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Topic: Cover & Spine Repairs - Gone too far or ok?

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Subject: Cover & Spine Repairs - Gone too far or ok?
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 26
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Ok, I'll admit I've sent stuff out that might have been unswappable, mostly because I received it that way. My bad. I'm not particularly finicky on condition but I check the rules if I have doubts. If a book is super-WL I may be more inclined to list it but PM the requester first to make sure it's ok with them. 

Point of my question being...I tend to repair books. I like to. Most times even before I read them. I can get obsessive like that sometimes. I am very neat about it and pat myself on the back quite often (yeah, I admit it!) I super-appreciate that I was able to get a book or share one, especially a WL one, but I like to have it be "on it's best behavior". Every package in the mail is like Christmas to me - I guess I just assume that everyone thinks the same way. 

I'll try to remove price stickers especially - Goo Gone is my friend. I repair tears on dust jackets, big and small, from underneath usually with packing tape and/or glue. Sometimes on paperbacks I'm not sure if I've gone too far. I guess there's no hard and fast answer but on a case by case basis. I always use packing tape - it's clear, strong and wide. I've never done a whole cover but have been tempted to just to make it stronger so it can be enjoyed longer. I've done spines that are weak from having a lot of creases & edges of covers for excessive wear.

There are a couple of books that are WL that I probably plan on listing on the WL Multiples when I've gotten a group together. Especially those by the same author as I tend to gather together as many as I can before I get into a series as long as I liked the first one. Anyway, a few of them are really thick - 1000 pages thereabouts, some with really creased spines. Granted, a very large paperback like that is difficult to read without trying to get a good handle on it & open it a little more. I've taped a few to just make the spines a little stronger - not too much of a biggie. One I may have gone too far on but I wanted to get some opinions on. Again, I'm not that picky myself on what I would accept.

I taped the spine first, just one strip on the whole length but it took 2 to do the width. Then I took a fairly flexible piece of clear plastic & cut it to the size of the spine and taped that very securely to the front & back covers using a few layers of tape, as neatly as possible. The effect is probably closest to a nice hard cover book with a flexible fabric binding & hard spine over it, how you can see it flex when you open it. Have I gone too far in wanting to be able to pass this on? What do you guys think?



Last Edited on: 8/2/14 1:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 2:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2011
Posts: 12
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I think it's awesome that you want to send books out in the best condition they can be in and keep them looking great!  Carefully removing stickers is fantastic.  And repairing tears and bindings, also very cool.

However, I'm not super giddy about repairing stuff with tape.  It starts off clear and beautiful, but it yellows, it pulls at the paper of the cover, it cracks, or it gets sticky, or both, it picks up fuzz at the edges, if you try to take it off, it can seriously damage the book... Over time, it just ends up looking really bad- especially packaging tape.  So, I would be careful about how liberal you are with the use of tape of any kind.  That being said, I'm one of those people who's psycho about the condition of my books- some people may be thrilled to get a book that's been repaired/ strengthened with tape.

As for the specific book you're talking about, if it wasn't actually falling apart or badly torn before you taped it, I don't think- although don't hold me to it- that there are any specific rules about tape on books.  Ex-library books are swappable and they often have a ton of taping to the spines and edges, so I'd think it'd be fine.  If it looks like you taped over some kind of big tear, you might hear from whoever you send it to.

So, is it covering a big tear?  Because I'm thinking it then may not be swappable.  If it just looks taped... a lot... I think it's swappable, but you might want to send a note explaining before you mail it off.  I think it might be case by case.  Personally, I would be pretty disappointed if a book showed up in that condition, but I have a thing about tape.  If someone just wants a nice reading copy, they might not mind at all.

Hope that helps a little- sorry I couldn't give you a more concrete answer!

Date Posted: 8/2/2014 4:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I'm assuming you've read the site guidelines on tears and book spine wear? If so, I have to say that I'm of the opinion that taping a tear or spine break that isn't postable won't make it postable. I'm sure there will be disagreement on that, but I think that if a book is torn past the 1 inch limit the site has, then it's done except for offer in the bazaar. And if it's a WL book, it shouldn't take long to have someone request it.

And unless a receiver has an RC about Dust Jackets, they're not required on books to be sent, so tears on them don't count.

