Just about all the writers and readers I know have a considerable financial investment in the books that comprise their home library. Yet many don't know how to properly take care of these printed treasures, be they paperbacks or hardbacks.
According to publishers' statistics, more books than ever are being sold. The number of hardcover books published and sold each year has risen dramatically. Our personal book collections are more valuable than we realize. In fact, if you add up the amount you have invested in your personal library, you might be stunned by the tally.
1. Store books upright to prevent warping. It's always best to completely fill the book shelf so they are supported on each end. If you don't have enough books to do this, be sure to use strong bookends.
2. Keep food and beverages away from books because insects, along with heat and humidity, are a book's worst enemies. Cockroaches, silverfish, and carpet beetle larvae, better known as - you guessed it - the bookworm are attracted to the smallest residue of nutrients. Keep your books clean, cool, dry, and nutrient-free.
3. Use bookmarks to hold your place in a book. Do not dog ear the page (I am so guilty of this!) or lay the book down, open-faced (Sigh. I do this too.) which will damage the spine of the book.
4. Books aren't double-jointed. Never crack one open (forcing one open past its own natural angle).
5. The purpose of the dust jacket, the paper cover that comes on hardbacks, is to keep the book from becoming soiled and to protect it from wear and tear. So use it. Never discard it because if you think you may hang on to it as a collectible, the lack of a dust cover lowers its value.
It's never too late to learn the proper way to do something. Make new book handling habits today and teach them to your children.