Book Care Tips

The Elements

  • Keep books out of direct sunlight. Sunlight will cause the colors of the book’s dust jacket to fade.
  • Keep your books dry. Humidity and dampness produce mold, which is a book problem that pretty much can’t be cured. Exposure to water will also ripple pages and deform the book.
  • Extreme temperatures at either end aren’t good, but heat is worse, especially in a humid climate.


  • Keep bugs away from your books. Some bugs like to eat them; others will leave their marks.
  • Keep cats away from your books. Cats also have a habit of leaving their mark on books. It’s hard to get rid of this damage. (You may be able to deodorize cat-or tobacco-befouled books by putting them in an airtight container with an air freshener for a day or two; of course, they may then smell like apple cinnamon.)
  • Keep kids and other free spirits away from your books. Books should be handled carefully, with clean hands.


  • Ideally, your books will be stored upright on your shelves. You want to be able to see them, maybe even read them occasionally.
  • Don’t lay other books on top of them.
  • If you have to store your books in a garage or attic, be aware of heat. Store them in airtight, acid-free containers.


  • Read your books with clean hands, preferably not while you’re eating spaghetti or chocolate ice cream.
  • Use bookmarks. Don’t fold the pages down; don’t leave the book open and upside-down; don’t mark your place with your sunglasses.
  • Don’t write your name (or anything else) in your books. If you have to use bookplates, use nice, custom-made ones.
  • Put your dust jackets in protective dust jacket covers. Dust jackets protect and improve the look (and value) of books.
  • Use a feather duster to occasionally get the dust off of your books.
  • If you loan your books, loan them to people who care about books as much as you do.

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