How do bookstores prevent book pages from turning yellow?


How do bookstores prevent book pages from turning yellow?

In: 96

There are two things that directly promote the deterioration of pages. The first is UV light, and the second is the climate. In addition, already deteriorating books can cause other books near them to deteriorate.

For UV light, the solution is two parts. The first part is to eliminate UV from natural light. This can be done by just blocking natural light, or by using special windows that filter UV light. The second part is to use artificial lighting that does not emit UV. This is much easier these days with LED lights.

The climate controls are mostly for controlling the humidity. This means installing a full climate control system that is monitoring the whole building, and not just using a single central thermostat and assuming the whole building is the same.

Then there’s managing the different books that you expect to deteriorate differently. The mass-printed cheap books are going to deteriorate faster than others, so you want to store them separately from your more expensive books so that they don’t promote deterioration in your good books before you can remove them.

Technically, they don’t prevent it. There are at least two reasons why you don’t SEE the pages turning yellow on the bookshelves in a bookstore:

1. Books don’t stay on their shelves long enough for you to notice the pages yellowing.
2. Their A/C works to keep the humidity LOW. Keeping the air dry slows the aging process of paper.

I used to work at a bookstore and we would sell books long before that time

If we got a second hand book with yellowing pages we would use a little emery paper and that would get them white again

One more reason: Most printers use better paper now.

At one point, paper was turned white using a type of acid (think end of 1800s, start of 1900s).

Worked great! Only a few decades later, they found the paper started deteriorating faster than paper made *without* acid. Not only did the paper turn yellow, it eventually turned brown and brittle.

And that’s why publishers now make a big deal of printing pricy books on acid-free paper.