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Topic: Borderline condition and wrong ISBN

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Subject: Borderline condition and wrong ISBN
Date Posted: 10/18/2013 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 54
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Do most of you check how many copies of a book are available in the system before selecting a certain ISBN? I do. If there are 20 of one ISBN available and only one or two of another for the same book, I'll choose the one or two -- or even put it on my wish list if it's not available but there's no one else, or just a couple of others, in line -- so I know when it arrives I can read it and then list it again without it hanging around forever.

Twice recently I've received books I requested that were the only copies in the system, but they both had the wrong ISBNs and there were lots of copies of those books with the correct ISBNs available. The first one I wrote off as a mistake because the cover matched the incorrect listing. The second one arrived today and there's no way it was a mistake. The cover is different (which I know is fine if the ISBN actually does match), plus the one with plenty of copies available, which matches this one exactly, is the first one that comes up in a search so it's not like it would have been hidden away when the person went to post it. The only thing that makes sense is that she deliberately posted it incorrectly in order to get a credit sooner -- and this is a long-time member, and a gold key member, someone who should know better.

Now, I realize I could (and probably should) report it as being received with a problem, but I'm not going to do that in this case because the condition of the book is pretty bad and it's not something I'd send out to another member anyway. It probably falls within the definition of acceptable, but it's worn-looking with a horrible spine slant and a coffee mug-type circle on the cover. I don't mind being the end of the line for an occasional book and I've taken a few out of circulation, but I'm doubly ticked off that it's in such bad shape AND the wrong ISBN -- though in a way that releases me from feeling I should take action on it. I'll just read it and put it in the Goodwill bag or the recycling.

I guess this is more of a vent than anything, but I'm curious how closely people study the various versions of a book available before ordering. Am I more obsessed about optimizing my trading cycle than others, or do most of you do that too?

Date Posted: 10/18/2013 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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I really don't understand why getting a book in bad condition makes you feel like not reporting a swap as wrong. Its DOUBLY wrong. A book with a stain on the cover does even remotely come close to acceptable. Log the transaction CORRECTLY as a being posted to the wrong ISBN or a damaged. That in no way stops you from taking the book out of circulation. I guess I am just confused on why you feel you shouldn't take action on a book that doesn't belong being swapped when those are the ones that should be.

Now this swapper can keep on doing this and there will be no record of the pattern and therefore no reason to stop posting wrong or sending unpostable books as long as receivers don't do their part in properly recording problem swaps. You don't have to do anything beyond recording the problem. You don't even have to ask for your credit back. But you should be marking problem books as such so habitual problem swappers can be swapped.  Why would you expect the swapper to know better if every other receiver did exactly as you and let it slide?

Date Posted: 10/18/2013 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 54
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Well crap, of course you're right. I didn't even think of it that way. I was just thinking, "Geez, I really don't want to deal with this person and having to mess with credits and having to return the book" (because I've never had a problem before that I needed to report so I'm not sure how it works) and she sounded so nice in her profile (grandma, etc.) and MAYBE there's a chance it could have been an honest mistake (sometimes people just aren't very observant) and I guess I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I wouldn't actually call the mug circle a stain since it's not a coffee color or anything - just apparent that something was set down there. It's the spine slant that's the worst, and that's not against the guidelines. I really do consider the condition borderline. I normally wouldn't mind receiving it myself but wouldn't consider sending it back out.

It's too late now, right, since I've already checked it in as being received OK?

Date Posted: 10/18/2013 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 2,322
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I agree with Melanie.  If the book condition upon receipt is so bad that it cannot be reposted (and should not have been posted in the first place), that's my #1 reason to request a credit return!  

Date Posted: 10/18/2013 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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Since you've already marked it received, one option would be to go to your transaction archive and find the transaction there.  Use the PM button to send a note that says something like, "Thanks so much for mailing me the book.  I wanted to let you know that the ISBN on the book didn't match the ISBN I ordered.  You may want to double-check other books you are mailing out, since when the ISBN doesn't match, we're supposed to mark it "received with a problem" --> "wrong book/wrong version", and we can ask for our credit back.  I didn't mark it received with a problem, and am not asking for my credit to be refunded, but I wanted to give you a heads up.  When we post a book, we guarantee that 4 things match the listing: title, author, ISBN and book type.  If "large print" is mentioned, that has to match too.  The site recommends posting books by typing in the ISBN on the Post Books page, then checking the book against the listing to make sure the other elements match.  Thanks again."

Obviously you don't have to to send a message, but it might save both the sender and future requestors some grief down the road.  And since you are sending the PM from the transaction archive, the PM will be attached to her account should a pattern of sending bad books develop.

Date Posted: 10/18/2013 11:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,247
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Yup, I would have marked it RWaP for the wrong ISBN, but not asked for my credit back unless I needed to reorder it. And, nope, I've never once checked thenumber of copies posted before ordering a specific ISBN, I just decide if I want paperback or hardcover if there's a choice of ISBNs. I don't worry about how long things sit on my shelf before going back out ... Quite a few of them end up going back out in deals anyway. If I needed credites I would just post a few WL books right away anyway.

Last Edited on: 10/18/13 11:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2013 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 4,412
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I post my books by ISBN, of course, but have never once checked the ISBN of a book I've ordered or received. Shrug. I don't care as long as it's the book I wanted.

zeke68 -
Date Posted: 10/19/2013 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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The only time I worry about getting a book by ISBN is if my son needs a specific version for school.  Otherwise, I take whatever comes up based on if I want hardcover or paperback.

