Paperback Book Hacks

Sometimes, an eBook just can’t replace the feeling of a real book and the beloved “old book smell.” Holding a paperback in your hands, taking a break from staring at a screen, and not worrying that your book will run out of battery are just a few reasons why bookworms today still collect hundreds of titles to add to their home libraries.

With that being said, paperback books aren’t perfect by any means. They can be inconvenient to carry around, the spine can start falling apart after too many reads, and the pages may become wet, stained, or yellowed over time. Luckily, you can use the following hacks to preserve your favorite paperbacks (or rescue ones from thrift stores!) and make your literary life a little bit better.

Make your book more portable by ripping it in half

If you’ve ever struggled to hold open a massive paperback book or were intimidated by the length of some classic titles, do what Alex Christofi does and chop those long books in half. The so-called “book murderer” explained that they often felt discouraged and frustrated with bigger books, and they wanted something more convenient to carry with them. When Christofi separated their books into manageable chunks, the books easily fit in their pocket, were easier to hold open, and made it more likely that they’d finish the entire book.

books ripped in half
Photograph: Alex Christofi

In response to appalled readers from around the world when Christofi’s reading habits went viral, he wrote, “The codex is just a mortal husk – the soul of a book is the story, and the form of words used to tell it.” Christofi continues, “The biggest compliment you can pay an author is to read their book, let them tell you their story – take it to heart and tell others.” In other words, enjoy reading however you’d like; just keep reading.

Pay less for new and used books

Let’s dispel a myth. Amazon is not the lowest priced online bookstore by a long shot. For example you will almost always find less expensive used or new books at AbeBooks, Book Depository and BookOutlet, not to mention that new books at Costco (though the selection is limited) are way less than new books at Amazon. Here’s a full list of online bookstores: Top 20 Online Bookstores (and all the rest).

And if your looking for free Kindle books, look no further than BookSliced, which offers the easy way to find free books which you then download directly from Amazon to your Kindle.

Use sandpaper to clean book edges.

After years of wear and tear, the crisp white edges of your book will start to look dingy and discolored. All you need to do to fix this unsightly issue, according to Mallory Morsa of Binding 101, is hold the pages tightly together with one hand and gently sand the edges with a piece of sandpaper until the dirt is removed.

Repair a paperback binding

Pages falling out of your favorite paperback? Pick up some book or binding glue, a bone folder or popsicle stick, and something heavy to weigh down the new binding you’re going to create. Remove any loose pages, apply a thin line of glue to the spine of the book, and then carefully stick the pages back into the center using the popsicle stick or bone folder. Once all the pages are back in order, place something heavy (like a stack of books, perhaps) on the book for at least 24 hours.

Salvage a wet book with your freezer

If you dropped a paperback into the bathtub, don’t panic. Gently blot the cover as best as you can to remove excess water, and then put it into the freezer for at least 24 hours. This prevents mold, makes it easier to separate the pages later, and gives you time to set up a place to air-dry the book. The air-drying process will depend on whether you fully submerged your book or just got a few pages wet.

Create a book safe

Hide your valuables in plain sight by building a clever hidden safe using old books!

Create hiding place in a book
Here’s how to hollow out a book to hide the small stuff.

Safe hidden by many books
Instead of simply hollowing out a book to hide treasures inside, use a stack of books to make a larger hidden compartment, and then place the entire safe back on your shelf. You may want to use hardcover books on either end of the safe to make it sturdier, but you can fill the inner section with paperbacks you no longer want.

Make a DIY hardcover

Whether you want to protect your paperback or disguise a romance novel as a textbook, this easy DIY hardcover trick only takes a few common crafting items and a little patience. Grab some pretty contact paper, cardboard, and a pair of scissors to get started!

Hope you enjoyed our book hacks!


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