I have not been able to bring myself to buy empty beer bottles at the LBS. So slowly I have been collecting bottles from Deschutes and Widmer and the like. Recently I was given about 3 cases that a buddy had saved up for me.
My first attempt at removing the labels was soaking the bottles in hot soapy water. This worked ok for about 80% of the labels.
My second attempt was to soak them in an ammonia/water solution. This was much better at removing the labels, but it stinks.
Third try I used EDIT Powdered Line Cleaner. I don't know what is in it, but it didn't smell, didn't require a lot of PLC and the labels slipped off. Even the old Miller bottles that a co-worker had given me with metallic labels slipped off with out too much effort.
I know there are about a billion threads on this, but I just wanted to share my experience. The hot soapy water might be enough for some or I've read that Oxyclean (I'm going to try that next) works well also.
Now my bottles look presentable and people don't make a funny face.