"Mrs. Siegel (well, it was my maiden name back then but you get it), the cover came off this booooook," claimed the whiny child waving a copy of Goosebumps in my face. I had to think of a way to keep my books intact year after year.
Viola! I (and when I mean I, I mean I convinced parents to help me) began covering my chapter books with clear contact paper. To date, I have not had one more book fall apart on me. It was well-worth it to invest the time (or volunteer hours hehe).
Yesterday, I spent some time covering some of my book club books. Yes, I have a closet dedicated to my book club sets of books... I know I'm not the only one. But dang it, I have too many to have in my teeny weeny classroom. So I sat myself down at the kitchen table, flipped on some ON DEMAND and watched a marathon of Dallas (my new vice) while I cut contact paper.
You need a roll of clear contact paper. You can get this at Target, Publix, Ace Hardware, and just about anywhere that has a "kitchen" section. You also need good scissors and your books to cover.
Here is a picture tutorial.
Cut 14" of Contact Paper (larger for thicker books)
Then cut the Contact Paper in half
Pull the backing off the Contact Paper and lay sticky side up. Then place the binding of the book in the middle of the paper.
Gently lay one side down...
Then turn the book over to the other side.
Trim triangles off each edge of paper.
It looks like this when done with this step.
Cut where the binding is...an inverted "V" and then trim off.
Then you end up with this...
Fold in each edge to the back and front cover of the book.
This is what it will end up looking like.
And you're done!
I've also done this with some of my picture books, student workbooks, and soft-cover books that belong to my school.