Book preservation

Following on from my blog post on what to collect (see here) I thought I would move on to look at book preservation - albeit in an amateur way.

If you are serious about book collecting (and this applies, arguably, to new books even more than old books) the right environment is essential.

There are dangers associated with both high and low temperatures as well as with relative humidity (or RH). This, in combination with high or low temperatures, can lead to very different types of damage affecting your books.

I've found that one of the best ways to keep an eye on the environmental conditions is to buy a combined thermometer and humidity monitor such as the one to the right (which can be bought from eBay).

Modern books, perhaps surprisingly, appear to be more susceptible to damage than older books so do not make the mistake of thinking that only older books need protecting

The British Library has an excellent guide to the basics which can be found here.

Written by Alistair Duncan
Buy my books here


  1. It is interesting that the Doomsday Book has been around for a thousand years while paper in books only a very few decades old can disintegrate within the lifetime of its owner. The trend now of storing information in nonphysical media means that the continuation of past knowledge requires the continual transfer of ones and zeros from obsolete technology to soon-to-be-obsolete technology and a massive infrastructure to support said technology. All it takes is one nuclear explosion in the atmosphere to render our electromagnetic pulse-susceptible electronics to junk. We have given millennia of human knowledge a Schrödinger's cat existence. I want my Sherlockian Higher Criticism around for along time. Yay books!


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