Those of us who have a real fondness for books and reading probably have more books on our shelves than we’ll ever get to in our lifetime. We love buying books, collecting them, displaying them, talking about them to others, and making vast amounts of time in our lives to read them.

We also want to take extra-good care of our beloved volumes, so that they stay in great shape for a long time. That starts with how we treat a new book from the moment we get it, really, because even before starting to read a book, we need to prepare it to be opened and read.

A quick Google search will bring up many articles and videos on how to open a new book properly, so that you don’t injure the spine.

This is particularly important for soft-bound, or paperback, volumes, but even hardback books need some gentle preparation. It’s an easy process, too, so if you’re not already in the habit of doing this, please give it some consideration!

Basically, the steps are these:

  • Lay the book on a flat surface, spine down.
  • Gently open the front cover, and smooth it down with your fingers, close to the crease.
  • Open the back cover, and do the same thing.
  • Take five or ten pages from the front, and smooth them down, then a few pages from the back and smooth them down.
  • Repeat this process, working towards the middle of the book, alternating from the front and back.

Once you reach the middle of the book, and smooth it down gently, your book should be opened properly, without cracking or creasing the spine. You might even want to repeat this process, always remembering to work slowly and gently. Taking a few minutes to prepare your books will keep them in good shape, and they should last you a long time!

By Connie Edwards