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Topic: My Experiences with Damaged Books...

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Subject: My Experiences with Damaged Books...
Date Posted: 2/8/2008 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2008
Posts: 389
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Unlike many here, I'm mostly ordering books I plan to keep on my own bookshelves.  I'm collecting lots of classics that I want to keep around for a long time, so...

I've decided not to worry about damage, underlining, etc.  I'll feel blessed if I receive something in great condition, but a lot of the books I want are older, and older paperbacks just aren't going to look new.

I already made one enemy by complaining about little holes and tears in the cover of a book which went through about 8 pages.  She returned my credit but was very angry.  I realized later that I wasn't going to repost the book anyway, so it wasn't really worth making an enemy.  I tried to return the credit, but she said no. Yesterday I received a wonderful book that looks like it's been read about a million times.  It's very worn, the cover is soft, it has some water damage, but I DON'T CARE, so I didn't even mention it.  She's happy; I'm happy.

All this just to say, if you don't plan to repost books it probably isn't worth complaining.  Chances of ordering another book from the same person are very slight, so it wouldn't make much difference anyway as far as what you receive next time.

I know I'm unusual because a lot of you repost your books.  I need a lot less stress in my life, so this is how I'm handling it. 

Good luck everyone!  :-}

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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It's worth complaining about because by not complaining you are giving people the OK to post bad books.  Then people like me who repost pretty much everything, have a book they have to offer as a freebie. I'm not picky about my books in the sense that I can still read them with a water stain, yellowing etc.., But I can't repost them. And I want to repost them. 

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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If you don't want to complain, I think that's cool - it's not really worth it.  But, you should always mark the book "received with a problem" - it weeds out habitual offenders.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
Posts: 1,883
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If you don't want to ask for your credit back that's up to you. However I agree with others that you should mark them recieved with problem. Most members here want to be able to repost a book and marking them recieved with problem helps the site know who has a habit of sending unpostable books.

Tammy

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Yes, you don't have to request a credit refund if you don't want too but, you are condoning a person posting an "unpostable" book and you are also going against PBS guidelines by not marking a book RWAP!  The person that posts a book that doesn't meet guidelines does not respect PBS, its guidelines, or those of us who do try and follow them....then when a person does not report receiving a book with a problem they are also disrespecting PBS, its guidelines and those of us who do try and follow them.

Ok, that's my .02 and I'll get off my soapbox!

 

Christy

 

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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I ditto the other responses. You don't have to request a credit back, just send a friendly note explaining why the book does not meet PBS guidelines but state that you're not asking for your credit back but that another member in the same position might have.

I look at it this way: if I give someone the OK to post a non-PBS-guideline book by accepting it without marking it RWAP, then I allow that sender to think it's OK to post a bad book.

Now, I'm not talking about borderline books. I rarely mark those that could be just a difference in the opinion of what "worn" might be, but clearcut violations should always be reported.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2005
Posts: 1,157
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I agree, at least mark RWP so other members don't have the same type of books sent by that member. I used to think the way you are Lisa but PBS has guidelines and everyone should have to follow them. I used to always PM the person before marking RWP and see how they would respond but now I just mark them the correct way.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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I agree with the others, makr rec'd with problem and possibly weed out some bad apples.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Same here - when you receive a book that doesn't meet the site's standards, you should always mark it "Received with a Problem - Damaged by sender."  I also think you should send a PM explaining what was wrong with the book and why it doesn't meet the site's standards.

Whether or not you plan on posting the book should be irrelevant.  It shouldn't have been posted in the first place so please don't just let it go.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2006
Posts: 156
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I agree with you, Lisa.  I'm not ordering books to repost, either.  I really don't think that most people sending the books set out to send "unpostables" or books that don't meet PBS standards.  Sure there might be a few members who do that, but I can't see there being that many.  If someone is going to go to the trouble of sending me a book that I've been looking for, pay the postage to send it, and get it to me in a reasonable, readable condition, I'm not going to go over it with a fine-toothed comb to find flaws.

I'll save the fine-toothed comb and the magnifying glass for the books I post!

 

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 345
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I received a book last week that had some writing in it.  I really had to wrestle with myself as to whether I should mark it RWAP or not.  It was only on two or three pages, didn't affect our use of the book, and I just happened to spot it when I flipped through it.  As a matter of fact, it was so minimal that when I went to check it again before I finished the transaction, it took me awhile to find the problem pages and I was beginning to think I had imagined it. 

 

When I finally asked myself, "Could I repost this book?" and the answer was no, I marked it RWAP and sent a PM specifically stating that I was *not* asking for my credit back and I was sure this was an honest mistake, as the problem was so difficult to find the second, third and fourth time! 

