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BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
Shirrif
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BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!

Just thought I'd start a thread on moving your (book) collection; in particular moving house.

I just recently moved home. Not far; but far enough (a couple of hundred miles). Moving house/home is bad enough, but moving (or even worse -the thought of moving!) my book collection was a real headache.

I personally chose to move my collection myself. I packed the books up myself; physically moved them myself (with partner); and unpacked them myself.

As a household we had probably well over 1000 individual books, many of which only required moderately careful packing and moving. However about half of these were 'The Collection'; books I was deeply concerned about packing and moving. How best to do it?

Well I went for pretty standard cardboard boxes from a removal firm. They had some designated specifically for books. The biggest problem is finding boxes big enough to accomodate your standard hardbacks; but not so big as to be too heavy once packed.

I individually bubblewrapped every single hardback, and lined boxes (bottom, sides, and top) with bubblewrap also. This took a good few weeks. No private removal people; moved them to van ourselves. Didn't stack more than three boxes high within van (not very high), to avoid unnecessary weigh on books in bottom boxes. And got them out of boxes and back on shelves as soon as was practically possible (within a week of moving into new flat).

Some unpacked boxes sat on the cold floor of our new flat. When I opened them up some of the pages had cringled with the cold, and possible damp. Damn it! Books don't mind the cold; but damp is a real problem. I had many anxious days unpacking and examining books; particularly those right at the bottom of packed boxes.

But besides the odd concern (and occasional anxious moment) all of my collection is now housed as was, with no injury of note. There is even the upside of stumbling across many books you haven't seen in while (-perhaps even a few you forgot you had?) whilst packing and unpacking. And there is always the opportunity to rearrange your collection in to some new order.

So if moving your collection I'd advise buying several large roles of bubblewrap. Do not underestimate how many books you have, and how many boxes (just for books) you are going to require. We had a 55 box moving pack, which contained 10 book boxes. These took between 12 and 15 bubblewrapped hardbacks. We ordered another 20 book boxes, and that really wasn't enough.

Could you trust a professional removal firm? My lack of trust/faith in their ability is totally unfounded I'm sure. But I just couldn't tolerate the thought of someone else damaging any of my books.

There you have it. Also, being offline for nearly a month has been far harder than I'd imagined. Did manage to make some headway into the 'to read' pile tho'!

BH

Posted on: 2008/10/6 8:16
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You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
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Well done, Khamul. Your method was almost the same as we used at the library I work for, to move our collections into temporary quarters (10%) or offsite storage (90%). Since these are worth about $300 million, we had to take a lot of care, and for security's sake packed most of our stuff ourselves. All books that could fit into a standard record storage carton (aka banker's box, knock-up box) went that way, cushioned on all sides by bubblewrap and with more bubblewrap to fill gaps. We had enough boxes (hundreds of them) that we ordered custom-sized and -perforated bubblewrap so that we could avoid a lot of cutting. For the carton, we chose a heavy-duty archival type from the Hollinger Corp. -- the ordinary boxes from Staples or the like are too weak -- sealed it with duct tape, and marked a tracking code on the end. Books that wouldn't fit in the box were wrapped individually in heavy acid-free paper. We didn't move the boxes etc. ourselves, but had a specialist library mover to do the job, one with an extremely good reputation for taking care (which they did, much in contrast to a move of furniture we then contracted with an ordinary, local firm to do). Our rule too was not to stack cartons more than three high.

When Christina moved to the U.S. from London, she had almost no furniture but a lot of books (about 6,000 volumes), so it made sense to hire a professional book packer -- someone who provided the service to dealers at antiquarian book fairs -- rather than a regular removals firm. This person (and assorted relatives) made short work of it, packing most of Christina's books just as they were, in standard heavy-duty moving boxes with bubblewrap and corrugated sheets for cushioning. But for more valuable books we had the packer wrap them individually in heavy paper before putting them in boxes. The man also arranged for the overseas shipping, customs, etc. When the books arrived (in their own huge shipping container) it was the end of October, and we felt it safe to store them temporarily in our garage, which amounted to cold, dry storage. But come spring, with warming weather, we thought it best to bring them inside, away from the danger of condensation within the boxes. Not that we had a lot of room, as I had about 5,000 volumes myself at the time.

Wayne

Posted on: 2008/10/8 19:18


Re: BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
Home away from home
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Moving 6000 volumes! You guys always make me feel so inadequate! :)

Well I am in the process of moving from Western Australia to Brisbane, and I have started packing up the book collection. Probably 750 books all up, but only 150 or so are my Tolkien hardback collection with maybe another thirty Tolkien paperbacks).

