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Topic: Damaged books and refunding credit...too subjective?

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Subject: Damaged books and refunding credit...too subjective?
Date Posted: 7/5/2008 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 11
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I received a book from a PBS member.  Saw no problems with it, read it in a few days and turned right around and relisted it.  Today I got notification from the receiver that it does not meet PBS standards because the "binding is cracked".  Now, I found nothing in the FAQ about cracked binding specifically.  No pages are falling out and the book, to my recollection is perfectly fine to relist. The FAQ says:


  • 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


Now, my question is, because condition is sich a subjective issue, should I just issue a "refund" to the receiver?  Ask for the book to be sent back to me?  What do you think?

Date Posted: 7/5/2008 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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You could ask if she can see the binding through the pages.  If that's what she means by "cracked," then that would fall under the separation clause.

It's possible that the book was okay when you received it, and reached that unpostable stage during it's stay with you.  Occasionally that's going to happen to all of us.

Date Posted: 7/5/2008 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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I was even told by The Help Desk People you contact that sometime the binding gets cracked in transit due to the heat and the handling (or should I say mishandling) by the USPS.

Date Posted: 7/5/2008 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2007
Posts: 1,180
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ETA:  Sorry Michelle for hijacking your thread I moved my question to a new one.  I have had 1 RWAP myself that I disagreed with.  I received some good advice from Sherry (a.k.a. royaltech).  If the reciever is not happy,  return the credit and move on.  Goodluck!

Last Edited on: 7/5/08 8:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 7/5/2008 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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If you mean the book is in two separate pieces inside the cover when you say "cracked' then in my book that means it is not postable, the books binding is separated into two pieces and would violate the


  • Must be intact, with no separation on the inside or outside of the book

I know some think that the separation means that the inside of the book needs to separating from the outside of the book, but I don't see that in the rule, to me  it is separation whether it be from the cover or from the other half of the book, it is still separated.

I would say if that is the case, and it was like that when you sent it, you should be returning the credit. If you want the book back, you need to pay the postage to get it back (meaning a second credit to cover the postage or $).

If you mean cracked to mean there are peak through areas, but that it is still all connected, then I would say it is more subjective.

Date Posted: 7/5/2008 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 11
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It was in one piece when it left me. I remember because I just finished reading this one not that long ago.  I am unsure as to what the receiver meant by cracked because she hasn't replied, but I agree..its probably best that I just refund and move on.  No matter how much I disagree.  I worked in a library for 5 years and I tend to pay attention to the condition of books.  Thanks for all the advice

Date Posted: 7/6/2008 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,430
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Some people don't like the white lines that show up on the binding when the book's been opened and this may be what's she's talking about..  I had a requestor once who didn't want any lines on the spine.  I turned her down, as you can hardly not get lines if you open the book.  Pat

Date Posted: 7/7/2008 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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I agree with Pat. If they mean *it looks like it's been opened (white lines) on the spine* then i'd decline to refund... that's just petty.

That is what i think of when i hear a spine is cracked, and when i say 'the spine is cracked' that's exactly what i mean too.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/7/2008 3:10 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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When a spine is cracked, the book will open almost 360 degrees - the book flops open so that you can put the front and back covers next to each other.  Almost always, the glue on the spine, and possibly the back binding,  will be completely visible.

If is book is poorly bound, or even bound using certain methods, it is easy for the spine to become cracked; it could happen in tansit if the book was jostled a lot.

ETA: This happens a lot with MMPs when they contain pages of photographs.  Once the book is read once or twice, the spine cracks where the photograph pages are inserted.  The pages then will fall out easily.  True crime MMPs are notorious for this.

I have also seen this happen with HC books where the flyleaves are glued to the cover, as the only method of binding the book to the cover.  Why on earth any publisher would use this method is beyond me.



Last Edited on: 7/7/08 3:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/7/2008 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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A cracked spine, a broken spine, and even a cleaved spine can mean different things to different people.  That's the main reason that PBS removed those words from the book posting guidelines and put in the "no separation" wording instead.

I would send the receiver a PM and tell her that you felt the book was in postable condition when you posted it, and then ask her what she means by a "cracked" spine.  If she just means that the book always falls open to the same position - that's OK per PBS.   If it's starting to separate - which means the pages are in danger of falling out - then it's not OK.

Date Posted: 7/7/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 11
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She said "The book does have separation on the inside which is why I marked what I did"

Subjective IMHO and like I said, I worked in a library. I've handled a lot of books over the years. I did not notice anything that counted as that, but I just resolved the issue so we could move on from it.


Date Posted: 7/8/2008 3:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 345
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That's very disappointing, of course, but I think you did the right thing!