I love my new paperback math journal series. The books are sturdy, inexpensive, and fit nicely in my purse.
But as with any paperback book, these have one problem. How do I use them without cracking the spine?
When we exercise, we need to warm up our bodies with a bit of stretching to prevent injury. In the same way, we need to warm up a new book to protect it. The process is called “breaking it in.”
It only takes a few minutes to break in a paperback book:
Step by Step
Never force the book but help it limber up gradually, and it will serve you well.
Because my journals are working books, I take the breaking-in process a bit further than shown in the video:
(1) Set the book on its back and follow the process above. Press down each cover, but not completely flat — let it bend at the fold line, about 1 cm from the actual spine. Then press a couple pages at a time, alternating front and back, down flat on each cover.
(2) Flip through the pages of the book forward and backward to limber them up.
(3) Repeat the steps of the video. This time, gently lean the main part of the book away from the part you are pressing down. Aim for a 130–140 degree angle.
(4) Flip through the pages again. For paperbacks, you can even roll the whole book back and forth a bit — gently curving the cover and pages almost as if you’re trying to fold the book in half — to encourage flexibility.
(5) Optional: Repeat the breaking-in process one more time. This time, fold each section back as close to 180 degrees as it will go.
And you’re done!
The pages will still curve in at the fold line, where they connect to the spine of the book. You want that because it makes the book strong. But now they’ll also open up to provide a nice, wide area for writing or math doodling.