[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/blankpages2_4813.jpg]]

->''[[LampshadeHanging "The pages are blank!]] The pages are'' blan-"
-->-- ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBL0RUJx7-I WTF Blanket 4: Failure Pants]]''

This is when a character picks up a book and sees it is essentially empty. It's just a cover (possibly even without a title) pasted onto a blank book, or one filled with nonsense words like ''Lorem Ipsum'' over and over, or that just simply stops partway through. Why is this book blank? There's a few less than good reasons for it.

'''Type 1:''' It may be that the character is trapped in a LotusEaterMachine of some kind and the book being empty or filled with nonsense is a sign that something isn't right, since a MasterOfIllusion would have to manually "write" each and every book himself.

'''Type 2:''' It's also possible that the character is in some kind of stage filled with prop books, or the book is a deliberate fake intended to deceive.

'''Type 3:''' Someone (or thing) may have "stolen" the contents of the book and left it completely wordless in the process. In fact, some words may literally fly off the page or drip off as wet ink.

'''Type 4:''' Lastly, the book being blank could be an Aesop for knowledge or lack of it. Perhaps the famed book of wisdom is blank because the person finding the book is supposed to write out the important knowledge himself because having gone through the quest to find the book he now has the wisdom to write the book of wisdom himself. A case of AllThatGlitters. Or if the book was a blank holy text, it shows that character is denied the knowledge that will save his soul because he is now beyond redemption.

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[[foldercontrol]]

!!Examples:

