To remove a sticker/label, some patience is required. I recommend that you first practice on some less valuable books such as common mass market paperbacks. I have tried several different commercial “label removers”, but have found that plain old cigarette-lighter fluid is by far the best. It is much faster and not as messy as the others. However, some of the older antiquarian ex-library books may have a spine label that is water-based and have to be steamed off. You can try lighter fluid on any label, but if it shows no sign of loosening it probably has a water-based glue.
Removing a sticker/label from plain paper or cloth requires even more patience and care. Take it from me; it is easy to get impatient and tear away the surface of the paper along with the label, or to slice a cloth-covered board.
Drip some lighter fluid around and on top of the label and let it soak in for a minute. You may have to do this several times in order to soften up the adhesive, as the lighter fluid evaporates rather quickly. I try to use a minimum of fluid, but don’t worry if the dust jacket or book starts looking damp from the lighter fluid. It evaporates quickly and leaves no stain. If you have any doubts, first try the fluid on a small corner on the inside back flap, but I have never had a problem with ink bleeding or running while using lighter fluid.
Scrape gently at the edge of the label using a pocketknife blade and start teasing the label up. A duller blade is actually better for control; a sharp blade tends to scrape the coating off the dust jacket or can even slice it. Hold the blade at a medium angle, neither too high or too low. Too high an angle can cause scrapes; too low can cause cuts to occur.
Once you have it started, gently and slowly slide the blade under the label. You may have to drip some more lighter fluid under the lifted area. This makes the process a lot faster.
Don’t worry about scraping the adhesive completely off along with the label. After the label is off, dampen the corner of a dry cloth and wipe off any sticky residue. You may have to wipe several times using a fresh spot on the cloth. Test by running a finger over the spot, feeling for any residual stickiness.
Stickers and labels taken from plain paper and cloth covers and dust jackets usually do not leave much residue. But if they do, be very careful with any additional cleaning. My experience has been that too much cleaning will cause more damage and will look worse than if it had been left alone.