Skyrim SE mod finally lets you do something useful with books, like burn them

Skyrim campfire mod by Chesko (Image credit: Chesko)

It's about time book burning came to Skyrim Special Edition. A Tragedy in Black? Boethiah's Proving? Pah! Those are not fine works of literature. They're heretical garbage, and should be treated as such: First ripped to pieces and then burned to a crisp. And really, how many copies of Argonian Account does any one person need? Enter Project Illiteracy, which promises to let you put your books to good use as fuel against the harsh winter nights.

The Skyrim Special Edition mod gives you a new ability, which is named "Destroy Books." No messing around here. "Picture your manly Nord barbarian just taking that book and ripping it apart," the description reads. "Yeah. Just really shredding that thing. So manly." The mod was originally released for vanilla Skyrim back in 2017, but a new version released this week supports the updated Special Edition.

A surprising amount of thought went into Project Illiteracy despite the jokey name: the longer the book, the more paper it will generate for you. The most practical application of that paper is in making scrolls, but burning is also an option. Other than the general glee of pyromania, that could be pretty useful if you're playing with a survival mod that requires you to keep warm.

Modder Epic Crab thought ahead and made Project Illiteracy compatible with the bajillion other mods that add books to Skyrim, to ensure you can, if you so choose, destroy them all. The cherry on top is compatibility with the Campfire mod:

"If you're running Campfire, the xEdit script will automatically detect that and generate recipes for burning books for fuel and replenishing your fires. Campfire is a soft dependency in the script, so if you aren't using Campfire, the script will still work."

There's a caveat to this mod crossover, which is that if you douse the campfire, it may return some of your books to you destroyed. "I think that's fair though, setting them on fire pretty much ruins books," the mod description says. Can't argue that one.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).