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Topic: How damaged is "too" damaged?

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Subject: How damaged is "too" damaged?
Date Posted: 10/5/2010 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 51
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I received a book that I have had on my wish list since I started on PaperBackSwap. Unfortunately, the book has some damage -- both the front and back cover are missing portions along the non-spine edges, the cover has serious creases and wrinkles, and at some point was both torn in half, and removed from the book -- and repaired with scotch tape.

The sender even sent me a personal note stating that they knew the book was in bad condition, but listed it anyway -- and since I have been out of town the last week, I got the note the book was damaged the day after I got the book...

Personally, I would never post that book in that condition. Would it be appropriate to report a problem, and expect my credit back?

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Would it be appropriate to report a problem, and expect my credit back?

Yes. If you haven't marked the book received, go ahead and mark it RWAP -- Damaged by sender. What you described violates the rules for postability.

It's up to you whether you want to ask for your credit back, but as to expecting its return, I'm not so sure. I have had two RWAPs when the credit was not returned. One was for a book which came with a "Sorry it's a bit damaged" note. Chances are that if someone knows the book is in a bad condition and listed and mailed it anyway, they aren't going to refund the credit. You are certainly within your rights to try.

Good luck.

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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If they refuse to refund the credit, forward their PM saying the know it's damaged to PBS (Contact Us link at the bottom right of every page). When a sender admits damage but refuses the credit refund, they'll step in.

I'd try and get my credit for it just because they said they knew it was damaged and sent it anyway. Usually I'm pretty lax about if I get my credit back or not (I've had a couple RWAPs but never asked for my credit back), but it's annoying that they'd admit it and expect it to be okay.

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 2:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2006
Posts: 6,234
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Here is the information about Book Condition Criteria in the HELP CENTER:

Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS

When you Post a book, you are asked to confirm that the book is "in good condition, and not excessively worn".  It is impossible to list all of the ways in which a book might be considered excessively worn, but the criteria below are as comprehensive as we have been able to make them.

If you feel your book falls into a "grey area", you can either post the book and send a Personal Message to the requestor, or not post the book.  We have delineated what we can, and we expect members to follow these guidelines, and use their common sense in cases that are unclear.  If you would not mind "paying" a credit for a book you are considering posting, then it is probably okay to post.  However, book condition can be a subjective matter.  Keep in mind that a pattern of sending out poor-condition or inappropriate books will jeopardize a sender's membership.

These Guidelines are not suggestions.  They are criteria to which all books Posted here MUST comply.

All of the information below apply both to swapping for credits and Box-O-Books swapping.

General remarks:

  • This is a used-book swapping site; books are not expected to be in like-new condition.
    • Older books may have some page yellowing or spine-creasing or dogeared pages; these are all OKAY.
    • Decirculated library books may have various markings and/or stamps inside or outside or on the page edges of the book; this is OKAY.  These may not obscure text.
    • BookCrossing books may have stickers or stamps or markings on the outside or inside covers or page edges of the book; this is OKAY. These may not obscure text.
    • Hardbacks do NOT have to include their dustjackets.
    • Audiobooks MUST be the original cassettes/CDs, but do NOT have to include the outer "box" that held the set.
    • Audiobooks must be playable and have all the CDs/cassettes.
    • Books that require batteries to work do NOT have to have working batteries.
    • "Playaway" books must include working headphones.
    • There is an exception to general condition guidelines for textbooks; see below.
    • There is an exception to general condition guidelines for cookbooks; see below.
    • There is an exception to general condition guidelines for travel guides; see below.
  • We do NOT have a place for members to describe the condition of a particular copy of a book.
    • ALL books on PBS are expected to be in "good, not excessively worn" condition
    • Books are requested in FIFO (first-in, first-out) order
  • If you would like your books to be in "better-than-PBS" condition :
    • You are responsible for setting Requestor Conditions on your account.

