Monday, June 11, 2007

PSA: How to Open a Book

If you buy old books, then occasionally you'll come across a book that is unopened: Pages are joined with the next at the top or bottom. God forbid that the book remain unread, a mere collector's item, but it must be opened! In eagerness I once ripped a page of an old collection of Belloc essays. I will not do the same with my newly acquired Life of Johnson.

Here, courtesy of the Tappin Book Mine, are the needed instructions:

unopened: A state where the book's pages at the fore edge and/or top are still joined from the folding. This cannot occur if the book has been properly cut(See: uncut). At one time many books were issued unopened, and it is not uncommon to find older books still in this pristine state.

A rare book that is unopened may be considerably more valuable than that same book opened. Therefore, one should consider carefully before opening a book. Of course, you cannot read a book that is unopened, at least not in its entirety.

NOTE: If you wish to "Open" a book in order to read it, DO NOT USE A VERY SHARP BLADE TO OPEN IT. Use something like a letter opener, and gently TEAR the fold, DO NOT CUT THE FOLD. You may find it useful to sharpen the crease at the fold before you attempt to open it. Don't use your finger to open a book, either. That is guaranteed to result in a book that is "Badly Opened", with rough, ragged tears that extend into the page. At one time, Gentlemen carried a "Paperknife" to open books.

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