There are a few schools of thought about cleaning books. Some sellers choose to avoid this process to save time. Yet if you are just starting out, we find it a good idea to clean books before grading and shipping. Positive customer experiences yield positive reviews. You’ll need a few 5-star reviews to become Buy Box eligible, and as soon as you are, sales tend to increase. Cleaning books is usually a simple process. Here are some of the tools we use when cleaning.
The first thing we do is create a stack of books. First, use the Scotty Peeler to remove stickers from the cover or back of the book. Since you are charging more to the customer than you paid, it's a good idea to remove the price from the book. Some stickers are a little bit more difficult to remove. These can be the large USED stickers/barcodes on the back of books. Sometimes it’s more time-efficient not to remove those stickers because of the work involved. The customer knows they are buying a used book and it is ok to leave these on the book. With the sticker on, you can grade the book as Good or Acceptable.
If you are determined to remove large labels, a heat gun comes in handy. Applying heat softens the glue in the sticker and allows the label to peel off without much work. If you do this, make sure to hold the gun at a distance to avoid burning the book or more importantly yourself!
Next scan through the books to check for pencil markings on the first few pages. Sometimes used bookstores or libraries will write the price somewhere on these pages. Simply erase the price or other markings. You don’t need to erase everything in the book. If there are handwritten notes in the book just add this to the description of the book in the listing.
Lastly, use the spray bottle to apply a small amount of Alcohol to the cover. Wipe the cover using a microfiber cloth or rag and repeat on the backside of the book. This will remove most dust, gunk or stains. Often times, this noticeably improves the condition of the book. With this step complete we are ready to move onto grading the books.