How to ruin a book with a sticky label

As I understand it, Oxfam staff are meant to write the price of the used books they sell, in soft pencil, inside the book. Many branches of Oxfam do, and all I need to do post-purchase is to get my eraser out, and the book will look fine.

Some of my local branches, like the big one in central Manchester, use sticky labels. You know, the kind that divides into three or four pieces, in order to prevent shoplifting. The ones they use are particularly sticky, and for good measure they use two per book. One on the outside, front or back. One on the inside where the soft pencil should go.

Some book covers are strong enough and glossy enough to allow removal of the label without too much damage or difficulty. The inside is another business, and I’ve torn a good many books that way. The very worst is when the book cover is soft or has a matt finish. Then the outside label can’t be removed. The worst I’ve ever had was a really old copy of an Arthur Ransome, where the label ruined the dust wrapper completely.

Oxfam could argue that with used books it doesn’t matter, but I just don’t want an ugly label stuck where it doesn’t belong. If the books were still sold for 20p, my case would be weaker, as it would be really good value (though I still don’t think it’s OK to ruin books), but Oxfam are expensive. Sometimes the books are not much cheaper than the big online bookshop. And if I’ve found an old book, it would be good to have it free from both labels and damaged covers.

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5 responses to “How to ruin a book with a sticky label

  1. There’s a big Oxfam in central Manchester? Where? Where?

  2. Oldham Street has two; a “normal” one and a retro clothes one. I prefer the books only one in Altrincham. And Cheadle Hulme is good with books. Though I think you live close-ish to a books only Oxfam?

  3. The one in Withington? Yes, but it’s always good to know about other ones. Oldham Street, huh? (makes note)

    Actually, in Withington my first port of call tends to be the Cancer Research shop. A few years ago you could get 19th-century French books there, though they had a clear out and I don’t know what happened to them.

  4. I never understand how people can read books with ’3 for 2′ stickers or ‘half price’ stickers on the front. First thing I do is take off stickers.
    Which is my thought for the new year, though I’m thinking about Gaza too….
    Happy 2009 to those of us with only books to worry about….

  5. Happy 2009 to you too. And to everyone else…

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