National Book Lover’s Day 2023 has arrived, and we have ten tips on how to properly care for your books to ensure that your collection lasts for years.
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Note: This article was published on August 10, the day after National Book Lover’s Day.
Table of contents
- National Book Lover’s Day 2023: How to Care for Your Books
- Unlock the Secrets to Book Longevity: 10 Expert Tips Revealed
- 1) Purchase High-Quality Bookshelves
- 2) Shelve Your Books Properly
- 3) Direct Sunlight is a No-No
- 4) Avoid Humidity
- 5) Practice Regular Cleaning
- 6) Don’t Eat While Reading, and Wash Those Dirty Hands!
- 7) Keep An Eye on Your Book’s Spine
- 8) Use Bookmarks
- 9) Protect Your Books with Plastic Covers or Sleeves
- 10) Consider Purchasing Digital Copies of Your Collector’s Books
- Final Thoughts on Caring for Your Books
National Book Lover’s Day 2023: How to Care for Your Books
It’s August 9, National Book Lover’s Day!
How often have you cracked open a cherished book only to find its pages yellowing, its spine weakened, and its words fading away?
As book lovers, we understand the heartbreak of witnessing our literary treasures deteriorate over time. But fear not, for on this National Book Lover’s Day, we are here to reveal the secrets to book longevity.
These ten tips for maintaining and keeping your books in good shape can help extend your books’ lives a little longer.
Unlock the Secrets to Book Longevity: 10 Expert Tips Revealed
Whether you own a paperback or a hardcover book, they are all prone to wear and tear. This is particularly true if you do not know how to take good care of them. These eight tips on caring for your books can help extend your books’ lives a little longer.
1) Purchase High-Quality Bookshelves
Investing in top-notch bookshelves is crucial in preserving your books’ longevity. Books can suffer from warped spines, torn pages, and instability without proper support.
When selecting bookshelves, look for strong and durable materials, such as solid wood or metal. Avoid flimsy materials that may sag or bend under the weight of your books.
Additionally, consider the size and spacing of the shelves to accommodate different book sizes without cramming them together or leaving excessive gaps.
High-quality shelves keep your books organized and add a touch of sophistication to your home decor.
Choosing sturdy and well-built shelves provides a safe and secure home for your literary treasures.
2) Shelve Your Books Properly
Properly organizing your books on the shelves is equally important. Always store books of the same size and length upright.
Avoid overloading shelves, as this can put excessive pressure on the books at the bottom. Distribute the weight evenly across the shelves and leave space for new additions to your collection.
You can also consider using bookends or supports to prevent books from leaning or falling over.
Lay oversized books (i.e., coffee table books) flat to prevent spine weakening.
3) Direct Sunlight is a No-No
Your books can be damaged by direct sunlight. UV rays may cause yellow pages and discolored covers. Protect your books by keeping them away from windows or using window film or light-blocking curtains.
While natural light can create an inviting reading atmosphere, it’s important to balance ambiance and book preservation.
4) Avoid Humidity
Humidity is a common cause of book damage, leading to mold, mildew, brittle pages, cracked spines, and musty smells.
I have a partially finished basement with built-in shelves. I thought this would make a great spot to hold my 1,000+ Harlequin Presents. Unfortunately, the basement suffers from dampness, and some books developed mold!
Paperbacks, especially, are susceptible to heat, sunlight, and humidity. So please don’t make my mistake and keep them away from humid places.
We recommend maintaining a consistent humidity level, neither too dry nor too humid, at 40–50%.
A dehumidifier can protect your books from damage and should be a standard appliance in every home.
Books should be stored in a well-ventilated area, preferably on open shelves rather than inside a box with a lid.
Invest in a good hygrometer to determine the humidity level of your room, which can be purchased online or at a hardware store.
5) Practice Regular Cleaning
Your books can collect dust and dirt over time. Dust your shelves with a light feather duster, or use a handheld vacuum with a dusting brush to clean them occasionally.
If book covers become moist or stained, use a soft cloth to clean them gently.
6) Don’t Eat While Reading, and Wash Those Dirty Hands!
While you may enjoy snacking on your favorite chips, cookies, or desserts while reading, it can lead to unwanted stains, grease, or crumbs on the pages. It’s best to take a break from reading and eating and to clean your hands before resuming your reading session.
Actually, it’s a good idea to wash your hands before long reading stretches, whether you’ve eaten or not. Natural oils and dirt from your hands can transfer onto the pages, leaving unsightly marks and stains.
7) Keep An Eye on Your Book’s Spine
The spine of a book is its major foundation and holds all the pages together. Without the spine, the book is just a set of loose papers. When reading a paperback book, it’s important to be gentle and avoid opening or bending the book too wide to prevent the spine from cracking apart.
Likewise, laying an open book face down can also ruin the spine.
If you’re reading a particularly thick or heavy book, consider using a bookstand or pillow to provide additional support and reduce strain on the spine.
8) Use Bookmarks
Not everyone has the luxury or attention span (that’s me!) to read a book in one sitting. Use a bookmark instead of folding the corner to avoid damaging the page.
When I began to take my hobby of collecting books seriously and not as a part of my hoarding addiction, I had to break my conditioning of dog-eared pages. This bad habit is a major no-no.
Folding the corner of a page to mark your spot creates a crease that weakens the paper fibers and can eventually lead to tears or breakage. To avoid this, invest in a collection of bookmarks that you can use to mark your pages instead.
Bookmarks come in various materials and designs, so choose ones that suit your taste. Whether you prefer a leather bookmark with a tassel or a whimsical magnetic bookmark, there’s something for everyone.
9) Protect Your Books with Plastic Covers or Sleeves
Purchase clear plastic covers specially designed to wrap around the cover of your paperback books when reading. When storing paperbacks, keep them in plastic sleeves.
In addition, when you carry a book around to read, keep it in a padded book sleeve or case. And only put the book in the case; no pens or anything could mark it.
10) Consider Purchasing Digital Copies of Your Collector’s Books
It is worth considering investing in digital versions of your beloved collector’s books. Doing so will not only help to preserve the longevity of your physical copies, but it will also allow you to access your collection from anywhere at any time.
Plus, digital books take up significantly less space, making them a practical option for those short on shelf space.
Ultimately, the decision to purchase digital copies is personal, but it is worth considering the many benefits it can offer.
Final Thoughts on Caring for Your Books
Caring for books is an art that requires patience, knowledge, and dedication.
It is important to handle books carefully, store them properly, and clean them regularly to prevent damage. If a book is damaged, take the necessary steps to repair it or seek professional help.
By preserving books, we preserve the stories and knowledge they contain for future generations.
- Empty Mirror: Care for Your Books
- My Binding: Maintain Paperback Books
- Tally Press: 8 Tips on How to Care for Your Books