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* In ''TsubasaReservoirChronicle'', the book was blank for the first person to pick it up. Once handed to another person, it was filled with the first person's memories for the second to explore.
* In ''Manga/XxxHoLic'', there was a demon that ate words from books. It was eventually tricked into eating the words on a ProtectiveCharm, making it SealedEvilInACan.
* In the seventh arc of VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi, Will attends Beatrice's [[spoiler: funeral]]. In her [[spoiler: coffin, there is no body]], just a book. When Will opens the book, the pages turn to petals. It's later shown that the book contains Battler's [[spoiler:final iteration of what happened during the Rokkenjima murders - an iteration that is only to be shared between himself and Beatrice]].
* One of the Dolems traps Kamina in a LotusEaterMachine in an episode of ''RahXephon''. While there's plenty of strange things going on, one of the first that he really notices is that every book is blank.
* In the anime adaptation of ''Manga/MiraiNikki'', Minene checked her future-telling cellphone diary after Yomotsu hypnotized her into seeing a piece of wood as her cellphone. At first the diary showed the same thing as last time, and when she tried to read it, the entry went blank.
* The [[TomeOfEldritchLore Book Of Darkness]] in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' starts out with all [[NumberOfTheBeast 666]] pages blank, and they fill as the book is used to steal magical power.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* A ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' strip [[InvokedTrope invokes this trope.]] Calvin uses this as an excuse for not doing his homework: "I tried, but the book publisher didn't use the proper print fixative. Needless to say, when I picked up the book all the letters slid off the page and fell on the floor in a heap of gibberish!"
* In ''GrantMorrisonsBatman'', the Joker's Joke Book is supposedly written in an ink that only the insane can read. It's intentionally unclear whether this is literally true, or simply a way of saying a crazy person will ''imagine'' there's writing in it. Either way, to most people, it's a BlankBook.
* ''The Wisdom Of SelfDemonstrating/{{Lobo}},'' an actual book included in a three-book Lobo slipcased set back in the 90s. It was blank.
* The Book That Tells Everything in ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' comic book story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything" is initially blank except for the page numbers. However, when the reader of the book asks it a question, the book will cause the answer to the question to appear only on that selected page.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film]]
* ''Film/CastADeadlySpell''. A man steals the [[TomeOfEldritchLore Necronomicon]] and sells it to mobster Harry Borden. After Borden pays for the book and the man leaves, Borden opens the book and discovers its pages are blank - it's a fraud.
* In ''Film/FourteenOhEight'', the protagonist is a skeptical atheist out to debunk supernatural hotspots. He comes to the titular hotel room, which has a reputation for a lot of suicides or unusual deaths happening there. The haunting starts, and as it keeps getting worse, he finds himself trapped in the hotel room. In a moment of desperation, he picks up the hotel room's Gideon bible only to find that all the pages are blank.
* In ''Film/DarkCity'', John Murdoch discovers that a picture book he drew in as a child is now completely blank. For extra ParanoiaFuel, when he tries to show it to a cop later, it's filled out.
* Happens at the beginning of ''{{Inception}}'' when Cobb steals the documents from the vault inside Saitos dream. When Saito catches on that someone is trying to steal his secret memories, he checks the documents in the vault to find literal Blank Pages placed there by Cobb. But now that Saito is aware that someones going through his memories, the pages in the document stolen by Cobb have most of the content blackened out, as Saito tries to block him out of his subconsciousness.
* Happens in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'': [[spoiler: The [[MacGuffin Dragon Scroll]] turns out to be totally blank. Instead, it is a mirror, meant to prompt [[AnAesop the lesson]] that [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre true strength comes from within]] rather than spelling anything out. The villain would've stolen the scroll and not understood, but the hero earned the privilege to open the scroll, and realized its true meaning.]]
* This happened with ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' in the film version of ''{{Sphere}}''. It wasn't completely blank, but just stopped where the reader was too scared to read past that page while he was a child.
* ''Film/{{Pleasantville}}'': The library's books are mostly blank until the male lead exposes the locals to the concept of reading for pleasure, at which point new words appear.
* ''Film/PansLabyrinth'': The Faun gives Ofelia a blank book and instructs her to open it when she is alone, whereupon the instructions for the tasks she must complete will appear to her. [[spoiler:The book also lets her know about her mother's impending death in childbirth by displaying a blood splotch that takes the shape of a womb before spreading to fill the entire page.]]
* In ''Film/WarriorsOfVirtue'', the child protagonist is asked by the BigBad to read from the magical Manuscript and tell him what it says. The Manuscript suddenly shows blank pages, to which the protagonist says "Shit happens."
* In ''Film/TheBookOfEli'', the book in question is written [[spoiler: in Braille]] but makes for an equally surprising [[TheReveal revelation]].
* ''Film/CircleOfIron'' uses the Zen Buddhist variant of Type 4: The seeker finally reaches the fabled book of wisdom after fighting through profound personal trials; only to find that on each page is not the answers he expected, but merely a mirror. The lesson being that "true wisdom comes only from within".
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* A variant in [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]]'s ''Literature/AgainstADarkBackground'' features a book which isn't merely blank, but impossible to write upon; the pages are glossy plastic, rejecting ink and even reflecting attempts to mark them with a laser. It's said to be God's Book, because GodIsEvil. [[spoiler: It's actually a decoy to both gain the trust of a rather stupid monarch and get the surveillance devices it contains into the castle library. It fails.]]
* In ''Conrad's Time Machine'', the inventor had huge shelves of "effectively 100%" original first edition books. Effectively 100% in such a way that all books he or anyone else had and will read, glance through or ''touch'' are real first edition books. What is actually there are around 0.1% real first edition books and the rest are just titled blank books.
