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Topic: Feedback struggles!!

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Subject: Feedback struggles!!
Date Posted: 7/26/2008 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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I receive fairly regular feedback that says people are unhappy with the condition of the books they receive from me. I try really hard to make sure the books that I send conform to the PBS guidelines. Sometimes I feel people are expecting brand new books!! And although I have received several new books from others and have sent out some myself, the majority are regular used books. Can anyone tell me why this is? I get better responses from people on half.com that are BUYING my books and that's a bit discouraging!!

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Can you be more specific?  Unhappy how? 

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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Like I just got a neutral feedback rating for a box I sent out. She said that 2 out of 3 of my books should have been in the trash and not traded.

I've also received RBWAP notifications.

I admit that I have a fair amount of ex-library books, but there are no RC from those I send to and if I have even a question that someone might not care for the condition I will PM them before sending it out, describe the condition and ask them if they still want to continue with the transaction. If I contact some beforehand, I generally receive good feedback and we work things out, but just general used books in good condition will get complaints on them. I've also gotten a few complaints that a book or so was water damaged when it wasn't.

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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What I mean about half.com is that I have some books that are unpostable on this site. However, I can list them as acceptable condition there with a full description of the exact condition. Basically I find that acceptable books are good for reading but usually have been repaired or have a lot of use wear. The "acceptable" books that I've sold on there have received positive feedback, but they're not even postable here. Some of the books that I send out that fit the qualifications for this site and fit the good category on half.com are receiving comments like the one above. I don' t really understand it. I would think that if you want a book in like-new condition you would put that in your RC's.

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 6,868
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Holly, I would refer you  to the Help Center to read more about what books are postable and what are not.  Click the grey Help Center tab at the top of any page, then "Browse Help Docs" from the drop down menu.  There are several areas you can find info in, either on the right side of the page where the most common questions asked are answered, or on the left hand side, which will give you info on getting books, sending books, etc.  This might help out.  Definately this is a used book club, and unless your book is not postable, you should have no problems.  I would encourage you the next time you have a problem with another member (hopefully you won't) is to contact your Tour Guide and allow him or her to help you out.

I applaud your efforts to keep right at it!

 

 

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Hi Holly--

Certainly it is frustrating to feel there's a disconnect between what you're sending and what folks feel they're receiving.  You might ask folks if they're able to email you photos of the damaged books, so you can better understand what's going on.  If the damage seems to occur after you've sent them, you may need to consider your packing methods, materials, etc.

Joy has given some good advice about the tips in the Help Center; I hope your future swaps go more smoothly.

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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Thanks for that suggestion. I wish there was a way to post the exact description of the item on here so there's no question and therefore no disappointment with what you're getting. Maybe there is something that I don't know about?

Date Posted: 7/26/2008 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 9:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/26/2008 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I think the above poster's question of... "would you pay $3.45 for it?" is a good question.  I have books from time to time that are postable... but push the "excessive" wear envelope, which of course is very gray area. 

I will often err on the side of listing them as freebies on my profile instead of placing them on my shelf if I have doubt.  I do have some older books on my shelf that have seen a bit of wear, but they are harder to find titles and I feel that if someone wants a 30 year old paperback, the amount of "normal" wear is going to be higher than one published in the 90's.

You might want to look over your books and cull out the ones that are moving toward "beat" up. 

Regarding water damage.  That is a downer, I know.  I get many books from goodwill and other places and often don't see the damage until later.  If its obvious, I spot it right off and don't buy, but often its only 10-50 pages of only a small portion of the pages that is wavy due to water.  Yes, its still VERY readable, but its not postable for a credit.

Good luck!  Don't give up. 

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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You've received some good advice, so I won't bother to repeat what others have said.  I'll just add my own experience......

I send out a LOT of former library books.  That's probably about half of what I send.   But I am careful to ensure that the books I send meet PBS posting guidelines.  Some are in great condition and some are more worn, but they are ALL still postable.    If I get a book at a library sale, then come home and find that the spine is cleaved, or stained, or water damaged in any way - then it gets offered as a freebie instead of posting it.

The other thing that I do which seems to help is that I remove all stickers from former library books using Goo-Gone.    If done carefully, you can't even tell the stickers were ever on the book.

