How to Pack Books for Moving

Full article 13 min read
Pack Books for Moving

It’s not an easy task to move from one place to another if you don’t have the right packing supplies or experience. It can be especially challenging if you’re moving across town, say, from your current home to a new apartment or house. Even if you’re just moving a few blocks away, there are certain items that require extra care when packing them up for the move. Books are one of those items.

The most frequent cause of an accidental mess in the back of a moving van is improperly packed books. If you have a lot of books, you might be tempted to just throw them all in a box and call it good. But that’s not the best way to pack them. Books are heavy, and they can easily damage other items in the box if they’re not packed properly. Plus, if you have valuable or rare books, you’ll want to take extra care to ensure they arrive at your new home in the same condition as when they left your old one.


The Agony of a Book Lover:

If you’re a book lover, nothing could be more disconcerting than

  1. Ripped pages
  2. Bent Spines
  3. Dog-eared corners
  4. Water damage
  5. Leather bindings dehydration

Let’s look at how you can prevent this damage while moving:

Step 1: Pack Your Books Early

Books take a long time to pack. You can’t just throw them in a box and be done with it. It would be best if you took the time to wrap each book individually and then pack them tightly into the box so they don’t move around during transport. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed and might not do a good job, which would result in ruining good books, or fall out of the box if not taped properly.

Books are love! We don’t want these beauties getting damaged. So, start packing your books early to avoid any disasters!

See Also: How Early Should You Book a Mover?

Step 2: Gather Essentials

When packing books for a move, you’ll need some essential supplies:

  1. Boxes: You’ll need sturdy boxes that can hold the weight of books without breaking.
  2. Packaging Tape: Make sure you have plenty of packaging tape on hand to seal up the boxes tightly. It’s important to ensure that the boxes are adequately taped to avoid tears or external damage to the box itself.
  3. Bubble Wrap: If you have any particular books that need to be treated with extra care, wrapping them in bubble wrap will help protect them from damage.
  4. Packing Paper: This helps wrap up individual books and other fragile items.
  5. Permanent Marker: You’ll need a marker to label the boxes, so you know what’s inside.

Step 3: Choose the right boxes

Strong medium-sized cardboard boxes should be purchased or borrowed. They should be able to bear the weight of books and yet not dampen when books are placed within them, which may occur with borrowed boxes. If you buy new ones, you’ll need to put them together first. Make sure you seal the bottom of boxes with double-layer tape. You may come across such boxes at your local store or inquire about any available boxes, or you can also look for them at work. You can always find boxes at different places like the store, work, or even your house.

If you have to go the used box route, check for holes or leaks and reinforce them with tape. You can also try to find boxes of similar sizes to stack on top of each other, which will help make carrying and lifting easier. Also, don’t forget to label the boxes with their contents and respective room.


Step 4: Group the books

When packing books for a move, you’ll want to group them by size and weight. This will help you pack the boxes more efficiently and make it easier to carry them. It’s also a good idea to group any books that are of similar thickness, as this will help keep them from becoming distorted when packed together.

You can even sort books based on the author’s name, genre, or any other preference. This will be helpful later on when unpacking and shelving the books in your new home. You may also sort your collection by whether or not you’re bringing it with you. 

See Also: Moving in With a Roommate

Step 5: Pack Paperbacks

The book’s pages are damaged by being packed with the paper edges facing down, causing them to curve.

Paperback books are easy to handle, but they should be packed by stacking book over book. Wrap individual paperbacks in flattened stacks of packing paper, starting at the spine and working your way out. This will help to protect them from getting damaged during the move. Once they’re wrapped, please place them in a box with other similarly sized items to keep them from shifting around.

Step 6: Pack Hardcovers

When packing hardcover books for a move, you’ll want to take extra care to protect them from getting damaged. The best way to do this is by packaging them in bubble wrap or some other cushioning material. You’ll also want to place them in boxes specifically designed for shipping books. Ensure that there is plenty of cushioning between each book and that the books are tightly packed so that they don’t shift around during transit. Use cardboard sheets in between if books are expensive.

Step 7: Seal the boxes

Once you’ve packed all of your books, it’s essential to seal the boxes so that they don’t get damaged during transit. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using packing tape to create a seal around the top and bottom of the box. Be sure to press down on the tape to stick to the cardboard and create a tight seal.

