How to Store Paperback Books

For book lovers and book collectors, a collection of books is seen as a treasure to be protected and kept safe. Long-term book storage is essential to think about to keep your favorite reads safe. Whether you are looking for ways to store your book collection at home or a self-storage facility it is important to store them correctly to ensure they remain in pristine condition, otherwise, it can be incredibly damaging.

In this guide to the proper way to store books, we will cover:

  • The ideal temperature to store paperback books in long-term storage
  • What is the best position to store paperback books
  • Ways to prevent discolouration over time
  • The impact of dust mites
  • How to store paperback books not in a climate-controlled environment
  • And more!

The Best Temperature for Storing Paperback Books Long-Term

The best temperature to store books to avoid any damage and keep them in good condition is at a temperature range of 15 – 20 degrees Celsius. It’s also important to keep in mind that whether books are stored directly in sunlight or in temperature and humidity levels that fluctuate quite often can heavily impact their condition while in storage.

Storing Paperback Books: Upright or Flat?

Storing your paperback books upright is generally preferred as opposed to keeping them flat. Although there are a few exceptions, including if the books are too heavy or fragile then you can lay it flat on a bookshelf. However, there are a few reasons why you should store your paperback books vertically and have them sit upright.

  • Prevents any spine creases that can be caused by the weight of stacking books on top of each other
  • Easier to access when stored upright on a bookshelf
  • More efficient for storing as it takes up less space when stored upright

While storing books upright or flat is something to take into consideration, however, more importantly, the environment you store them in is more critical.

Discolouration Prevention

It’s a given that paperback books are subject to discolouration over time regardless of how it’s stored. Here are some tips to help prevent and slow down the speed of discolouration occurring when storing books.

  • Keep your paperback books away from sunlight (UV rays) as sunlight is one of the main factors that cause the pages in your books to fade 
  • Rotate your paperback books periodically to prevent uneven aging
  • Make sure your hands are clean and the surfaces you store your books on are clean as well
  • No smoking indoors, more specifically near your paperback books as this can also play a role in discolouration
  • Monitor how you store books over time and take preventative measures if necessary, such as relocating your books or using UV-resistant book covers

The Effects of Dust Mites

Dust mites can play a role in the condition of your valuable books while in storage. It’ll be worth the time and energy to remove dust from the cover and interior pages of your book. Some of the ways it can damage your belongings if this step is not done or not correctly are:

  • Can potentially fray the binding 
  • Impact the colouring of the pages and cause discolouration
  • Leads to physical damage by weakening the pages

Therefore, it is essential to use dust covers/dust jackets or bubble wrap, regularly clean, and air them out to avoid any of the above damages to all your favorite titles while kept in storage boxes, shelves, or a storage unit.

How to Protect Paperback Books from Moisture

When it comes to storing sensitive items it’s best to protect them from any moisture to avoid damage to your belongings. The best way to do that is by storing your paperback books in a dry and cool environment where the temperature and humidity levels don’t fluctuate. This is especially true if you plan on storing your belongings for a long period. Some of the other ways to avoid moisture to ensure your valuable book’s longevity include:

  • Elevating your books and store them on shelves as opposed to directly on the floor
  • Keep the area clean to prevent moisture build-up
  • Avoid direct sunlight by keeping them away from windows

How to Display and Store Your Books

Now you know how to protect books from moisture, it’s also beneficial to learn about how to display and store your books correctly in your home and take advantage of dead space.

Ways to Display Your Books

There are many ways you can go about storing your home library or your book collection. You can do so in very creative ways to display them in an aesthetically pleasing way. Here are five ways you can store books and display them in your home.

  1. Transforming your old storage closet into a mini library: consider repurposing an old closet into a mini library for your paperback books. If you don’t already have shelving installed, you can easily install them. 
  2. Build a headboard above your bed: spruce up your bedroom by adding a headboard or floating shelves above your bed to create storage space for your paperback books.
  3. Display Heavier Books on the Coffee Table: Heavier books can easily be displayed on your living room table by laying them flat.
  4. Ladder Display: A more creative way to display and store your books, while providing additional space for decor such as plants, throw blankets, and much more.
  5. Under the Bed or Couch: While less aesthetic, you can store your paperback books under your bed or couch inside a box to help you if you have empty space there or are limited in space.
  6. Classic bookshelf: Nothing wrong with a traditional bookshelf that can be anywhere in your home to store and display your prized collection of books. Perhaps even consider a built-in bookshelf for your personal library. 

Following any one of the above ways will not only display and store your books but also elevate your living space.

Cardboard or Plastic Containers?

If you’re looking for a storage container to store books in, both cardboard and plastic containers work. However, it all depends on the type of conditions you end up storing your paperback or hardcover books in. 

Plastic containers are more durable, and reusable, and can help seal out any moisture, especially if you don’t plan on storing them in a climate-controlled space. It can also help protect your books from pests such as insects and rodents. 

On the other hand, when you store books in cardboard boxes, they are more breathable to help prevent moisture and mold growth. They are also cheaper and more environmentally friendly than plastic containers.

With that being said, it’s essential to evaluate where you should pack books based on the type of condition your books are in for long-term storage purposes.

How to Store Books without Climate Control

The thought of having to store books without a climate-controlled environment can be worrisome for many, especially if you genuinely want to preserve them in the long run. However, if you follow the above tips, including choosing the right location, proper shelving, keeping books in an upright position, monitoring humidity levels as much as possible, and conducting a regular check/inspection then you can effectively store your books without worrying about damage over time. It does take a bit more attention to maintain your paperback books over time, but it will help keep your prized possessions in good shape.

How Can XYZ Storage Help

Self-storage can help with storing books immensely as you can find storage units that have climate-controlled storage, prevent direct light, and provide extra space, which is your best bet for proper book storage.

Fortunately, if you are looking for a climate-controlled storage environment for your book collection and sensitive belongings, we at XYZ Storage are here to help. With multiple self-storage facilities that are climate-controlled, we can provide the ideal storage unit conditions for your paperback books and more. 

Our facilities are located in Toronto West, Toronto Downtown, Toronto Midtown, Etobicoke, and Scarborough, all with top-notch security, so you feel safe, storing your books and other items with us. We understand how critical book storage is to you, and we’re here to help you find the best way to do that, so if you are interested or have any outstanding questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. Please feel free to stop by any of our facilities to chat with our storage experts as they would be more than happy to help you out. Happy storing!

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published: 25 October 2023