Protecting the covers of your books.

I think I've barely had my 5th Edition book for maybe a year and a half and one of my corners is fraying more than I'd like - probably from packing, shifting with other books and being carried around quite a bit.

Does anyone employ any successful long-term solutions for protecting your books to last through the ages?

Well, in 3rd grade I learned how to fold a grocery bag into a book cover. Really, it does work, and well. Or any other durable paper, or cloth. You then decorate it as you want, or leave it "brown paper wrapper" - tho' people might think you're reading porno. :wink:

Happy to share if that'd do the trick. 8)

I've used clear contact paper to protect the covers of my gaming books for decades. You can buy a roll at any hardware store or WalMart (or similar store) and cut to fit. Once it's on, though, it's not coming off...


Yeah, that, or since it's a standard size, I bet you could find plastic slipcovers. Maybe. Worth a look at a Staples or something.

Well, in my real life I am a librarian; and on this very point I can elaborate on my one major complaint about Atlas and indeed most of the RPG publishing community.

The format in which these books are published is among the worst choice from a 'book protection' standpoint.

Paperback books you can indeed cover with clear stickyback plastic, provided you use a bit of care to avoid bubbles this will work fairly well and increase the lifespan of your book considerably. An attempt to cover a book like the Ars magica volumeas is doomed to failure on asthetic grounds: it has a glossy cover of its own, so sticking another one on top is gonna look terrible; I have seen this done a few times, trust me when I say it looks far worse than a few frayed edges.

Now, the way we library folk protect our hardbacks is with a platic jacket or sleeve we put around the dust jacket of the original hardback. This fits over the top of the book both protecting the jacket and the book. In particular it protects the corners of the book as the jacket it folded there.

Sadly, without a dust cover over which to put your jacket, you cant really use this method, so RPG books lose out on that point too.

As to your particular problem however, dare I say, the problem has likely more to do with your storage and handling than the contruction of the book. My own copies of Ars Magica are in reasonable shape despite being a few years old because I dont stuff em into a rucksack and leave them there permanently saving the once per week trip to my chums house when I dump the heavy bag on the table/floor.

Essentially the only thing protecting those corners from being a frayed mass of cardboard is a piece of folded glossy paper in the form of the cover sheet - it wont stand up to much.

Slip covers are probably your best choice, just make sure you get the right ones. Even s, they are not designed for hardcovers, and if its too slack it will fall off, too tight it will damage the spine.

Forgive the rant,

I buy 2 copies. One that I use (but take care nonetheless), one that I don't :blush:
Aside from this, nope, sorry

No, no

The rant was good! I appreciate the expertise. Slip covers it'll be, then. I go everywhere with the kids and travel a couple of other places within the county to play so I'm always carrying the books around in a backpack. So I'll be glad to work on it.

Paper bags sound cool especially if I could find different and lighter colors of similar paper stock.

And a 2nd copy would always be fun, but I'm still saving up for the rest of the 5th edition library. :wink:


I found some really nifty metal corner-guard type thingies (I hear they use them for scrapbooking, but these were a bit more solid) in my local hobby store. I haven't tried fitting them to my ArM core rules, but I did fit them to my Mage and Vampire hardback core books way back when, and they worked really well. At least to prevent proken corners (and they really impressed the odd Goth that came to play at conventions and the like).

I actually love the format and the hard back nature of the Ars-books.

But what good does it do me to viciously guard the corners and covers of my preciousssnessesss..... when my players pour coffee into the pages!!! :imp:

eh, I just let mine get beat to hell and battle scarred. Gives them prestige. When a copy is totally worn out, I buy a replacement and hand off the used copy to someone I want to turn on to the game.

Of course, unlike my 4th ed copies, my 5th ed (second copy) is constantly getting glossed with erratta and spell guidelines. I kinda dont wanna let this copy go to the wind like the others because of this additional feature.

Exercise a little historical re-creation!

Cut your own leather, emboss or brand it with the title and your own creative designs, and then sew it together to form your own custom-made leather book covers! (skinning and tanning your own sheep or cow hide is optional. Acquiring leather that doesn't bleed dye onto your book is not.)

Engage a tin-smith to create one (or more) hinged cover(s) for your book(s). It's not the same as bronze, silver, or other metals, but it would work well, and allow you to stamp or emboss personal designs. (For obvious reasons, avoid punch-designs.)

You might find a way to crimp a few semi-precious cabochons from your local gem & mineral show into the spine or corners as well. Just be sure that the backside of the crimp doesn't have sharp edges that might dig into the book cover.

Metallic inks or paints appropriate for your medium might give you your finishing touches.

To preserve the books during use, place the book on a tilted free-standing lectern or music stand, stationed away a couple of paces away from the table. This prevents proximity dangers from other substances. It also discourages lengthy consultation by would-be rules lawyers.


Of course, in our disposable society, you could also just buy a second book.

Not nearly as much fun though.

~ Meddo

And remember each animal has enough brain-matter to tan its own hide!

My friend had his 3rd Edition ArM book wood and leather bound.

It looks absolutely gorgeous.

Cost him about 400 dollars or so, but boy, does it look gorgeous!