If you’re a book lover, you know that books are treasured possessions. They need to be handled and stored properly to prevent the pages from fading, the bindings from cracking, and the books themselves from falling victim to dampness, heat, or mildew. Instead of risking losing your beloved books, learn how to properly store books so you can enjoy them for years to come. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to do to keep your books in good condition.
Bookcases and shelves are a natural place to keep books. However, it’s essential to do more than just pile them in haphazardly. Here are some tips:
- Position the bookcase away from heat sources and direct sunlight
- If possible, keep bookcases in a room with relatively low humidity (30% – 50% is ideal)
- Stack books of the same height together to give them maximum support
It’s a good idea to dust books regularly with a soft brush. Hardcover books should be stored with their dust jackets, which will protect them and add value if you want to sell a book.
Storing Books at Home
Many people have books stored in boxes at home. It’s safe to pack books into boxes, but you need to do it carefully to prevent damage.
Small and medium-sized books can be stored standing up on their sides. Never store them on their spines or standing on the front edge, as this may damage the spine. Large books should be stored lying flat.
Make sure all books are completely dry before packing them away. A damp book is an ideal environment for mildew and mold, which can easily spread to nearby books. It’s also a good idea to dust your books and watch for insect eggs, which may appear as small black dots on the pages.
Be careful not to pack boxes too full, which can lead to bent paperback covers or dented hardcovers. You should also avoid leaving too much space in the box, as books may shift and sustain damage when being moved from one place to another.
Finally, make sure to choose the proper environment for your books. It might be tempting to store them in the attic or cellar, but these are not good locations. Attics tend to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and your attic may also be too dry for books to be stored safely.
Cellars and basements are a bad choice too. They’re prone to dampness and may be at risk of flooding at certain times of the year.
Storage Spaces for Books
- Follow the steps above for cleaning and drying books before you pack them into boxes
- Wrap books for long-term storage. Avoid using newspaper. Instead, use acid-free archival paper to protect your books
- Choose a temperature controlled storage space. The ideal temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal climate is a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 30% and 50%
If you have any books that are already damaged, you may want to engage the services of a restoration expert to save them. That’s especially important if you have valuable volumes such as first editions or out-of-print books.
If you love your books, it’s essential to store them properly. The tips we’ve outlined here will ensure that your books stay in good condition and are ready for you to read whenever you want them.