Book Preservation Techinques: Wanted

My books share the same love I give to my clothes, shoes and bags. However, the problem is that I don’t know how to take care of them. Taking care meant how I will be able to preserve them to the extent that when I am old and incapable, I would be able pass them to my nieces or when they will become priceless collectors’ items. (My super ambitious imagination invades again!)

All of my books are paperback editions because I cannot afford to purchase those regular hardbound releases. Another reason why I prefer the pocket-size paperbacks is the convenience it gives to commuters like me. The time I spent in the public transportation is usually my reading hours. The limited niche I own while riding the jeepney, FX Taxi and LRT is not really conducive to hold and read a bulky and heavy hardbound.

Whenever I have a new book, no hindrance could ever impede my reading. I immediately remove the book from its packaging and start my quiet adventure. In some instances, my reading comes with a bag of potato chips, french fries and soda. In effect, my book also has its fair share of eating. It has food stains, marks of liquid spills and a lot of folded pages.

The only book care rule that I know is to wrap books with a plastic cover. However,  I think this practice only prevents the wear and tear of the book’s cover. But for the inside pages, caring would always depend on the user.

I recently got envious with a friend whose books were neatly preserved. My friend owns a library of novels but she manages to maintain the physical condition of her books. Now I am starting to feel that I should also be obsessive compulsive with my own books.

But my dilemma is, apart from the plastic cover principle, I don’t know how to properly preserve my books.

Take a look at what happened to my copy of The Da Vinci Code

I cannot anymore count how many people have borrowed my first hard-earned book. If you have read my previous blog entry, this book was my first purchase out of my own salary.

It has torn pages, worn out spine

and

pigmented pages..

Pigments in pages! I remember once hearing my auntie telling my cousin not to borrow discolored or books with pigmented pages from the library. My auntie told my cousin that such books are being infected by bacteria.

Does my auntie have a point? Is there some truth behind her claim? Is it really bacteria or just a natural effect on paper when exposed to extreme sunlight and high temperature?

True or not, these pigments bother me because it deteriorates my cheap, priceless yet valued collection.

What’s worse is that my own copy of the Confessions of a Shopaholic is starting to manifest pigmentation!

Aside from the unexplained pigments, the wearing out of my book’s cover is another worry for me

Although I know that immediately wrapping your book with a plastic cover could prevent this. But I am just so hard-headed to strictly practice it.

I know that I will have more book purchases on the next years to come and no one could ever prevent me from that! My only wish is that while my collection is still few, I will be able to learn how to properly take care of them.

I live in a tropical country and my books are kept in a room with no air-condition unit. Does that affect?

My books are often suffering from dust. I just don’t have the luxury of time to regularly brush away the dirt and dust.  Do these cause the pigments?

How about sunlight exposure? Should I keep my books away from sunlight?

In the end should I just invest on those bulky and expensive hardbound copies? Are they more durable? Are they designed to last longer?

My Life, My Solitude and My Books

 

I love reading and I really love books. I can equally splurge on books the same way I do with clothes, shoes and bags.

My interest over books started with the series of The Baby Sitters Club pocketbooks. When I was still in my Elementary years, our school library abundantly provided us with the series of different US pocketbooks. While most of my classmates were interested with Sweet Valley Kids and High, my interest was diverted to The Baby Sitters Club, Best Friends and Choose Your Own Adventure series. My interest in books did not just provide me a worth past time but also helped me develop my reading comprehension skills. During those times, I was ashamed to admit that I’m having a hard time reading and comprehending articles in English. Thanks to these books because they offered me an alternative and enjoyable approach in reading and learning.

When I reached High School, the Chicken Soup for the Soul became my new addiction. I remember, there were only limited copies of these books available in our school library. Even though I was a member of the Library Club, I wasn’t able to get immediate access to these Chicken Soup series. However, I realized that in this time, I was 13 to 16 years old, my interest over books somehow diminished. My attention, as part of growing up, was diverted to somewhere else. Music was one addiction I developed in High School. I got more hooked to Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Spice Girls, Hanson, Moffats, The Corrs, Natalie Imbruglia and N Sync.  

My college life further made me forget reading as a worthwhile activity. I was so preoccupied with my studies, the Internet and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). I was contented in reading entertaining forwarded mails, started my social networking life in Friendster, watching PBA games and cheering for Dennis Espino and the Sta. Lucia Realtors (back then!).

Life after college enabled me to regain my interest over books. While I am already earning my own money, I started to purchase my own books. I consider them  my most treasured books because I was able to purchase them out of my own hard work.

The first books that I purchased on my first year of working were the two Youngblood series and The Da Vinci Code. I spent Php 700 (around $14) for three books. After some months, I was able to buy my first Chocolate for Women, just in time for my Holy Week vacation.

After I got tenure from work, I enrolled for my MBA and it was back to school for me! My love for books was still there. But my book purchases were devoted to other expenses. I have to purchase MBA books, a printer and my first ever laptop.

Today, I’m done with my MBA and teaching is the new chapter in my life. Though I have been teaching for three years, I consider each semester with my college students as a new point of learning and exploration. Teaching is both a challenging and fulfilling task for me. I am given the opportunity to share to these young minds what I learn and grew up with. More importantly, teaching gave me more motivation and reasons to love and enjoy my solitary life with books.

I now read and purchase more books. This is something I have never done before. I have more books and I could purchase more books. Thanks to my plastic electronic device, my credit card!  I can purchase books anytime and anywhere.

Today, I am proud and happy to say that I have regained and even increased  my love for books. Some of the favorite books I love include works of Cecelia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella, Nicholas Sparks, Mitch Alboom, Bob Ong of course, Bo Sanchez, Dan Brown, Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics and a lot more.

Apart from books, my every trip to every bookstore is something that I also look forward. Before, National Bookstore was my sole destination. But today, I could already manage to visit Fully Booked and Powerbooks. I’m also starting to love Booksale and I continuously search for branches with more books and less customers.  But among the bookstores in the Philippines, the four-storey National Bookstore in Araneta Center Cubao is my most loved. Believe it or not, I could spend an entire day in this building. I particularly appreciate their fourth floor, the Bargain Books Section. This is heaven for all booklovers out there. A pocketbook for as low as Php 30 (less than a dollar), an old Guinness Book of World Records for Php 100 ($ 2), hardbound books for as low as Php 80 ($ 2) are just some of the best finds in this section.

I don’t know what is in store for me and the next years of my solitude. But I am looking forward for new ventures, more friends and acquaintances and of course more books in my life. Hopefully, in the future it would not just be me, my solitude and my books. A new addition to my life, my solitude and my books  is very much welcomed!