Many people don’t think about book storage and how important it is for the purpose of preserving their books.

However, if you are a dedicated bookworm, you have likely thought about how to store books properly and tried your best to make sure your precious book collection lasts a lifetime.

Book storage tips

Why is Book Storage Important?

Books are special things and a person’s collection can give provide insight into the deepest parts of the heart.

Furthermore, books are an essential part of developing and maintaining a good relationship with language, while keeping the imagination engaged.

Keeping the books that have made the most impact on you is a sentimental gesture towards yourself and if stored correctly, these books can be handed on to generations to come, allowing them to share in your sentiments.

Book Storage – How to Store Collectible Books

Dust Them Off

Making sure they are clean and free from potentially corrosive particles is an essential part of the book storage process.

Use a new, unused paintbrush to dust off any residue from the covers as well as in between the pages.

Also pay close attention to the "gutter" area between pages for possible insect eggs. If you see any, wipe them away with the brush, avoiding the use of insect repellent as this will surely damage your book.

Lastly, avoid using a cloth as this can cause dampness and mould.

Air Them Out

If your books have been exposed to the slightest bit of moisture, or if they smell a bit musty, allow them to air out inside a dry room for a day or two before packing them away.

Don’t store books that already have mould, as this will encourage the mould to spread.

Give Your Books a Dust Jacket

Dust jackets are essential for the preservation of your collection. They protect your book from potential damage.

Some dust jackets are made from really thin paper, so if you’re committing to long-term book storage, then wrapping your books up in an extra layer is highly advised.

Wrap Them Properly

As much as wrapping your books is important, the way you wrap them and the materials you use is even more crucial.

Steer clear from using plastic as it traps moisture and causes condensation, leading your books down a one-way road to mildew city.

Furthermore, newspaper is also not a good option as it’s highly acidic and, when left in contact with your books over a long period of time, can cause severe damage.

There is also the risk of the ink from the newspaper fading or “running”, staining your book beyond repair.

Instead, use acid-free archival paper or cotton rag paper which is made from cotton pulp instead of wood pulp. Each of these papers is designed for long term storage.

Choose Quality Boxes

Avoid using boxes that you got from the back of a supermarket. These boxes have often been exposed to moisture as well as other environmental conditions that can compromise the success of your book storage efforts.

Furthermore, these boxes have often been reused several times, weakening them in the process.

Therefore, its best to purchase brand-new storage boxes that are extra rigid and durable for short-term storage, and archival boxes for long-term book storage.

Store Books Upright or Flat?

Paperback books are prone to bending, while hard cover books are easily dented when not packed correctly.

Avoid packing large books standing upright, instead, lay them down flat. For small to medium books, you can lay them on their backs or standing upright.

However, no books should be packed on top of books that are standing up right.

Because books come in various shapes and sizes, try pack a few bigger ones at the bottom (only one or two layers) and smaller ones on top and use packing paper to fill the gaps between books.

Filling the gaps will prevent books from bending and warping over time.

Store in the Right Environment

Find a place that is cool and dry, away from direct sunlight and protected from any chance of water damage.

Avoid storing your boxes anywhere near your geyser, to avoid the risk of a burst geyser drenching your collection.

Furthermore, make sure the boxes are kept directly off the floor to prevent water damage from flooding. Instead, stack them on pallets or crates.

Book storage tips

Bookbinding Services South Africa

We believe that book storage done properly can open the doors to worlds left behind, especially with the dominant age of digital reading.

For more information on how to preserve very old books, or how to look after your new ones, feel free to contact us.