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Hi John,

Here is a question for you regarding book collecting;

Some of my book collection has the original shrink wrap from the printers, will this be safe to leave on permanently, or should it be removed? I know short to medium term this helps command a better resale price, but I am not sure if this plastic will degrade and damage the books in the long term.

Many thanks,

John replies:

I have to go back to the old adage about LPs, the commonly accepted belief was that leaving the shrink-wrap on the LP would eventually damage the album. I think it had to do with the shrink-wrap trapping in any moisture or organisims that were present when it was wrapped.

So I guess that would also apply to books, but only if it was valid in the first place!

Additionally, in the shrink-wrap process there may be chemicals in the plastic. I'm guessing not all cellophanes are the same, also what environment the books have been stored in, I mean paper is a organic material and needs to breath as does wood. And if moisture has gotten in, it is trapped and can't get out.

We do not trust that the shrink wrap is acid neutral, and would not risk leaving it on long term as it could actually damage a book, jacket or slipcase.

Great question!

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