The smell of an old book has been described as heavenly or nostalgic. As author Keith Houston so eloquently once described the simple joys of a book lover: “Find the biggest, grandest hardback you can. Hold it in your hands. Open it and hear the rustle of paper… Smell it! Flip through the pages and feel the breeze on your face.” Houston notes that, even in a world full of digital technology, modern eBooks are still lacking many of the qualities that make reading books so enjoyable.
And many people agree with him. In fact, some librarians, savants and book conservators are even able to determine a book’s age and country of origin simply by the way the pages smell.
If, instead of merely collecting eBooks or listening to audiobooks, you’ve been building your own home library, here are some time-tested ways to preserve your beloved book collection so you can enjoy reading and re-reading them for years to come:
How to Safely Store Your Books
First, if you are placing your books in storage, make sure the room is climate-controlled and free of pests or leaks. You don’t want your books to be chewed by mice or damaged by water! Second, if you are not storing your books on a bookshelf or using traditional storage, try to find a plastic container rather than using cardboard. Plastic is more durable and will better protect your book collection during long-term storage.
If you have a large collection of books, you may need to get creative about where you store them. Small quantities of books may fit under your bed or in your closet. Larger book collections, however, might require their own designated room (library, anyone?) or storage facility.
To prevent damage, your books should be stored either upright (as on a bookshelf) or flat (when in a box). You’ll want to store your books long-term in a room that is climate-controlled, not too humid, and where the books are away from direct sunlight (which can bleach the pages and book covers). If you have a drafty window that’s spiking the humidity in this space, you’ll need to take steps to get it repaired. You can find reviews and ratings for local window repair professionals on sites like Angi. This work averages $290 depending on the window and type of repair required.
How to Protect Your Book Covers
To protect the cover of your favorite book(s), you can either make a plastic book cover protector yourself, or you can buy a premade version.
The cracking or bending of a book spine is sometimes viewed as inevitable – but that’s really not the case. Even better, this video tutorial shows an easy method to help you prevent a paperback book spine from cracking. This method can also minimize further cracking in the spines of your beloved books, which might already have a little wear and tear.
There you have it. There are a wide variety of options available for preserving your favorite books. With just a few simple efforts, you can preserve the books in your home library and minimize any future wear and tear.
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This blog was written by our guest, Mr. Ed Carter.
Ed Carter has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Thought Catalog