Because of this, make sure bookshelves are not sitting in direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight and artificial ultraviolet light can still be a problem, but for most books it is not worth worrying about. For more valuable books, consider storing them away from light entirely, such as in a box or cupboard. When doing this though, make sure you aren’t exposing them to dampness, dust or insects. See our following tips for more on this.
Avoid Humidity and Damp
Age spots, also called foxing, are most noticeable on old books where you’ll notice the paper is yellowed and there are brown spots or patches on it. This is most often seen on the outer edge of pages, on the inside of a dust jacket, and on the first and last few pages of a book.
Both age spots and mould can, to an extent, be treated. But it is best to take them to a professional and in most cases it won't be worth it. It is best avoided in the first place.
A damp environment can also attract insects that burrow into your books, gnaw holes in the paper, and leave their droppings. It goes without saying that this is bad.
As such, one of the worst places to keep books then is in boxes in the garage or shed. We often see these stored away for years - out of sight and out of mind. By the time people get to the box years later, the books are in pretty bad shape. Before putting books into storage like that, consider whether you even want to keep them. You might be better off selling or trading them in before they become a mess.
What about inside the home? Generally, an environment that is good for humans is good for books. That is, with good ventilation and temperature controls in your living rooms and bedrooms, books should be safe on your shelves. Cupboards can get a bit tricky as they’re shut away behind closed doors. This is much better than the garage or the roof space but does mean they can get forgotten and you won’t notice if things go wrong.
One place to definitely avoid is keeping books on window sills. Not only do you have the damage from sunlight, but books on window sills get damp and mouldy quickly.
Consider Non-Adhesive PVC Covers
There are a lot of products out there that claim to protect dust jackets. It's important though to pick the right one. We recommend non-adhesive PVC covers. You can get these online from Book Protection Products Limited. The non-adhesive PVC comes in rolls of different shapes and sizes. In the shop, we use Clear Gloss 450mm x 50m (PVCC450).
The reason you want non-adhesive PVC, and not something that sticks to the book (or itself) is because you want to avoid anything acidic coming in contact with the book. This will react with the paper and cause discolouration. Not to mention any attempt to remove it could cause tears or damage to the surface. So put your sellotape or school book covering away.