It takes handling approximately 128 copies of your own book before you start to handle it as a “book.” Before then, it is a jewel-encrusted and fragile thing.
It takes seeing someone else crack the spine, or write in it, or dog-ear a page before it becomes a book. You have to watch someone shove it into their purse, or rest a coffee mug on it, or use it to crush a bug.
Until then, you feel anxious letting someone hold a copy. You feel faint when they riff through the pages. You positively go into apoplectic fits of nervous jitters as they bend back the cover of an un-purchased copy, giving it a permanent curl.
You take it back and bend it the other way, trying to make it straight. Because, until you hold another 41 of the things, it isn’t “a” book yet. It’s YOUR book.