How To Care For Your Books

How To Care For Your Books
How To Care For Your Books

To make books last longer, they need proper care and attention. Books are bought for educational or entertainment purposes. But after reading through its informative pages, a book is usually left neglected in a bookshelf and subject to the elements that can speed up its deterioration. A lot of second-hand books already come with indications of wear and tear like dog eared pages and broken spine.

If you want your books to last for generations, it’s important to slow down its aging. Book collectors have their own meticulous way of preserving books.

For everybody else, here are some practical tips to keep your books looking new.

  • Buy good quality books to begin with. A hardbound book is better than a paperback version. When buying used books, if there’s more than one copy available, choose the one with the least wear. Check if the spine or binding is intact and make sure the book is printed on acid-free paper so pages won’t brown.
  • Store books on a shelf away from direct heat, sunlight and moisture. These elements can increase the acid reaction on paper, thus causing it to brown. Also, the sun’s UV rays can cause the inks to fade while moisture can encourage molds to settle in the pages. Too much heat is also not good because it can make the book pages and binding brittle. So be sure to store books away from heaters and vents.
  • Remove unnecessary page markers and clippings. These items can cause discoloration and acid transfer. Fancy bookmarks can cause the book pages and binding to deform. Also, avoid using your book to press flowers because it can lead to the spread of molds.
  • Avoid pulling your book from the top of its spine when taking it out of a shelf. This can severely damage it, especially if the books have been squeezed together too tightly on a shelf. An upright book can be taken out by easing the books on its side or tilting it slightly from its front end then lifting it off the shelf. Heavy books must be kept laid flat on their side. To take them out, simply take the whole stack off the shelf and choose the book you wish to read.
  • Keep your books clean inside and out. To maintain the external look of books, use a clear plastic book sleeve and wipe off dust before it thickens. Leather bound books must be professionally serviced every 2 to 5 years. Avoid writing on the pages because the ink can blot all the way to the next page.
  • Take care of the book pages. Do not turn a page with damp (licked) fingers because this adds moisture. Never dog ear page corners no matter how tempted you are. Pages of an old book can easily crumble from a slight fold. Also, avoid using sticky page markers which can leave adhesive marks on the pages.

Whether or not you’re a book collector, it’s good to know how to take care of your books to keep your collection readable for years.