I have a new paperback book I want to lay besides me and look at, while I work at my computer.

What are easy-do-it-yourself ways of keeping a book open that wants nothing more than fold together?

6 Answers 6


Here's a variation of the binder clip idea:

First, even a large binder clip won't bite a large portion of a "perfect bound" book. There's a sort of fan-out that happens, and I find that a binder clip won't hold more than about 50 pages. So I clip the binder on the lower (or upper) edge of the book.

Second, the binder clip alone doesn't hold most books open. Instead, with a bit of an angle, you can manage to slip the end of a pencil through one hoop-handle of the binder clip.

...then rest the spine of the book on your pencil. Voila! The book now pulls on the binder and holds itself open.

Pages clipped and clip held by pencil

  • +1 BRAVO. This is a brilliant hack and works with every size and kind of book I've tried. I wish I could vote twice.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 23:49

Binder clips might work, but a chip clip might work even better. The length of the chip clip might be more suitable for keeping the book open.

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I don't happen to have a chip clip handy, but I just tested my theory with a pants hanger, which seemed to work fine, and might even be a better option still. (I think the style on the right might be better for protecting the book binding from damage.)

enter image description here   enter image description here


How about using a paper clamp to hold either side together?

Paper clamp

  • 1
    Or a larger-sized binder clip (like the one pictured) clamped across the spine of the book while it is open. Part of it would be on the pages on the left, and part on the pages on the right. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:11
  • 1
    @BrettFromLA If you're going to put one across the spine, I'd probably pre-stretch the clip to loosen it before I used it. I can see a new clip leaving a fair indent in the spine of a soft cased book. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 1:40
  • 1
    @Carcigenicate I agree with you there, although you could have a dabble at modifying the clips by gluing some sort of padding on the inside.
    – Arazio
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 16:50

You can do a search of "book holders." I think most works best with hard-cover books, but certain models look like they will work well for paperback books as well, for example these two seem to have longer arms to keep the pages open ->

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This may sound odd, but if you have a glass-top end table, or set of glass shelves, and if you can remove the sheet of glass, then you could open the paperback book and place the glass on top of it on the counter. The weight of the glass will keep the pages open.


A wire rack of the kind made for mail organization will do a fine job of holding paperbacks open, if they aren't too thick. If you like to read the epics, you might need to get heavy wire cutters or a rotary tool and clip off one of the rack's wire arches to let the thicker book fit; you can use an unaltered slot to hold thinner books.

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