* In ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby'', Owl-Eyes expects that Gatsby's library is filled with blank books and just for show. He's partly right. The books are all real, but the pages are uncut, meaning Gatsby paid full price for real books to fill a purely decorative library. Owl-Eyes notices this and calls Gatsby "a regular [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Belasco#Influence_on_American_theatre Belasco]]", complimenting him on the thoroughness of the illusion.
* In ''Literature/BeautifulCreatures'' [[spoiler: the book that Ethan's father was working on. It turned out to be a large pile of squiggles.]]
* ''The Historian'' by Elizabeth Kostova features several books that are blank except for a picture of a dragon in the middle.
* In Creator/TanyaHuff's ''[[Literature/KeepersChronicles Summon the Keeper]]'', the protagonist tries to restore an illegibly-stained journal, but the onion-based magic cleaning solution the book had been soaked in was tainted with spider parts, which caused the words to literally drip off the book, much to her frustration.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', Tom Riddle's diary is effectively blank until someone writes into it, at which point the book writes a response. After [[spoiler:Harry destroys it with the Basilisk venom, it goes blank for good, though not before ''bleeding ink.'']]
* Played with in the final trilogy of the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series. Richard finds a book that is supposedly a user manual for his unique and powerful form of magic, which has always worked entirely on instinct, as he has nobody around to teach him how to properly use it. Unfortunately, when he tries to read the book, it's blank, which at first he takes as being because he's lost his magic, as the series has previously established that magic books are charmed so that if you don't have magic, they appear blank. At the same time, the Chainfire spell has also been shown erasing other books, so the reader might attribute the blank pages to that instead. Eventually, however, it's revealed that [[spoiler:the book was meant to be blank, and represents the [[TheUnreveal final, unspoken Wizard's Rule.]]]]
* In the ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' {{Prequel}} ''The Andalite Chronicles,'' the Time Matrix creates a miniature universe based on the memories of Elfangor, Loren and the future Visser Three. Elfangor leafs through a book in Loren's faux bedroom and notes that it ends halfway through; he reasons Loren didn't finish the book's real-world counterpart, giving her mind nothing to fill in for the rest.
* ''[[Literature/ThursdayNext The Great Samuel-Pepys Fiasco]]''
* In ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'', one of the devotaries (religious orders) uses a blank book called The Book of Endless Pages as a metaphor, the book cannot be filled because there is always more to learn.
* One of these appears in the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain''; it's discovered text appears when the pages are viewed with a particular kind of magical light.
* The ''Literature/FatherBrown'' story "The Blast of the Book". The mystery concerns a cursed book that makes anyone who reads it disappear. After Father Brown presents the solution, he is asked:
--> "Did you ''never'' feel just a momentary awe of the awful volume?"
--> "Oh, that," said Father Brown. "I opened it as soon as I saw it lying there. It's all blank pages. You see, I am not superstitious."
* ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' once has the protagonists find a [[SpookySilentLibrary cursed Jedi library]]. Anyone but a Jedi who removes a book, dies - not just rumored, it's witnessed, too. The pages of removed books then crumble to dust. Actually, the library was burned down ages ago. [[spoiler: The books are fakes put in by the BigBad, and are made to sap LifeEnergy and store it for research.]] So, no knowledge to be gained from reading them, even if a droid does all the handling.
* ''Effigy Nights'', a short story by Yoon Ha Lee. A GalacticConqueror subdues a PlanetOfHats famous for its literature. The wardens of the planet [[RefugeeFromTVLand free legendary heroes from their books]] to fight the invaders, only the magic gets out of control, destroying their culture as the content of books are turned into soldiers. The protagonist has an OhCrap moment when he goes to a bookstore, then the sealed planetary archives, and finds all the books are blank. Even memories of the stories are gone; the bookstore owner has never heard of the famous story the protagonist asks for, claiming he's always sold empty books as journals, which people enjoy for the beautiful covers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* When Willow's SuperpoweredEvilSide emerges in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', she absorbs the text from all the magic shop's books on dark magic. Her friends later try to find out about the magic she's using, but the books are now blank.
** The book used to seal [[MailerDaemon Moloch]] was blank until the sealing ritual was performed, at which point it would fill up with words. When Willow scanned it into the library computer, it became blank again, as Moloch was released into the internet.
* In ''DarkOracle'' the eponymous comic book would inevitably arrive with most of the pages blank. As the episode progressed, pages would fill in, eventually revealing whichever horrific future Cally and Lance had to avert.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Bashir realizes he's still in Sloan's mind when his copy of ''ATaleOfTwoCities'' has "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." at the point where he left off; because he hadn't finished the book, Sloan's mind filled in the unread parts with repetitions of what he had read so far.
** The Tome of the Pah'Wraiths is a forbidden and blasphemous text in the Bajoran faith. But when it is opened, the pages are all blank, confounding those who would seek the evil knowledge within. Only after [[spoiler: a virtuous man is murdered while trying to keep the book from evil hands and his blood drips onto the pages]] does the actual text appear. Even, then only the ChosenOne of the Pah'Wraith can actually read it; anyone else who tries risks being supernaturally blinded.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode ''The Big Bang'', Amy is given River Song's diary as a wedding present. However, the book is blank [[spoiler: because the Doctor has been erased from time. Once Amy remembers the Doctor and brings him back, the diary's contents return.]]
[[/folder]]
