Library books (such as the GLB Edition) typically have several labels pasted on the
covers and spine, as well as card pockets glued into the inner pages or
endpapers. Unfortunately, inner card pockets can't typically be removed
without damaging the paper, but, with great care, outer labels can be completely
I have had wonderful success with a citrus-based adhesive
dissolver called Goo Gone. Applied carefully, it can be used to dissolve
the adhesive on the labels, without damaging the artwork below. It
sometimes is a tedious process, but returns great results. The following
steps are for Goo Gone's use on hardcover books with a fairly smooth cover
finish (e.g. GLB and glossy hardcover books), NEVER on paperback
or cloth-covered hardcover books:
1. First, make completely sure
that the label edges have not lifted the cover's outer layer, exposing
the white paper below. If this is the case, extra care must be taken
to not lift the outer layer any further.
2. Squeeze several drops of
Goo Gone on the top of the label, enough to completely cover its surface
area, and along its edges. Allow this to saturate fully through and
around the label material and into the adhesive below. Let sit for
a few minutes.
3. Gently, using your fingernail
or the edge of a plastic knife, lift a corner of the label and try
to peel it back. It should lift and peel quite easily, but if not,
apply more Goo Gone and try again.
4. If you're still unsuccessful,
use a cotton swab generously saturated in Goo Gone to rub along any edge
of the label that has lifted. Then, peel a little more and saturate
again, peel some more and saturate, etc. Be very careful not to lift
the cover's paper layer.
5. Once the label is completely
off, use a clean rag and some more Goo Gone to wipe away the residual adhesive.
Make sure you are actually removing the adhesive and not just spreading
it around. This may take several wipes.
6. If there are other labels, remove
them in the same manner. When all are finished, let the book air
dry for 24 hours, standing on end with the covers opened. All of
the Goo Gone solvents will completely evaporate.
Do not allow the Goo Gone to get
into the binding adhesive; it will dissolve it. Try not to get any Goo Gone on the
paper pages, but if you do let dry as described in step 6.
Using the above method, I actually
removed an entire paste-on mylar cover from a GLB copy of The Secret
of Shark Reef without damaging any of the the artwork below.
Based on my own tests*, and after
speaking to their technical support, I have concluded that you should not
use WD-40 or a similar product to remove exterior labels. WD-40 is
an adhesive remover, but it is also a lubricant. This means
that it leaves a petroleum based residue behind after the solvents evaporate.
This residue will remain for a very long time and it does not have a neutral
pH; meaning that long term damage could occur.
*I saturated two 3 inch diameter
circles on a piece of 20 lb paper stock, one with Goo Gone and one with
WD-40. After approximately 24 hours the Goo Gone solvents had completely
evaporated without a trace but the WD-40 left an oily residue that is still
present after two years!
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This page last updated on 02-Sep-03