5 Tips on How to Pack Antique Books for Moving

Antique books are sensitive pieces. Not only because they are susceptible to damage, but also because of their very nature. As you know, these are not your ordinary books.

The value of antique books goes beyond the content they hold inside, you see, but as limited as a copy may be, that value hinges a lot on the condition of the book.

Which is another way of saying when it comes to moving, antique books – like fine art – particularly need special attention.

If you’re hiring the services of professional movers and packers to do the packing for you, then the mover should be well-versed with the art of packing and moving books.

However, it never hurts to have them walk you through their procedure, considering antique books are not something you want to gamble with by entrusting them in the hands of everyone who knocks on your front door.

Having confidence in the mover’s ability to get the job done should give you some much needed peace of mind, knowing your precious items are in safe hands.

If you’re planning to go DIY with your packing, however, there are some tips you can borrow to minimize the likelihood of damage to your antique books.

1.     Protect the covers (Ideally with this type of paper)

Wrapping is the most important aspect when it comes to packing antique items in general.

With leather being one of the most commonly used coverings on antique books, wrapping takes even greater significance.

That’s because the leather tends to get sticky over time, so what could happen when you place the sticky bindings alongside each other is they may rip apart when you pull the books out.

If your leather book coverings have never been treated, it’s likely they are showing signs of red rot as the leather dries out. Placing these books next to each other could result in further deterioration as a result of the friction.

Wrap your books well to minimize the effect of sticking or rubbing against each other. The best material to use is one that will not stick to the covers – a coated type of paper such as freezer paper or glassine paper, for example.

Opt for the former in the case of antique books that are not worth much or those that haven’t started to show signs of significant wear.

Glassine is designed specifically for conservation purposes when moving items like books, so is more suited to your more prized copies or those that have started degenerating.

2.     Put them spine down or on their sides

Regarding the best way to place antique books in their moving box, you could opt for spine down, although we would advise instead for side positioning which is the best option.

This is due to their characteristically weak spines, so placing your antique copies spine up – as we’re predisposed to doing – can cause the spine to crumble, and we don’t want that.

3.     Slot a stiff cardboard between the books

Inserting a stiff cardboard between each book renders extra support to your antique books when moving, helping preserve their weak spines and covers.

It doesn’t have to be a big cardboard – just something wide enough to bolster the books without extending beyond the size of the book.

4.     Add some form of padding

This might be considered over the top after the meticulous wrapping and addition of cardboard, but in the event the case ferrying your books falls over, the consequences could be disastrous.

Anything can happen during a move, so to be on the safe side, it’s not a bad idea to throw in an additional level of protection on top. Towels and scarves can form a good protective barrier around the books, with packing peanuts or wrapping paper stuffed in the spaces to avoid any movement inside.

5.     The best type of moving box for antique books?

Books carry some weight, so it’s not advisable to put them in one big box. Instead, the better strategy would be to opt for small boxes (or suitcases with wheels).

As to the exact type of box, triple-walled boxes make for a good choice in place of wooden boxes, but double-walled ones should work fine if you’d rather not spend a fortune on the boxes.

The boxes should have fluted sides, and if you can get C-fluted boxes, you’ll be laughing.


This was a guest post provided to you by Seka Moving!

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The Little Breadwinner - Front 3D Cover

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