I wouldn't want a book wrapped in plastic and/or tape unless it's done at a library, with their material. Even packing tape comes undone at the edges as Sunny points out. It can age, curl, collect dust and get nasty. It's not meant to last that long or repair books. I think libraries use the correct material that's made specifically for book protection. Other materials just aren't made to do it well.

And as for weak spines, I don't think you'll be doing much good in the long run. If a spine is separating, I think it takes a professional repair to help keep the pages in place.  Sometimes it's not the paper of the spine, but the glue inside that's going.  A spine can still hold together, but the pages inside become loose and fall out.

 If a book is super-WL I may be more inclined to list it but PM the requester first to make sure it's ok with them. 

I wouldn't do this. If you think a book is not postable then you can list it in the Bazaar with a description of the problems it has and take an order from there. (They can put the book on their WL if it's not there already, then you can go to their WL and post it directly to them so it won't go into the system.) It creates a problem if the requestor isn't home to see the PM and the book is auto requested. Then you have to decide to cancel the order or ship anyway and have the receiver be unhappy.

Again, I'm not that picky myself on what I would accept.

You have to remember the rules aren't about what you would accept, but the standards the site sets for the maximum amount of wear and tear the average person can expect from a book from a member. If the book is falling apart, someone has to retire it, and you may not make the receiver happy if you go tape happy. I wouldn't be happy with one covered in tape.

If I want to protect my keepers, I'd rather do it myself.

I'd use the Bazaar in suspect cases, and not worry about doing so much work on books you're not keeping for yourself. Tape small tears that are under an inch to keep it from tearing more, but if the tear is more than that offer it as unpostable. Spines that are going will go, and if they do so while in the mail you'll have an unhappy receiver. Books get all kinds of twisted along the way, and if the glue gives out the pages will come out anyway, tape on the spine or not.

I can understand the urge, but there comes a time when a book should be retired. 

Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 4:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
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Again, I'm not that picky myself on what I would accept.

Remember, it is not about what you would accept.  It is about following the rules and standards set forth by PBS.  As a receiver, I would expect the sender to be following the rules and standards.

The book you describe in your last paragraph would be RWAP'd by me as damaged by sender.  It is now an altered book.  You can still post it in the bazaar, with description of the book; but you should not officially post it in the system.



Last Edited on: 8/2/14 4:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
zeke68 -
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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 If you think a book is not postable then you can list it in the Bazaar with a description of the problems it has and take an order from there. (They can put the book on their WL if it's not there already, then you can go to their WL and post it directly to them so it won't go into the system.)

Don't do this.  If a book is not postable, you can't post it to someone thru their wish list, even if they want it thru the bazaar.  I got my hand slapped for doing this.  Have the requestor PM you the address and use the mail-to-friend feature.

If the tear is more than one inch, it's unpostable, even if you repaired it with tape.  As others have said, it's the rules of the site, not the individual that count.  The last book you described would probably be RWAP'd by most people because of the abundance of tape.

The unpostable wishlist thread is a very good place to move books that are damaged.  Every book I've posted there but one has been taken.



Last Edited on: 8/2/14 8:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 9:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Don't do this.  If a book is not postable, you can't post it to someone thru their wish list, even if they want it thru the bazaar.  I got my hand slapped for doing this.  Have the requestor PM you the address and use the mail-to-friend feature.

Really? Did they say why? 

It's been a very long time, but I thought that was the way to do it, as long as it was in PM that they agreed to it. I'm sure it's probably changed since then, but I wonder why it wouldn't work that way.

Date Posted: 8/2/2014 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,412
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Last Edited on: 7/26/15 9:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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What Zeke said is correct.  Posting an unpostable book directly to someone's WL , even when they agree to it, is still "posting it into the system."  All unpostable books have to be sent outside of the official swapping system.  I remember reading that somewhere in the BB rules (or someplace - not sure where.)  I don't know for sure but one reason they don't want you to do it may be that, unless the receiver remembers remove it from their bookshelf when they mark it received, it could accidentally get reposted if the receiver forgets that it was unpostable. 

I guess that makes sense. 

