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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Is It Okay To Convert A Book Into Something Else?




While attending an art and jewelry show on a beautiful spring day outdoors, I came across a booth selling pocketbooks that were converted from books.  They’d shell the interior of the book and just use the hardcover casing to form the majority of the bag.  I am not sure if I loathe or adore the idea.

One is at first drawn to this creative repurposing of old books but then it hits you that a book should get reused by sharing it with others.  To recycle a book doesn’t mean to pulp its paper for new books.  It means to get it in the hands of those who would use and value it.

But this business is smart.  In the process of separating a book’s content from its cover, it managed to do two things.  First, it rebound the pages in a hard cover, thus preserving the book if one wants to read it.  Second, by creating a bag out of the book cover it serves as a wonderful way to advertise a book and promote the love of books.

We do many things with our books.  Some we sell to used bookstores, giving them a second chance at life.  Others we donate, hoping they land with a curious reader.  Some we store in boxes, trunks, and in drawers, never to be seen again until many years later.  Those that are stored in bookcases may gather dust or get referred to from time to time.

But some get destroyed – accidentally by water damage, fire, sun, age, or dogs.  Some books are stolen or lost.  A handful are traded or shared with others.  And some just get used for art (people mount a book cover in a frame) or are chopped up like this crafts owner did to make bags out of them.

I’m fine with underlining pages in a book or even tearing out pages.  If that’s what will help the reader to enjoy and make use of a book then that’s great.  We need to like our books  - not just buy and collect them and house them like an antique or a collector’s item.  Books, first and foremost, should be useful, living things that breathe fresh thoughts and ideas into the slumbering minds of society.

The one things I can’t understand or justify is when someone throws a book away.  There’s no reason to destroy a chance at another getting enjoyment or obtaining knowledge from the reading of a book.  I also don’t understand book burnings.  Censors be damned.  All books deserve the protection of free speech.  We can’t destroy ideas or deny experiences or dismiss viewpoints by burning a book.  You can speak out against a book, an idea, a viewpoint – but never destroy one’s right to read and learn.

Books, to be clear, are not to be seen as any other product, like a bicycle, chair or espresso machine.  They can have a long shelf life – literally – if we preserve them and coddle them.  We should be gentle with our books, making sure they land a home where they’ll be read, quoted, displayed, and shared with others, over and over.  They are precious gifts to us.  Don’t let them get destroyed, mistreated, or forgotten.  You carry the legacy of any book that you come into contact with.  You live the words that you read – in your deeds and in your own words.  

Will you let a book end up as a pocketbook or will you preserve that book in your pocket?

“The book is a resilient and adaptable medium of communication. 
--James A. Billington, The Librarian of Congress

“I cannot live without books.”
--Thomas Jefferson

“Book are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

--Henry David Thoreau

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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