I like Patty P's idea of sending a message thru the transaction archive.  Maybe it was a mistake, but telling her to be more careful is better for her, because the next person might not be so nice.  

Date Posted: 10/19/2013 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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The only thing that makes sense is that she deliberately posted it incorrectly in order to get a credit sooner --

If a member gets a book through the system, checks the box to have the book put on hold on their bookshelf and then reposts it directly from their bookshelf, they may never see that the ISBN is incorrect. They're still responsible for posting and sending the wrong ISBN but it doesn't necessarily mean it was done on purpose.

I'm curious how closely people study the various versions of a book available before ordering.

I'm concerned about type of binding (paperback or hardcover) more than ISBN. But if I do choose a specific ISBN it's because it's a more recent edition. Otherwise, I may not even notice it's not the correct ISBN until I go to repost it.

Date Posted: 10/19/2013 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I rarely ordering something that's not WL but when I do I don't pay attention to how many copies of each are listed.  If a book has many editions with lots of copies of each, I don't think there's much of an advantage to ordering the one that has the least editions posted.  Simply because I think most people probably don't care and order by their binding preference.  But I donate pretty much anything but WL books.  If I post non-WL books it's just to see if they move before I make a thrift store donation trip.

Date Posted: 10/19/2013 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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"Yup, I would have marked it RWaP for the wrong ISBN..."  yes  Visible mug marks are either stains if discolored or liquid (water) if not discolored...but are unpostable.

Date Posted: 10/19/2013 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Last Edited on: 10/19/13 1:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/19/2013 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 54
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Thanks for the info about mug marks being either stains or water damage. Makes sense. I've always just thought of water damage as being warped pages.

It did occur to me last night (which means I've been thinking about this way too much, heh) that perhaps it was a genuine mistake if, as Lsressler mentioned above, the person received the book from someone else and just reposted it from her shelf after she was finished, not checking that it was the correct version.

Thanks for the answers about whether you check all the versions available and how many of each are listed before ordering a book. It seems like most of you don't, which means I'm more obsessive than most... but honestly, it's fun. Book trading and tracking has become like a game for me. And I'll admit I have books on my shelf I should probably just donate. They've been listed since I joined in 2005! It will be great fun if someone requests one someday. :) It was very satisfying to mail out a book recently that I'd listed in 2011. Actually, it's always satisfying to mail out a book... one of my favorite things in the world these days is wrapping and mailing a book.

Last Edited on: 10/19/13 1:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/21/2013 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,295
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I never check books by ISBN when I post them. I just go to the 'post books' tab and enter the ISBN that's on the back cover. And I don't 'wishlist' books based on ISBN either, just PB vs HC.

Date Posted: 10/21/2013 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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...one of my favorite things in the world these days is wrapping and mailing a book.

That should be a PBS "quote of the day!" heart

Date Posted: 10/22/2013 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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One thought--posting to the wrong ISBN could have been an honest mistake (or carelessness) on the part of the original poster.  If they received the book through PBS it may have been posted to them under the wrong ISBN and they didn't check.  As others noted here, a lot of us (including me) don't necessarily check the ISBN when receiving a book and the system automatically adds the book to your bookshelf on hold.  If you are careless and don't double check, when you repost this book, it'll of course again be posted under the same wrong ISBN. I make sure I double check ISBNs before posting and once in a great while I have one that doesn't match.

On the other hand, I do agree that sometimes people post books to the wrong ISBN on purpose.  For a while on here I was trying to collect a set of mysteries by Anne Perry that were being republished as trade size paperbacks with new ISBNs.  I had quite a few on my wishlist, and the wishlists were moving fairly slowly.  It got a little frustrating because I received at least five or six older mass media size paperbacks (from different senders) for these wishes--all with the incorrect ISBNs.  All of the incorrect books I received had several copies in the system.  I could say one or two might have been a mistake--but I'm sure at least some of them were trying to just move their books by posting to the wrong ISBN.  It was so disappointing to get packages for books I'd been waiting for quite awhile for just to find out they were the wrong version that I finally gave up on collecting them through PBS.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 10/23/2013 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I often hear members say that they didn't bother marking a book as Received With A Problem (RWAP), usually because they don't want to cause problems, or "punish" another member.  That is soooooooooo WRONG!  Problem transactions should ALWAYS be reported as a problem transaction.  You need not take any other action, nor request a credit back, but the problem should be reported.  RWAPs are the site's method of Quality Control.  Problem transactions that go unreported are tallied in the site's records as a satisfactory swap, and that's just causing system inaccuracies.  You are not "punishing" or "tattling" on another member when you mark as RWAP, you are instead accurately recording the events of the transaction.

Another thing, OP mentioned that she didn't want the hassle of mailing back a book ... Requestors are NEVER obligated to return a book, especially not as a requirement for getting a credit refund.  A book MAY be returned upon request, but only if the Sender who wants the book back sends postage compensation to you first to cover the cost of mailing it back.  Postage compensation can be money/Paypal, stamps, a SASE, or most commonly, another credit in addition to the credit refund.  But even if a Sender wants it back and offers postage compensation, you are free to decline to send it back. You have NO obligation whatsoever to return the book.

Last Edited on: 10/23/13 12:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/23/2013 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,504
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Sianeka, you said that so well, and I wish everyone would realize that.