Cheap dust prevention covers – Freezer bags are a good cheap way to protect important books from the “elements and exposure” if you cant afford pricey covers.
Spills – Paper towel dry every 30 pages with fresh slats of paper towels to absorb moisture from pages tucking them near the “gutter” of the book keeping weight on the exterior to prevent “waving” of pages in order to keep them flat. Repeat process for at least 48 hours changing the paper towels in a new place every hour or so to ensure that any moisture the paper towels have absorbed don’t reabsorb into the book again.
Yellowing – Keep books away from sun or bright direct light / don’t mix magazines and news papers with books, the chemicals from both can “contaminate” books and cause staining of the pages, the covers etc just as leaving a book in direct sunlight can cause “bleaching”. So be aware of leaving books in direct light. Avoid exposing books to UV and ultravoilet light / florescent /black lights – they also bleach color from book covers.
Dusting up keep: use mini vacuum (with soft brush) / feather duster / computer air spray/ microfiber cloth to gently clean books. Do this regularly. Dust is a books worst enemy.
“Laminate” book covers –
Here are some ideas for those who can’t afford the expensive stuff or the machinery for professional book covers.
last resort – Packing tape “jerry rigged cover” – I would not recommend as this would no doubt damage a book in the long run but I have seen it done.
best cheap option – Clear contact adhesive rolls- you can buy them at the store from $5-10 a roll in the home improvement section.
Opening a book: Stop spine “snapping”. Ever open your book too far and hear it “crack?” that’s the snap I’m referring to.
Instead gently open the book from the exterior covers. Gently stretch to prevent snapping or breaking of interior seam/ spine of the book by laying it flat opening one cover flap then the other slowly allowing the pages to “yawn” so that it gently stretches and allows the binding to open without breaking its hold. – Never force a book open. Forcing a book open damages hard back and paper back alike.
Gapping the spine – Do not use bulky book marks. Leaving bulky bookmarks in your book will cause “gaps” that will stretch and warp the book ultimately damaging it. The slimmer the bookmark the better. Thick bookmarks will cause stretching and uneven bending of the spine and make it fall apart faster. Do not lay books face down and open faced it will cause damage to the books spine. Do not “dog ear” pages of the book to save your place, folding the corners of your pages will eventually create tear away pieces.
Price / author/ autograph/ discount stickers –
When removing stickers do not use heavy pressure / do not press hard / gently dab at the area instead.
last resort – Rubbing alcohol (may spread ink and stain covers)
nail polish remover – (may absorb through paper and damage cover warp cover art)
hair dryer – (heat carefully to prevent possible heat damage / warping and or fire risk)
tape – stick and peel (beware that may also damage cover art if not done carefully)
best option – Goo Gone (don’t soak! tap gently into sticker until peels off )
suggestions: use a ear swap or cotton ball. Tap gently until it has time to absorb into sticker then gently peel away then lightly wipe away excess tack gum or residue from cover.
Cover Peeling: craft adhesive spray / Mod Podge (dries sticky or “tacky” if done outer cover done inside properly will prevent bubbling and warping and will re-stick cover layer)
Hard back glue dry off or separation – glue guns are best option but don’t over do the glue, lay a line and clip the backing to keep it in place and let sit until glue seals.
Shelving – Stack books in standing position with all like sizes to prevent spinal and body warpage.
Molding – Prevention of mold is important – too much exposure to moisture can cause molding and staining of the book and its pages. Books need to be kept in cool dry and dark areas for long lasting shelf life. Owning a Dehumidifier may help maintain personal library rooms filled with books in homes with excessive humidity. However, keep in mind that too much dryness and or heat can cause paper and leather to dry out and crack or split and crumble.
Foul Scent – Books are highly porous! obviously. They’re paper – they will absorb pet smells, allergens, cigarette smoke, body oils and various scents they are exposed to so its better to keep them out of areas that may cause them to absorb these things. However if you are someone who buys used from yard sales, estate sales, used retail and it picks up a funky smell you can try sealing the books with a deodorizer / air freshener for a few days to help alleviate this issue but its not guaranteed it will work 100%.
