How to Pack Books

Packing books up to move can be a huge challenge, as books are among the heaviest household items for their size. If you're a book lover, you may have hundreds or thousands of books to move.


Moving companies generally charge by weight, so it is a good idea to thin your book collection where possible and move only those books you cannot live without.

1. Thinning your book collection

All books are heavy when they're together in a box. If you're paying to move them, go through your collection carefully and decide which books you really want to keep, those you would be willing to pay to have moved. You can find plenty of good homes for the books you decide you can live without, such as second-hand book stores, libraries, used-book retailers, community centers and others.


2. Choosing the right box

Because of their weight, books should be packed in small boxes, also sometimes called book cartons. Seal the bottom with double layer of sturdy packing tape, making sure you go at least 6 inches up the sides of the box, and an extra strip going across the other way to make sure everything holds securely.


3. Hardcover books

If packing from a book case, always start with the top shelf and work your way down to keep the book case stable and avoid it tipping over. Pack hardcover books by placing them in a box standing upright, either spine against spine, or spine against the side of the box. This will prevent the pages from being damaged. For high value, older and fragile books, wrap each one in packing paper before placing in the box. To prevent any movement during transit, fill the gaps with crumpled packing paper.


4. Paperbacks

These can be packed in flat stacks, or with their spine against the bottom of the box with the paper edges facing upwards. Packing them similar to hardcovers or with the paper edges facing down will cause the pages to bend and the covers to warp. Make sure they are packed snug enough that there's no wiggle room, and fill the gaps with crumpled packing paper.


5. Sealing the box

Over stuff the box with crumpled packing paper to provide a good support for stacking, close the flaps and tape the box closed. It's a good idea to label the box to give an indication of what kind of weight to expect when the movers come to pick it up. If you pack your books in a particular order, you may want to mark the box in a way that will help you remember their location when unpacking, for example books from top shelf can be marked Books 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 etc. while books from the second shelf can be marked Books 2/1, 2/2, 2/3 etc.


6. Loading the truck

Load book boxes on the floor of the moving truck as much as possible. Stack them only if you can secure them properly and prevent them from shifting and toppling over.


7. Books in storage

If you need to store books for any length of time, choose a storage facility that offers climate controlled storage units. For high value books, we recommend wrapping them in acid free paper instead of regular paper when packing.


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