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How To Protect Your Book Collection

The Churchill Book Collector Offers Important Advice.

My_African_Journey1908 First EditonCollecting books by and about Winston Churchill is a shared passion of many of the members of The Churchill Centre. The sale of such books, especially rare first editons, is the business of The Churchill Book Collector. In a recent blog, the CBC offered some important tips on how to protect and preserve your books.

Storage basics

Keep your books on clean and tidy shelves, either standing upright or lying flat. This way there is no differential pressure on the binding. For the same reason, when shelving the book, try to place it beside books of a similar size. Try to locate your bookshelves in a place with fairly constant and reasonable temperature and humidity – like the inside of most modern homes. Make sure your shelves are out of direct sunlight.

Extra protection

Every book with a dust jacket that we sell comes fitted with an archival quality clear cover. These covers have clear mylar on the front and acid-neutral paper backing. They fold neatly around a dust jacket with no need for adhesives of any kind and are easily removable. We strongly recommend that you protect all of your dust jackets thus. Brodart and Gaylord are two companies that sell such protective covers. Similar clear mylar cover material can be used to protect bindings that lack dust jackets.

For extra protection on the shelf, bookcases with glass doors help keep out dust and insulate from normal swings in temperature and humidity. These can get pricey, but there are lower cost options too. IKEA is one company that offers a variety of relatively inexpensive cases with doors.

For really precious volumes, a custom box should be considered that will fully encase the book. This option offers fairly comprehensive protection from dust, sunlight, and air pollution. “But,” you might say, “then I won’t get the attractive look of my books on the shelves!” If that’s a concern, a good binder can make sturdy book boxes that have curved and hubbed leather spines, just like a fine binding, so that the boxes will both look great on the shelf and protect the book within. Note the emphasis on “a good binder.” Ask us to refer you to one, which we will be happy to do.

How to handle your books

We’ve talked a lot about how to shelve and store your books, but of course you’ll sometimes want to actually take them off the shelf. When taking a book from the shelf, always take it from the middle, not the top of the spine, and pull it straight out to prevent damage to the spine and rubbing to the edges. Always support the book at the spine when opening it and be careful not to bend the covers back too far as this may crack the hinges, especially in older books.

To read the full post, please visit the Churchill Book Collector website by CLICKING HERE.

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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

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