How to Take Care of Books

You’ve bought the book and – presuming you’ve avoided the worn Tom Clancy paperback – you want to keep it forever, right? I mean, future generations should know what to read and you’re just the person to tell them. At the very least you want those unread books on your shelf to still be there waiting for you when you retire – when you might have time to read them. Here’s how to take care of your books:

  1. Don’t crack the back. Sorry, speed readers, but you should be gently pressing down those pages.
  2. Avoid wrinkling the spine. Now that’s a tough one. My childhood friend solved this problem by barely opening his book and craning his eyeballs around the curve of the page to see the inmost characters. I think he either knew Kung-Fu or was just a good guesser.
  3. Tape up those torn pages. There’s actually a product for this, archival repair tape. The cracking, yellow roll of packing tape at the back of your junk drawer with no discernible beginning may also work but I wouldn’t recommend it.
  4. Cover up the cover with plastic. A doily might be nice too.
  5. Keep your books out of extreme heat or cold and out of extreme dryness or moisture. Not so easy for me.
  6. Clean your books regularly. You might want to read them too.

From LifeSpy via HelpThing.

5 thoughts on “How to Take Care of Books

  1. Good advice if you are going to keep them. But how do we deal with the declining quality of binding, paper, etc? Not to mention the extinction of copy editing?

    Last book I read literally fell apart in my hands and I was only the second person to read it.

  2. Good Question. I get kind of excited when I see acid free paper in the front pages of the more academic books I buy. Otherwise, you sort of have to imagine your brand new book as musty and yellow. Then again, that just reminds me of reading Doc Savage and John Carter in the basement as a kid.

    And I had a book fall apart in my hands once too. Not a pleasant feeling. I also tried (and failed – sorry Charles Atlas) to rip a phone book in half once.

  3. The trick is to rip a few pages at a time in rapid succession, but to make it *look* like you’re ripping the whole thing at once. Or so I’m told.

    Ah yes, John Carter and yellowed paperbacks. For a long time I only thought a used bookstore was on the level if it smelled like mildew. I found it rather comforting.

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