 

 

Date Posted: 8/2/2014 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 26
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Thanks for your replies everybody! Maybe I assumed that because we're a used book swap, folks weren't so particular. I do follow the rules for the most part. It just kind of irks me that some people expect a like-new copy of something. Although I've never had someone refuse or complain about anything and I know I've definitely improved several books I've sent.

I've never actually fixed a hardcover, that I can recall anyway, except for the dustcover - which I figure doesn't need to be included anyway but protects the cover so it's a plus to have it.

I've bought copies of books from used bookstores, Amazon & Ebay that were "Acceptable" that we say are Unpostable. It just bums me out that they can't be swapped anymore. I'm not really greedy for points but I don't like to waste them. Well, yeah I'm greedy. And it practically kills me to not be able to post damaged WL or ARC's that are WL. I have just begun to look more on the Bazaar & I posted my bookshelf deal there for the first time today - very exciting! Holy cow, If I can remember the How's and Don'ts of all those listings it'll be a miracle! 

I guess my takeaway from this is that I'll need to use a little more scrutiny in what I post. I see that some folks tend to use links to lists on their profiles for like Unpostables, ARCs etc. I'm just not savvy that way. Any tips, you seasoned people?

Date Posted: 8/2/2014 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Maybe I assumed that because we're a used book swap, folks weren't so particular. I do follow the rules for the most part. It just kind of irks me that some people expect a like-new copy of something.

It's not about being 'particular', but knowing what we're getting when we order. Since we can't describe the condition of every book, like on other sites that sell/trade books, we're 'buying' blind. And while there are some WL books I'd love to have, if they came all torn up or beat up in a store or FOL sale, I'd pass on them if they were too rough.

The only thing we have here are RC's, and the knowledge that the book won't be too worn. 

So the basic, minimum to be allowed to be posted and the use of RC's is all we have to work with here. We have to trust each other to follow the rules, or too many people will be disappointed in what they get and take their really nice books and leave. So far, it seems to have worked really well for the site.

Date Posted: 8/2/2014 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,337
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And I love that we can offer our unpostables in the Book Bazaar discussion forum.  That way if someone doesn't mind a less-than-postable and perhaps well-loved book, we can still share it without complicating the normal swapping process.

Date Posted: 8/3/2014 3:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Regarding the use of packaging tape to repair books....

Although packaging tape may look ok initially if done neatly, the tape will not hold up over time. It will eventually dry out and come loose from the book, possibly yellow, and also leave a residue on the book surface that may or may not come off easily.

Books having spines or large tears repaired with packaging tape should not be posted for trade credit. It is not a good idea to offer books having tape repairs that extend beyond the one-inch rule, even if wish-listed, and then PM the requestor to explain the book condition. Doing so will likely cause problems, complicate transactions, and risk RWAPs

Although the intent of the OP is good, books taped in the manner described should only be offered in the Book Bazaar with the acknowledgment that they have been repaired with tape.

Date Posted: 8/3/2014 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 26
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Thanks again for the responses everybody! 

So last night when I was staying up way past my bedtime, I decided to see what I could do about the aforementioned pretty heavily repaired book. I very carefully took everything off, which took some patience but turned out just fine. Looking at it again without all the doctoring, I think the one thing that really made me nervous originally was that in two places it opens up to automatically. Pages don't seem to be loose though. I'll try to treat it with a bit more care. Overall it really wasn't as bad as I remembered - go figure.

So I kudos to all of you for sticking to your guns and giving me the tough love. 

Date Posted: 8/3/2014 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Looking at it again without all the doctoring, I think the one thing that really made me nervous originally was that in two places it opens up to automatically.

If you haven't read it all, the link for the minimum conditions is Here. So you can see by the second part where they talk about the binding that that is perfectly fine.

Binding:

  • 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

 

 

 

Date Posted: 8/3/2014 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,554
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*raises hand*

I like to repair books too.  Love to take a little glue to those corners that are separating and make them strong again.  And I remove stickers neatly as well if they're on there.

I don't tape things though unless I'm planning on keeping them.

When I was in college I worked in the library, working in the back processing books to go out on the shelves.  We also go to do book repairs which was my favorite part of the job.  We did have special tape and glue to use.  Amazing what repairs you can do to a hardcover book with the right stuff.  Repair bindings and put pages back in, etc.  I wouldn't do it without those special supplies though.