Books are meant to be read. But the least you can do is to take extra care flipping the pages. Here’s a tip on “priming” your book for page turning:
* Lay the book on its back
* Open it a few pages.
* Press lightly along the bound edge to reduce the stiffness.
* Do it with the back cover side.
Some book collectors are particularly keen on spine wrinkles. I’ve met book collectors who painstakingly peek into a little opening between pages just to make sure the book doesn’t get spine wrinkles. Use a bookmark too, instead of putting the book face down or using dog-ears.
But if you really want a book in mint condition, buy two copies and keep one in its shrink wrap. The other, read and enjoy.
Repair torn pages:
Torn pages do happen and the best way to deal with them is to repair them as soon as possible. Leaving a small tear alone can worsen in the long run with all the stress of page-turning. There are many ways you can repair torn pages but my best bet is to use archival repair tape. Some die-hard book repair people, however, go by Japanese paper (or rice paper) with some starch paste.
Cover it with plastic:
Clear plastic book covers helps in keeping your book in pristine condition, especially your paperbacks. One tip though, allow for extra for shrinkage. Some plastic covers shrink with age.
Storing in shelves:
Make sure that your shelves have ample space and are strong enough to carry the collective weight of the books. You don’t want to overcrowd them. You might unnecessarily use too much fore pulling books free that you may damage them. Use bookends if the shelves are not filled. Letting the books slump damages the binding.
For large and heavy books like atlases and unabridged dictionaries, you may want to stack them flat on their back covers. The weight can put stress along the edges of their covers. Keep them upright on shelves, rather than piled upon each other.
be able to put a finger either side of one, to withdraw it from a shelf, rather than tightly packed.
Mind the heat:
Too much heat can dry out the pages causing them to be stiff. Some types of paper can crumble with too much stiffness. Too much moisture can cause mold and mildew to grow and ruin them too. So a cool dry place is suitable for book storage. Also, allow for ample space at the front and back of the shelf so air can circulate freely in the shelf.
Cleaning and dusting:
Not because they’re individually protected by book cover and shelved, you can be off free not minding your book collection. If your house is dusty, get a glass fronted bookcase, or add strips of thick ribbon or leather trim to the front of the shelves, so that it hangs down to cover the space at the top of the shelf below, keeping out dust. If you need to dust the books, hold firmly and sweep duster about the book (firmly, to prevent dust being pushed inside the pages).
Keep them away from heat (radiators, sunny windows) and damp (drying clothes, condensation on windows). Dust the shelves once a month. Schedule a yearly individual dusting too.
Don’t put in plastic noon stick book covering unless its specialist stuff, as it contains chemicals which will eventually eat away your books!
if the books are falling apart, you can get them rebound- find a good bookbinders near you-
they can do rescue jobs, or put entirely new covers on. This will protect the pages from sagging further, and creasing.