I have a confession to make: I really love destroying my books. And by “destroy,” I mean crack their spines until they look like striped zebras. I take immense pleasure in the soft crunching sound a book makes when you stretch it’s spine just past the breaking point. (I do not, incidentally, take pleasure in the sound of other types of spines breaking.)
While the aesthetics of books with cracked spines are not the most pleasing (I prefer hardcovers with dust jackets for display), there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing a shelf full of books that are obviously well-read–or, at least, well read by me. I do not buy used books whose spines were cracked by their previous owner. It’s no fun to crack a spine that’s already been cracked.
Many readers have very strong feelings about cracked spines–some love them, some hate them and will do anything to avoid causing them. (If you’re one of the latter, you may find this handy how-to video on how to prevent cracked spines useful. If you’re one of the former, you might enjoy this video entitled “Why I Destroy My Books.”)Do you crack the spines of your books or do you prefer to leave them uncracked?Click To Tweet
Despite my penchant for cracking spines, I should note that I actually prefer paperbacks with flexible spines–i.e. the kind that won’t crack, no matter how much you bend them. This is one of the reasons why I like Modern Library’s paperback classics, even though they really need an upgrade in the cover design department. But if a spine is capable of cracking, then I will not hesitate to crack it.
One of the biggest reasons I crack my books’ spines is because it’s easier than trying to carefully tiptoe my way through the book without accidentally causing spinal damage. I want to focus on reading, not on treating the book with kid gloves. I would find that very distracting and not nearly as much fun.
Are you a spine cracker or a book preservationist? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!