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How to Remove Stickers From Books Without Damaging the Cover: Book Pros’ Genius Tips

Plus, why one author actually recommends leaving them on. 

There is nothing more annoying than buying a new book and realizing there is a sticker on the cover that just won’t come off. And sometimes, even when it does come off, there is still leftover residue that allows things like dust and hair to cling to it. That’s why we asked book pros how to remove stickers from books and the leftover residue using common household items. Keep reading to learn our favorite methods. 

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Why should you remove stickers from books?

Removing stickers from books is simply an aesthetic choice. Sometimes, the sticker can block the title or the gorgeous cover art. But other times, it can simply be annoying to look at. 

How to remove stickers from books: A discount sticker from the bookstore Waterstones on a recently published photo book by the photographer Robin Nunn on the subject of Prince William and Kate Middleton on January 17, 2011 in London, England.
Chris Jackson / Staff/Getty

“I love a discount as much as the next person, especially if it means I can buy more than just one book, but the sale stickers affixed to the covers of discounted books can sometimes be a nuisance,” admits Kathleen Carter, book publicist and founder of KCC PR. Especially if you want to display your book without everyone knowing what you paid for it. “Some stickers do peel off quite easily, but when I’m faced with a sticker that doesn’t come off cleanly, I always opt for removing it.” 

How to remove stickers from books: 4 easy ideas

1. Turn on your hairdryer

“One way to do it is to heat the sticker with a hair dryer first” says Alaina Mauro, Chief Operating Officer at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. “Then you can try to slowly peel it off the cover without leaving any sticker remnants and not risk tearing the cover.”

“The heat from the hairdryer loosens the glue’s bond on the book cover, allowing you to gently lift the sticker away,” explains Tonya Kappes, Southern cozy mysteries writer and USA Today Bestselling Author. “This is perfect for book covers because they are a delicate surface and using chemicals or sharp objects might cause damage,” she explains.

To try this method simply turn on your hairdryer at a low or medium heat and point it at the sticker for around 40 seconds — or until the sticker feels warm and soft. Then, slowly peel the sticker away with either your fingers or a pair of tweezers until the whole thing has been removed. 

To see this method in action, watch the video from brie_reads_books below!

@brie_reads_books

Quick and easy way to get rid of those book stickers that absolutely no one wants on their books! #booktok #bookhack #readersoftiktok #bookish #booklovers #fyp #Inverted

♬ Calm background music with acoustic guitar and saxophone(1288148) – ame

2. How to remove stickers from books: Use a wet paper towel

“When I’m faced with a sticker that doesn’t come off cleanly, I use a slightly damp paper towel or washcloth to gently rub it off,” says Carter. The wet paper towel will help break down the sticker’s glue and loosen up its hold on the cover. It will also help wipe away any residue that may be left over. 

Related: Cleaning Pro: The Step Most People Forget When Trying to Remove Stickers From Glass

3. Whip out your credit card 

Another method Kappes recommends is lifting it up with a credit card. “Using a hard plastic card like a driver’s license or credit card can help lift the edges of a sticker without damaging the book cover,” she explains. After grabbing your plastic card of choice, just place it underneath the sticker as far as it will go and gently lift it up. The card will act as a barrier between the sticker and the book cover, giving the sticker something else to cling to. 

To see this method in action, watch this video from aheartsbooks

4. How to remove stickers from books: Use olive oil

Putting this kitchen staple on your book might seem a little odd, but olive oil can actually easily break down and loosen sticky stuff, such as book stickers, making it a great method for removing them from the cover.

“To remove stickers, pour a few drops of the oil onto a rag and rub the sticker. It’ll quickly lose its stick and ball up, allowing you to wipe away the traces,” says Laura Westdale, author of 501 Amazing Uses for Salt, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Olive Oil and Lemons.

How to remove leftover sticker residue 

1. Grab an eraser 

An easy method for removing the leftover sticker residue is with an eraser. To do: Grab a white eraser and lightly rub it around the sticker in circular motions. Slowly, the eraser will begin to push the sticker away without ruining the book cover. Just make sure to wipe away the eraser shavings. 

“The gentle rubbing action of the eraser gradually wears down the adhesive, detaching it from the surface of the book cover.” explains Kappes. “This method is especially good for dealing with any sticky remains after the main part of the sticker has been peeled off. The eraser picks up and rolls away the sticky particles, leaving a clean surface.”

To see this method in action, watch the video below from @kimmymoon.

@kimmymoon_

Removing the sticker’s residual glue on a book using an eraser worked! I also used a hairdryer when removing the sticker and it helped a little at first. This was a gift for a Leo with Virgo placements so you know it’s gotta be aesthetic and the details have to be perfect lol #hacksoflife

♬ original sound – Kimmy Moon

Related: 15 Brilliant Uses for Pencil Erasers That Can Save You Time and Money

But of course, you can always leave the sticker on. In fact, Emily Locker, author of Running Mates, actually prefers to. “Even though stickers aren’t visually pleasing, they can be a reminder of the time and place you bought the book and what made you reach for that one,” she says. “Maybe it was a time you desperately needed a cowboy romance, and you drove to Target at 1:00 AM.”

“It becomes part of the book’s story.” 


For more on removing stickers, click through the links below!

Cleaning Pro: The Step Most People Forget When Trying to Remove Stickers From Glass

How to Remove Sticker Residue From Clothes Without Damaging Fabric in 3 Easy Steps

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