Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: condition of books

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: condition of books
Date Posted: 1/4/2008 3:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
Back To Top

i am trying to find a detailed description of books that are acceptable on pbs.   i joined a few days ago to trade some paper backs that i have read but am no longer in need of for those of comparable condition.   I never expect the books i get to be prestine but it seems like others may be.  Im just not sure.  Im off to search more but man, I dont need more stress in my life! I thought this would be fun!   lol!



Date Posted: 1/4/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,534
Back To Top

Hi Alex,

From the PBS Help Center:

Book Conditions:

  • Older books may have some page yellowing or spine-creasing or dogeared pages; these are all OKAY.
  • Decirculated library books may have various markings and/or stamps inside or outside or on the page edges of the book; this is OKAY.
  • BookCrossing books may have stickers or stamps or markings on the outside or inside covers or page edges of the book; this is OKAY.
  • Hardbacks do NOT have to include their dustjackets.
  • Audiobooks MUST be the original cassettes/CDs, but do NOT have to include the outer "box" that held the set.
  • Audiobooks must be playable.
  • There is an exception to general condition guidelines for textbooks; see below.
  • There is an exception to general condition guidelines for cookbooks; see below.
  • We do NOT have a place for members to describe the condition of a particular copy of a book.
    • ALL books on PBS are expected to be in "good, not excessively worn" condition
    • Books are requested in FIFO (first-in, first-out) order
  • If you would like your books to be in "better-than-PBS" condition :
    • You are responsible for setting Requestor Conditions on your account.


Overall Condition:

  • No damage at all from water or other liquid
  • Not soiled
  • No stains (exception for cookbooks--see below)
  • No mold


  • Must both be present (front and back)
    • note that a paperback missing its front cover is  usually an illegal, unsold copy
    • "cover" does not = dust jacket.  Hardcovers do not need to include their dust jackets to be swapped here.
  • Cover not torn or chewed/gnawed
    • some used book stores cut out a small part of the cover; if the amount missing is less than 1 inch, this is OKAY
    • a small rip (less than 1 inch) in the cover is OKAY
  • A bookplate inside the cover or on the flyleaf is OKAY


  • Must be intact, with no separation on the inside or outside of the book
  • If the book tends to open at a particular page, this is OKAY
  • Small amount of fraying or denting at top or bottom is OKAY


  • No torn or chewed/gnawed pages
  • No loose or missing pages
  • No writing or highlighting on text pages
    • a signature or note on the flyleaf or inside front or back cover is OKAY
    • an author's signature on the title page is OKAY
    • writing or highlighting on the text pages is NOT OKAY
      • Exception: if it is a textbook or workbook, these are expected to have highlighting/writing
        • if you post a textbook/workbook, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
        • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO before the book is sent
        • This is the one of the ONLY two cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent(the other is for cookbooks--see below).
  • No staining

    • Exception: Cookbooks may have some mild staining, since these are used in the kitchen and while cooking, and some minor degree of staining could be expected in a used cookbook.  Also a small amount of writing in cookbooks could be expected
      • HOWEVER, if you post a cookbook and it is stained and/or written-in, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
      • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO before the book is sent
      • This is the one of the ONLY two cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent (the other is for textbooks--see above).
      • this exception applies to the covers of cookbooks also.

Supplementary/Accompanying Materials:

  • Books that require supplementary Media materials MAY be Posted

    • supplementary Media materials include CD(s)/CD-ROMs/DVD(s)/VHS tape(s)
    • if the book originally included supplementary Media materials, the supplementary materials must accompany the book for the book to be postable.
  • Books that require non-Media supplementary materials MAY NOT be posted

    • an example would be a book that requires a decoder or craft materials
    • these items cannot be sent MediaMail
  • 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 may not be sent Media mail rate.

Answers to most questions can be found in the Help Center.  Tour Guides are also available to answer your questions through Live Help.

Happy swapping!

Last Edited on: 1/4/08 3:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/4/2008 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
Back To Top

thanks for that. my books all have met those guidelines. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
Back To Top

Please remember that only a small fraction of the PBS community actually post anything on the forums.  There are thousands and thousands of happy PBSers out there.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 8:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
Back To Top

Alex, also, when you post a book to your shelf the system will ask you some questions, making sure you are posting an acceptable book.

And the majority of us are reasonably intelligent and understand this is a used book site, so don't sweat that.  You will find the rare person who wants books in really great shape, perhaps for a gift, or special collection.  It's no big deal.  If your book meets their conditions, send it, if not, don't send.  The folks who have higher requirements are willing to wait, so don't worry about those folks.

Just trade and enjoy.  Welcome to PBS.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
Back To Top

wow alex...I was checking out your shelf since you are a new member and you have 264 books listed!  that is a lot of books!

ETA - the first book on cover letters says it should come with a CD rom - do you have that with the book?  That will need to be sent (in case you missed that part in the help section)...just a helpful hint in case you get a request for it and send it w/o the CD then someone might mark it received with a problem and ask for their credit back

Last Edited on: 1/4/08 10:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1