Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Books that Smell Bad

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Books that Smell Bad
Date Posted: 11/27/2009 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

I received five books today from one seller and three more from different sellers (a bonanza day, my USPS person delivered to my door!)

Anyway, I quickly unpacked them and then went in to mark them received.  It wasn't until after I had done it that I noticed that I was smelling something nasty.  It smells a lot like mothballs.  I did some investigation and realized that the smell came from the five books I received from the same seller.  If I had smelled them before I checked them in, I would have complained.  But, I don't know who the seller is at this point.

I am extremely sensitive to smells.  I am allergic to cigarette smoke (I have that on my conditions for ordering books), perfume and many chemicals.  I am not sure I am going to be able to read these books unless I can find a way to "de-smell" them. 

I would like to appeal to anyone reading this to not send books that smell of chemicals unless you warn the recipient before hand to find out if it is OK to send the books.  I may have used up 3 credits on books I can't read.  The Seller did throw in two free books that were unpostable, but that just means I have five books that smell rather than three that smell.

 

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
Back To Top

 Kate - I am sorry you encountered this, but since you marked them received, there isn't much you can do.  You could contact the seller, but that may fall on deaf ears. 

I just received my first book that smells of smoke.  I do not have a RC, I have not encountered any with a smell issue and one book isn't going to make me jump on the RC wagon. With that said, I am putting it in a shoe box with a small bowl of baking soda for a couple of weeks.  Then I will let it sit in the sun room for a few days to air out.  The smell will probably be gone by then.

I also received from a friend a bunch of books with a musty smell.  They are old and some are out of print.  I am putting them in a box with a box of baking soda and see how that plays out.  

Date Posted: 11/27/2009 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Unless you had an RC asking for books that don't smell than there's nothing to complain about. There's no rule about odor issues for books. 

ETA: if your RC only mentioned smoke smell than there is no complaint you can make if the books don't smell like smoke. If you did complain it would just reinforce that reasoning that people put behind declining smell RCS.  So you only have a complaint if your RC mentioned smells in general not just smoke.



Last Edited on: 11/27/09 9:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/27/2009 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
Back To Top

It is a risk you take on this site.  Either we have a RC that sounds so scary that everyone turns us down.  Or we risk getting smelly books.  (Oh, those nasty fabric softeners sheets!)  Smell RCs are very difficult to word.  Not everyone has a sense of smell. 

There is an older forum to promote unscented bookshelves.

http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=147810

There is also several forums with methods to detox smelly books.  (I use baking soda and sunshine.)  And some books I've gotten that I'll never be able to read. 

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

Well, from reading that other forum thread, I see that there are quite a few people out there like me.  It would be nice if this site could accomodate people with allergies to intense smells. 

What would work would be for them to give us a way to designate our book shelf as "scent free" or something like that.  Then, give us the ability to choose from the top 5 books in the queue instead of just the first book in the queue.  That way we could choose the seller who has a scent free book shelf.  The other thing giving us the ability to choose from the top 5 would be to give us access to more seller bookshelves.  I like to buy other books from a seller so if the first one in the queue didn't have something I was interested in, it would be nice to be able to check out other sellers.

 

 

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
Back To Top

I agree that it would be nice to know of smells beforehand Kate, I have a very sensitive nose and what does not smell to others, stinks to me. Unfortunately, that would be the problem with any system that tries to indicate smells--other than obvious smoke, most people who send smelly books don't realize that they smell.

If you want to send a message to the sender letting them now about the strong smell so that they may store their books differently, you can find who it was in your Transaction Archive and PM them from there. They probably don't even know the books smell and may welcome the information. I find anyone who gets in a tizzy about and FYI on the books they send know they are sending something the other person wouldn't like and are upset because they called called on it. Approach it from an information standpoint not a complaint since there is nothing that can be done at this point - without an RC, you cannot recoup your credits since smell is not a postability issue.

I really doubt the site will ever all us to pick from more than one member's shelf. The whole basis of the site is that it operates on a FIFO system. People posting books know that their book will be offered in order through the system so they come here where they don't have to fight the rat race of getting their shelves noticed.

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
Back To Top

It would be nice if this site could accommodate people with allergies to intense smells. 

Kate, I think that would be difficult because smell is subjective. I am one of those members, but I do not have a RC and I haven't received any that smelled musty and only one with a strong smoke smell.   Even members do not smoke,  many purchase their books from other used book sources and the book may have a smell.  Also what smells to you may not smell to me and in the reverse.

The best way is to write a RC that is short and concise.  This was a thread that was out not too long ago - http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=166150.   I am not one to turn down RCs automatically, but if it is to do with smell and it is long and wordy, I will decline because it will become a risky swap.

Also try the baking soda, charcoal kitty litter and non-scented dryer sheets.  Closed box/bag for a week or two depending upon the smell. Then after the book(s) are removed from the box/bag, let them sit out in the open for a few days to rid it of the baking soda, charcoal or dryer sheets.  A sunny room is the best.

I would also notify the sender and let them know, though there is little you can do at this point. Also as much as it is their responsibility not to send books that did not meet your RC, it is your responsibility to check them over before marking them received.  You do not need to mark them received the minute they arrive.  When I receive books in the evening, I wait until the next day when I have daylight to check the book and then mark them received.  You may want them to open and let them sit in the open for awhile before marking them receive.

I hope your next swap is better.

Date Posted: 11/28/2009 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
Back To Top

I for one am very happy that this site has requestor conditions.  Buying used books from Amazon or eBay has been much more of a problem for me than here. 



Last Edited on: 11/28/09 5:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/29/2009 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
Back To Top

The RC could be something less subjective than the smell itself.  Maybe something like "I'm very sensitive to odors, so please don't send the book if you store them with moth balls.  Thanks so much!" (Or dryer sheets.)