Is Writing on Your Books Bad? Should You Do it?


In the US alone, more than a million books are published yearly. Countless books fall into the hands of consumers, businesses, and establishments.

These written works are collected, cherished, and even worshipped by people around the world. It would be a shame if someone defaced it, right?

Today's question is "should you writ on books"?

Writing on books is recommended if you want to retain more information and find some part of the book quicker. However, keep in mind not to write on the books you don't own.

Why Are People Hesitant to Write on Their Books?

A lot of people can be very protective of their books.

It's like owning an expensive bag or brand new clothes. You have invested money into these objects. Seeing your bag and clothes getting tarnished by stains or dirt can be disheartening.

It's the same idea as owning a book. People don't want their books to look unappealing from the inside and out, that's why they avoid scribbling on the pages.

Books that are borrowed from the library are also off-limit. These books are used by many people, so vandalizing them will not only get you in trouble, but it can be disheartening for others to see a book filled with unnecessary markings.

There is also a crowd who collects books as a hobby. Books have inherent value to these people, so writing on them can diminish that worth.

Finally, people just want to have a clean-looking book. It's more aesthetically pleasing to see your novels and textbooks having blemish-free pages.

Are There Instances When Writing on A Book is Expected and Encouraged?

Not all books are designed to only be read. Some books are published with the intent of being written on.

  • Textbooks. School textbooks, especially the ones that cater to students in elementary and middle school, have designated chapters where students are tasked to answer problems on the page. These activity sheets are either kept attached to the book or are cut off to be submitted to teachers. Students can also use the answers on these quizzes for future references.
  • Children's Activity Books. Activity books like coloring books or puzzle books encourage children to scribble on the pages to improve cognitive skills.
  • Do-it-Yourself Diaries. Some authors publish books where people can jot down words and thoughts like it is their own journal. Most of the time, these DIY diaries are tied to a franchise (ex. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book or Dork Diaries How to Dork Your Diary)
  • Adult's Activity Books. Books with word puzzles, sudoku, or word searches are books for adults where writing on the page is done. These puzzles give the brain a workout and it can help pass time.

These books are intended to be written on by people. The trend with these books is that they add value by teaching people new skills and exercising the brain.

When and Why is it Acceptable To Write On Your Book?

I have talked about books that are designed to be written on, but what about books like novels, journals, and reference books? Is there any time when it is acceptable to write on these kinds of books?

Writing on a book is acceptable if you own the book. It is highly unadvisable to write on books you have borrowed from peers or the library.

It is unethical to write on objects that you don't own because it is considered vandalism of someone's property. If you ever think of writing on a book, do so on your own copy of the book or with permission from the owner.

But let's say you have your own book. There are no rules that are stopping you from writing on your book. The only thing that is stopping you from writing is your own mindset.

Writing on your book can have some benefits. You can highlight words that you can otherwise miss, you have a place to jot down notes when you don't have a laptop or notebook, and you can even use it as a scratch paper for your wandering thoughts.

The only thing that is hindering a person from writing on their book is themselves. You bought the book that you are reading; it is now your property.

How Can I Write On My Book While Preserving it For Future Use?

There are times when we cannot hold on to our books forever. Maybe you no longer have space in your house or you just feel like it's inconvenient to keep your books as a collection.

People sell or give their books all the time, whether it's a novel, a textbook, or a limited edition of an almanac from the 80s. If you are thinking of preserving your books for other future uses, there are ways you can write on them without tarnishing the value of the book.

  • Consider writing your notes with a pencil. Pencils are erasable, so you can erase the notes you've made after you have used the book. Plus, pencils are cheap.
  • Other people use erasable pens and highlighters. Just be careful of accidentally wiping off the book's print when erasing.
  • Finally, you can experiment with invisible ink. You can hide your notes from plain sight if you use this kind of ink. This can be a little bit expensive and unnecessary, but if you are someone who loves keeping confidential notes on your books, this might be the answer.

Alternatives to Writing on A Book

If you are someone who wants to jot down notes while reading, yet does not want to tarnish their books, there are some alternatives that you can do to avoid writing on the pages.

  • Use a sticky note on your book. Write down any information you want to save on a sticky note and pin it to the page.
  • Leave a bookmark on the page. A bookmark will remind you that the page you are on holds important information.
  • Have a mini notebook with you when you read. A notebook can be your dumping place for written ideas. Alternatively, you can use your phone.

So Should I Write On My Books?

Writing on your book is a personal choice. It is not inherently bad nor good. Your book is under your ownership, so no one can judge you if you want to write on it or not.

People choose not to write on their books, either for quality, aesthetic, or just because. Whatever their choices may be, your own feelings towards writing on your book still depends on what you are used to.

Understand that your book is a special copy of a written work that you own. Whether you choose to write on it or keep it as is, it will forever be your unique copy until you give it away.

Reading next


Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.