Although it is now very common to buy electronic books in the Internet, many book lovers still prefer the traditional hardcopy books. Books are an investment and fragile commodity. They can last long if you take good care of them. Conversely, they are also easily destroyed if neglected. To ensure that your books will remain in good or even mint condition for a long time, there are important tips to maintain them:
1. Do not write on the pages.
While it is common for students to write on the margins of books, underline words or phrases and highlight important points. Don’t do the same for your collection especially if it is a high-value book. If you have to make some important markings, use pencil instead of ink or highlighter that is more permanent and harder to remove.
2. Don’t drink or eat while you read.
Food particles and liquid can accidentally go to your books and may destroy them so avoid reading while eating or drinking. And if you have to read after eating or drinking, make sure that your hands are clean because dirty hands can leave marks on the pages of the book.
3. Use your book properly.
To break-in a new book, lay it on its back and turn several pages at a time. Press the pages lightly along the spine. It should be easier for you to open the pages the next time you read the book. Use a bookmark to mark your reading progress instead of folding the corner of a page. Folding of pages will cause a permanent mark on the book which would be unsightly. Don’t place your book face down with pages left open because this will cause damage to the spine. And don’t leave your book anywhere after using it. Additionally, a book cover can protect your book from dust and other elements.
4. Store your books on a shelf.
Keep your books on a shelf after reading. Arrange smaller books vertically in an upright position. There should also be enough space above and between books so you will not damage the bindings when you pull them out. When pulling out a book from the shelf, push the books adjacent to it and hold the book at the edge of the spine and not on top of the spine. For larger and heavier books, stack them on their sides as their heavy weight can cause damage on the edges of the book. When you have limited space on your shelf, you can also store your books in a clean plastic box in an upright position.
5. Keep your shelf or storage away from moisture and heat.
Bookshelves should be installed away from direct sunlight and moisture which can cause damage to the books after a long time of exposure. Direct sunlight can destroy the bindings of the books and cause pages to crumble while moisture can advance the growth of molds or mildews.
6. Check books from time to time.
Don’t leave your books on the shelf or in a box in oblivion if you don’t read them. Check on them from time to time. Check for dust, mold, mildew, termites, and other insects which can damage them. Check also whether your storage remains dry and not exposed to too much heat.
Caring for your books and maintaining their good condition should be easier with the tips mentioned above.