So many of you love books as much as we at Mathom House do, stockpiling treasure troves of literary genius the way dragons horde gold. What is a bibliophile to do, however, when they realize that their book collection is slowly taking over their home and personal space? We all have to downsize occasionally, and storing books can be a very dodgy enterprise if you don't know how to store them without them becoming damaged. Let me take a moment to arm you with some information to make sure your priceless tomes stay in excellent condition.
Anytime books are stored in a container, they should be stacked flat with either the front or back cover facing down. Often it is easier to fit more books in a single box if you stack them edge on, but this will cause eventual wear and tear to the spines of both paperback and especially hardcover books. Gravity works against you when you don't package your books flat, and can lead to warped or split bindings, making your books essentially worthless. Also, books should always be stored in a clean, airtight container in an insulated or climate controlled environment. Using a cardboard box is only a good idea as long as you are storing them inside in an insulated part of your home. Anytime you store paper products anywhere, whether in your home or off site, it is so important to make sure they never come into contact with the elements.
That being said, try to always avoid the cardinal sin of book storage. Do not ever store books in your garage! Paper is very sensitive to water damage, be it from water getting directly on it or indirectly damaging it because of the constant changes in humidity that naturally occur. Garages, attics, and sheds are not insulated, so leaving them there could eventually result in age toning, insect damage, brittle or waterlogged pages, and even dangerous mold. Any books with mold should be disposed of immediately, as serious health risks are associated with some kinds of mold. Foxing is perhaps the most common kind of environmental damage that books incur. This is easy to identify and many books have it to some degree. The the page edges will have small, rusty colored spots that are very noticeable and look vaguely like mold. This happens anytime paper fiber comes into contact with ambient moisture and contaminants such as dirt, oil, engine grease, and basically everything that you keep in a garage or naturally happens to be on or in your car. While foxing is not necessarily dangerous, like mold can be, it is unsightly and may ruin a book's value.
The reason I make a special point of telling you this, is sometimes people disregard this advice. With more and more demands on their time, space, and wallets, many people don't want to go to any extremes in storing things that are basically in the way already. This is understandable. No one wants to shell out money on containers or a storage space when they already have boxes and a handy garage. I must encourage you not to take that step toward the dark side, or forever plagued by bookworms and mold will your library be. We always feel saddened when our awesome clientele bring in books for trade that we cannot use because the books were stored in a manner that harmed them. We want to reuse your books and keep them in circulation as much as you do.
So to conclude, always store your books flat in an airtight container and/or insulated, climate controlled location. If you follow these simple guidelines, your treasures will stand the test of time,as well as bring education, entertainment, and fun to generations of readers to come. I hope you find this information helpful!