How do I store 40-50 comb bound books?
April 7, 2011 12:43 PM   Subscribe

How do I store 40-50 comb bound books?

Over my years of education, I have accumulated 40-50 comb bound books/course packs. I'd like to keep them. Some I'd like to have accessible, others could go in a box where I don't see them. Because of the "fatness" of the binding and the lack of rigidity of the books, they're awkward to store; vertically, on a shelf, they'll bend. Horizontally, you have to alternate the bindings, and you have to lift each one to find the one you're looking for.

Is there a gadget/trick/piece of furniture that would make it easier to store those books, especially those I want to keep on hand? Am I just better off rebinding the ones I use frequently and putting the rest out of view? FWIW, most of the books are fairly thin, but some of them are around one inch thick; all are printed on 8.5" x 11" paper. I have a ~400 sq. ft apartment with a spare room, and plenty of shelf space in my bookcases.
posted by Monday, stony Monday to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Would simple magazine files do the trick?
posted by Coobeastie at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2011

For the ones you want to keep accessible for a while, I think Coobeastie's idea for a magazine file is a good one.

For the ones you want to put in storage: pull out the comb binder. Find another, more space-saving way to keep the pages together. I don't know if you'd be best served with staples (you'll want to get a heavy duty/high capacity stapler), large rubber bands, a binder clip, or something else. But those big plastic combs are awful. (Storing them with the combs could lead to a big mess later on; I've seen the plastic break down and just completely disintegrate on really old ones.)
posted by phunniemee at 12:59 PM on April 7, 2011

For the thinner ones, can you replace the comb with a long sliding clip, or perhaps two or three smaller slide clips?
posted by holgate at 1:18 PM on April 7, 2011

For floppy books like that, I insert a simple book end every dozen books. It's not as visible as magazine files (though it uses the same principles).
posted by cranberrymonger at 1:25 PM on April 7, 2011

The ones for "long term storage" remove the comb, shrink wrap the pages, include a description of the item in the shrink wrapped set of pages. They will now box nicely, or stack well. I'm sure you know a small business owner with a shrink wrap setup. The magazine file is a great idea.
posted by Classic Diner at 1:35 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Electronically. Have them all scanned to PDF and OCRed and you can easily keep them on hand (iPad, laptop, iPhone -- I love DevonThink Pro Office) and put your books on your bookshelf. Or an LP collection. Whatever it is you're into.
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:05 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would be astonished if these things were on archival-quality paper: I've met these things in my mom's library, and trust me, twenty years from now you will be sad if you kept them the way they are now. Shrink wrap or (preferably) scan them, for sure.
posted by SMPA at 4:30 PM on April 7, 2011

I put them in manila folders. Then you can put them on a bookshelf either upright with the tabs facing out, or on their spines with the tabs facing up.

Either way it keeps the combs from snagging, and lets you glance along the tabs to find the one you're looking for.
posted by ErikaB at 6:31 PM on April 7, 2011

I used a paint pen to write the name of the book on the back of the spine so you could see it.
posted by CathyG at 7:36 PM on April 7, 2011

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