Shelf Storage of Rare or Old Books

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How should I store my old or rare books?

Shelf Storage of Rare or Old Books

Most homes feature a series of bookshelves of some sort that are most likely filled with books and keepsakes from over the years. While bookshelves are a great place to store your books temporarily, if you have old, rare, or specially bound books, you should consider alternate storage. The main issue with shelf storage is the weakening of the binding which occurs when the books are stored upright on a shelf for too long. As the years pass, the pressure of the weight of the book is enough that it can warp or deform the binding making it both unattractive and weaker than it previously was. If you are insistent on shelf storage you may want to consider storing your books on their sides instead of upright to ease the pressure on the binding. Another issue with shelf storage is that there is no way to regulate the temperature or humidity of the storage area. It is open to the room and the heat fluctuates according to the temperature of the room. Some books have temperature sensitive binding that can be damaged by extreme fluctuations in heat. Finding a temperature controlled environment is far safer for preserving the binding of older books. Though building a temperature controlled storage facility for your books may be out of the question for some people, you can invest in storage drawers or containers that have a much more stable temperature and moisture level.



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Byron White