Holy Paper Decay, Batman!

Got the mitts on this little gem in a small used bookstore in Savannah, Ga., recently. It’s the novelization of the 1966 Batman movie. Yum, yum!

Here’s the opening of Chapter 1:

A low-slung rakish-looking car rounded a corner at top speed. Tires whine and the car swayed dangerously to one side. Bruce Wayne expertly swung the wheel hard over. The car held the road.

Delicious.

I’d like to read more, but here’s the problem. This 1966 first printing is decaying. While looking through it, I noticed that even the slightest pull to a page would cause a rip. I’m almost certain that reading the whole thing would obliterate the binding.

Holy Paper Decay, Batman!

Part of me wants to just cut off the binding, scan the pages and frame the covers. That would certainly destroy the book, but at least it would be preserved in a digital form. (The book is out of print, obviously, so buying a mint used copy would cost, well, probably a mint …)

Part of me wants to invent a device that can be slipped into a closed book and make it so one can still read the two pages the device has been slipped into. Now THAT would be something (OK, that’s my idea … don’t steal it!)

Part of me wants to just keep it in the plastic bag it came in and look at it every now and then. I’m not a big fan of that part of me … but it certainly is the easiest.

What should I do? Is there a way to preserve the book (and be able to read it)? Is there a book preservation hero out there?

Tune in next time … Same Bat Blog … Same Bat Place …

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