A well-sealed box is the best way to pack books while moving to ensure their safety.

Step 8: Label

It is important to label all of your boxes with the contents to know what is inside them. This will make it easier to unpack when you get to your new home. You can use a permanent marker to write the contents on the side of the box, or you can use some type of adhesive label. Use a black permanent marker to label the box on top and at least one side. Use a thick, black sharpie to make the label visible and legible.

Step 9: Place the boxes on the moving truck

Place heavy items, such as books and other freight, on the floor of your moving truck or similar vehicle. When stacking boxes, make sure you can secure them well enough to prevent them from shifting or falling over. Boxes with books are cumbersome, and if they fall on top of stuff, they may cause significant harm to furniture or breakable items.

What to Do with the Books You Aren’t Taking

  1. Sell your books
  2. Donate them to a library or other charity
  3. Recycle them
  4. Use the books for fire fuel
  5. Keep some of the more valuable ones and store them in a self-storage unit
  6. Give them away to friends or family
  7. Swap them with someone
  8. Turn them into art

Where Can I Donate Books?

There are several places where you can donate books, including libraries, schools, and other charities. Here are a few of the most popular options:

  1. Local Libraries: Most libraries will gladly accept donations of books. Not only will it help to clear out some space in your home, but it also helps to stock the library’s shelves.
  2. Schools: If you have any children’s books that your kids have outgrown from, consider donating them to a local school. Many schools are always in need of new books for their classrooms and libraries.
  3. Charity Organizations: There are several charity organizations that accept book donations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill. These organizations often sell the books in their thrift stores, supporting their cause.
  4. Recycling Centers: If you have any books that are too damaged to donate, you can recycle them at your local recycling center. Just check with the center first to see if they accept book donations.


Tips for Long-Term Book Storage

If you’re moving anytime soon, and you still need to store your books, here are a few tips to help keep them in good condition:

  1. Store books in a cool, dry place. This will help to prevent them from getting damaged or warped over time.
  2. Avoid storing books in direct sunlight. The heat can cause the pages to fade and the covers to become brittle.
  3. Store books on their sides. This will help to prevent the pages from becoming warped or damaged.
  4. Use book boxes or other similar storage containers. This will help to protect the books from getting damaged during transport.
  5. Create an inventory of the books that you’re storing. This will help you keep track of what you have


If you’re planning to move and need help packing your books, this article will walk you through how to pack them for a safe transition. While moving, keep one or two books for yourself to read to pass the time. Be sure to label all of your boxes and seal them tightly to prevent damage during transit. If you need to store your books for a long period, follow the tips provided to help keep them in good condition. Thanks for Reading!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I pack books for a move?

You can pack books for a move by wrapping them in bubble wrap or other cushioning material and placing them in boxes specifically designed for shipping books. Be sure to label the boxes and seal them tightly to prevent damage during transit.

Also Read: How To Book A Moving Company

What size box is best for packing books?

You can pack books in any size box, but it’s best to use a specifically designed box for shipping books. This will help to keep them safe during transit. Ideally, a 1.5 cubic foot box or a little smaller than that, Said Eric Welch and Rachael Lyon.

How many boxes do I need to move a book?

A small moving should be able to fit 20 books without difficulty, but if you’re packing in a bigger box, 60-75 percent of the time.

What are your tips on storing rare or expensive hardback editions over time and space during a long-term move?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to store rare or expensive hardback editions may vary depending on the specific situation. However, some general tips for storing books include keeping them in a cool, dry place and avoiding direct sunlight. If you need to store books for a long period, consider using book boxes or other storage containers designed specifically for books. Finally, create an inventory of the books you’re storing to help keep track of what you have. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your rare and expensive hardback editions are well-protected and will last for many years.


Should books be stored flat or upright?

Books can be stored flat or upright but not tilted, making them simple to remove.

What can I use instead of packing paper?

Towels, sweaters, coats, pillow covers, scarves, blankets, sheets, and T-shirts are all potential options.

Can you store books in plastic containers?

Yes, plastic containers are a good option for storing books since they prevent moisture from damaging them.

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.