In my lab courses, we were taught to use textbooks off the shelf as elevating props to adjust the heights of heating mantles to the right height during distillations, but I was wondering if there was a safer and better way to do so? I recently used a different type of heating mantle that was like a nest and charred the cover of a textbook as well as a heat glove that I put on the second time to prevent further damage to the book.
You need to use something called a lab jack ... just search google to see what they look like. They are quite cheap too.
You should tell whoever told you to use books about lab jacks, too.