[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering, the cards Tome Scour and Curse of the Bloody Tome show works in books being removed. Both spells move cards from the opponent's library into their graveyard.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* One of these appears as an equippable weapon for Charlotte in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''. While it is a pathetic weapon, it is necessary for a sidequest, in which the TorturedMonster Gergoth must be slain with it.
* In the city of Windhelm in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', there's a book titled ''The Book of Fate'' in Calixto's House of Curiosities. It was apparently discovered in the Arcane University in Cyrodiil and purports to contain the reader's fate. When the [[PlayerCharacter Dovahkiin]] reads it, the pages are blank. Make of that what you will. There are two plausible explanations: the book is a fake [[spoiler:entirely plausible since Calixto is a crazy SerialKiller]], or it's because certain people who play a pivotal role in the setting (implied to be every player character in the series) don't exactly ''have'' a predetermined fate like most mortals.
* In ''PennyArcadeAdventures'', the [[TomeOfEldritchLore Necrowombicon]] appears to be blank to anyone not ''meant'' to read the book. To anyone planning on spreading horrific evil that will advance the goals of the four evil gods, it is full of handy step-by-step instructions.
* In ''VideoGame/NetHack'', there are blank spellbooks; using a magic marker, you can turn these into spellbooks of any spell you already know (or spells that you don't know, but there's a random failure chance for those).
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening'', Dalish elf Velanna will mention the damage centuries of slavery and persecution has done to elven folklore. One of her gift items is a blank book, which you can give with the suggestion she make her own stories for future elves.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'', when everyone loses their memories, Jiminy Cricket tries consulting his journal, but the pages are all blank. In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', everyone loses their memories of the events of ''Chain of Memories'', and Jiminy's journal is erased again, except for the sentence "Thank Namine."
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', blank books are used as a gag in the FlavorText of two housing decorations in the form of a collection of books, implying that all they're good for is making the owner look well read.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* Lampshaded in ''NinthElsewhere''
** "''How ridiculous, my own subconscious is mocking my goals.''"
* In [[http://xkcd.com/971/ this]] Webcomic/{{xkcd}} comic, a man has a shelf full of books, all of them blank except for a smudge of ink on one page, which he uses to make a profound point about imagination. His friend simply asks, [[ConMan "Who sold you all these blank books?"]] The alt text reveals the comic is actually a metaphor for [[TakeThat homeopathic and "alternative" medicine]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', [[spoiler:when Bruce Wayne was trapped by the Mad Hatter in a LotusEaterMachine,]] one of his first clues something was wrong with the perfect world was that all the books were unreadable.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': For some reason, the Kanker sisters have a shelf of blank books in their trailer. [[{{Nerd}} Edd]] seems to have a minor freakout when he discovers this.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'': Villain Ezekiel Rage constantly quotes from the black-paged "Book of Rage". When Jessie finds it, she discovers it's completely blank except for a picture of Rage's dead family.
* The ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' cartoon episode "[[http://dcanimated.wikia.com/wiki/Legends Legends]]" where Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Flash got transported to an alternate universe where the Silver Age heroes John Stewart read about as a boy are real. Midway through, John gets suspicious that the world isn't all it seems, and goes to a library, where he finds all the books are blank.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'': Sought-after GreatBigBookOfEverything and [[TomesOfProphecyAndFate Tome of Prophecy and Fate]] the Book of Omens, at least, in its appearance as a ''book.'' [[spoiler:It's actually a {{Magitek}} computer.]]
* Sassette in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "Bookworm Smurf" encounters a book that's initially blank in Papa Smurf's laboratory, but then it has the words "if these words are read by you, whatever you say next will come true" suddenly appear on the pages. Sassette then uses the book to make a wish that she never wants to see another book again, and then suddenly all the books in the world vanish.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* In the line of "prop books", a social climber's library may be filled with shelves of these, there to look impressive rather than be read. Or they may be real books that have never been read at all. This sort of thing has been mocked in more than a few, um, books.
* Fake books may also be used on movie sets. For example, the books in Dumbledore's office from the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films are actually [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ENVtSELiAg&t=6m24s phone books with the covers changed]].
* It is sometimes the case that dreamers can not read in their dreams. Many people dream about reading books, newspapers or web sites that contain Super Octo Pudding Gas Mark Seven-like text.
* Once a publisher couldn't make a textbook before the deadline and chose to send the textbook committee in California a book consisting only of a cover and blank pages. Six out of the ten members ''gave it [[QualityByPopularVote ratings]]'', and favourable ones. This happened during the time when RichardFeynman worked there, and he was really interested, so HilarityEnsues. At least, someone learned from it -- the public about [[SuckySchool how well such a system works]].
* When prototyping the graphic layout of a book/poster/website/etc., it's common to use deliberately unrelated placeholder text (such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorem_ipsum "Lorem ipsum"]], a fairly standard passage of [[CanisLatinicus broken Latin]]) so that the actual content of the text won't act as a distraction.
* Books written in Braille seem to be completely in blank... at first sight, at least.
** And in a way, the situation is inverted if you're blind.
* There have been a few cases where a manual has had all its pages deliberately left blank.
* There is an actual book that sold over a million copies, written by Cindy Cashman under the alias "Dr Alan Francis", called "Everything Men Know About Women" - and yep, it's just a bunch of empty pages.
** One of these is produced every few years, generally titled, "The Wit and Wisdom of ''{Insert Politician}''".
[[/folder]]

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