In over two years of PBS membership and hundreds of books sent, I have never had someone ask for their credit back or even gripe about the condition of the books I sent.      So just because some of your books are library books, that doesn't mean they are in unpostable condition.   You just have to be more careful.

FYI - I'm not a boxer, and so have no experience with that.

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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I've only received one problem book so far *knock on wood* and it was chewed up by a dog. Obviously not postable, but i guess she thought it was.

I wouldn't mind a used library book as long as it fit PBS guidelines, but that's just me.

I know for sure, i will never buy a book off the internet frm Half.com or Amazon after reading your, and other people's descriptions. If you're saying you can SELL an unpostable (in PBS standard) book on Half.com, i hope you're not getting more than a buck out of one. If i had BOUGHT the book i got that was dog-chewed, i'd be PO'd.

Just because you can read it, doesn't necessarily mean 'good condition', IMO. I have read some really crazy and messed up books, back in the day. But they were books i found in storage when i was a kid, and i would have read a 10 year old Reader's Digest back then if i was bored and it had enough jokes in it.

I'll even buy a book in somewhat bad shape if i find it at a yard sale for a quarter or 50 cents, but as the above posters have said, i sure wouldn't pay 3.45 for one.

I think you seem like you have great intentions and try to be careful, but maybe you're missing something crucial, like cleaved spines or bare bindings... i know people have a thing about those in particular.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/27/2008 6:48 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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If you are getting negative feedback from many different people, you can be assured that the problem is your assessment of your books.

Water and liquid damage is a non-negotiable - if it has any liquid or water damage, don't post it.

Double-check your books before you send them.  Often older books will break at the spine while in transit.  If a book looks as if it's on its last leg, it probably is; don't chance it.  My rule of thumb always was: If in doubt, don't post it.

There is no way to note book condition on books you here.  The site founders expect us to determine book quality for ourselves.  Note that a "reading copy" as it pertains to book sellers is unpostable here - we require books be in "good or better" condition, which would exclude anything that is a "reading copy".

Good luck!

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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I wonder if maybe the problem is that your books meet all of the requirements except the "is in good condition and not excessively worn" part.  That's sort of a subjective requirement and requires judgement on your part.  I don't think most members here require books in like-new condtion and those that do make that pretty clear in their requestor conditions.  So, I'd bet that your definition of "excessively worn" is different than most.  PBS has higher standards for books than other book swapping sites, IMO.  Please don't read snarkiness into this next part, it's not intended, but there's no other way to say it:  Maybe you should swap your books on another site.  You might have better results/fewer complaints.

Hope that helps.

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Holly, I also appreciate the fact that you're trying to figure out how to fix your problem!  I think the best thing you can do is trade your better condition books here, and if you have any doubt (and now that you have received some comments from other members you probably know which books are in doubt) trade those on a site where you can describe the condition in detail.  If you get another complaint, pm the person and ask them if they will help you by specifically telling you what made your book unpostable, so you can avoid the same mistake in the future.  Also ask the other member what the outer wrapper or envelope looked like when they got it, so you can tell if your wrapping methods are contributing to the problem.

I actually think it's great that there are sites that let you describe the book's condition, because that way you can find takers for books that don't fit the posting guidelines here.  You can take advantage of both ways of trading books.

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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Lots of good advice here that I won't repeat.  I just wanted to comment on "I wish there were a way to mark a book's condition."

There will never be a way to mark a book's condition on PBS.  Why?  Because the site is a FIFO site.  Its basic principle of operation is that when you order a book, you get the copy that's been waiting the longest to be traded.  As  soon as conditions come into play, then members would try to make fine distinctions between the "like new" and "well worn but postable" copies of the same book.

Yes, there are exceptions to FIFO - boxing is a big one.  Also you can post a book to a specific member's wish list, or you can order a book from a specific member's shelf.  These are more the exception than the rule.

If your books don't meet posting guidelines, don't post them.  If you want to offer them free with another order, there's a way to do that.  If you want to post them elsewhere, go for it.

PBS is not for everyone, but it works very well for me.  i want books that I can read and pass on.  For that purpose, I am a very happy camper here.  No one system is going to please everyone.

