I always like carrying books around but at the same time I hate getting the corners of the books bent over time and I try to keep them as perfect as possible.

Given that most of my books are paperback editions and that I usually carry them around in a backpack, how can I transport them without bending the corners and damaging them?

I've tried putting some kind of paper cover around the book but I'd like to know if there is any really effective way of doing it.

  • This is close to being a dupe of a question over on Literature.se How to travel with paperback books without damaging them?
    – Spagirl
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 13:41
  • 1
    @Spagirl Well, this was posted roughly 2 years before the other question, so I guess it should be the other way around
    – S -
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 13:48
  • So it was, I thought I was looking at 'newest' questions when I must have been looking at 'active'. Anyway, My point was only that there was another set of answers if anyone was looking.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Aug 30, 2018 at 13:53

8 Answers 8


Get an old VHS tape at a thrift store -- should cost less than a dollar. Be sure to select the kind with a snap-closed clamshell case, not those that just slide the cassette into a sleeve. Pull out the tape and discard it (or watch it, if you have a VHS machine and found a title you like). Put the book where the tape was, close the case, and your book is protected.

  • I really like this answer. I'll try it as soon as I can.
    – S -
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    I kind of misread your answer and was thinking how do you dismantle the tape casing but still preserve the tape protection mechanism... Way too complicated... Then I realised you was talking about the casing not the cassette. :-)
    – holroy
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 10:40
  • Plus, you'll be the coolest hipster around. If the Box is bigger than the book though, the corners might smash against the inside of the box. Depends on how much you shake your backpack I guess
    – Futurecat
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 9:25
  • 1
    There is a little room inside a VHS compartment for mass market paperback to move; that could be resolved by gluing in small pieces of foam or balsa wood. You could even line the cavity with felt. However, the movement is much less of an issue than having the book loose in a backpack or messenger bag; the unaltered VHS case will go a long way to reduce the damage to a book.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 12:05

Get hold of some of the cardboard folders/envelopes/mailers that Amazon and similar companies send books out in. These are specifically designed to keep books from damage. It will add a little to the weight of your backpack but so would almost any other solution.

If you don't have any yourself, ask around. A lot of people keep them for recycling or re-use. Bibliophiles tend to build up a surplus and would probably be glad to let you have a few in various sizes.

Alternatively, get an electronic reader! In my experience it pays for itself quite quickly and it certainly allows you to carry many books at the weight of one.


I have used cereal or granola bar boxes and cut the ends off of them. Many of the larger snack boxes are bigger and you can fit a few books in there. They don't last a terribly long time, as they themselves get banged up (instead of your books!) but they are cheap and easy to replace! You can tape them with duct tape for higher durability.


Put the books in a big plastic cover or kit.Put this cover/kit in your backpack.This will not add much weight to your backpack.


The simplest thing to do would be putting the book in the bag with the spine facing down and nothing above it between two solid items. Beyond that, you can use something like a lunch box or Tupperware.


I would take a few lengths of fabric (sewing) elastic and sew or glue them in a grid fashion to the side of the backpack that is along your back. The vertical strips should end a fa inches above the base of the backpack and all the strips should be far enough apart to allow the book to slide in with some stretching.


If you carry a laptop or tablet: buy a protection sleeve for the tablet and slide the book in it as well; usually, the sleeve leaves enough room to squeeze in a book without leaving wiggle room.

Maybe you could also wrap it in a piece of cloth and secure it with a safety pin? Also, there are dedicated book bags which may offer some protection, such as this random example from Amazon.

Stationary shops might offer plastic foil to reinforce the cover of the book (another random example from Amazon).


Cover your books with a makeshift newspaper cover or clear plastic wrap which is available for especially covering books O r Protect the spines and corners by taping the corners with thick tape like them electrical ones

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.