Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Q & A: How to care for your books

Q: What’s the best way to care for a new book?
A: Here are some general-care instructions that work well for both new and used books.

  1. Never leave books in direct sunlight. Sunlight can warp coverboards and bleach colors.
  2. Never bend pages wide open. This applies to both hardcover and paperbacks. In addition, never curl back paperback covers.
  3. Never turn down page corners (dog-ears) to save your place. Instead, use a clean, unmarked piece of paper, leather, or other thin card.
  4. Store books in a cool, dry place. Ideal is 60 degrees and 60 percent humidity, but that isn’t comfortable for humans, so get as close yet as comfortably as possible.
  5. Do not use a book as a hard surface for writing. Writing on top of a book may create marks or dents on the book’s cover or pages, which will lower its value.
  6. Never write or mark in a book. A book will last much longer if it is kept in as prestine shape as possible.
  7. Dust books periodically. Dust may contain chemicals that can make the paper deteriorate and yellow.
  8. Use a dry or slightly moist cloth or paper towel to clean spills on books. Let the pages dry before closing the book. Never use harsh chemicals or wipes!
  9. Store books upright on the natural bottom edge. Do not lay them flat on their backs across uneven rows of other books. Leave enough room between books to be able to grasp a book by the covers – do not pull at the top of the spine.
  10. Use bookplates to indicate your ownership. Do not write your name or other information, which may detract from the value of your book.

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