A considerable book collection brings vast responsibilities. Being a book lover myself, I hate seeing my books get ruined or tampered with dirt. Over time, I have grown so protective of my books that I never compromise with their hygiene and cleanliness. I still have the books I bought a long time ago, but believe that I purchased them five years ago if you ever see my collection!
I love reading and collecting books. Looking at my book collection makes me feel satisfied. I am not too fond of it when something happens to my readers, or someone handles my books irresponsibly but keeping such a collection clean and damage-free requires quite some effort.
One should know a proper way of handling and storing the books. Pages should be turned slowly and carefully and folding of pages should be avoided. Eating food while reading is not a good idea as just a minor accident can make your book untidy. Special care should be taken when reading while traveling.
I’ve been a reader for four years now and I still have my earliest books in my collection and that collection of mine looks like I bought them yesterday only! I can’t wait to share some tips and strategies with you guys for protecting your book collection.
13 Strategies For Protecting Your Book Collection
A book is a man’s best friend. I believe that it is. Books are precious and need to be protected at all costs. Especially if your collection is extensive and also includes old books. So, here’s what I do to keep my books spick-and-span.
1. Handle Books Hygienically
Just like we take care of our cleanliness and hygiene, books need their hygiene too! You wouldn’t like people touching the clothes you’re wearing with dirty hands, would you? The same is the case with your books.
Never touch your books with dirty hands. Always wash and dry your dirty hands before reaching for a book. Even if you feel that your hands are clean, try and sanitize your hands before touching a book. The dirt from your hands might stick to your book’s pages and cover and make it look not lovely.
Maintaining your books’ hygiene is one of the critical factors to keeping your book collection in good condition. Irresponsibly handling the books will only deteriorate their condition.
2. Avoid Damage To The Binding
Binding is like a book’s spinal cord. It gives structure to your readers. Broken or damaged book bindings will result in a poor structuring of your book and the book will eventually lose pages.
To keep the binding damage-free, avoid folding books while reading as most people usually do. Folding readers is the root cause of why their bindings wear off and poor binding means poor book quality.
A book should be secured by binding from being damaged at all costs as it is responsible for keeping your book intact.
3. Keep Paperback Collection In A Dry Place
Paperback books are delicate and fragile as compared to hardcovers. They’re not very durable so they need to be taken special care of.
Moisture is not good for paperbacks so keeping them in humid places should be avoided. Covering them with plastic bags, wraps, or foils should also be avoided as can lead to molding.
Paperback books should be kept dry and away from moisture. A bubble wrap can be used to cover paperback books in order to keep them away from damage.
4. Turn Pages Carefully
While reading an interesting book, I understand that we are excited to turn to the next page. We’re curious to know what the next section holds, but turning pages hastily and carelessly can damage the pages.
Pages of a book should be turned carefully and slowly with gentle finger movements. Turning the book pages impatient can result in folding, wrinkling, and even tearing the page.
Pages of a book are subject to natural deterioration and if we do not be careful with them. The book will destroy if we do not take care of that book.
5. Keep Plastic Bags With You If You Read During Traveling
Special care needs to be taken of books while traveling. All the pollution and the direct exposure to humidity and sunlight can do big damage to your book.
You can keep a few clear plastic bags with you for keeping your books inside. If you’re carrying a paperback book, don’t forget to cover it in bubble wrap first and then put it into the plastic bag.
Plastic bags will protect your books from all the threatening factors while you are traveling and your book will make it back just fine.
6. Avoid Direct Sunlight And In A Cool Place
Exposing your books to direct sunlight for a prolonged period can ruin your book. The direct sunlight can cause your book cover to fade.
Books should strictly be kept away from areas exposed to direct sunlight and should be kept in relatively cooled places or places with a controlled temperature.
Sun rays, heat, and humidity are not suitable for your books’ health and may lead to the poor quality of your readers.
7. Always Keep Them Clean
Cleanliness is a must. Just like we clean ourselves daily, our books need to be cleaned at regular intervals as well.
Dusting your books at least twice a week would prevent excessive dust from settling on the book surface. Books should also be vacuumed lightly with the help of a soft brush to wipe off loose dust. Please avoid the use of erasers on your books as it’s dust might get stuck in the corners.
Clean books would ensure a pure book collection. If you genuinely want to protect your books from damage, regular cleaning is mandatory.
8. Repair Broken Paperbacks
As I already stated, paperbacks are fragile. No matter how much we take care of them, there’s always a possibility of them getting damaged which is hard to prevent, but we can still fix it somehow.
If the book is disintegrating along the spine, we can use glue to fix that problem ourselves. As for the book cover, we can either laminate them or make them hardcover ourselves to ensure longer life of the book.
Preserving paperbacks is one of the most challenging jobs as they are designed to fit into people’s budgets, so their cover quality is not the best, but still, we can preserve them with a bit of effort.
9. Avoid Frequent Reading of One Book
We need to remember that books are fragile and need to be handled with care. If we go on reading a particular book over and over again, its condition will deteriorate at a faster rate as it will be exposed to all the threats more often.
If we like a book, rather than reading the same copy again and again, we can buy a new, cheap copy of it, or best, we can buy it in an e-book so that the book in our collection is not ruined by frequent exposure to threats.
If your pocket allows, you can try and buy two copies of a particular book. One for reading as many times as you want and one for keeping into your collection.
10. Avoid Folding Pages
People often tend to fold the pages of the books to continue from where they left, which is just wrong.
You can use a thin bookmark to mark where you left reading so that when you come back, you can start reading from the start of that page itself.
Folding pages creates an impression on that particular page and makes the book look untidy and damages the page.
11. Keep Pests Away
Pests can be a severe problem. The damage caused by pests is almost irreversible and they can damage your entire collection in just a short period.
To avoid pests from damaging your books, you need to look for a storage place in the house where you can be sure that no such things would affect your readers. If you find a book already being damaged by pests, you might want to isolate that book from your collection so that your whole group does not get damaged. Do not spray insecticides on your collection as they may damage your book.
Pests are some real headaches. They dine on our books, and some even lay eggs on them. It’s hard to keep pests away from books, but regular checking and cleaning of your collection might prevent that.
12. Keep Away From Food
Reading gives you pleasure and it gets added on to if you have your favorite snack by you. That’s how most of you read books, don’t you? But guess what? You shouldn’t!
You should keep the food aside from the book as it will make your books full of patches and foul smells. It will affect the quality of the pages also.
Reading and eating are two different jobs; as people don’t do two things together, they will spoil both the joy of reading and the pleasure of eating.
13. Use Correct Containers For Storing
Bookshelves are great for storing books, but not every reader can afford to get one or has enough space in the house to keep one. Well, don’t worry because we have other alternatives as well.
You can store books in small cardboard boxes as they would prevent the chance of molding and that box should have a dust-free area and where the chances of pest attack are less.
Air-tight seals can also be used to store books. They will not allow moisture or pests to get to your readers but the only problem is that your books won’t be in touch with air or we can say they won’t be able to ‘breathe.’
These were some of the tips, precautions, and safety measures I focus on protecting my book collection. These steps are a must if you want your collection to look as good as new. Always remember, books are precious and delicate and they need to be taken special care of.