Let’s talk about book care. Do you know someone who bends their books to the point they crack the spine? Or worse, bend the cover of a paperback around the back of the book? It makes me want to cry. So let’s discuss spine cracking.
Believe it or not there is a proper way to open a book. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s true. To avoid harming the spine of your book there is a system. If you place the spine of your book against a flat surface, then you can open both the front and back covers of the book. Then do the same section by section with the pages, from the front and back. This is like stretching before exercise, it keeps your book from “getting hurt”and cracking the spine. So what happens when you crack the spine of a book?
The most obvious damage happens to paperbacks. You know those ugly white lines you see on some paperback spines? That’s from overbending it, and it looks like absolute crap on the shelf. The books on my shelves with cracked spines are usually used, because I am much too careful to do it myself.
But it’s not just paperbacks that take damage when you crack them, hardcovers do to. Maybe you’ve heard that creaking or cracking sound when you open a brand new hardcover. You’ve cracked that book’s spine.
The reason you don’t want to do this to either kind of book if you want your books to last a long time. Especially with paperbacks, it damages the glue binding of the book making it easier for pages to eventually start falling out. I think I would cry if that happened to some of my more well loved books. But well loved doesn’t have to mean damaged, as long as you take care of them.
Here’s how you can avoid cracking you books’ spines:
1. Stretch your book as explained above.
2. Don’t bend the book more than you have to to read it.
3. Never leave a book open face down on a bed or table, the pages will never be the same.
4. Don’t lend your books to spine breakers (I have a lending policy, ok?).
5. Just be gentle with your book.
What are your book pet peeves? Do you have other ways of preventing spine breakage? Let’s talk in the comments!
The Book Nut