Clean Books for Dirty Times

Bedlam has clean books. No, not morally clean, not free of profanity, shock, or salacious content; I mean literally clean. As clean as used books can be. In fact, a guiding principle of Bedlam’s book buyers and cleaners is to present books for sale with as few indicators that they’re used as possible. We’re talking the removal of prior pricing, the gentle cleaning of dust jackets and boards, and most of all the removal of stickers.

Ah yes, stickers, a modern scourge of bookselling. You know what we’re talking about – sale stickers, bar codes, promotional offers, price tags. Some come off cleanly but the majority do not; they smear, tear, leave lingering goop stickiness, leave stains of dirtied smudge. You remove them as best you can, with razor blades, with thumbnails, with rags soaked in Goo Gone. We wage relentless battle against the Sticker Scourge. We’re like exterminators, ridding books of parasites and blemishes with dogged determination.

This is not to say that you’ll never find a book on the shelves of Bedlam with a sticker still adhered (or half removed). Some stickers are so solidly affixed, so wretchedly stuck to the surface of the book cover or dust jacket, that any attempt to remove them would damage the book. In these cases, we reluctantly concede defeat and let the book get into the general population be-stickered. The good thing is that stickers, unlike say fleas or poison ivy, don’t spread to their shelf mates. Stickers are not emerald ash borers so won’t necessitate our stock be incinerated to avoid further contagion.

But we are ever vigilant and we endeavor to remove any and all traces of the loathsome sticker from all our books prior to offering them for sale.

One thing you will notice about a number of our hardcover books, particularly older ones with fragile dust jackets, is that the dust jackets are covered in see-through mylar book covers. Rest assured, these covers are not meant to project an air of refined pretension; rather, they are simple means of preserving a book’s jacket and, by extension, its often unique design and appeal. The covers are easily removed (no adhesive involved!) in the event that you prefer your dust jackets au naturale.

At Bedlam, you may find dirty ideas, polluted arguments, vehement jeremiads against neoliberalism, fascism, racism, intellectual brawls between competing economic worldviews, ardent feminist polemics, disruptive disputes on the origin & demise of various civilizations, art that some might consider obscene, prose that may make you blush or rage – but you won’t find a dirty book. 

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