In real estate, the old cliche is that the three most important factors that determine value are “location, location and location.” With books a similar three factors determine value and they are “condition, condition and condition.” A drop spine box or other protective enclosure is the best way to preserve condition by protecting the book from shelf wear, handling, dust and light. They are also an appropriate option for fragile books that should be preserved in “original condition” with no intervention whatsoever. An enclosure may take many forms depending upon the object that is to be housed as well as how one wishes the housed book to appear on the shelf.
DROP SPINE BOX
The most complete protection is offered by a drop spine box, also known as a clamshell box. The book is fully enclosed on all sides. The box may be constructed with any of the materials used in bindings including leather, cloth, vellum and paper. A basic cloth box will provide an attractive, utilitarian container. The clamshell box may be made to look just a like a book by rounding the spine, covering it in leather, applying raised bands and perhaps even adding gilt decoration.
The first edition of Byron’s Don Juan was issued in one large volume and several smaller books. To present a uniform appearance, this drop spine box was constructed in the same size as the larger book, using the same materials and decorative style, including replicating the marbled paper. Inside, the small volumes nest nicely in a tray that has been sized to receive them. Ribbon pulls supply easy access to the volumes.
A slipcase is a simpler affair, leaving the spine exposed so it can be viewed as it sits on the shelf. Again, a simple cloth slipcase offers basic protection. When the book to be housed is leather, matching leather trim can be added to the opening edges of the box, and the spine ends rounded at the opening to match the curve of the book to provide a more elegant appearance.
Both boxes and slipcases can be constructed that house multiple volumes, even volumes of different sizes, by adding inserts custom fitted to each book.
Portfolios can be made in various ways and are suitable for housing documents consisting of a few sheets of paper or a thin pamphlet. Illustrated is a simple half leather portfolio with marbled paper using inner paper flaps to hold a single sheet of paper.
We posted a blog article on an interesting pop-up box. Open the box and the book rises up like magic!
A suitable custom enclosure, whether a drop spine box, a slip case or a portfolio can ensure that your book, artwork or document will maintain its “condition, condition, condition”.