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Topic: Books with Accompanying Non-Media Materials

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Subject: Books with Accompanying Non-Media Materials
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 3:02 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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The rules for posting books states that:

Books with Accompanying Non-Media Materials: NO

  • Non - MEDIA items cannot be sent by Media mail
  • Example: a book whose listing says that it requires a decoder for its proper use, or an accompanying deck of cards, or craft materials.  Such a book cannot be posted.
  • If the book listing indicates that the book comes with non-Media materials the book should not be posted

I understand the reasoning behind this rule (that the book can't be sent Media Mail)  but the book could always be sent by a different class of mail, such as First class or Parcel post.  And, this rule seems to conflict somewhat with this other rule:


Books that originally had accompanying non-Media materials that are not required to read the book (ie, jewelry) MAY be posted.

  • The extra material does not have to be included, and if it is included, the book must not be sent using Media mail rate.


It seems to me that the only difference between the two types of books is that the first  requires the non-media materials and the other doesn't, but the rule says that it can still be posted, and even sent to a requestor with the non-media materials, so long as it is not sent via Media Mail. That policy seems uneven to me and I'd like to see it changed so that it is either one or the other.  Either you can post books with non-media materials but you get warned that they can't be sent Media Mail, or you can't post any book with non-media materials, regardless of if the book requires those materials or not.  That would make the policy more uniform and easier to comply with.


Date Posted: 1/28/2009 5:41 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 136
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Someone else started a similar thread a couple of weeks ago called "books w / media". I was of the opinion that it should be fine to post books with media as long as I was willing to send it first class. I was disabused of that notion pretty quickly by a couple of other members. Apparently shipping first class isn't in the "true spirit of PBS" or some such nonsense. I was told that PBS wants books shipped by media mail in order to keep the club affordable. (Although many times I ship my books out  by first class because it is actually cheaper!)

I agree that the PBS policys regarding this issue are uneven. It really should be one or the other.

Date Posted: 1/28/2009 6:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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This is actually a problem that I've been thinking about a lot lately.  For his birthday, DS received book 1 and 2 of The 39 Clues series in hardcover and audio.  Each item comes with a couple of cards that allow you to play the online game.  We've finished listening to the first book and I would love to pass that on, but we are keeping the cards.  Audio books are 2 credits.  I really don't want to have to pass those up.  Because of the rules, that really aren't all that clear on this topic, I can't really trade this audio CD.  And I can't just post it on the bazarre and ask for 2 credits either.  It's just sad that I can't easily share this story with others.  Which is why I just tossed the CDs on the shelf and "forgot" about them.  Looks like I might have to take this one to the UBS.


Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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PBS doesn't care if you send a book First Class or Media Mail or UPS or FedEx. The system will only recommend Media Mail and First Class though, and it can only do it based on weight. There is simply not enough information in the database for a computer to automatically figure out whether a book came with non-media materials or not and whether those are required for full utilization of the book.

Kerry, you can post your "39 Clues" books without the cards as long as the stories make sense without them and the listings don't say "comes with playing cards for the online game" in the book title or description. They may not be worth 2 credits though. I'm not familiar with this series, but if it's a children's read-along type book where the book and audio are only sold together, those are only worth one credit.

Subject: Buyer says there is a problem with my book
Date Posted: 2/15/2009 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1
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I shipped a book as requested. It has an Advanced D&D title, but no indication in title or anywhere I noticed that a card was originally issued.  I knew nothing of any card; buyer received the book and now wants to claim a problem as the card was not included and 'that makes the book kind of hard to use'.  So the book can be 'read' without the card, but it seems to be part of a game...I sent it first class, but was not requested to send an accompanying card.  Can he demand a credit back from me, and he wants another credit to mail it back to me!  Thanks for any help or advice on this.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 7:32 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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I'm not sure about the card issue, but to require an additional credit from you to cover the cost of mailing back to you is totally per PBS guidelines.  And the receiver is never required to return something, even if you offer to send them the extra credit.  But most will.  Just not at their cost.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think the PBS rules are structured so as to ensure that members in compliance with the USPS postal regulations regarding media mail when they are mailing books through PBS swaps.  We are, after all, mostly mailing books in packaging or with labels that have the PBS logo on them.  Here's a link to the content standards at the USPS site: pe.usps.gov/text/dmm300/373.htm#wp1015205 The help docs directly quote them here:

Can I include anything with my book?

