Wear & tear… (1)

old_booksA number of factors play a role in causing damage to books. From insects to UV-light, from dust to smoke, from handling or bad shelving, to simply suboptimal manufacturing processes. In this strand of posts, I’ll be sharing images of what this damage looks like.

Discolouration and silverfish activity

Discolouration and silverfish activity on this 20th-century publication in paper covers.


This 20th-century book has clearly been left a bit too long in the sun! Light exposure not only leads to discolouration on the surface, but UV-light also weakens materials. This is one of the reasons for window blinds or other low-light equipment for spaces in which historic artefacts are kept.

What’s the worst damage you’ve seen in a book or manuscript?





Do you have images of books or manuscripts that have suffered damage over time? If so, I’d love to hear from you, in particular if you’re happy for images to be shared on this blog (following proper copyright rules of course!). To get in touch, please comment on this post or drop me a line via the contact form. I look forward to hearing from you.

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