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Topic: Disinfecting Paperbacks

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Subject: Disinfecting Paperbacks
Date Posted: 11/19/2009 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2007
Posts: 2
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As we all know, our books come from people all over the world.  We don't know who's handled them, we don't know where they've been.  I've taken to wiping my paperbacks with alcohol swabs or cotton balls soaked in alcohol.  It removes the fingerprints, oils and dirt from the covers and spines.  It doesn't appear to damage the book covers at all.  It will also remove sticky spots where stickers have been removed, but don't rub too hard!

Subject: Thanks for this!
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/30/2008
Posts: 113
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My family is just now getting over swine flu. I cancelled some requests i had mainly because I didnt have it in me to mail them. But I was thinking today how long I should wait til i start mailing stuff out...Could they be contaminated? I know Im still infectious because I still have a fever BUT would the flu even last 2 weeks in the mail?

Subject: swine flu
Date Posted: 3/13/2010 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2
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The H1N1 virus can only survive about 2 hours outside of a human host. So I wouldn't worry about a book you send being infected. If you make sure to wash your hands before you touch/wrap the book you'll minimize any chance of spreading it. The H1N1 is spread the same way as the regular influenza, so so long as you're not sneezing/coughing on the book it'll be fine.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:24 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,061
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Most germs can't survive on paper, only hard surfaces like toilet seats, bath fixtures, doorknobs, tabletops, etc.

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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As we all know, our books come from people all over the world.

As far as I know, paperbackswap is only available within the United States. I don't think there's a great need for concern about disinfecting books, however, since germs only live for a short time on dry surfaces. It's the damp surfaces we need to be more concerned about. Even if you disinfect the cover, there's no way to disinfect the individual pages without ruining the book & making it unpostable.