Choosing the right book storage box

Choosing Book Storage Boxes

When storing rare, antiquarian, valuable or fragile books, there are a few considerations you will need to take into account.

What should you be looking for in a book box? There are a number of potential problems, some of which are invisible but cause very visible damage.

Acid migration and why it matters to your book

Paper can be very susceptible to damage from environmental issues,

book yellow dark edges page acid

The effect of acidic deterioration in book pages

one of the biggest risks being acid. Acid will be present to varying degrees in most book pages (if they are made from paper), it is formed as the lignin, a natural impurity in the the wood pulp, reacts to the atmosphere.

Acid will cause the paper to ‘yellow’ and become brittle over-time, you will have seen this reaction in paper, most notably newspapers. You will notice more often than not, the edges of a book’s pages will show higher levels of deterioration than inside. This is due to exposure to various elements the edges of the book have been subject to that have accelerated the deterioration.

Acid migration is the transferral of acid from one material to another either directly through touch or through the air. Acid migration can originate from any number of materials, some plastics, wood, adhesives, paints or air pollution can contribute to an acidic storage environment. It’s important to remove the risk of additional acid in the book’s stored environment by using buffered storage materials, such as our archival quality board.

What makes our board so special for storing books in? Unlike normal cardboard, our board has been manufactured to not only be acid-free, but to have an alkaline buffer to neutralise environmental acid. This is the stuff used in museums around the world to protect some of the globe’s most valuable artefacts, so you know it’s the best available.

Why does it matter what box design I use for my book?

If you’re reading this you’re obviously interested in getting your book storage right, now you know why you need archival board, the next part of that decision is the design of the box.

There are a few of considerations here:

  1. Stopping stuff getting in
  2. Making it easy to get your book out
  3. Preventing damage

Seems illogical but, let’s start with stopping stuff getting in. Dust, UV light and insects all present risks to your book when in storage, so preventing exposure is important. A box can offer an individual book excellent protection from these issues. But it’s also important that you can easily view the book if required, this

access to book in box

Access is made easier with the design of this box

is where our special clamshell box design comes in, it’s unlikely you’ll find these available so easily anywhere else in a completely bespoke size.

Our clamshell box with non-locking lid opens completely flat – it’s the best book storage box you’ll find. This allows you to open the box fully and, without having to tug on the cover and risking damage, slide your hand under the book to lift it out. Other box designs don’t allow you to do this. Buy another design and you may end up tipping the box to get the book out, or pulling at a weak point, which could cause irreparable damage.

So why buy a bespoke box for a book?

Having a box which fits properly will prevent damage to your book by supporting it correctly whether it’s being transported, or placed in storage. Boxes that are too large allow the book to move inside the box which could cause abrasions to the cover or allow the text block to pull away from the binding. Packing a box out with tissue paper is fine, but becomes more troublesome when the book is viewed. Too small, well, it just won’t fit!

Particularly with antiquarian books, no two are sized the same so it is rare that you will be able to buy the perfect sized box ‘off the shelf’ – boxsite is the best option for boxes to store your valuable and antiquarian books.