The ABC of Packaging Books for Transportation, Shipping and Storage – Part 1

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If you are an avid reader or if you are in the book retail business, there are several things you need to know about keeping books in top notch condition.  (Related Topic: protective packagingVCI papermoisture barrier bags)

Whether you’re moving houses, storing your books for a long period of time or shipping books somewhere, protective packaging is your best bet to make sure those books are preserved in the best condition possible.

If you’re a bibliophile, the worst thing that can happen to you is to find your books have ripped pages, bent spines, dog-eared corners, water damage, leather bindings dehydration, mite holes and so on. And if you have to move, travel, ship those books or store them in a different place from where they are now, the feeling of stress can be overwhelming: you’re struggling with the potential risk of damaging the books during a poorly handled moving or packaging process.


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If you’re packing your books in cardboard boxes, you need to make sure the boxes are strong but not too big. The smaller the box, the heavier items it can contain, so aim for small boxes that can fit several books at a time. Then, line the boxes with tissue or packing paper before putting the books inside, starting with the heaviest books.

Always pack the books flat instead of vertically. Make sure not to overfill the box and fill the gaps in the box with paper, rags or styrofoam to secure the books in place. You can even use clothes and towels if you don’t have any filling material around. Once you’re done, it’s time to close the box and become generous with the packing tape to ensure nothing will get out of the box until it’s time. You can tape the box around several times to secure its contents.

Last but not least, you’ll need to label your boxes to ensure the movers know they’re full of books, heavy and they should go on the bottom.

If instead of moving houses or shipping books somewhere you’re traveling with them, it’s important to pack your books in a way that ensures their protection. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a book or several in terrible condition. Further, if you own any collector’s books, damaging them will inevitably decrease their value.

Avoid packing your books in a way in which their pages could open; try moisture barrier bags if you’re going to a place with high humidity. Also, keeping the book in a tight bag may help to keep it closed during transportation. Also, you can put the book in the laptop compartment of your backpack, if it has one, or use some bubble wrap to add extra protection.

Avoid traveling with too many books and pack some books that are strictly related to the country or specific place you are about to visit instead.

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