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Topic: Advice Please, on condition of incoming book

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Subject: Advice Please, on condition of incoming book
Date Posted: 10/28/2008 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Just received a book today that was wrapped in just one sheet of paper, which had torn open -- there is a knife slice in the cover, which bends over, and the lower half of the book is bent because of mailing and tearing, I think.  Now, it's not a big deal to me, I just won't repost it.  Here's the quandry -- should I just be nice and say it's received and fine, or mention the problem.  It's likely this person will continue to mail like this if it goes unreported -- but I really hate narking on somebody.  What would you do?

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,672
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If it's a newer member, I'd definitely say something to them about the wrapping.  They simply just may not know what the book'll look like having gone thru the postal system wrapped in one sheet of paper.

Suggest they either use the two sheet wrappers or invest in some brown wrapping paper.

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2005
Posts: 1,012
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Like, Sarah said, I would probably at least mention it--and I might say something like, "Hey, I found a lot of helpful tips on wrapping in the Help Center" so they know where to look for more info.  Yikes--sorry to hear about that :(

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I don't think it's narking, the site won't continue to exist if people don't get books to each other in reasonable condition, after all. But if it makes you uncomfortable, just send them a polite PM.

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2008
Posts: 2,530
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I would send a polite pm letting them know about it & also letting them know it happened because of the way it was wrapped. That way they can change it, so it doesn't happen again. I know I'd want to know if I was in the senders situation.

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,672
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Yes, I'd want to know too if I'd sent out a book that got damaged because of the wrapping.  Maybe no one's ever said anything to her before, so how's she going to know?

Date Posted: 10/28/2008 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 467
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I would want to know too if my packaging wasn't up to snuff.

I received a book today that, although, fairly new it has been read what looks to be dozens of times already and it falls open to the same page as if it will break completely in half soon (not that it is torn...it's just worn this way). When I looked at the guidelines it states its ok if a book "tends to fall open at the same page" but as book conditions tend to be subjective I am not sure if I should mention that this book probably shouldn't have been posted or just forget about it. I won't repost it myself but offer it up as a damaged book as part of a order one get one thing. But in past experiences when I mention conditions I usually get "it wasn't that way when I sent it."

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2007
Posts: 662
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I would send a polite PM, Karen.  Maybe the person just doesn't know any better.  I had a case, where a book I sent was recieved in  bad condition.  I wrapped the book in plastic, 2 papers were used, and book itself  was in brand new condition  when I mailed it and yet I guess it got mangled while getting there.  I recieved a polite PM saying the book got there ( first class too so it only took less then a week. 3-4days), in mangled conditon and I was not offended.  So sometimes no matter how well  you wrap and follow the rules, it just can't be helped.   But as a sender, I would still like knowing about it. 

Bad wrapping aside,  this is a great spot for me to rant about my case.  Last week, I received a WL book I've been waiting all year for,  an out of print book by Penelope Williamson.  So I get this book, I only remove the wrapping and put it aside, days later I finally get to open it just to take a peak and I notice these oil spots all over the pages in the beginning of the book.  No, they're not all over the pages, they're at the bottom of the pages..but its a heavy oil stain so it seeped through couple pages, like 20 pages... its gross!  The cover had the right corner cut, which I don't care about but the oil stains annoy me and pisses me off.  This can't be post'able, right?  Its common sense!  And yet, its been  a week since I got this, I am debating rather or not I should send in a PM to complain but whats complaining gonna do about it?   If the person sent me a PM asking if the oil stain were OK before she sent it, I would say no, I'd wait another year for a better copy... but now I am stuck with this disgusting book,  but what pisses me off the most is the fact that even if I wanted a different copy, I would now have to wait another year, get back on another WL line....

