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Comments for The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New

The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New: 04/02/14

cover art

The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New by Margot Rosenberg came out of her experience as a seller of old and new books. As a book seller, she is understandably motivated to make her inventory as nice and appealing as possible. Clean, well cared for, and if needed, well-repaired books will sell better. Keep that in mind.

The book, then, is about how to get books into the best shape possible — or if the books are brand new — how to keep them in pristine condition. The book contains information on basic cleaning (including tips on how to erase marks), basic storage (no cramming of books on shelving), basic repair (white glue continues to be an old standby) as well as some bookish trivia.

For novice booksellers or bibliophiles hoping to get their home library into the best shape possible, The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New is a good reference.

For the modern day, overworked, understaffed library, most of their advice is impractical — but could be useful for special collections and other small collections with limited or no circulation. In other words — those libraries or archives with rare books could get some use out of this book — if their budgets don't allow for either bringing in an expert or sending someone on staff to a book binding or book repair course.

Reading this book, then as a cataloger, I snickered in places. Libraries do all sorts of horrors to books to get them ready for circulation and to keep them circulating. Books are covered in stickers (RFID tags, spine labels, book plates, etc). They are written in sometimes (to note its LOC or Dewey number). They are stamped with the library's name. And goodness, they are sometimes stacked in the cataloging process.

In the last third of the book Rosenberg wonders why more libraries (beyond the New York public library) don't provide patrons with a list of rules for caring for checked out books. From my own, albeit limited experience as a librarian, wear and tear is expected. Books that can be replaced when they fall apart, are (budget permitting). Books that are important to the collection that can't be replaced are repaired or rebound. The rest are culled.

Three stars

Comments (4)

Comment #1: Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 14:11:45


I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. Sounds like it's about what I expected!

Comment #2: Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 20:31:41


My library had a copy. Maybe yours will too?

Comment #3: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 11:28:54


Nope. I've looked before.

Comment #4: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 22:36:12


Pity. BetterWorldBooks has a used copy listed right now.

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