I say it’s Perfectly OK To Cut Up Books
I’ll start here by saying, I absolutely love books!
Although I do sometimes read books electronically, either on my laptop or Kindle, in my humble opinion there is no better way to read a book than holding a physical book and turning actual pages.
Is it ok to cut up books? Absolutely it is! There are millions of books discarded and either recycled, burnt or sent to landfill, so cutting up books to use in craft projects gives a new and beautiful purpose to books that are at the end of their natural life.
Books Are Just Objects
Let’s all be completely honest here, there are some quite poorly written books in circulation that should, arguably, never have been written in the first place. The fact that they were written and are now in circulation, well, perhaps we are doing the world a favour by cutting them up, or covering the text up to use as art journals.
I am obviously being slightly flippant here, but generally books are just objects to be used!
Why Do Some People Feel So Strongly About Destroying A Book?
There is no doubt about it, some people really do feel it’s sacrilege to tear pages from a book, or use it in art projects such as junk journals, art journals, scrapbooking or book folding.
So much so, that people who have ‘destroyed’ a book have caused massive debates on social media about it and have even been called ‘book murderers’!
Perhaps the reason for such strong feelings towards books stems back to the 17th and 18th century when books were held on to and read over and over again becoming a treasured possession.
Although it was in the 15th century when the first printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439 making books more widely available.
Crafters That Sell Altered Books
Ask anyone who has sold altered books at craft fairs about their experiences with some people who are opposed to books being used in this way, and 99% of them will tell you that they have suffered the wrath of someone who is fighting the cause to save each and every book ever published.
I do understand it to an extent, as there are books that should be preserved and play an important role in our history.
However, some common sense really does need to come into play here!
I’m all for fighting for a good cause, but give me a raggedy old book that has no value, and I will turn it into something beautiful that I would be proud to put on display in any room of my home.
Something that people would want to pick up and talk about because it was not something they were expecting to see.
Isn’t that better than it ending up in landfill like so many others do?
Saving Content From Old Books
Many people, myself included, do try to preserve some of the content from the old books they are using to make junk journals.
There are often pages with some lovely text, so whenever I find those I will always try to incorporate them into the junk journal.
In some books there are images that can be saved and built into the theme of the journal which is always nice to be able to do.
Children’s books are wonderful to do this with, even if the original book it to worn out to be of any use, the story itself, along with the pictures can make a beautiful junk journal and helps to preserve the original book, just in a slightly different form.
If you are wondering what a junk journal is, you might find this article interesting; What Is A Junk Journal?
Do Libraries Throw Out Books?
It stands to reason that libraries are run by people who have a love of books, but do they ever throw books away?
Yes, of course they do!
Fiction books in particular have a shorter shelf life for a library, so when a popular book is first published, a library may have several copies of it on their shelves to cover the demand, but as it gets older and less popular they will usually offer for sale the copies that are in good condition to the public, and send the worn out ones for recycling.
The same will be done for books that haven’t been borrowed from the library for a year or so, and older books with out of date information that could be misleading for the reader
This frees up shelf space to bring in current books that are more in demand.
Reference books are typically kept for much longer and often read just in the library instead of being borrowed.
The Sadness About Discarded Books
Our local recycling centre has a large skip just for books, and it’s always full!
It always makes me a little sad when I see it, because as I said previously, I do love books, but there are a couple of things in particular that make me feel sad about seeing all those discarded books;
- Once they have been put in the skip, we’re not allowed to rescue any of them (for health and safety reasons).
- I know that a lot of people could turn them into beautiful works of art, and my goal is to get more people to see there is beauty in these old books that can be brought back to life with some imagination and craft supplies.
Why Do So Many Books Get Thrown Away?
There is a fact that we can’t ignore here, and that is, ‘digital books are here to stay’!
Love them or loath them, there are millions sold globally every year, but that isn’t such a bad thing. We’re not using all the materials needed to create physical books, and a digital book won’t go into landfill when it has been read.
There is also the fact that a lot of people are trying to live a more minimalist life and clear the clutter from their homes, so it stands to reason that the box of dusty books in the attic that hasn’t been looked at for longer than most people would like to admit, will be one of the first things to go.
I see this when I go to flea markets or car boot sales here in The UK. Along with a huge amount of kids toys and clothes that have been outgrown, is usually a box or 2 of books selling for a few pence each.
This is the reason I have so many books at home ready to use for my crafts, I just can’t resist having a rummage through them.
Unwanted Books… Where Should They Go?
If, after reading this and knowing that so many books are shredded, burnt or sent to landfill, you still feel that books should never be cut up and given that second chance, what would you do with them?
Where should these vast mountains of unwanted books be stored?
Who would look after them? They would need to be kept in the right conditions so that air could circulate around them and they didn’t get damp.
They would need to be protected against being eaten by rodents or worms.
This is a genuine question and one that I have asked myself in the past, but I still don’t have any answers to.
I Created Some Unique Books To Cut Up And Use
I have actually designed some books that I hope will help those people that want to use pictures from books, but still feel that it is in some way wrong to do so.
These are books of lovely images to cut out and use in your junk journals, scrapbooking and any other craft projects where you need beautiful images!
These books won’t end up in landfill because I have designed this series of books in such a way that they are available to buy HERE on Amazon, but each one will only be printed when someone actually buys it!
And… I created them to be cut up and used for crafts, so no need for guilt of any sort
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