Last Edited on: 10/29/08 12:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/29/2008 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 1,006
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I received a book recently that just barely made it here as the wrapping, one sheet of paper and scotch tape, had worn away so that one strip of paper around the middle and some at the corners were most of what was left.  Fortunately the book was in good condition.  The sender had mentioned that she had just joined and I tried to tactfully point out some wrapping techniques that would help her.  She was very nice and seemed happy to get the tips.  I would want to know if one of my wrapping efforts failed.


As far as getting any results from reporting crappy conditions of a book to a sender, I have never received anything except "it was fine when it left here".

Off topic, but what also hurts is ordering a new book and having it arrive so poorly bound that the pages are sort of bunched up and won't lie flat.  This is the fourth Ellora's Cave book I've bought that has been like this.  I'm getting more and more ready to switch to ebooks and I thought that would never happen.  At least with this one company.  One of the books I liked so much that I ordered another copy from another bookseller to get a keeper quality one, and it was the same way.  You could put up with it or do without completely, apparently.  It was also cut at an angle instead of a straight line, and had ragged edges.  As much as they charge you'd think they could practice some quality control.


Last Edited on: 10/29/08 12:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/29/2008 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2005
Posts: 467
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Isn't it amazing that so many of the unpostable books that are recieved using hard earned credits magically become unpostable after leaving the senders hands. I have had a book that was oily. It looked as if cooking oil or something had seeped through the packaging, front cover and down into several (about half the book)pages. I figured since this occurred _after_ it was packaged and taped up and stamped that it probably had something to do with a possible post office machinery issue or something and I marked it as such. But when you order 3 books that are stacked in a little pile, wrapped comletely in paper that has no damage what-so-ever, and the middle book is so water damaged that it billows out 2 times it's size....and the sender says "it wasn't like that when i sent it." it makes you want to scream and choke them. Do they honestly think that we are idiots?? Ok...sorry for the rant...that was a true story by the way LOL.

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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I've gotten a lot more straightforward lately about this issue, because for whatever reason I'm getting more books with problems.

The question PBS asks was whether or not you received the book with a problem.  Answer truthfully.  You did or you didn't.  Indicate what type of problem you had.  In order not to report a book  RWAP if it actually was, you're forced to lie and I'm not going to do that.

Now, do you want to do anything further?  Totally up to you.  Maybe you don't want your credit back, maybe you do.   I always send a polite message indicating what the problem was.  I usually give the person an out by saying something along the lines of "I'm sure it was an unintentional mistake (even if there is no way in H... it was!) so that they have a way to save face.  I usually ask for my credit back since I can't repost it though occasionally if it's a brand new member I don't ask for it.   

You may get an ugly response, you may not.  I think people who read the boards see all the worst responses.  Then there are those who are very sorry and respond really postively.  I think for the most part you get responses that are sort of neutral.  Like the one I got to day which was "I saw NO damage but I will make sure you get your credit back."  And she did.  Now it would have been swell if she apologized but hey, I've got my credit back, I'm not out anything and life goes on. 

This is the way I look at it.  If it's an good, honest, well-intentioned swapper then chances are they just made a mistake.  And they going to want to rectify their mistake because they care about you having a positive experience.   If I send somebody a RWAP I sure as heck want them to tell me because I want to have the chance to make it right!

If they are what I'd call sort of a "casual" swapper, who maybe doesn't check their books like they should, or hasn't really bothered to read the posting rules, then they need to be called to account so that they start paying attention!  They weren't intentionally out to pull something over on me, but they'll keep on doing it to people if no one calls them on it and asks for their credit back.  A time or two of this and they will step up and start paying attention and do what they're supposed to do.  I think my recent sender probably falls into this category.  She was probably startled and a little defensive about my report, but she also did the right thing.

Then there are the losers who are knowingly flaunting the rules, passing off unpostable books and don't really care what you think.  Why do you care what they think?  The quicker people file the reports on these bozos, the quicker PBS can get rid of them.  They're the ones likely to refuse to refund a credit. 

I haven't had tons of RWAPs, but I've noticed that the ones that I report and resolve one way or the other I've moved on from, the ones I didn't report for whatever reason, I still grumble about. 

