Dear BiblioBull – Permanent means forever

Dear Bibliobull –

Help! I have a really good book listed at $80 but the FOL wrote $5.00 in big, red magic marker numbers inside the front cover. Bound to lead to an unhappy customer! How do I remove it?

Marked for life


Dear Marked –

If the ink is still bright red, then it was most likely written in red Sharpie® Marker. At Sanford they take the word permanent literally. Their permanent markers are made with solvents and dyes, instead of pigments. [Pigment based markers fade over time.]

Even if you were to find a chemical which would reliquify the dyes, it would only make a bigger mess. Chlorine bleach will only lighten the color, in the case of black it will turn it yellow, and red will go to pink. But by then you have already damaged the paper and boards with the bleach that never evaporates and will continue to break down the fibers over time.

If you were to place a sticker or new endpaper over the one already stained, the dye would be clearly visible underneath.

If you really can’t sell the item as it stands, I would recommend removing the offending endpapers and hope the dye hasn’t gone too deeply into the board. If you can’t find a pastedown to match, you can use the rear free endpaper; it’s an easier flaw to accept. I usually just troll the thrift shops and dollar bins and look for a book slightly larger with the appropriate endpapers.

Good luck, but sometimes forever isn’t just for diamonds.

Biblio Bull-

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