Collecting Valuable Books - Care Guide

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DON'T read your valuable books, even with clean hands! You want them to keep their value then reading is a big no no.
Don't eat or drink around your books.
Don't loan your books. Learn how to say "NO".
Store books upright on the shelf.
Don't write in your books.
Put your dust jackets in DJP (Dust Jacket Protector).
Keep books from sunlight and other ultraviolet sources. See (Shelving)
Clean your books every year or so.


Don't write in your books. Not in Ink, at least. Don't even put your name and/or address in 'em. It is a fact of today's 2nd hand and antiquarian book market that even a neatly written ink name in a book will reduce it's value significantly. If we're talking about modern first edition FICTION, then all but the most valuable will be rendered virtually unsalable as collectables if they are written in.
If you already have put your name in them, do nothing.
DON'T BLOT OUT WRITING WITH A MAGIC MARKER OR PEN, OR WHITE OUT OR ANYTHING. It's kind of like trying to take scratch out of your car's fender with a blowtorch and a hammer. The damage is done, don't make it worse.


Buy shelves big enough so that your books will stand up and clear the shelf above. Get shelving deep enough so you have some space behind the books. Keep the books away from outside walls, especially un-insulated walls.
Position the shelves so that direct sunlight doesn't fall on them. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE DON'T STORE YOUR BOOKS ON THE SUN PORCH. It's a great place to read, a terrible place to keep your books. Why do you think Medieval Libraries were dark? Did you think they didn't know how to build windows?
If your books take such a low priority in your life, that you'd even CONSIDER storing them in the garage, then you've got no business reading this. Put something less important on the porch or in the garage, like your spouse, or grandmother.
Turn on the air conditioning. Keep in on.
Why Air condition books? Books are all "organic"(carbon based compounds). They are made from paper & cardboard and cloth. These things, especially the paper, usually contain chemicals(such as lignin, natural to the wood fiber) that will turn to acid over time. The rate that these acidify is proportional to temperature and humidity. The higher the temperature and more available moisture, the faster they will acidify. Also, wide variations in temperature will greatly hasten the decay of books. Air Conditioning is a thermal flywheel, and irons out these destructive ups and downs. Do you spend a fortune to live oceanfront so you don't have to run the AC most of the time? Good for you! BAD FOR YOUR BOOKS.

Storing your books.

OK, you've reached the point where you can't fit all your books into the available shelving. Buy more shelving. No money? No room for more shelving? Sell 'em.
You don't want to sell your books? Then, I guess you'll have to store them.
The first thing you'll have to do, is box the books. Get small boxes. The smaller the boxes, the easier they are to handle carefully. Additionally, there is less stress and strain on the books in a small box. If you're in a area where bugs are a problem, better read the section entitled vermin, first.
Pack the books snugly, but not tightly in the boxes. NEVER STORE BOOKS SO THAT THEY ARE ON THEIR FORE EDGE OR SPINE. The best way is to stand them upright, just like on the shelf. This is not always practical, however, since there will be room left in the top of most boxes. If you leave the top empty, then the box may be crushed when you stack others on top. There is a temptation to lay books flat on top of the upright ones, but this will warp the top ones unless the upright ones are all pretty close to exactly the same height. The alternative is to lay all the books flat in the box. If you do this, be sure that they are laying square, and not twisted in there bindings.
Seal the boxes with good tape. Keep in mind that most cardboard is made from kraft paper, and there is no effort made in manufacturing to remove the components that will acidify over time. Therefore, a box is a kind of chemical time bomb, as far as books are concerned. The longer they are in the same box, the more the acid accumulates in the inside and walls of the cardboard, and the faster your books will yellow and brown. You seal it to keep out the vermin, and to keep in the acid. Horns of a dilemma, huh? That's why I told you to sell the good ones to me.
Where to put the boxes.
Bad Idea. Insects and no air conditioning.
Same as Garage. Bad, bad, bad. Much worse, temperature wise.
See Garage.
Mini-Storage, Climate controlled.:
Ok. But some of the worst book disasters I've seen were from so-called Climate Controlled mini storage places. How can you check the reliability and maintenance of such a place? If you put books in storage, get the boxes off the concrete floor. They will absorb every bit of moisture they can from it. Use storage shelves, or put pallets down first. The trick is to try to get air to circulate ALL around the boxes.
Storing in the house:
Put the books back on the shelf? Ok, I know. Put the boxes in the closet, and hope that there no plumbing in the back that can or will leak.

Dust Jacket Protector

Dust Jacket Protector. We call it DJP. It's that clear plastic that you see on library book dust jackets, and on nearly every dust jacket in the Tappin Book Mine
It is the single best and most economical way to protect your books from wear and tear. It's relatively cheap,too. We sell it, we even put it on for you, but it's so simple to put on (NO TAPE OR GLUE), that just about any one can do it well in less than two or three minutes a book.

Cleaning your Books.

CAREFULLY remove the dust jacket. Use a good feather duster, and while you tightly hold the book closed and upright vigorously but carefully dust off the top and edges. Put the dust jacket back on.

How to not Loan books.

Just say no. Definitely simple. Not always easy. In the interest of preserving friendships and maintaining peace in the family, here are some suggestions on how to back up a "No" reply to the question , "may I borrow this book for a few weeks?"

Act throughly stunned when the dreaded question is posed to you. If in fact the book in question is of little value or importance to you, go ahead and loan it, but do it so reluctantly and with such obvious angst, that in the future the borrower will not be amazed when you decline to loan a book.
Say no with a short laugh as if the request was so obviously tongue in cheek as to not be worthy of a discussion or apology.
Act a little wierd all the time. People are a little afraid of that, and are less likely to ask you for favors in general. This is a popular and successful technique used by sailors to keep officers in line. Works pretty well. Keep in mind that after a while the acting becomes the normal behavior, so think about how you're going to do this in advance.
Offer your toothbrush instead. Keep an old one around just in case the would be borrower says ok.
Keep loaner copies around of your favorite books. This serves the dual purpose of protecting your good books as well as recruiting more potential collectors of good books. The long term effect is to enhance the demand and value of your good books. It is also good for booksellers.

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