 

I'm about half and half on whether I'll repost the books I'm receiving or not.  But if someone sends out ten books, five of which are unpostable and only one person reports a problem, this seriously skews the statistics. 

 

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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I am not picky either and most books I plan to keep and not repost.  I also am looking for older books and some out of print that are so disgustingly expensive I'll never get to read them if they don't pop up here.

I understand that rules are rules and need to be followed.  But I also wonder if there were some way to match up unpostables with people who want them without having to scroll through endless lists and bookshelves.  If there was a separate spot on PBS for unpostables perhaps it would cut down on the problem.  I don't know.  It kind of sounds like an oxymoron and a huge headache.  All I know is, there is a great system in place for people who want books better than PBS conditions but not so much for people who don't mind books that don't measure up.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,322
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The Book Bazaar is a great place to let people know about unpostable books.  There's a thread there for sending them out as freebies (mine were snatched up so fast it knocked my socks off.)  And people also run deals like, "Order something from my shelf and choose one of these readable but unpostable books."

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Judy sez:

<<I really don't think that most people sending the books set out to send "unpostables" or books that don't meet PBS standards.>>

I agree with this statement but, as others have noted, they should still be marked accordingly.  The majority of damaged books I've received have been from newer members who were unfamiliar with our policies.  Not asking for a return of your credit is your option and a personal decision.  Marking things as RWP and letting the senders know about the situation, however, isn't optional -- it is your civic PBS duty, because the system only works when other members report problems, so that members who inadvertently send damaged materials can become more familiar with the rules (or so that "older" members can investigate potential problems on their shelves), and so that those few members trying to abuse the system can be weeded out.

This is not intended to sound harsh; nobody's perfect, and some of the finer points of PBS Condition Guidelines can be confusing and somewhat overwhelming for novices.  But those who ignore damaged materials under the guise of "being nice", "I don't care" or "I hate confrontational PMs" are just passing the problem along other members to deal with.

Mahbaar/Jane K. posted a useful form letter in this thread http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=103377&l=25&ls=25 that is helpful for reporting problems to members and asking for a credit refund (you can, of course, omit the refund request if desired).

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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I sure hope that you marked the book with water damage as received with a problem.

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2008
Posts: 389
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 **Marking things as RWP and letting the senders know about the situation, however, isn't optional -- it is your civic PBS duty, because the system only works when other members report problems, so that members who inadvertently send damaged materials can become more familiar with the rules (or so that "older" members can investigate potential problems on their shelves), and so that those few members trying to abuse the system can be weeded out.**

I stand corrected ladies!  I really hadn't thought through how my actions might effect the rest of you who are going to repost your books.  I like the idea of marking damaged books RWP and opting not to ask for a credit back.  Thanks for educating me!  :-}

 

Date Posted: 2/8/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 1,305
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The site has rules, they need to be followed. Most of us want books that meet the rules of the site. Even the old book must meet the required conditions. It's great you don't mind bad books. I do mind them. Even the books I get for my husband who will be keeping most, he wants them in good condition. I ordered him one that he has tossed already, he didn't want it on his shelf.

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 3,596
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Lisa, I am glad that you see why marking RWP is important : )  I do that without asking for a credit refund most of the time also, if it is not too bad and it is a book I don't mind having some damage.

Another consideration is that many of the "bad" books I get are from new members who simply didn't realize the book was unpostable.  You would be amazed at the number of people who join and start sending books without ever reading any of the rules or guidelines.  Of course, ignorance isn't an excuse, but the only way those particular members are going to learn about the posting guidelines is when they start getting complaints about their books.  It is a hard way to learn, but if no one marks the books as having a problem, they just continue to send bad books in ignorance of the rules.  Just another reason the RWP is important to the site in general.

patticom - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2008 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/3/2007
Posts: 416
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I agree with everyone but with one small caveat...  :)  Lisa mentioned that many of the books she seeks are older, which presumably means non-ISBN titles.  On those particular books posters can get around the posting guidelines somewhat by the fact that individually entered non-ISBN books can have detailed individual descriptions.  I posted a couple that were borderline acceptable by PBS rules, but because I could describe in detail exactly what flaws each book had, the requester was happy because s/he knew up front exactly what was coming in the mail!  If you got one of those the only way I would mark it RWP is if the problems in the book were *NOT* outlined in the description of the book, in which case it is a problem and the sender should be notified how to list it correctly.

Anything with an ISBN I agree with everyone else, if it isn't postable it should be marked RWP whether you choose to ask for your credit back or not!!  I like the idea of a separate Unpostables forum too--can't hurt to ask!!  :)  Swap-a-DVD did something like that recently by adding a separate forum for VHS tapes.

patti

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,665
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Lisa, I hope you don't get any more damaged books so you don't have to worry about it anymore!

