Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: The Very Tip of Lake Michigan
Oils or waxes can easily be absorbed into book fibers over time. I would suggest a hard coating that cannot wick into paper or bindings. Any quality varnish or lacquer will fit the bill, but I much prefer satin or very low luster urethanes, especially on projects that will come in contact with absorbent materials. For finer finishes I use a multiple wipe on technique to prevent a gloppy, uneven look. And again I stress satins or low lusters. Minwax makes a nice wipe on polyurethane that, if time is taken, will produce a super fine finish and will be superior to any oil or wax finish.
Out of curiosity, why the aversion to a urethane finish?
Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,