Rubber bands on books?


Take a look at our face out displays, and you’ll often see rubber bands around some of the books.

There is a reason for this.

Books react to changes in relative humidity. When relative humidity changes, the book covers begin to curl. If relative humidity changes back, the books flatten themselves out again. In our bookshop, we can see this process happening from day to day  and season to season.

This has little to do with the quality of the book. Some people think this is the publisher's fault. And, to be fair, different covers seem to be more sensitive to curling. But given the right change in relative humidity, they'll all curl eventually. You can sometimes see this even with heavy board books in the children's section.

So why don't you see this so much at home?

You do. But generally, at home, we keep books spine-out on the shelves. You're more likely to see the covers curl if you have a book flat on the nightstand next to your bed. It will also depend on how damp your home gets and other factors.

Back to the bookshop.

Rubber bands around the books keep their covers flat and the books look tidy. It's as simple as that. You'll see we do it more in winter. But with wide-open doors, regardless of the weather outside, we need to use some rubber bands all year round.