We know that a tattered book can be a heartache to it's owners. If it's unusable and needs to sit on a shelf, the joy of reading it again or showing it to others slows or stops completely. While we love bringing someone the joy of restoring such a book, we would also love to let you in on a few common repair issues that we see regularly that can push your book to that point. Let's keep it as far away from disrepair for as long as possible! Follow these top ten tips to get you on you way to preserving your beloved volumes.
1. Always place books back onto bookshelves when finished with them and use bookends
A little simplistic, but this goes a long way in preventing accidents such as spills, dropping, poor storage, bumped corners, etc. Using bookends will keep books from leaning over and loosening the binding.
2. Store books upright unless they're over-sized
Lay over-sized books on their back covers. It is far better for them if their weight is not constantly pulling on the hinge and binding of the book.
3. Keep bookcases and shelves out of sunlight
Sunlight produces fading quickly and that can be a difficult thing to repair and impossible to reverse.
4. Never lay a book open and upside down for keeping
Any kind of pressure on the inner middle portion of the book effects the binding and can cause it to loosen or crack. When opening a book, don't press the inside binding down it it's tight to try to make it lay flat.
5. Use fitted archival boxes and breathable cotton cloth for long term storage
Wrapping books in plastic or heavy cloths that don't breath could encourage mold. Wrapping them loosely in cloth or paper towel helps protect from dust while allowing air to circulate. Also, the more fitted your books are to the storage box, the less moving around they will do.
6. Store books on shelves in ventilated places with minimal temperature fluctuations
As much as possible, keep books off of floors to protect them from spills or leaks in storage. Extremely dry temperatures will cause will also dry out books, adhesives and cover materials (especially leather), while humidity and dampness will allow for mold.
7. Only use archival quality, acid-free products on your books for DIY
Never use packing tape, office tape, duct-tape, craft glue, hot glue, or any other types of adhesives to attempt to repair your book covers or pages at home. This can cause irreversible damage and a much more expensive bill someday if it heads to a professional.
8. Use paper bookmarks instead of dog-ears or paper clips
Saving on any damage to the pages is worth it! Even a couple of ripped or torn pages can start a book down the road to disrepair. Using metal bookmarks can often cause rust on the pages over time.
9. Buy a well bound book to start with
Keep an eye out for an upcoming article on our blog regarding how to purchase a well bound book. Making that initial investment on books you'd like to have last is a great thing to do for yourself!
10. Immediately have a book repaired that's been damaged
In spite of our best attempts, books will become damaged over time and use for a variety of reasons often out of our control. The time that it happens will be the time that it needs the least amount of professional help. Over time, the damage will only worsen and spread to other areas of the book. Choosing immediate repair will stop the damage done and give you that freedom to use your book again and again without hesitancy.
We hope these tips help you as you consider how to give your favorite volumes some TLC! If you have a questions about anything mentioned or your particular repair need, please contact us at any time at 800-208-1497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.