How to Flatten a Book?

Just a quick post – I’m really still off on an expedition – but I have a question: how can I flatten a mass market paperback that is buckled?  This isn’t water damage, the book doesn’t appear to have been wet, there’s no swelling of the paper. The binding is tight, the covers undamaged.

It’s in an S shape (looking at the page edges from the bottom). I tried putting it under a heavy encyclopedia for a couple of days with no improvement. It flattens out, but twists again as soon as the weight is off.


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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12 Responses to How to Flatten a Book?

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I’ve never had any luck at this. I’ll be interested to see if anybody has a solution.

  2. Evan Lewis says:

    One more instance where I wish I could pick up the phone and talk to Lance Casebeer. I’ll bet he had a method.

  3. I’m like Bill. I’ve never had any luck on this front, either.

  4. Richard says:

    Thank you, Bill, Evan and Randy. I once heard putting in the oven for a while – temperature unknown – softens the glue holding the pages and cover, then pressing. I’d try it except the book isn’t in print any more, I was lucky to find this copy and don’t want to risk it.

    Maybe someone else has an idea. I hope.

  5. Cap'n Bob says:

    How about a book press? I’ve heard about the oven method, too. Try 350 degrees for an hour. No, wait, that’s for chicken.

  6. Drongo says:

    Have no idea how to fix the problem, but I’m really curious about what book it is…

  7. Richard says:

    Drongo – It’s GAME WITHOUT RULES by Michael Gilbert. I just bought a used New copy. The book is in mint condition except for the twist.

  8. Cap'n Bob says:

    There was one book problem whose cure was to freeze it in a plastic bag, but I can’t recall what that problem was.

  9. Richard says:

    Bob – I believe that was water damage. I think George had to do it with some of his books, or perhaps SUNY did it for him, or maybe he did the freezing and they did the water extraction. I think the idea is that the water freezes out of the paper in crystals that can then be removed.

  10. Patti Abbott says:

    Humidity has taken some of mine. There doesn;t seem to be any turning back once it starts.

  11. Todd Mason says:

    Try leaving the book under the weight for a week and see if there’s any improvment….it might need to be flattened by increments. How did it get bent?

  12. Richard says:

    It was that way when it arrived from the seller. It didn’t look like it was bent in transit or by the packaging, my guess is it’s been this way for awhile, probably was jammed on a shelf or in a box for a long time.

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