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In a hot and humid country such as the Philippines, maintaining our beloved manga can be quite challenging. Aside from the natural aging process of books, we have other elements to consider. Despite these natural occurrences, there are still ways to delay (if not prevent) the yellowing of your manga.

Before we get to the tips, let us first discover the reason behind the yellowing of manga pages.

Why do manga pages become yellow?

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Wood has a dark substance called lignin, and it is the main reason why your manga pages turn yellow. Lignin is the one responsible for the rigidity of wood. It stays even after the production of paper. Once this complex molecule gets exposed to air and sunlight, its stability decreases. As the particles absorb more light, the paper begins to degrade.

The cheaper the paper quality is, the more lignin it has. More lignin means that pages will quickly turn yellow.

Tips on How to Keep Manga From Yellowing

  1. Keep your books out of sunlight, and minimize their exposure to extreme light. As mentioned before, sunlight is one of the primary causes of the yellowing of books. When your books are exposed to the sun or intense light, the covers and pages will degrade quickly. So place your collection away from the sun’s reach in a low-lit or dark room. 

  2. Keep your collection in places with cool temperatures. Heat is another culprit behind a book’s deterioration. A dark, cool place, such as under your bed, is the ideal storage for your manga. 

  3. Prevent the chances of moisture build-up. Do not place books against a wall whose opposite side faces the outdoors. When it rains, the moisture will be absorbed by the exterior wall, affecting your manga.

    Your books are also vulnerable to humidity. Humid areas allow mold to grow and musty odor to develop, both harmful to your manga. Book-destroying critters like silverfishes prefer moist environments. An infestation is possible when you store your books in those places. Good air circulation is key to keeping your collection in good shape. You can also purchase silica gel packets to absorb moisture during periods of high humidity.

  4. Don’t mix yellowed manga with new ones or books that are still in excellent condition. Manga with yellowed pages are already off-gassing (emitting chemicals, usually harmful ones, in the form of gas). This process can lead to the deterioration of your new books. Store them separately.

Frequently Asked Questions About Manga Maintenance

Should I use plastic covers to protect my manga?

Keeping your books inside plastic covers is highly discouraged. They don’t prevent the yellowing of manga pages. Also, remember that plastic is impermeable. The absence of air circulation eventually leads to molding.

What kind of shelves should I use to keep my manga collection in good condition?

Opaque shelves or containers are the best for storing your manga. The opaqueness will keep your books protected from light exposure. Store them upright and avoid jamming them on your shelf to preserve the bindings.

Sources: Yahoo! NewsAnime News Network, Tankobonbon Podcast