point that I… uh… well, there’s no delicate way to say this: I carry extra bookmarks in my purse. And a blue book light. I know, I’m a freak. Let the ridicule begin! 🙂

                                                                        • […] 2, 2009 · No Comments A few months ago, I wrote a post about bookmarks in which I lamented the fact that I own dozens of bookmarks and don’t use any of them (see […]

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