Saturday, April 23, 2011

Keeping Your Manga Safe and Beautiful

I've been collecting manga for over a year and a half now, and already, I've gone through the ups and downs of owning them. From my first manga, I was intent on keeping these expensive books safe. I've learned a lot from the day I bought that first manga to the last one I bought. 

1. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
The sunlight will cause the colour to fade. You might go to a store and pick one up with an orange cover, but when you compare them to ones on the internet, the original colour could actually be red. For this reason, you should also check what the original colour the manga is on the internet before buying it.

2. Keep them upright.
Manga were meant to be kept like this:

and not meant to be kept stacked. Uneven weight distribution could cause the manga to bend.

3. When you want to save a page while reading, DO NOT DOG EAR the page.
Doing this, or any damage to the book causes the value of your book to decrease. Use a bookmark that doesn't attach to a page, like this one:

This bookmark doesn't have that tab that hangs onto the page, or isn't in paperclip form. Those types are the worst for preserving pages because they can tear the page.

4. a)  Know who you're lending to.
Make sure you get to know the person who you're lending to. Do they take care of books well? Do they treasure them as much as you do? Do they care about damages, no matter how minor they may be? If the person you're lending to can say yes to all of these, consider them a likely candidate for borrowing books.

b) Less lending = less chance of damage.
The more you lend to people, the more chance the books will have to get scratched. 

5. When travelling with them, keep them in a separate plastic bag.
When you keep manga in a separate the bag it will have a lesser chance of colliding with things in your bag that may cause them to become scratched. Keys, for example, will scratch your manga cover. It also protects from other substances, such as water and lotion. The plastic bag will act as a protector for your cover against scratches and water.

6. Use plastic manga covers.
I myself haven't been able to get my hands on these yet, but my friends have suggested these as a great way to further preserve your manga.

7. Don't touch your manga as much as possible.
The oil from your hands can quicken the process of turning the pages yellow. The repeated turning of the pages also are a factor in the yellowing process.

8. Make sure you can get the best possible condition in the first place.
This way, you are content with the manga you bought, and its value hasn't decreased from any damages. I always do a quick scan and search for the best possible condition. What I search for are: Dog eared pages (there are people who read our new manga in the bookstore without buying them before we get to the manga itself), evidence that the book was previously read by a person who stretches the binding (evidence is shown on spine. You can see if the pages are spread apart.), scratches (whether major or minor), "health" of the binding (check to see if the glue, which is the binding, is turning black for some reason, or the pages are falling out), corners (if they've been bent in), and top and bottom of the spine (if the book's been dropped on the top or bottom of the spine, it'll be dented).

9. When in contact with it, make sure your nails DO NOT touch the book.
Nail contact = risk of scratching. I've lent manga to people who touch the book with their nails, and it's not pleasant at all to have them return with scratches.

I found a video on Youtube a while ago about manga care, which can be found here. It was really useful to have someone with longer experience than me explain how to keep manga in great condition.

I hope this helps people who like to invest in manga, because one day, these things will be worth quite a lot. (Especially Tokyopop now.) I'll put up another post should I learn even more about keeping manga safe.

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