I spent at least fifteen minutes yesterday removing two stickers from a single book – a price label on the front cover, and another price label with bar code stuck directly over the printed bar code on the back cover. This is not right.
I’ll concede that booksellers have to mark prices on books somehow. I am one, and I do use stickers: the smallest ones I can possibly print, with an adhesive specially formulated to be easily removable. But when I buy books from other retailers, I’m often stuck dealing with large-ish, really sticky labels. Here’s the best method I’ve learned for getting them off dust jackets and paper or hard covers.
Starting at a corner, I run my thumbnail under the edge of the sticker and start gently prying it up. It’s tempting, if the label seems to be coming free easily, to grasp the loosened corner and try to pull the whole thing off at once. Sometimes it works. But more often there’s a stickier patch somewhere near the middle, and the paper underneath rips away with the label. I’ve found it safer to peel away slowly, continuing to use my thumbnail to gently separate the sticker from the book’s cover.
Some gummy residue often remains once the surface part of the label is removed. The best tool I know for cleaning this lingering stickiness off is a simple rubber eraser. Starting again at an outer edge of the area, I ply the eraser firmly but gently, working in very short strokes and in one direction only, rolling the residue right off the nearest edge of the book.