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Topic: storing your books

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Subject: storing your books
Date Posted: 8/17/2008 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Anyone know of which way is the best to store your books........what's best for the spine, etc?  And has anyone heard that something might eventually happen to the cover (especially older books) if books are piled on top of each other and stick together from heat or something?  Thanks for any info....

Date Posted: 8/17/2008 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Long term, it's probably not what most people usually think.  Just shelving books is not the best option for long term storage - especially if books are added to or removed from the shelf on a daily basis.  Vertical storage of books, especially if they are shelved next to other books that aren't of the same or very similar dimensions can also put extra strain on the spines and will eventually cause warping - especially if they are jammed tightly together into the storage space.  Storing them horizontally puts the least amount of stress on the books, but it's not really recommended to stack them too highly, because for one thing, if you make a stack too high, it will fall over & could possibly damage your books, and to prevent large stacks from falling over, you almost need to wedge them into a space - like in stacks that span the space between two shelves - which also forces the books tightly together and increases the risks of warping and friction damage to the covers (as in when you pull books out of the stack).  Small stacks of no more than 6-10 books, in a stable space - like on shelves, where the overhead clearance is no more than an inch or so above the topmost book - work best.  You have the stabilizing factor of small horizontal stacks, plus enough space for your stacks so that air can circulate around your books, and you aren't exerting too much force on them when you go to pull one out.  If your books are not all of uniform size, the larger, heavier books should go on the bottom, and the books get progressively smaller & lighter as you move up the stack.  Heat & humidity are bad for books under any circumstance - regardless of how they're stored - and cause damage of their own.  Avoid storing your books in extremely hot and/or humid areas if at all possible.  Your storage shelves should also be of some sort of smooth, non-porous material.  Unfinished woods are BAD.  Avoid them at all costs.  They'll leech mositure, stain, and damage the covers of your books.  My best suggestion for book storage is the little media shelf units you see everywhere these days with the adjustable shelving.  The have a smooth laminate finish, they aren't so deep that they take up a lof of floor space in the home, and the shelves can be set for whatever sized books & media you want to store on them.  I have several of these units that I bought at Big Lots for less than $20 each.

Hope this helps:)



Last Edited on: 8/17/08 3:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2008 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,517
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Years ago, I found some plastic 6-shelf bookshelves just the right size for regular paperbacks.  Each shelf is its own unit and they stack on top of each other.  I also have a couple of VHS/CD/DVD shelving units that work well also.  Like Kim said, the shelves are the right size for regular paperbacks or trade sized paperbacks and they don't stick out very far at all.

Date Posted: 8/17/2008 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Thanks so much!

Date Posted: 8/18/2008 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
Posts: 308
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Kind of on the same topic, does anyone here cover their paperback books with the clear vinyl that libraries sometimes use on their books?  It's a clear adhesive vinyl.  If you do use these, where is a good place to order them?



Last Edited on: 8/18/08 12:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/18/2008 1:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I use it on some of my old, worn collectibles.  I just get the rolls of clear bookcover vinyl from Office Depot or Staples.  It should be something very flexible, rather than the real shiny stiff stuff.  I've used both, and from personal experience, the shinier stiff laminates tend to yellow the back side of the cover.  Also, something else I've found is that all of the directions on appllying this stuff say to just do an overlap of about an inch or so on the inside of the cover, but it seems to adhere better, cause less discoloration inside the cover, and the cover lays flatter & smoother if you take the laminate all the way to the inside edge - where the cover & page meet at the binding.  Only time will tell if I'm doing this right, I suppose, but I have a couple that have been laminated for almost a year, and the laminate covering is still smooth and tight against the covers, and there don't appear to be any air pockets or discoloration.

Date Posted: 8/18/2008 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
Posts: 308
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Thanks, Kim.  I think I will look at the crafts store while I'm there today and see if they have anything to cover the books with.  If not, I'll probably go to Office Depot sometime soon.  I found some of the vinyl adhesive covers on the internet that are pre-cut for books, but I don't think they sell to individuals, just schools and libraries.  That would definitely be easier, but this way is much more economical, and of course the laminate is easier to get.

Will used book stores mind getting books covered like that if in the future I replace some of my paperbacks with hardbacks and decide to trade them in?  I've never bought any covered before, or even gotten them through PBS.

Date Posted: 8/18/2008 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I see them on ebay all the time - old collectibles that are laminated - and I've even bought a few at the UBS.  They always mention it in the descriptions on ebay & half.com, but I've never noticed that any of the books were discounted or whatever because of it.