How do I straighten out a paperback book's cover that is bent?

  • I read a lot of paperback books. Almost exclusively, in fact. I have one problem, though - all the covers get bent while I read them (or sometimes after one of the siblings has a crack at it). They end up with bent covers:

    Paperback cover with bent corner

    Now, I like to keep my books in good condition (unfortunately, that's not always possible). How can I straighten out a book with a bent cover like this?

    Note: this is after having twelve encyclopedias sitting on top of it for a couple days.

    That picture is really dark. You might want to try messing around with it here to see if you can make it any easier to see.

    Do you want no fold lines on the book, or just for the cover to be flat? What I'd do is bend it back the other way so that there's a net bend of nothing.

    @Randal'Thor - optimally both.

  • If the cover has creased, the layers of the paper will have separated and the fibres pulled out of alignment. The crease is then bulkier than the rest of the cover and stretched on the side it bends away from. As you cannot push the fibres back into their former alignment, this is a technique I have used to get the cover to lie flat. Note, don't do this with a valuable book whose ££ you wish to retain, as it is ultimately a destructive method. I started with this book (click images to enlarge):

    Paperback with bent and creased corner

    Turning to the inside of the cover, I used a fine scalpel blade to 'shave' away the upstanding line of the crease.

    crease being shaved from inside cover

    I then used tape strips across the shaved crease to restore tension to the inside face of the cover. I would have preferred to paste paper strips, but had no paste available.

    tensioning tape strips applied approximately perpendicular across crease

    book cover now lies flat at corner

    The corner will remain damaged, but looks better when sitting out and is less likely to sustain more damage when being returned to the shelf.

    Nice, well-explained answer. I hadn't thought of it in terms of fibres and tension, but it's clear now that you say it.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM