You may find yourself being more cautious about your textbooks than any other book you own. And why wouldn’t you?
After all, we all know how expensive textbooks can be. As a result, we want them to be protected at all costs. Any serious damage could mean shelling out another few hundred dollars for a replacement copy.
But how do we protect our textbooks? Is there a secret formula?
Well, there’s no secret formula — but there is a great product to invest in.
Textbook covers are the best way to protect your textbooks from damage. Let’s have a look at why you should invest in a few. Let’s also look at the many ways in which you can protect your textbooks and keep them safe from damage.
Why You Should Consider Textbook Covers
We don’t often think about the importance of protecting the outer layer of our textbooks. After all, isn’t the information inside what counts?
But if you invest in a textbook cover you not only prevent your book from damage but by preserving its condition you have a greater chance of reselling it.
Textbook covers can be bought directly. This is the easiest way to protect the cover of your book. If you are unable to afford a book cover, you can also make your own.
The best homemade cover is to use heavy construction paper. Make sure you buy a large sheet of construction paper. You should lay your book down, open, with the cover facing upward. Then you should roll your construction paper over the cover until it is fully obscured.
Then you cut the excess paper and tape the construction paper to your textbook cover. We suggest that you keep as much construction paper as possible in case you need to make another cover again.
There are additional precautions to take to protect your textbooks. Let’s have a look at them.
You should never keep them laying directly in sunlight for too long. Ideally, your textbook should be indoors as often as possible. Your home should be kept at room temperature — 70 degrees Fahrenheit will do it. If you prefer a cold temperature that also works.
But your temperature at home should never be hot unless it is needed. Your textbooks will survive in colder temperatures.
You should also not keep your textbooks in the attic or in a box for too long. This can cause it to be exposed to moisture and can lead to mold growth on your textbooks!
Your textbooks should be cleaned regularly. If you’ve placed a book cover on your textbook, take it off once in a while and gently wipe the cover with a wet tissue.
If your textbook has gathered dust, make sure to clean this off. The longer your textbook lies on your bookshelf, the greater the likelihood of it gathering dust is. One of the best ways of removing dust is to use a soft brush attachment to vacuum the dust.
With this being said, you also want to make sure that your bookshelf is dusted.
You will also want to remove all your books from your bookshelf and give it a thorough wipe before placing your books back.
It is imperative that you organize your textbooks appropriately so as to conserve them. Make sure they are always kept upright on your desk or bookshelf. Use a bookend if the need arises.
You also want to make sure that your books are organized according to their size. Have larger textbooks arranged to start from the left side of your bookshelf. Then your textbooks should get smaller as the shelf comes to an end. But make sure that there is uniformity in how they are organized.
If there are any books that do not fit well in a bookshelf, then you can stack them on top of one another. Make sure that a stack is not too large. No more than four books should be stacked on top of each other.
When stacking books, make sure that the heaviest book is always on the bottom. The lightest book should, of course, be on the top.
You also want to make sure that you are not having to force a textbook to fit on a bookshelf. Doing so will greatly damage your textbooks.
What Not to Do
What are some things that you should avoid to look after your textbooks?
You should make sure that your bookshelf is not placed along an exterior wall. This is where you are most likely to experience a higher temperature and a higher level of humidity. The combination of the two of these will likely damage your textbooks.
If you can place your bookshelf away from an exterior wall, this is the ideal scenario. Placing it against an interior wall is fine.
If you need to repair a damaged book cover, you shouldn’t use glue or adhesive tape. This can cause further problems for your book cover. The best way is to actually hire a qualified conservator. If this is not an option, you may wish to purchase a new copy altogether.
When removing your book from a bookshelf, make sure you take it from the middle rather than grabbing it from the top. Doing so will damage the spine over time. When using a bookmark, use an actual bookmark. Folding a page, using a sticky note, or even a paperclip will lead to damage in the long run.
As we mentioned previously, your book cover should always be cleaned with a wet tissue. Using an oil or even a leather cleaner (for leather-bound books) is not the best idea.
Look After Your Books
Now that you know the benefits of textbook covers and the other ways to maintain and look after your textbooks, you are ready to conserve your textbooks and let them last longer.
Be sure to read our other great articles on textbooks and the college lifestyle!