Cleaning up ex-library books:
Clear protectors: We will cover jackets on Bargain Basement Books with new clear protectors for $1 each. Because we replace protectors that cause long term damage, some of these books already have new archival protectors. We won't charge you for books we have already worked on, but I'm afraid this is pretty much luck of the draw. We'll let you know the cost to refurbish the remainder of your order if you ask.
To remove spine labels: On newer shiny covers and bar codes, Ronsonol lighter fluid works quite easily; saturate the front and the back, and rub off the glue with a paper towel. Sometimes a shiny surface must be removed first, and the softer layer in a second step. Older soft paper jackets take time and care. The glue on the labels does not respond to solvent, and even when the labels are removed a unfaded rectangle remains. We have removed them with emery boards and a razor blade, first trying to lift the edges and then working from the center. I don't recommend trying it.
There is nothing you can do about old tape stains, except resolve in the future to use the terribly expensive, reversible, German archival tape, Filmoplast P by Neschen, avilable from Brodart, which we use on all books.
Pockets and date slips can be carefully torn off. If a choice must be made, leave residue on the page rather than pulling off a layer of paper. You can then sand the area lightly, using very fine sandpaper or emery boards..
Some light library stamps can be sanded off, especially on study white endpapers. Don't try this with thin paper or coloured endpapers, and practice first. You will note that we write prices and control numbers in the center of the first white page. Pricing book on the upper right corner is a Bad Idea.
A lean on a book can be partially corrected by starting from the back of the book and opening and pressing page by page.
The old-fashioned library bindings can actually be cleaned with a damp cloth.
To clean grubby top edges: You can purchase various kinds of dry cleaning pads, but an art gum eraser, a Helix eraser, or a vinyl eraser all work quite well. Remember to remove the jacket before you start. Grasp the pages firmly so they form a solid block; clean that, then slant the pages to either side, still maintaining a firm block, and continue erasing; feather out the part near the spine, which is impossible to reach.
Our books never have mold or insect damage. If you find either of these conditions, let us know and we will refund your costs. To us, they do not smell of tobacco, cats or mildew. If you detect a faint odor and want to keep the book, immerse it in clear crystalline kittie litter for a week. Otherwise contact us.
We never use bleach on our books because it will eventually destroy the fibers, but some people do, and it's your book!