Living Cover

Taking Care of Your Books

Books are an investment in knowledge. Something that can pass down to kids and grandkids. Make sure the books is fit an heirloom as any.

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | 10:14 AM

Though books are meant to be read, it can only take so much use and abuse before it crumbles. Paper is notoriously easy to age, so the best care must be given to ensure your investment in knowledge makes it to the hands of your grandkids.

The simplest way to protect books is by covering them with plastic cover. Hardbound or paperback books will wear down, but you can limit the damage by ensuring the covers (front and back) are enclosed in plastic.

However, this only takes care of the external part of your books. What about the pages within? Paper ages, and yellows, and eventually crumbles with age. To limit the aging process, store your books at room temperature away from moisture.

A multi-level book case can be very helpful for kids. Store the children’s books in the lower shelves, while the more valuable and delicate books can be placed on the top shelves.

When reading a book, try not to open the book flat on its back and avoid bending the spine. When opening a book or turn its pages, be sure to hold it at the middle end of the pages, not near the spine or at the corners. This ensures even weight distribution when turning pages to avoid creases and folds.

Speaking of folds, when keeping your place in a book, do not fold the corner or the page itself. Instead, use a proper bookmark. There’s a reason why bookmarks exist, use it and books will surely be thankful.

Before handling books, make sure hands are clean and dry and never avoid handling the book with one hand. If only one hand is free, cradle the book on  lap to ensure it is supported properly.

However, no matter how much  care for a book, there will be times when it starts to break down. For paperbacks, a thermal binding machine is needed if pages start to fall off. If there is still adhesive on the spine, a run through a binding cycle will secure the pages.

However, if there isn’t much adhesive left,  a thermal glue binding strip is needed. Take the strip and place it on the book’s spine then run it through a binding cycle. Tap the book against a hard surface after removing it from the machine to help the pages set properly. Let the book cool off, and voila, a perfectly restored book.

For hardbound books, the process is much more difficult, though fulfilling. It would require some sewing, binding, pressing, and a good amount of free time. Both Brodart and Demco have free book repair booklets available if one want to learn how to restore your hardbound books properly.

Books are meant to last, and few things are sadder than the death of one. To ensure the longevity of your books, follow the tips above and never abuse your books.

If just starting a collection, check out the Book Rack at 2014 S 1st Arcadia. It has a wide range of books, both paperback and hardbound, children’s books, adult books, fiction, fantasy, and most all genres available today.

To learn more about the Book Rack, visit or call (626) 446-2525.