how to store your books to make them last
Reading, Self Publishing, Social Media

How to Store Your Books as a Self-Publisher

Most people are accustomed to storing a few books in their personal library. What they are not accustomed to, however, is handling a shipment of 100+ copies of their freshly printed book. Self-publishers often struggle with finding storage space while also preserving their books’ quality at a level that will be satisfactory to their customers.

If your library of books is becoming frayed or worn, you might be storing them wrong. Here are 6 tips for how to store your books to make them last.

how to store your books to make them last

1. Firstly, you will need a storage space that is neither hot, cold or damp. Storing books on concrete, such as a garage floor, is a recipe for trouble. Similar to a sponge, the paper used in books is hygroscopic, meaning it wants to reach equilibrium with the surrounding moisture level. Moisture from damp floors will transfer to your cover and interior pages. This also holds true for stacking against a concrete wall. Instead, consider using a wooden pallet to elevate your books while also ensuring proper air circulation underneath them.

2. Open cartons of books can attract insects. Unhatched insect eggs can appear as small specs on the pages. If caught in time, the eggs can be cleaned with a soft brush. Sealable containers, such as plastic cartons, can prevent bugs from infiltrating your books. However, do not wrap your books in plastic wrap or foil, as this may trap moisture against your books’ covers and lead to mold.

3. If possible, store books in a climate controlled area. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can result in mold. The ideal storage space has a temperature of between 60-75 degree Fahrenheit. Spaces like garages, which can suffer dramatic temperature changes between night and day, should be avoided.

stacked books

4. While you may be tempted to display your books next to a window to show off their beautiful covers, too much direct sunlight can lead to bleached covers and cracked spines.

5. Shelves not only provide a nice display for your books but also provide good ventilation to help prevent dust from collecting. Make sure your shelves are high enough to avoid potential water damage caused by spills or flooding.

6. The way your books are stacked also matters. For long term storage, books should be kept together according to size and weight. Books should never be stored on their spine. Rather, books should be either stored upright or stacked flat with the heaviest books at the bottom. If they are stored upright, make sure the books are pressed tightly together and not slumping at this can lead to creases.

Keep in mind these suggestions are for books for general usage. If you have rare or extra valuable books, additional means of protection should be considered.

With proper care and regular cleanings, these steps can go a long way in keeping your book beautiful, clean and ready for the market.

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Self Publishing

Pre-Sale Storage of Books

If you’ve ordered or are thinking of placing an order for a quantity of books from your favorite book printer, you should consider how you are going store those books when they arrive. Ask for the dimensions of the box from the printer.

First of all you need an area that is neither hot or cold in temperature nor damp. Storing books on the concrete floor of the garage floor is a recipe for trouble. Moisture and/or dampness will transfer through the floor into the books. This also holds true for stacking the boxes against an outside concrete wall. Basically books and concrete are not a good mix.If you have to put your books in a garage, make sure the boxes are on a pallet so they can get air circulation under them and are at least six to twelve inches from the wall.

Open cartons of books can attract insects and mice. Once you open a book box, transfer the remaining copies to a plastic bin with a sealed cover. Unhatched insect eggs can appear as small specs on the pages and if caught in time can be cleaned with a soft brush. Rodent damage means value loss  as you’ll need to destroy the books.

If possible store books in a climate controlled area, so that fluctuations of temperature and humidity can be controlled such as an interior closet.  Make sure your book storage area is not somewhere susceptible to water damage perhaps from flooding, leaky ceiling or broken pipes.

Books also should not be stored on edge, even when packed in cartons. A good book printer rotates spine out or spine in every few books so the weight of the spine is not pressing on all copies.

Keep in mind these suggestions are for soft cover or hard cover books for general usage and sale. Rare or extremely valuable books have additional storage concerns need to be addressed. The suggestions here are based on the most common issues that arise resulting in damaged books.