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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You've all got great advice. To Tracey, I really don't want to discourage you from half.com. As I said, the description is listed right there. So if someone had a dog chewed book, you don't have to pick that one to buy. You can pick a book that you'd be willing to buy. In fact the listings go from brand new to acceptable condition. And sometimes you can find brand new books that are the same price as acceptable condition. When I list on there I am very clear about the exact condition of the book and I would trust that others are too. Half.com is associated with eBay as well so your feedback on that site affects your eBay feedback. I don't want this to become a pro-half.com thread so I leave it at that, but I also don't want to become responsible for giving them a bad name.

I will be taking all of your suggestions into account to try and see if there's more I can do from my end. With a 99% positive feedback on eBay I try to maintain that sort of feedback elsewhere. I'm definitely not trying to scam anyone or get away with anything more than I should be.

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 11:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/28/2008 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2007
Posts: 65
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I used the word "acceptable" in regards to half.com because that is their terminology, but you're right those are not postable here.

I do try to make sure my books fit under the postable guidelines (every once in awhile something slips through just because my turn around can be quick, but I offer a refund of credit if someone is not happy with the condition. I don't leave them high-and-dry). I really don't want to leave the impression that I'm posting horrible books! Some are like-new or brand new!

Thanks also for your suggestions for other sites. I may try to check them out. With my basement full of about 200-250 books I want to read yet, I need these places as outlets so I can get more!!

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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Holly, I checked your boxer feedback and you've got 52 positives and 1 neutral.  That's a 99.98% positive rate, and I would box with you without a 2nd thought!  (The only reason I didn't make an offer is because my shelf is really small right now and I'm not sure you'd be interested in anything I have.)  It can be very upsetting when you try hard and get an occasional swapper who isn't happy, and I applaud you for doing what you can to try to remedy the situation.

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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It's not just you, Holly, i have heard so many things about buying off of Half and Amazon, i am just staying away. To my thoughts, anyone can lie and say something is acceptable, because, like others have stated, if it can be read, it's acceptable to others. Maybe not a dog-chewed copy, but other things i'd prefer not to have sitting on my shelf. I always wondered about buying books online, and i think i'll just spend the gas and buy firsthand, or... secondhand...

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,240
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I send out a lot of used library books, and I have to say they usually in 'very good' or better condition.  Most are less than 2 years old.  Like an above poster, I remove all stickers with "GOO GONE",  Other than the book has the plastic wrapper around the dust jacket and the library markings inside the book, you couldn't tell it was library.

I only had one person upset about receiving a library book, and she stated that it was her fault as she didn't have that as an RC, and was going to add it. 

Pat

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I trade all my unpostables and iffy books at Bookmooch because you can post the book's condition.  I use to offer them as freebies but I had so many iffy and unpostable but still good and readable books that I got tired of sending out so many free ones.  So I thought I'd try it out. 

I think PBS is by far the better system.  This website is just amazing.  I love the message boards.   I received around 200 books and I've only reported maybe 2 as  RWP. I've gotten several borderline books that I probably wouldn't have posted myself but were still "good".  That why I have the other site. I get many more WL books here than on the other site.  I'm on the computer a lot and usually by the time I see the email that a WL book has been posted, someone else has grabbed it already.  I was getting so many WL books on PBS that I had to put my account on hold early so I could catch up on the TBR pile that's now topping 300. 

The reason you get less complaints from Half-com is that you can post the books description so it isn't surprise if it's damaged in some way or in so-so condition.  They know that before they order the book.  It sounds to me like you need to reread the book posting guidelines and pay closer attention to what you're posting. I've sent nearly 300 books and have yet to have a complaint.  I just don't post anything that's iffy. I'm not super picky about my books.  I'll read anything no matter what condition. But if I have the slightest doubt, I post it elsewhere where I can say hey "this book has a small yellow mark on this page, or the cover is a bit beat up" or whatever the issue. 



Last Edited on: 7/28/08 9:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/29/2008 4:27 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Holly you should be commended for trying to figure out what the problem is; many others would just forget about it.  :)  Hope things improve for you in the future!

Date Posted: 7/29/2008 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,146
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How can you get a neutral feedback rating? I don't get it. This isn't like on eBay (or "other swap sites") where they rate the sender. Don't you just mark "Yes I received it" or "With a problem?" I haven't seen a place where I rate the person postiive/negative/neutral, etc.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/29/2008 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Heather, the Box-Of-Books members get to rate each other.  That's the rating system they mentioned.

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