Last resort stink treatment – (This treatment is not for special valuable or antique books / I wouldn’t risk them trying this) However you can also attempt to remove mildew/ musty or other smells by trying to use baking soda and placing the book in a plastic bag sealing it and storing it in a cold freezer. It may take up to a few days to a week for the smell depending on how bad its been absorbed to be removed. Again not guaranteed. Make sure to use paper towels or cloths on either side of the book while in the freezer to absorb any moisture then use denatured alcohol to lightly wipe down front and back of the book after the removal from the freezer. Make sure bag is sealed completely before placing into the freezer to prevent moisture exposure – keep in mind this treatment doesn’t always work 100% or with all books so please try other alternatives before attempting the freezer solution.
Storage – Keep your books in an air tight acid free container.
Packing – Stand books up spine to spine then pack extra space with non acid paper or filler to prevent slippage and or extra damage. Always pack books with similar size and weighted books. Heaver books can be carried easier in smaller boxes, lighter smaller books in bigger boxes.
I want my books to last forever:
Books wont keep forever. Books naturally age and break down due to the fact they are made of natural degradable materials. You can store them in dark cool exposure free boxes to prolong the life of books but eventually it will give way to age but if taken care of well your books can last quite a while.
Keep in mind to prevent exposure to bugs – books are great food and nesting grounds to plenty of bugs that can become quite an issue so be aware not to allow bugs to damage your books.
For older books handle with acid free or cloth gloves / paper fingers to prevent oils from absorbing into the books – rest aged book on soft pillow or surface.
Shelving books– Do not lean books when you place them on a shelf. Leaning will cause warping. Books laid paper side down will cause “sinking”, do not over pack shelves allow air flow for circulation which is crucial for books, for large heavy books lay on side so that its flat without putting strain on book, do not remove book on a shelf by using a spine to pull it from the shelf using a books spine to remove from a shelf causes stress on the spine.
A long term shelving with low care and exposure risk idea is to cover your shelves with plastic sheets or bed sheets to prevent dust and other risks to damage your books.
A great idea for those willing to invest the extra cash are buying “closed” shelves with glass doors or wood doors. Shelves with doors saves the books in the long run its less upkeep and saves on the time you will spend on dusting, save on exposure to dust, environmental changes etc.
Also doing a book rotation to alleviate pressure that is placed on any books at the end of your shelving line is a good idea if your shelves have been too tightly packed. Again not a good idea to do in the first place. There should always be some “wiggle” room. Books too tightly packed on a shelf can cause them to “rot” from the inside if they aren’t allowed to “breathe”.
Your heaviest books should go near the lowest shelves so that their weight doesn’t cause warping of your shelf slats the lightest books should go at the top.
Ideas for magazines:
Seal magazines in plastic covers or bags. A handy idea to shelve magazines if you do not have a proper magazine sorter with slat supports for comics is to invest in either a file organizer or a stand up desk top magazine file so that you can slide them in and out without allowing the comic to “rest” or be smashed or damaged etc when shelving. Also this allows for good labeling and organizing for proper cataloguing.
For leather bound covered books: Don’t use leather or suede sprays oils or treatments, they can actually cause damage to the book material.
Do not store or read books in bathrooms. As much as anyone I love to soak in a bubble bath and read however its a water risk, a moisture / humidity risk, and a danger in case of dropping your book into the tub. Never ever read while you are on the toilet.. fecal matter can disperse from flushing for up to fifteen to twenty feet and handling books without washing your hands can “transfer” ickness. Plus its insanitary and gross.
Food and Drinks:
Be careful when eating or drinking while reading as food and drinks can find their way onto your book if you aren’t careful.
Don’t color or write in your books especially in limited/ first editions or collector items etc, it can reduce the worth of the book. Also personalizing books using markers pens can damage the book. If you plan on donating the book try to refrain from personalizing books as well unless you are using a cover flat that can be removed. Not everyone appreciates the journey their books have made into their hands.
Keep your books clean. Very light damp cloths with a touch of antibacterial soap can help clean excess dirt /grime etc from a book cover. Keep in mind not to expose antique collectable leather or cloth bound books to moisture – even to clean them.
Book shelves should be arranged near interior walls so that they aren’t exposed to temperature or environmental changes. Bookshelves should be kept away from windows so they aren’t exposed to weather risks or sunlight. Shelves should be arranged away from potential flood sources.
Great shelf alternatives for anyone who doesn’t have much floor space are wall shelves or media shelves. Wall shelves are off the floor and out of the way, media shelves are more slender and don’t take up as much room because they’re meant to store cds and dvds but they work great for books as well.
More tips coming soon!