A Love Affair with Adaptaroll

One of my very first jobs was ‘processing’ books for a variety of public and private libraries.  The act of ‘processing’ involved attaching security tags to the books––which took the form of either inserting a thin electromagnetic strip down the spine of the book by means of a thin metal rod, or sticking a nicotine patch-type label in the rear of the book––covering the paperback books either with a sticky-back plastic film or a loose-fitting plastic shell, and protecting the dust wrappers of the hardback books with Adaptaroll.

Some libraries asked for the dust wrappers of hardback books to be removed altogether and destroyed, which I always thought a sacrilege.  Similarly, I was never keen on coating the paperbacks in sticky-back plastic, because the troublesome material inevitably wrinkled or formed bubbles, leaving the book marred and scarred like a bodged cosmetic procedure rather than Botex-smooth as was the intention.

However, Adaptaroll was an altogether different proposition.  Adaptaroll only served to enhance the book; it left no marks on the dust wrapper itself; and it felt surprisingly satisfying to fix.

I still use Adaptaroll today on my own collection of books; still purchase it from the same company that supplied it during my ‘processing’ days – Book Protectors of Neasden.

Fitting an Adaptaroll protective cover

• Select a reasonably large flat surface; I invariably use the floor.

• Remove the dust wrapper from your book and stretch it out to its full extent against the Adaptaroll; trim the Adaptaroll to the same length.

• Slide your dust wrapper between the clear plastic covering and the white backing paper of the Adaptaroll, so that the picture side is visible through the plastic.

• Flip the Adaptaroll over and fold the white backing paper over to the height of your dust wrapper; trim off the excess fold of paper.

• Slide the rear board of your book between the white backing paper and the dust wrapper from the right-hand side, inserting as far as the fold in the dust wrapper’s rear inside flap.

• Expose the self-adhesive strip at the top of the Adaptaroll and fold over onto the white backing paper, ensuring a tight fit against the book.

• Now, fold back your protected dust wrapper over your book and, if necessary, trim off any excess paper from the leading edge of the front inside flap.

• Admire your handiwork.

I gain an immense satisfaction from covering my books with Adaptaroll.  Like the most skilful of make-up artists, Adaptaroll can disguise a multitude of superficial blemishes in an old dust wrapper and, more importantly, help to protect the wrapper from additional damage, fading, tears and chipping.

Like a bibliophile Christo, I find myself looking rather critically at some of the other possessions in my life––the clothes in my wardrobe; my rather tired lounge sofa; the exterior walls of my house––and wondering if a covering of Adaptaroll might cover up some of the blemishes that I find there, too?

© Fergus Longfellow

Fergus Longfellow gets in a spin for Adaptaroll.

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