August 01, 2004

Caring for Your Library

by Alan Beatts

We're frequently asked by our customers how to store and protect their hardcover books.  Though most avid readers (myself included) don't really think of our books as an investment, a good hardcover SF and Fantasy library that covers the past ten or twenty years is worth a respectable amount of money (i.e. thousands if not tens of thousand of dollars) if sold to a specialty bookseller.  This is even more true if you have been collecting works from various small presses or avidly collect horror fiction.  However, the value of a book drops sharply when it is damaged.  Even damage that seems perfectly acceptable to a reader will reduce the value by as much as twenty-five to fifty percent.  So, I have written the following suggestions that, if followed, will help preserve the value of a collection without interfering with the enjoyment of reading one's books.  

In general, there are five things that damage books -- damp, heat, sunlight, pests and abuse.  Here's how to prevent a good portion of each type of damage along with a few do's and don'ts.