I am an avid book shopper I buy both new and used books. I know everyone loves new books because, shiny. :) But used books don't get enough credit for their ability to bounce back even after they've been roughly owned. It just depends on the care you're willing to put into them.
I'm major on the care I give my over growing collection of books. Here are a few tips I've picked up over the years.
The arsenal for every book owner:
self adhesive laminate sheets/book sleeves (to protect the covers: you can buy them in the store and cut them to size for every book. these also help with books that already have damaged covers to last longer)
soft gel clear glue sticks / glue gun (in case the cover of your book has come off you can carefully glue it back on and fill broken clasps)
invisible tape (for hidden inside repairs and or dog ears that are tearing / wearing through. note: please never dog ear your books.)
antibacterial spray / paper towel/ear swab: (lightly dampen the paper towel /swab and clean your covers when you buy them. trust me. )
goo be gone - (because stickers kill: be careful not to over do it because the oil can seep through paper. small dabs people. it goes a long way. allow the oil to sink into the sticker for a minute then gently peel and touch until it comes off clean the goo be gone will also remove any left over residue from past stickers left behind, food gunk, remove library labels, and other hard to remove crust) You wouldn't believe how many books this stuff has brought back from the dead.
soft dusting cloths - you don't want to scratch, snag or damage your books.
baking soda / silica : to place on shelves near or behind books to absorb any "off" scents embedded in the paper. (remember paper absorbs scents from its environments even more as it ages. to prevent any odd smells add one of these near by to pull the smell from the book)
cotton balls / essential oils: lavender, eucalyptus or tea-tree oil - (do not place these directly on the book- place it near by on the cotton ball. a small cotton ball with essential oils on it will help the books on your shelf absorb the natural scents and remove any odors from them. it will also make the room smell good.)
rotation: frequently rotate books to allow any natural chemicals that live within or are bonded to the paper to breathe
allow for plenty of air flow on the shelf between books to prevent mildew or growth of and remove any signs of mildew or mold using a soft cloth lightly dampened with denatured alcohol (books that sit on shelves for long periods of time can grow mold/mildew/corrode on their own when covered with dust and go untouched for long periods of time)
Go through your books at least once every month. Pull out every book exercise the spine and gently dust its body and pages.
Sleeping books actually die faster: when books remain in prone position they freeze that way and cause gluing and threading to weaken. Give your books a gentle dust off (When you dust your books, make sure to dust from the spine outward so that the dirt doesn't settle in the pocket behind the spine) , a stretch (never open a book more than 100 degrees- you don't want spine splitting) and a breather(allow books to be aired out before placing back on the shelf) Your library will last longer.
Bathrooms: Are a no - no. Two reasons. One, bathrooms tend to be humid because of steam which causes damage to the books and two, when you flush microscopic residual fecal matter splashes up from inside the toilet within a six foot radius. You do not want fecal matter on your books.
Direct light: causes sun bleaching and can damage ink in the pages and damage on the covers
Never use mothballs. they're poisonous and over time release gases that can make you sick, can contaminate your books and anyone that comes in contact with the books that have been contaminated by them.
The definition of a mothball is as follows:
Small balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant used when storing clothing and other articles susceptible to damage from mold or moth larvae. They come in two different formulations; one, using naphthalene, and the other using paradichlorobenzene as the active ingredient. Naphthalene, a hydrocarbon derived from coal tar, which easily exudes gas, acts as a fumigant.
Warnings on moth ball packages: Routine exposure can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia, where a person's red blood cells get damaged. Ingestion or skin exposure causes more extreme reactions in the liver and bladder, causing jaundice, lightheadedness, and eventually leading to coma. Mothballs are highly toxic when ingested (they have a sweet odor and taste, making this more likely), and will cause serious illness or death.
So please never use these in any situation.
Wash your hands: books are porous they will absorb the oils from your hands and everything else you have touched.
Bulky book marks: warp the body and spine of the book. Fancy book marks are pretty but they're murder for your babies.
Shelving: always sort your books by the same height- books of different proportions causes uneven pressure stress on books which causes them to warp.
Plastic bags: Placing books in plastic bags causes the book to suffocate. If you need to store use non acid paper bags there are also materials you can buy to sore that wont harm the book.
Above all love your books. New or Used.