How To Inspect A Used Book For Quality

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Whether you are looking for a particular style of vintage bible or simply shopping a used book store for pleasure reading, you want to make sure you only bring home quality copies that are in good condition. The following tips can help you choose your used books with care so that you can enjoy rereading them many times over.

Tip #1: Look for water damage

Water damage is sometimes obvious, while at other times, it can be harder to see. Begin the water inspection by first pinching the book closed loosely. Inspect the edges of the pages. The book should lay relatively flat when closed and the page edges shouldn't appear wrinkly or wavy. Next, flip through the pages to make sure that none of them are stuck together. Keep an eye on the print as you flip to check for any eye-catching smudges. Finish up the inspection by opening up to a few different pages. Look for any mildew stains, which can happen in humid areas. These usually resemble black or dark green speckles on the page.

Tip #2: Watch for certain pests

Certain types of pests are drawn to old books. The most common issue is silverfish, although other small insects may also find their way into the pages. Fortunately, most of these insects are more nuisance than true pest. Flipping through the pages usually reveals if the book contains any insects – simply look near where the pages connect to the spine. Fortunately, you don't have to pass up a favorite book if you spot a silverfish. Simply take the book home after purchase and put it in a sealed bag with a bit of diatomaceous earth, which can be found at farm and garden stores. This will kill the bugs without harming your book.

Tip #3: Inspect the spine

Spine damage may not be a big deal if you plan to only read the book once before passing it on, but it can be a deal breaker if you are looking for something to add to a permanent library. Check the outside of the spine for deep creases or cracking, which can indicate that it will give out soon. Next, with the book open, make sure all of the signatures (the sheaves of pages) are still firmly glued or sewn in, depending if it is a soft or hardcover book. If all appears well, the spine isn't damaged. One way to ensure a good condition spine is to look for used library editions of your favorite books, since these are usually reinforced against damage.

Visiting a used bookstore is a good way to ensure that the used books are of the best quality, since most used bookstores take great pains to inspect and repair every used book they buy for resale. Contact a used bookstore if you need more help with this topic. For more information, visit or a similar website.