7 Reasons Why Books Have Margins (Can You Write on Them?)

Since kindergarten, we all have been taught to avoid writing on the red margins.

And as an adult, the only time you cross these margins is when you have to write a long word, and you can’t fit it within the margin.

But is this the right way? How can you utilize the margins when you don’t know its purpose in the first place?

Therefore, everything boils down to why books have margins?

Margins are around 2-inch lines presented on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the notebook to make the writing look neat and mainly help teachers add notes and remarks for the students.

Now since that’s clear, but is this really the main reason why notebook designers revolutionized the notebook industry by only adding margins for teacher notes? Well, guessed it right; that’s not it!

Here are the top 7 reasons why notebooks have margins and how you can make the best use of them.

1. Safeguard Notes

Believe it or not, margins on the notebooks were originally made to protect your precious notes from potential rats and mice;making it a major reason why it has stuck around.

In the past, where everything was dealt with papers, be it important records, confidential documents, or perhaps agreements, it was all stacked up in paper records and stored in a relatively protected place. But the real dangers of lost information wasn’t from humans but rats and mice.

These tiny rodents love the taste of paper and are prone to eating away the documents, especially from the edges.

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Therefore, the manufacturers added margins on the edges of the notebooks so, despite any rodent intrusion, you can rest assured that your notes are safe at all times.

2. Enhances Readability

Considering how most of our everyday work is carried out on devices rather than notebooks, you must know what a cluttered blog page looks like.

Picture an interesting article you’re reading on a website. This website probably has the best content you can find about that specific niche. However, regardless of such an impressive range, you find it hard to concentrate. And the main reason for that is the cluttered information.

We human beings come with a short attention span.

When the blog post is filled with content everywhere, we lose the ability to focus on the writing. On the other hand, if the website’s content is in the middle of the page with no unnecessary distractions whatsoever, anything looks more appealing and catchy.

Likewise, in notebooks, margins work like guidelines to help you center your writing to present it neater, thus making the report more impactful. Another question that may arise with this is why couldn’t manufacturers add narrower margins if the point of margins was just for aesthetics? Glad you asked that.

Although narrow margins save space and help you utilize the entire page, you can expect the writing to look still messy. Other than that, thin margins also run the risk of page content cutout during the manufacturing process.

3. Typography Aesthetics

An overall structured and readable writing inevitably gives an upper hand in the aesthetics as well. Flashing back to school days, remember how much teachers used to praise the kids with neat handwriting.

And if you look closer, all of those handwritings had only one thing in common, and that was the content within the margins.

To see how dramatically margins change your text’s appearance, try writing one page full of notes from the beginning of the page till the end (ignoring the margin) and another one by optimizing the margin.

Once you have written that down, you must spot the difference and understand the value of margins. Another thing worth noting is how easy it gets to read the content placed in a clear and organized manner.

It also makes it easier to indent your writing since margins act as a guideline to align your text better rather than eyeballing it, so everything looks cohesive and neat.

4. Can Help Open Up the Book Better

Without margins, you run the risk of losing more than half of the book content with bookbinding. Almost a 2-inch margin gives the manufacturers enough space to bind the book together and make sure you can read every last letter while you’re opening the book to read.

I’m sure we all have read books that make it harder to read the first few words only because the text was too close to the beginning of the page. With margins, you eliminate this problem also.

5. Aid Structuring Written Content During the Manufacturing Process

There are some notebooks with the printed date and name titles. To make these printing consistent and make sure no layout of the page gets lost during the book’s necessary construction process, designers make sure they add the design inside the margins.

It gives them enough space to let the machines do their trimming and binding work, all while making sure your layout is safe and consistent throughout all the prints.

And if we specifically talk about books (not notebooks), then adding a few inches of margin at the beginning of the page is better than wasting thousands of trimmed pages that couldn’t frame all the content on the page.

Therefore, margins work as a safeguard between printing and book constructing machines and the book’s precious written content.

6. Writing Notes

Writing mistakes can quickly clutter up the page; having margins allows you to correct errors more neatly. Instead of crossing out a word and writing over or on top of it, you can cross out the name and write the correct one in the margins.

Another way this can be used is for teachers. Teachers can easily give student notes, grades, and remarks on the margins without altering the students’ writing.

Besides that, imagine a page without the top margin. Ever wondered how are you going to write the heading?

Wouldn’t that look too cluttered if you mix in the title with the body text? In these cases, margins help keep your work organized by allocating a separate space for items relevant to the page but need to be written separately. It can also be used to write the key if you’re using any color codes for the page.

7. Used for Storing Notes

To tear a piece of paper from your notebook and store it, you must know that you need to punch holes and add it to a binder.

If you don’t want to punch holes in your content, the way to do it is to stick it in the notebook’s empty white spaces.

Can I Write on Margins?

It’s always easier to read your own writing than others. If you’re writing for yourself, it’s completely alright if you want to write outside the margins.

In fact, this can help you save space and utilize each paper. However, if the notes are for formal reasons or you can expect someone to read them like school notes or reports, it’s always best that you write within the margins.

This is because it can make a better impression on your writing and likely increase your content’s chances of likeability.

Other than that, there are a few other exceptions where you can write on the margins. These include:

  • Date
  • Name and address
  • A continuation of a word

Are Margins a Waste of Paper?

It’s not entirely surprising that you may think of margins as a waste of paper, and why wouldn’t you;

It deprives us of writing at least 50 more words per page. But think about it: what’s the point of writing those few extra words when the whole page looks overwhelming to the readers. You may write those 50 words, but the rest of the 200+ words would hold minimum value and impact the readers.

Sometimes to keep everything organized, you need to give things room to breathe for yourself and for the readers who would are willing to indulge their time into reading your notebooks.

Why is there usually no margin on the left side of the page?

The margin on the left of the page is either not there at all, or if it is, it’s likely to be smaller than the rest of the 3 margins. This is because when you’re done writing the content and open both the pages of the book to review the writing, the no margin on the left gives an impression of continuation of text on the next page.

If we add more space at the end of the page (left margin) and the beginning of the next page (right margin), it can add unnecessary spacing that does more harm than good. Just like how too spacious writing can make it distracting to read a word, too spacious pages also makes it harder for the readers to go through the pages at once.

I hope that answers your question, and you’re now ready to make the best use of your books.