Why I Need Two Copies of Certain Books

Sometimes I need more than one copy of a book. Usually fiction. Almost always when it’s an amazing read.


I start everything now as an ebook, though back in the days of long commutes, the audiobook ruled. When the narrative is crisp and alluring, I need to mark it up. Dissect it and see how it ticks. It’s the analytical mind in me. Sure, my Nook lets me highlight words and phrases, but it’s not the same. I need to dog ear pages. Scribble in the margins. Basically mess with it.

That’s when I purchase a second copy. I’ll zip around to spots I remember. My goal is almost always: “How did this writer pull this off?” Was it a subtle nuance of the narrator’s voice? Verb choice? Sentence length? I need to know. I circle and scribble all over the thing.

I recall once (and this will date me) when I had the notion to write a screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. This was about a year before the Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando version hit theaters (they beat me to the punch). I had taken a pencil (because this was a treasured version of the story) and went to work blocking scenes. Now I wish I hadn’t because I have plenty of erasing to do.

The one book I have in nearly every form is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. I started with an audiobook. Then bought the paperback (to mark up for a college paper). Finally, I chanced upon a hard bound copy heavily discounted. All I need now is an ebook and my collection is complete.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else out there snap up multiple copies of books?

Tim Kane

3 comments on “Why I Need Two Copies of Certain Books

  1. And here I thought I was the only one who bought multiple copies of books so I could mark one up like crazy. 😉

  2. My mom always said I needed to respect my books, so I don’t even dog-ear them. Pencil notes in them? Forget about it! I will write down page numbers I want to remember, or stick PostIt notes on the page. I’ll write out quotes in notebooks. I’ll even photocopy pages if there’s a quote or passage I want to save. The only books I have copies of are Shogun and Noble House because I read the paperback versions so many times the bindings finally gave out, so I picked up hard cover copies. University textbooks are a different story. I highlighted important information right on the page for study purposes, but never my fiction.

Leave a Reply