How to Store Books at Home
Books are precious, but they take up space. Being a booklover and a ‘physical copy purist’ is a dangerous mix but here are some helpful tips from a bookshop assistant on how to keep your hardbacks and paperbacks happy and in good condition.
1. Adequate shelving space
It is easy to fall victim to the allure of a beautiful edition or new release but rule one of book-keeping is to always have adequate space before you bring that new title (or titles) home. Books should not be stacked horizontally on top of vertical books as it will bend them out of shape and potentially cause warping. Books should be placed vertically on the shelf and not pressed too tightly together to avoid damage. If you are desperate for space but another shelf isn’t an option, try arranging your books two rows to one shelf or placing some titles down in a horizontal stack to maximise vertical space. A long-term solution may be to donate some of those older books in your collection to second-hand shops or donation drives. Someone can enjoy the book as much as you did and then you have the space for something new in return.
2. Humidity is the enemy!
Temperatures in the extreme can be bad for a book and cause warping. To protect your collection, always chose a spot for your bookshelves that is out of direct sunlight, and preferably the coolest room in the home. This will keep your books in good condition for years to come.
3. Had an accident? It’s not the end of the world.
Books are meant to be read. But sometimes this activity in itself can change the condition of the book. The best tips for book condition are; take care of the spine, hold your book open in a comfortable ‘V’ shape to preserve the spine condition. If the book isn’t closing fully try to place it down and put something heavy on top of it for a while. This may help keep the book flat. Use a bookmark, anything will do so long as you are not folding down corners or leaving the book open; however, try to avoid receipts or anything similar as sometimes the ink will rub off on your book. Spilt something on the book? Don’t panic, carefully pin the damaged pages open (try to leave the book ‘fanned’ open if possible) and allow them to dry naturally. Do not place the book in direct sunlight or use a drying tool as this increases the chances of the pages becoming brittle or fusing together. Once the open pages are dry turn over to each damaged page, repeat the process until the book is fully dry.