I know where you are coming from, but I agree with the others, that if you receive a book that is posted and shouldn't have been, at least mark it RWP and say why, even if you don't ask for your credit back.  Some conditions are set in stone, such as water damage, writing on text pages, ripped pages, etc., and people shouldn't post these books.  If they are making a habit out of it, they should not be here.

I like your avatar, by the way.  :)

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 345
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Another consideration is that many of the "bad" books I get are from new members who simply didn't realize the book was unpostable.  You would be amazed at the number of people who join and start sending books without ever reading any of the rules or guidelines.

 

I think part of the confusion might be the conditions list that you have to check when you post the book.  People might think that's all there is to it. 

 

Of course, if the books don't even meet *those* conditions, that's a different problem. 

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Patricia sez:

<<Lisa mentioned that many of the books she seeks are older, which presumably means non-ISBN titles.  On those particular books posters can get around the posting guidelines somewhat by the fact that individually entered non-ISBN books can have detailed individual descriptions. >>

I think it is worth mentioning that folks do sometimes reuse the non-ISBN postings, particularly in cases where the same ISBN has been assigned to multiple versions (i.e. hardcover and paperback) of a title, so one must use a non-ISBN listing.  Since the listing can only be changed by the member who listed it first, the "custom" description can cause problems. 

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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I think part of the confusion might be the conditions list that you have to check when you post the book.  People might think that's all there is to it. 

I absolutely agree!!  Why is there a blurb about Advanced Reading Copies and nothing about underlining?  I have never in my life seen an ARC book but underlining...that's pretty darn common, imo.

Date Posted: 2/9/2008 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2007
Posts: 181
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Who says there are no coincidences?

Usually I don't read this forum, but I have been doing so the last couple of days because of my upset with several of the changes that have taken place and the way they were handled and with the upcoming changes to the wish list.  One of the threads I read last night was a discussion about unpostable books and what to do about them.  One or more posters mentioned checking through a book before deciding that it doesn't have any problems.  I haven't been doing that.  Today  I received two wishlisted books.  I looked through both of them before doing the "received" process and discovered that the non-fiction book has extensive underlining and some notes.  I'm really disappointed.  I'm glad to have the book, but I know from experience that someone else's underlining or high-lighting impacts on how I feel when I'm reading the book or when I'm looking for information.

Some problems are a little on the subjective side and how you feel about it may depend on your own standards and what you plan to do with the book, but this was clearly a violation of the rules. I did mark it RWAP and sent the sender a PM, although I didn't ask for my credit back because, as others have mentioned, it might just have been a case of someone not knowing those rules.  In my own case, I read the posting rules carefully when I first joined, but that was a year ago, and I know I don't remember all the details.  I was surprised to read last night, for example, that there are special rules for textbooks and cookbooks.  I've sent out a few cookbooks and just assumed that anyone getting a cookbook should expect that there might be some writing in it or some spots.  I did PM a couple of people about a cookbook when the problems seemed particularly noticable, but I had no idea I was supposed to be doing that, so I can understand how others can make a mistake, too.

 

On edit:  I think the way that PBS works so smoothly with all the books just going into a big pot, as it were, is great.  The problem that it does lead to, however, is that you can't post details of the book's condition with a particular copy of the book.  Underlined books, for example, might be acceptable to some people but not to others.  And not everyone has the time to keep checking out the forum posts to discover unpostable books.  Oh, well, nothing is perfect.



Last Edited on: 2/9/08 4:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
patticom - ,
Date Posted: 2/10/2008 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 11/3/2007
Posts: 416
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I think it is worth mentioning that folks do sometimes reuse the non-ISBN postings, particularly in cases where the same ISBN has been assigned to multiple versions (i.e. hardcover and paperback) of a title, so one must use a non-ISBN listing.  Since the listing can only be changed by the member who listed it first, the "custom" description can cause problems. 

Catt, I don't understand what you mean by this.  It was my understanding from the site help center that each non-ISBN book listed is assigned its own completely unique and individual number that is never re-used... so unless someone re-posts the exact same book they received (which would still have the same issues), how can this be a problem?? 

If you mean that someone is "borrowing" the description for their individual book of the same title by cutting and pasting, then that person should be reading it first and it's his/her mistake not the original poster IMHO.  I've cut and pasted descriptions from other websites before for books that don't have them, but never without reading carefully and editing out anything that does not have to do with the plot first.  Again, since each non-ISBN book is a separate individual listing, they should be able to change it as much as they wish...   

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