Do's & Don'ts: Care for Leather Bound Books.

Whether you're an avid writer and only use beautifully bound leather journals, or collect rare leather bound books, proper care of your beautiful tomes is important to ensure a long shelf life.  Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind when you're caring for your personal library.  

Don't use Mylar jackets to "protect" your rare leather bound book.  Mylar jackets are great for those modern first editions with special paper dust jackets, but they are not ideal for a leather book.  Leather needs to breathe, also the Mylar jacket can trap moisture against the leather which leads to rotten leather and mildew.

Do hydrate the leather about once a year.  Not to be morbid but leather is skin and just like yours it needs conditioning to stay nice and last a long time.  See how to properly condition and hydrate your leather bindings HERE.  

Don't store or shelve your books in direct sunlight.  Too much sunlight fades the spines and weakens the leather.  

Do handle your leather books with your bare hands.  We often see people handle rare leather books with white gloves and actually cringe.  Of course we suggest your hands should be clean when handling rare leather books, but the oils from your skin won't hurt the leather.  If you're going to touch the pages as you peruse the book, using white gloves can snag the delicate edges and cause more damage.  Also, it is better to have full sensation of touch when holding and flipping through a rare book to ensure proper handling.  So often people view rare books as if they're the same as antique metal, art, or textiles that ARE damaged by the oils in your skin.  Not all antiques or even collectible books are the same; we suggest considering each piece individually when handling.    

Do stack books tight enough to support each other.  Shelves that are stacked loosely cause  the books to sag, destroying the spines and hinges.  The covers are then more likely to be abraded.  

Don't over stack books too tightly.  Tightly stacked shelves puts pressure on the hinges causing them to crack.  

Never pull a book off a shelf by its end cap.  Instead push the books on either side back enough to expose the desired book to allow you to grab the book at the middle.