If you’re a book owner planning to move soon, you may wonder how to pack and move books in the best way. Any bookworm knows the frustrations of a bent cover, ripped page, or warped spine. Fret not, our professional packers are movers who share their packing tips to help you safely transport your books during your move.


  • Large Dark Marker


  • Book Boxes or Sturdy Moving Boxes
  • Packing Paper or Acid-Free Paper
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Packing Tape

Consolidate Your Book Collection

Before you start packing up your book collection, you should decide if you need to bring all of your books with you. If you have a large book collection but are moving to a smaller space, then you likely will need to downsize your collection. The last thing that you want to do is move a whole bunch of books just to realize you don’t have space for all of them.

Once you’ve decided which books are coming and are not coming with you on your move, you need to do something with the books you aren’t taking. Here are a few things you can do with the books you won’t be taking with you:

  • Yard Sale – If the weather is nice, you can have a yard sale to let go of the books and other household items you won’t need in your new home.
  • Book Party – Book lovers tend to know other people that enjoy a good read! Invite your friends over and spread your wealth of good reads!
  • Donate your Books – There are plenty of places where you can donate books like The Salvation Army, Goodwill, or local bookstores in your area.

Methodically Group Books for Packing

Regardless of the size of your book collection, you’ll want to group your books by similar sizes, hardcovers, and paperbacks. If you have a large book collection, consider organizing your books by genre or alphabetically when you pack them so it will be easier to locate your favorite reads in your new home.

Rare, antique, and specialty books should be in a separate group. These books should be packed together and ride with you during the move instead of on a moving truck.

Book Boxes vs Regular Moving Boxes

To pack your books, you are going to need some boxes, but will any old boxes do? You should use high-quality cardboard boxes for packing your books. Reusing boxes for a move is a great idea, but books are heavy. An older, used box might be better suited for other items you need to pack that are lighter in weight.

While a regular moving box will likely get your books to your destination safely, we recommend packing in book boxes. Book boxes are small- to medium-sized boxes that are sturdier than your average moving box. They are made especially for packing heavier items like CDs, photo albums, DVDs, and, of course, books.

Prepare Your Boxes for Packing

Use high-quality packing tape to put the bottom of the box together. Double layer your packing tape to make sure the boxes are completely sealed. You don’t want dirt or dust getting into your boxes of books during your move.

Use packing paper or bubble wrap to line your book boxes. You can use newspaper to line your boxes but there is a risk that the ink may transfer onto the book if they are not also wrapped. If you are packing rare or limited edition books, line your box in bubble wrap to protect your books.

books piled in moving box 300x199 How to Pack Books for a Move

Packing Your Books into Boxes

If you have There are a couple of different ways that you can pack books and they each work best for different situations.

  • Flat Stacks – Stacking your books into a box, with the covers facing upwards, is a great book packing method for books of the same size and paperbacks.
  • Standing Up – This method involves placing your books in the box the same way you would on a shelf. When packing your books like this, ensure that pack your book spines against the walls of the box
  • Spines Down – This is another method of placing your books in the box with the spines on the bottom of the box. This method helps protect the pages of hardcover books especially.

Ideally, you’ll use a combination of these different packing methods to fit your books into your boxes. Here are some tips on things not to do when you’re packing and positioning your boxes:

  • Do NOT pack books spine up, especially paperback books. This method is the most likely to ruin the pages of your book.
  • Do NOT pack books too tight or in a way that will bend or warp the spine.

Lifehack: Pack your books in a suitcase with wheels

If you have some rolling suitcases around, pack your books in them instead. Clothes are lighter than books, so you can pack them in a box instead. You can still take the same protective measures you would if packing your books in a box. Once your books are packed up in a rolling suitcase, you can easily roll them on or off your moving truck and into your new home!

Fill the Gaps Between Books

Once you have filled your box with books, fill the gaps between books with crumpled packing paper or some other type of packing material. Use the crumpled paper to fill all the space in the box before you are ready to seal the box. Filling the space in your book boxes will help keep the books from shifting during transport to your new home or storage facility.

Secure and Label the Box

Once your box is full, seal it with a double layer of packing tape as we did for the bottom of the box. Even though your box is closed, you’re not quite done yet! Ensure to attach a label to each box detailing what is inside. You can simply use a large, dark permanent marker and write directly on the box, or write on a piece of paper that you print and tape to the box.

If you packed your books in alphabetical order or organized them by genre, this is the time to indicate which section of books is in each box. Add a “This End Up” label in large readable print with an arrow pointing to the top of the box. Professional movers and packers will follow this directive and make sure your box is properly transported.

Load Your Books in the Moving Truck

If you are loading up your books in the moving truck yourself, there are a few things you want to be aware of. Do not stack your boxes of books unless they can be secured. Books are heavy and will shift during transport. If your boxes of books topple, not only might your good reads be ruined, but you could also damage or break your other items in the moving truck.

two people packing books into moving box 300x200 How to Pack Books for a Move

Tips: Packing Books Safely for a Move

  • If you have a large book collection, consider categorizing your books by genre or arranging them in alphabetical order before you pack them.
  • Rare, antique, or first edition books should be individually wrapped, packed together, and travel with you instead of on your moving truck
  • Label your boxes, including a “This End Up” label with an arrow so movers know how to safely transport your books
  • Use a suitcase with wheels for an easy way to transport your heavy book collection
  • Call a professional moving and packing company to pack, move, or ship your books safely
Categories: How-To