How to Handle Books

Correctly handling books during daily use can extend their shelf life. Washing your hands and handling books with care, ensures that a book is not damaged. Respect books by handling them as you would any other treasured material. Follow these tips for proper book handling.

Wash your hands with water and a mild soap. Remove dirt, grime and oil from your hands.

Remove a book from a shelf by using two fingers to push back its two adjacent books. Carefully grasp the book by the middle of its spine and pull it off the shelf. This method protects the book from damage that it would otherwise sustain if a single finger were used to pull the book from the top of its spine.

Use flat, plain white bookmarks. Do not mark, fold, crease or use sticky notes or paper clips on your books to mark pages. Ink can smudge and ruin the book's print, folds and creases can eventually lead to page breakage and sticky notes and paper clips can fade text and rip pages.

Read books using your hands or lap to hold or support them. Flattening a book on a tabletop and applying pressure down onto it with your hands can break the book's structure. If you need a table to read, support the book's covers with other books or with a towel so that it doesn't rest directly on the table.

Keep drinks, food and tobacco away from all reading materials. These can stain the pages can result in costly repairs or replacements.

Transport books in sturdy, weather-proof bags. Protecting your books from the elements helps prolong their lives as readable, mold-free materials.

Hold your books tightly. Avoid carrying several books at a time and dropping them; carrying single books helps to keep books' spines tight and their pages without crinkles.

Shelve and store your books away from pets and small children. Pets and small children can destroy and devalue books if they are allowed to damage them.

  • Consider covering your books with dust jackets. Dust jacket covers reduce wear and tear.
  • Consider storing your books in airtight acid-free containers instead of acid-free boxes.
  • Avoid using table tops to mark pages. Many people open books and turn them upside down to keep the book open to a certain page. This deteriorates the book's spine.
  • Do not force a book open.
  • Do not use white gloves to handle fragile books.
  • Do not use rubber bands or string to close a book. If you need to tie your book with something, use a very soft ribbon.