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Preserving Paperback Books
Transcript of Preserving Paperback Books
The prolific publication of paperbacks has made the format easy to access and relatively inexpensive to purchase allowing the average person the chance to not only read widely but also build a personal library collection. Conversely, because paperback books are so widely available, they are often considered disposable or short-term and rarely treated with the care and forethought necessary to properly preserve an item.
While the paperback book is a convenient and relatively disposable format, it's also a big part of our modern culture making it something that is important to preserve and protect. To do this we must take a deeper look at the format itself by exploring the history, composition, and life expectancy of the paperback book along with handling and storage procedures, exhibition policies, and reformatting options. History of
Paperbacks Paper-bound collections have existed in many iterations throughout history, but the modern paperback book was originally conceived in 1935 with the founding of Penguin Books Ltd. in the U.K. and Pocket Books in the U.S. in 1939. Paperback Composition The paperback book is traditionally a book bound in a soft paperboard covering with glue. There are two main types of paperback with varying quality levels - the mass market paperback and the trade paperback. Handling and Storage Exhibition and Reformatting Realistically paperback collections will be frequently exhibited and reformatted to further long-term, wide access. Penguin Books was first established by Allen Lane in the U.K. in 1935 as a way to bring "good quality contemporary fiction" to the public at "an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores" (Penguin History)
In 1939 a U.S. subsidiary entitled Penguin Books Inc was launched with Ian Ballentine leading the company
Also in 1939, Robert de Graff launches Pocket Books, a rival American company In the Beginning Each of these men were inspired by the idea of mass production as well as mass consumption and they bet everything on the idea that the average person would want easy access to "good quality contemporary fiction"
The competition and success bred by these companies has led to the creation of many others over the years and began an era of prolific expansion known as the Paperback Revolution "We believed in the existence in this country of a vast reading public for intelligent books at a low price and staked everything on it"
- Allen Lane, Penguin Books founder The World at War The Paperback Revolution began just the world began to prepare for it's second world war
In many ways, WWII made paperback publication more complicated as supplies were limited and attentions were diverted away from trivial pursuits such as entertainment
While this is true, as the war continued the popularity of paperback books began to rise making them everyone's favorite format by the 1950s
The war-time economy of WWII also spurned the development of new publishing companies including Armed Services Edition - a company operated by the US government to provide reading materials to soldiers "Pocket-Sized" paperback books were distributed to GIs as a form of entertainment and distraction and many soldiers developed a habit of reading that they carried with them long after the war
Those serving on the home front also found a comforting distraction in the easy-access stories found in paperbacks also developing the habits of life-long readers
Over time paperback reading becomes an increasingly popular hobby for the average person and the paperback book becomes easily accessible to all Life Expectancy The paperback book was not created to be a long-term-use material and some paperbacks are printed with low quality materials that make preservation difficult, but with today's higher quality products and an understanding of what causes damage paperback, materials can be preserved well into the future. Paperback books can be a relatively disposable format if not properly cared for making handling and storage very important in the long-term preservation of this format. Mass Market Paperbacks Trade Paperbacks Techniques for Handling Always handle with clean hands in a clean environment making an effort to keep potentially damaging elements such as food and drink away from materials
Don't force the book open past the natural angle allowed in the binding. Bending the book can result in broken binding as well as a damaged cover
To mark your place in a book, use a non-acidic marker. Habits such as dog earring pages or using damaging markers like clips can damage the book and shorten it's life expectancy Techniques for Storage Store in a clean and stable environment in which temperature and humidity can be regulated. Materials readily respond to the environment in which they are stored and fluctuations within this can cause dramatic changes within the materials and ultimately accelerate damage.
Temperature should be cool with books stored at room temp or below as heat accelerates the chemical reactions that cause deterioration
Relative humidity must be kept at a moderate level. High humidity can encourage mold and insect growth while low humidity can cause materials to become brittle.
Limit exposure to light whenever possible. Light can damage materials by yellowing paper and fading printed ink "Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward."
- Soren Kierkegaard Resources Library of Congress. Care, handling, and storage of books. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/books.html.
Library of Congress. Care, handling, and storage of works on paper. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/paper.html.
Northeast Document Conservation Center. Protection from light damage. Retrieved from
http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/2The_Environment/04ProtectionFromLight.php Northeast Document Conservation Center. Storage methods and handling practices. Retrieved from http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/4Storage_and_Handling/01StorageMethods.php
Northeast Document Conservation Center. Temperature, relative humidity, light, and air quality: Basic guidelines for preservation. Retrieved from http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/2The_Environment/01BasicGuidelines.php
Resources Penguin Books, Ltd. About Penguin: Company history. Retrieved from http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/aboutus/aboutpenguin_companyhistory.html Ballantine, Betty. (1996). The paperback conquest of America. LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community, 7(1), 58-64.
Ogle, Matthew. The paperback revolution. Retrieved from http://www.crcstudio.org/paperbacks/index.php
Potential Causes of Deterioration Light: Can fade pigments in ink and oxidize paper causing yellowing effect
Humidity: Can warp and weaken paper along with encouraging biological growth
Temperature: Extreme temps can cause drying or encourage biological growth
Biological Pollutants: Organisms such as molds and insects can thrive in paperback books destroying the Resources Library of Congress. The deterioration and preservation of paper: Some essential facts. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/care/deterioratebrochure.html
Maravilla, Nimfa R. (2008). Causes of deterioration of paper. Retrieved from http://cool.conservation-us.org/byauth/maravilla/deterioration-causes.html A small inexpensive bookbinding format
Often uses lower quality materials to keep with lower price point
Sold in bookstores along with non-traditional locations such as airports and grocery stores Higher quality standard or large sized paperback book
Materials of a higher quality used easing the preservation process
Typically priced higher than mass market paperbacks and lower than hardbacks making it a reasonable mid-level material
Exhibition While much unpredicted damage can occur when materials circulate among the public, a few general rules can be taken into account to protect paperbacks as much as possible. Exhibit copies whenever possible
Control exhibit environment including temperature, humidity, and light
Whenever applicable, display in sealed cases made of non-damaging materials Reformatting Paperbacks Paperback books can be formatted in several ways to extend use and access. A film cover can be added to paperboard cover to strengthen and increase lifespan
Content can be digitized and made available in a variety of digital formats for long-term access to content
Similarly, materials can be reformatted using Microfiche and Microfilm Resources Northeast Document Conservation Center. Protecting paper and book collections while on exhibition. Retrieved from http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/2The_Environment/05ProtectingCollections.php
Northeast Document Conservation Center. Microfilm and microfiche. Retrieved from http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/6Reformatting/01MicrofilmAndMicrofiche.php Northeast Document Conservation Center. Relevance of preservation in digital world. Retrieved from http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/6Reformatting/04RelevanceOfPreservation.php