How to Pack and Protect Books When Moving

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Which Books to Move?

If you're moving a long distance and movers are charging you by weight, make sure you carefully sort through your books and determine what you really want to keep and pay to move. Books are heavy. Even paperbacks can add up to weigh a lot. If you're like most readers, you tend to accumulate an entire library over a short time, so find a good home for them and know that someone else will be getting just as much joy from reading them as you did.

Secure the Bottom of the Box

Taping moving box
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Once you've decided which books you're moving, make sure you use the right box. You want to make sure that the box will support the weight and be free from any type of water damage. If you're packing with used boxes, make sure the inside is clean and dry. Grab your packing supplies and tape the bottom and check to make sure it's secure.

How to Pack Hardcover Books

Packing hardcover book
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Hardcover editions can be packed by placing them in the box standing upright, spine against the box's side, just like you were placing it on a shelf. If you pack books this way, make sure they're packed well, but not too tightly that they can be damaged when removing them.

If the hardcover editions are of moderate value, wrap each one in brown paper before placing them in the box.

Line the Box for Fragile, First Editions

Wrapping up books
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Books of great value, such as old photo albums or first editions require stiff cardboard in between each to keep the spines straight and to prevent any movement. Each book should also be protected with paper and placed in a well-padded box. Bubble wrap or foam chips can be used to line the box before you pack each book. ​To save money and have a greener move, use materials you have around the house, such as towels and linens to keep your books safe.

Pack Books Spine Down

Placing book spine down in box
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Hardcover editions, as well as paperbacks, can also be packed flat and stacked. Both book types may also be packed spine first with the paper edges facing up. To prevent damage, do not pack books with the paper edges facing down and spines up - this will cause books to warp and pages to bend.

Pack Larger Books Flat

Lay Books Flat to Pack
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You can also pack books flat, especially coffee table books and larger paperbacks.

Use a Mix of Packing Methods to Fill the Box

Books Packed in Box
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Books can also be packed using all three methods in one box. Just make sure you don't pack books at odd angles.

Also, pack books close, just make sure they're not too tight as this will cause books to bend.

Use Packing Paper or Bubble Wrap to Fill Spaces

Add bubble wrap when packing boxes
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Finally, use bubble wrap or wadded-up paper to fill any remaining spaces. Books can shift easily during the move, causing damage.

Tape the Box - Check the Weight

Safe and sealed
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Tape the box closed and label it with its contents and room location. In the moving truck, do not stack the boxes unless you can properly secure them. Again, books are heavy and if the boxes should topple, they can cause a lot of damage to furniture or other items that aren't as well protected.

If you need to store books for any length of time, make sure the storage facility is dry and cool. And if your books are of high value, you may want to use acid-free paper instead of brown paper. Acid-free paper won't deteriorate or turn yellow over time.