Books are such a pleasure to read. The contents inside can inform, educate, entertain, and take your imagination to places unlike anywhere else.
The purpose of this blog post is not the contents inside a book but the actual physical book itself, and more specifically the spine.
The spine of the book is important because not only does it show off the title and pertinent information but because this is the area that binds all the pages together. This is the area of the physical book that receives all the abuse when you crack open the book and turn the pages. Now a hardcover is going to stand up better to this abuse than a paperback. So, the point here is what can you do to keep your books in good condition and how do you keep a book’s spine from cracking and having it’s appearance bruised and battered with white lines running down the length of the spine?
First! Practice good hygiene. Before you read make sure you wash your hands and rid your skin of any dirt, grease, oil, and debris that might damage, mark, or smudge the actual book and it’s pages. Simple. This is even more critical and necessary during this pandemic. Good hygiene goes a long way.
After washing and hygiene, opinion and practices vary widely on how to treat a paperback spine as to not damage it’s rectangular foundation. Some people can read a paperback and never have any problem with cracking the spine while other people experience problems. I myself have problems with thicker paperbacks as I usually damage them. Some people say to only open the pages slightly and not force them open all the way. If this works for you then great but sometimes you have to pry that book open wider. So, if wider is what you need then you can try holding your finger on the spine as you read to keep that spine flat to prevent cracking. You can also lay the book with it’s spine flat against a flat surface before reading and slowly push down a few pages on one side and then a few pages on the other side producing a ninety degree angle and repeat this step until you reach the middle of the book. This process is supposed to help stretch the book pages open helping prevent damage.
If you make sure you are bending the page and not the spine that will help ensure you don’t crack the spine. Also, don’t pull the book open with two hands. Just pull your book page open with one hand.
In addition to gentle handling there is the idea of storage and transportation to consider. In both of these cases it is best to avoid anything wet as your books are hydrophobic and easily damaged by water. Store and transport them in dry a place.
Now you have some tips on how to care for the spine of a book. Take care of your book but more importantly enjoy what is inside.
Until next time, good reading.