An ode to the bookmark

I’ve said it many times before: arguing the merits of hard copy books versus e-books is pointless and futile. It’s a religious argument no one will win. It makes as much sense as trying to change someone’s mind in an internet discussion. It has never happened in the history of the universe and is unlikely to in the future.

This question is simply a matter of taste that I wrote about a while back HERE. Each format has significant advantages. Each solves some problems and introduces others. (A perfect illustration of “Rick’s Law of Conservation of Woes“.) Your opinion on the matter will depend largely on how you prioritize those different factors.

One indisputable fact, however, is that the e-book (or Ebook or eBook or E-book or e-Book – another religious argument) spells the inevitable, sad demise of the beloved bookmark. The honest truth is that no one really needs a book mark. Tear off the end of an empty envelope or extra note paper and, Voila!, you have a bookmark. But this isn’t about practicality. Bookmarks, I maintain, are an art form in and of themselves, the perfect compliment to a work of literature.

As I write, there are a couple dozen examples ensconced in my nightstand drawer, in addition to several currently stuck in books I’m reading or otherwise referencing. They range from simple, unpretentious but sentimentally valuable ones my children made when they were actually children to a delicate filigree golden leaf suspended from a purple ribbon. The others are all over the place: charitable groups and businesses (especially bookstores) I support, gifts from friends and family, mementos of places I’ve been.

Some are simple cardboard, laminated or not. A couple are fabric: one a handmade article I bought in Haiti, another adorned with an inspirational scripture verse. One is a leather keepsake from a friend’s wedding. (The couple is still happily married. Good books inspire good relationships.)

I’ve probably used 10% of the bookmarks I have, but I can’t bear to throw any out. Their value goes way beyond their utility. I’ll probably keep collecting them as long as I breathe.

What can I say? I like bookmarks.


[I could go on about this topic, but felt the need cut it short so I could get something onto the blog ASAP. It’s been four months since the last entry. I have good reasons for such a long gap. I’ve been working on a documentary, writing two books, and making a video for a friend. I’ll try to do better in the future, if I ever finish any of those other projects.]

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