I am taking the route of individually wrapping each of the hardbacks in removalist paper (not sure about the acid status of this paper, but apart from the various slipcased Deluxe Editions, the books all have DJ protectors, so the actual contact of the paper to the books is minimal - it's more to stop the DJ moving relative to the book and to provide a bit of bump protection) and then these are going into bubblewrap-lined book removal boxes with extra reinforcement and lots of crumpled removalist paper between each book.

I think moisture is going to be the biggest enemy, so I was also planning on lining the boxes with a sealed thick bin liner and then taping this carefully to absolutely seal the boxes against moisture and the probably significant variations in temperature and humidity that may occur during transit and storage (the other thought I had was to clingfilm each individual paper-wrapped volume - but that seems like a lot of effort if I can effectively seal the boxes, but I may still just do this for the 30 or so most important books).

And then I have to get the sword collection prepped for storage (lots of heavy oil) and wrapped... Sigh

Stu

Posted on: 2008/10/23 21:03


Re: BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
Shirrif
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(Stu) I think you'll hit the nail on the head regarding the dustjackets (with Modern 1st Editions). You basically want to stop the dustjacket moving; provided you can do that you've won half the battle.

Because I individually wrapped each hardback, movement of the jacket in respect to the book was prevented, and movement within the boxes was minimal (with bubblewrap against bubblewrap). And, because the bubblewrap was round each a couple of times, the overall protection afforded to the ~12/box (top, bottom, & sides) was more than adequate. I also felt there was a fair amount of protection from moisture; although it wasn't such an issue when I moved.

You've probably also got to watch that books are packed flat within each box, and you've avoided the temptation to put some in vertically to fill some gap! Then, the weight of boxes on boxes comes into play once actually moving; and those books may have weight pushing against the boards and spine in a damaging way.

I did have some volumes already tightly held in polythene bags, but I didn't employ the use of clingfilm or paper in packing. Regardless, it's going to take you a long time. But is certainly worth it for the protection of your Collection; which after all has probably taken you years to assemble.

If I was going to pack again, I'd proably have padded the bottom of the boxes better. I didn't have any problem with just plain brown sticky tape, but I suppose you'd want to use something like duct tape (as Wayne states) if not moving the boxes yourself.

When Christina moved to the U.S. from London, she had almost no furniture but a lot of books (about 6,000 volumes)...


I like this -no furniture! I can just imagine Christina making a little table out of a few books lying around in order to eat her dinner.

10,000+ is a bit excessive don't you think Wayne? My one question is: do you and Christina have a (complete?) written (or more probably computer archived) list of all the books in your collection?

(In fact, no, I have more than one question!) Do you still remember what books are Christina's and what books are yours? Particularly books that you bought before the joining of the collections. Or is it definitively just 'one' collection now? And, is this (do you think/speculate) the biggest single collection of Tolkienalia in the World in private hands?

In fact just talk about your fabulous collection ...

BH

Posted on: 2008/10/24 1:49
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You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
Home away from home
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I like this -no furniture! I can just imagine Christina making a little table out of a few books lying around in order to eat her dinner.


Well, not no furniture at all, just little that needed to be moved, as she was relocating to my fully furnished house. In fact, we did bring a table and chairs, and shelves and bookcases.

10,000+ is a bit excessive don't you think Wayne? My one question is: do you and Christina have a (complete?) written (or more probably computer archived) list of all the books in your collection?


Actually it's more like 15,000+ books -- plus CDs, DVDs, LPs, cassettes, magazines, and comic books. We do have an electronic list of our books, and lists of music and films, which we keep up and are in the process of refining. Ideally we would know, at least for our collections if not for every book, not only that we have a particular edition and printing, and whether it has its dust-jacket (if so issued), but also its condition, in case we have the opportunity to trade up. We used to carry printouts of the lists with us when we travelled, until they became unwieldy and I put them on a Palm Pilot.

Do you still remember what books are Christina's and what books are yours? Particularly books that you bought before the joining of the collections. Or is it definitively just 'one' collection now?


For the most part, we do remember who had what when we got married. Where it gets confused is with those books that each of us had in nearly identical copies, but we now have only one. Altogether, legally and officially, everything is now our joint collection, though some parts still tend to be spoken of as his (e.g. Arthur Ransome, Maurice Sendak, graphic novels) and some as hers (e.g. Arthurian literature, medieval history and art).

And, is this (do you think/speculate) the biggest single collection of Tolkienalia in the World in private hands?


It's certainly one of the biggest, occupying more than two rooms, plus related items in other parts of the house (C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes, etc.).

Wayne

Posted on: 2008/10/25 13:50



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