Please do the RWAP if it's appropriate!


Date Posted: 10/29/2008 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I've only marked one received with a problem but said in the description that it was the post office and not the sender..I felt they had wrapped it well enough but it was a trade size paperback and the post office scrunched it.

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2007
Posts: 250
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I really hate reporting problem books, too, but sometimes the condition is so bad I feel as if I have to. In the past when I've reported a book received with a problem, I list the condition as nicely as I can, and copy the section from the help center about why their book was unpostable. Then because I really don't want to make a big deal out it I usually say something like the book is still readable, so I don't need my credit back. Thankfully, I've never had anybody be nasty with me about it.

If I was you, I would report the book. The rules are there for a reason and if this is the sender's first problem, then it shouldn't make much difference with paperbackswap. The way I look at it is this, if no reported the problem books that they received, then the same people could be sending out unpostable books/poorly wrapped books every time and getting away with it, which just isn't right and ruins other people's experiences, especially new members. Hopefully, if your nice about it, you shouldn't have any problem. If one of the books that I sent out arrived badly damaged, I would want to know.

Date Posted: 10/29/2008 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Just from my own personal perspective - I am very familiar with the posting guidelines and I wrap so carefully, that if anybody (and this means you guys too) ever gets a book with water/moisture damage, stains, or even a broken spine from me, chances are, it was my fault, and I just overlooked it.  I have literally hundreds of books and I get most of them used, and while it's true that I check them over & clean the covers when I get them, I have missed cracked spines & small stains on occasion.  I even have books on my TBR pile that I checked thoroughly when I received them, and have still found stains & damage when I was reading them.  I once got a heavily underlined book that I flipped through no less than 3 times, and I didn't see any of it until I started reading it:P  When I say I'm blind as a bat without my reading glasses, that's probably understating it.  I'm sure bats would roll their eyes at the stuff that slides right under my nose sometimes - even with my glasses on:P

That said, all I can say is the intentions are in the right place:P  I'll always return credits for a problem book, or if you don't want your credit back, I'll make it up to you in some other way.  Unless I just sent out a brand spanking new book, and I know beyond a shadow of any possible doubt that there is simply no way it left my hands damaged - and I can only think of a few cases where I'd be willing to swear to that in a court of law:P - I will immediately refund the credit upon being informed of the problem, or if you want or need something else, and I have it or can get it for you, I'll be more than happy to do that too.  And that's not to say that I don't expect anyone to mark a book from me RWAP.  That's fine with me too.  I personally think that any concientious person who tries to be a good member here, and is always willing to right their mistakes, has nothing to fear from an occasional RWAP.  The RWAP button is there for a very good reason that doesn't have much at all to do with concientious members who make an honest mistake anyway, so there's no reason to freak out if and when we do.  Just the second you start to think it can't happen to you, that's usually when it does, and I know that I will never hold an honest mistake against someone else.  I think as long as you're open to accepting the occasional mistake, and you're willing to make things right, that's all that really matters in the end.  I realize that attitude leaves me open to being taken adavntage of, but I also don't believe that I have ever returned a credit to someone who didn't legitmately deserve to have it returned, and the cost of a credit just isn't worth enough to me to treat anyone who comes to me with a problem with automatic suspicion.  I think that's more of a knee-jerk, defensive reaction, than it is a valid concern over being taken advantage of anyway.  It's an honest and very human reaction to feel defensive in those situations.  We simply have to make the choice of whether or not we will respond that way.

And I guess I'm done pontificating now:P


Last Edited on: 10/29/08 10:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/29/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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What a great bunch of answers!  And we got to vent a little too.  I emailed the sender, I did not  report it, and I've heard nothing back.  I was gentle and helpful.  I have reported a book as damaged that was really, really bad.  This one wasn't to that extreme.  The sender just needs to realize that better packing is necessary.