Basic Book Care

Basic Book Care

All books, especially rare and fragile antique books, should be treated with care in order to preserve their condition and prevent any further damage.  Due to their age and printing techniques of the past, vintage books are susceptible to degradation such as discolouration and foxing. Below are some tips on how to protect and minimise the chance of further damage to your books:


Spacing – Avoid overcrowding your books - Cramming them together can cause damage to spines and covers.  Always keep your books vertical unless they are especially tall, in which case, store flat to avoid warping but avoid tall piles.


Handing – Do not remove books from a shelf by pulling from the top of the spine, push in the books either side and hold both sides of spine to remove. Do not over-flex the spine by opening too widely, or by creasing the spine of paperbacks. Make sure your hands are clean when handling rare and vintage books and keep away from food and liquids.


Lighting – Books should be stored away from direct sunlight to prevent bleaching and tanning to spines, jackets and boards.


Temperature – Books need a stable temperature and a good air flow to curtail mould growth. Avoid storing books in damp conditions or by heat sources, which can cause books to dry out and warp.


Preservation – Avoid attempting to repair rare books yourself, if your book needs repair, consult a professional.


Shelving – Wood shelving that has not been properly sealed can transfer damaging acids to your books, if possible, choose glass or baked enamel shelves.


Cleaning – To clean your book, carefully remove the book from the shelf, hold closed and delicately brush off the dust with a soft paint brush.