Care & Storage of Books

Each book made by The Bumblebee Bindery has already undergone it’s first, controlled opening. This is a simple but crucial process that prolongs the life of the book’s spine and deters preferential openings (weak points) from developing. Having said that, there are a few steps you may take in order to ensure that your book remains sturdy and attractive for many years to come.

Handling and Using Your Book:

You should handle your book with clean, dry hands; and protect it from exposure to spilled foods & drinks.

When removing a shelved book, you should avoid pulling at the endcap (the top of the spine). Instead, push neighbouring books back a little so that you can grip the book in the middle, at both sides of the spine.

To preserve the paper and take the fullest advantage of your book’s archival qualities, you should avoid using paperclips, folding the corners, or using acidic bookmarks.

Your choice of media may also affect the book’s archival qualities. For best results, you should choose archival inks, or graphite pencils.

Self-adhesive tapes should never be applied to any book, as this will encourage further deterioration, and will significantly affect the book’s ability to be repaired. Torn or damaged pages should be repaired by a professional bookbinder or conservator. The same is true of rubber bands, and many glues/adhesives. Should you wish to affix something to your book’s pages, you should use an archival, acid-free adhesive such as Coccoina Paste.

Storing Your Book:

With the exception of particularly large bindings, which should only be stored flat to avoid undue pressure on the spine; your book may be stored either upright or flat – ideally, in a clean and stable environment. (Try to avoid basements, attics, and locations with high risk of environmental extremes such as heat, humidity, or dampness.) If stored upright, it should neither lean, nor be squeezed between its neighbours. The ideal upright position will be supported on either side by books of a similar size.

You should try to keep it out of direct or intense sunlight, and away from sources of heat or draughts (e.g. radiators; vents).

Plastic and mylar sleeves should not be used as these will not allow the leather to breathe. Likewise, you should avoid keeping your book in an airtight container. If you wish to protect it, you may use a box or enclosure that is archival and acid-free.

Leather Care:

You should avoid using waxes, leather conditioners and other leather dressings on your book. This is no longer considered best practice in the conservation of leather items. If the book is well used, and handled with clean, dry hands, the natural oils from your skin will will provide gentle nourishment to the leather and prevent it from drying out.

Vegetable tanned leather may gradually darken and/or burnish with time. This is a natural process that often adds beauty and character to your book, and should not be a source of concern.

If your book’s leather shows any signs of dryness, cracking, or it becomes brittle, you should consult a professional bookbinder or conservator. Do not try to treat this yourself.

Small scratches, scuffs, and other marks are generally not problematic, and will add character to your book. On polished leathers, you may use a soft, dry cloth to carefully buff out any imperfections. If this is not successful, you should consult a professional bookbinder or conservator. You may use a lightly dampened cloth to wipe the covers clean, should they need it – but do not add any cleaning products to the water.


You may contact The Bumblebee Bindery if you have any questions or issues concerning a book you have purchased from me.