Content standards on Attachments and Enclosures at the USPS site start at item 4.0 and here's the item on Incidental 1st class enclosures; items that if mailed separately from the media mail host piece, would require 1st class postage:

4.5  Incidental First-Class Mail Attachments and Enclosures

Incidental First-Class Mail matter may be enclosed in or attached to any Media Mail piece without payment of First-Class Mail postage. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class Mail postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared so as not to interfere with postal processing. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Package Services price for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure.


PBS doesn't have item 4.5 quoted in the help docs as of right now.  What they actually have quoted in there covers attachments & enclosures from item 4.0 to item 4.4, which is bound (in the book) enclosures, written enclosures, & invoices.  I have taken certain things to the counter and asked, and sometimes you'll find a clerk who will say things like cards or whatever that are required accompanying materials are ok, and some may not.  If you can get a supervisor to come out there and make a call on it & they say it's ok to send it enclosed with media mail, I'm sure you'll be fine to send it.  As far as sending things 1st class not being in the "spirit of PBS" is concerned, I think some people consider the true spirit of PBS to be them telling everyone else how they ought to be doing things - which generally means their way:P  If you're that much in doubt about something that came with the book and should probably be sent along with it, and you want to send it 1st class, use your best judgement.  Always do your best to be in compliance with the rules & posting guidelines, be a courteous and concientious member, and chances are, you'll be right in line with the spirit of PBS.


Date Posted: 2/16/2009 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Ok, here's one:

I have an Abacus learning package I purchased while home schooling.  An abacus, an instruction text, and an abacus workbook.  Both books have seperate ISBN numbers.  Is it postable? 

Should I post the instruction text, then ask a requestor if they also want the workbook & abacus?  Is there a homeschool thread I can post this to?  I'd like to share, but not sure how in this instance.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I personally have no idea about the abacus.  The instruction text and abacus workbook, I would think should go together if you can't really use one without the other, but it depends too on whether it was packaged like that just as some sort of store special or because you had to buy the whole package to use any of it.  If it was me, I'd run the ISBN#s at Amazon and see how it's selling there before I decided on anything, and then I'd probably also ask a TG to check into this here as well.  The Homeschooler's Corner is here: http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/forum.php?f=72   Have you run the ISBN#'s here, and if so, how is it listed?  As a package, or separately?  Is the abacus listed in the book descriptions as well?  I don't think the intent of the PBS rule would be to prevent something like that from going 1st class if it's against postal regulations for it to go media mail - other than that it would probably be expensive:P  I would think though, that for PBS posting purposes, it wouild have everything to do with how it's listed in the PBS database, because if someone orders it, they will expect it to contain what the database says it should contain.  If it shouldn't be posted into the database here at all, that's what a TG can find out for you.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 6,985
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Denise...just sent you a PM.  :)

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I'm really confused, now. The information above seems to indicate that if a book requires accompanying cards, or craft materials, it cannot be sent. But what about books with, say, knitting patterns/directions for crafts, or the Card Trick books or Klutz type books that initally came with materials, but have complete information and you can supply your own playing cards, or rubber balls/scarfs for juggling, etc.


Date Posted: 2/16/2009 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I personally think that things that come in packaging (from the store) with a book are covered under "Incidental First-Class Mail Attachments and Enclosures", defined there as "matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class Mail postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, blah-blah -blah", but that's my opinion.  All I can say as that anytime I've asked, the postal workers there at the counter have told me that they qualified.  One for instance I can think of is a book of magic tricks I bought for my son at a book fair, and it had accompanying materials like trick cards, some bits of string (for a miniature version of a rope trick, and a special cup & ball for a disappearing ball trick.  Those items went with that book & weren't just something you could buy like yarn or a deck of regular playing cards.  They literally were closely associated with the host piece and necessary to using it.  Patterns, etc. from craft books, in my experience are usually bound with the book initially, and should be included even if they have been taken out & used once.  Something like a special bundle that a bookstore threw together and slapped a price sticker on however, would probably be another matter.  Again though, that's just MHO:P

...Oops, I just realized that I dropped this off just before the last line in my previous edit:  I also assume though that they don't want to allow books requiring other accomanying materials lest they have to sort out the associated headaches from missing bits & pieces that will invariably follow:P  In that case, I would say that's why it's ok to send them (media mail if postal regs allow it) if they aren't required to use the book, and anything that's not required is okay:P

Last Edited on: 2/16/09 6:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 2