Guidelines:                                                                                                                                       

Overall Condition:

  • No damage at all from water or other liquid
  • Not soiled
  • No stains (exception for cookbooks--see below)
  • No mold
  • no highlighting, underlining or writing on text pages (exception for Textbooks/Workbooks and travel guidebooks --see below)

Dust Jacket:

  • The DUST JACKET (this is not the same as the cover of a book) does not have to be included with a book at all, unless the requestor had this in their Requestor Conditions. 
  • So DUST JACKET condition cannot be considered as part of the condition of a book, unless there were Requestor Conditions on the request specifying that the dust jacket be included.
  • If the Dust Jacket was to be included as specified in the Requestor Conditions on the request, the Dust Jacket must meet the same conditions as defined for the cover, below.

Cover:

  • Must both be present (front and back)
    • note that a paperback missing its front cover is  usually an illegal, unsold copy
    • "cover" does not = dust jacket.  Hardcovers do not need to include their dust jackets to be swapped here.
  • Cover not water damaged (there may be no water damage to any part of the book)
  • Cover not torn or chewed/gnawed
    • some used book stores cut out a small part of the cover; if the amount missing is less than 1 square inch, this is OKAY
    • a small rip (less than 1 inch) in the cover is OKAY
    • yes, that does say "chewed/gnawed" above.  That means no pet-chewed (or human-chewed) books.
  • A bookplate inside the cover or on the flyleaf is OKAY

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

Pages:

  • No torn or chewed/gnawed pages
    • yes, that does say "chewed/gnawed".  That means no pet-chewed (or human-chewed) books.
  • No loose or missing text pages
    • for travel guide books - maps if designed to be detachable may be detached, but must be included.
  • Cover not water damaged (there may be no water damage to any part of the book)
  • No writing or highlighting or underlining on text pages
    • a signature or note on the flyleaf or inside front or back cover is OKAY
    • an author's signature on the title page is OKAY
    • writing or highlighting or underlining on the text pages is NOT OKAY
      • Exception: if it is a textbook or workbook, these are expected to have highlighting/underlining/writing
        • if you post a textbook/workbook, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
        • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO in a reply PM before the book is sent
        • This is the one of the ONLY three cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent (the others are for travel guidebooks and cookbooks--see below).
      • Exception: if it is a travel guide (not a picture book but a guide, such as Fodor's or Lonely Planet), some writing on text pages could be expected.  All maps must be present and included with the book - if detachable it is OK if they are detached, but they must not be missing.
        • if you post a travel guide that has writing in it, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
        • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO in a reply PM before the book is sent
        • This is the one of the ONLY three cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent (the others are for textbooks/workbooks and cookbooks--see above and below).
    • No staining

      • Exception: Cookbooks may have some mild staining, since these are used in the kitchen and while cooking, and some minor degree of staining could be expected in a used cookbook.  Also a small amount of writing in cookbooks could be expected
        • HOWEVER, if you post a cookbook and it is stained and/or written-in, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
        • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO in a reply PM before the book is sent
        • This is the one of the ONLY three cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent (the others are for travel guidebooks and textbooks/workbooks--see above).
    • this exception applies to the covers of cookbooks also.
  • Page edges: remainder marks are OK.  A name written on the page edges is okay (if it does not bleed in and obscure text on the text pages)

Audiobooks

  • Audiobooks must be originals--not copies! 
    • Copies are illegal.  Swapping illegal materials here will get you expelled from the club.
    • burned audio downloads are not permitted on the site--these could be legal (being the only copies you made), but since there is no way to verify this, they are not permitted.
  • Audiobooks do NOT have to include the box that enclosed the individual cassettes/CDs
    • The audiobooks should be packaged well if the box is missing, to prevent damage by USPS en route
    • Audio CDs must be shipped in CD cases/DVD cases, to protect them from scratching, if the original box is missing
  • Audiobooks must be playable to be swapped here, without more than two (minor) skips.
  • "Playaway" audio books must include the headphones (batteries do NOT have to be included).

Interactive books

  • These include popup books and children's books that have interactive functions (LEDs, sounds, etc).
  • The functions must be working (popups not torn, sounds/lights functional etc).
  • If these items have replaceable batteries, these do NOT have to be included.

Supplementary/Accompanying Materials:

  • Books that require supplementary Media materials MAY be posted

    • supplementary Media materials include CD(s)/CD-ROMs/DVD(s)/VHS tape(s)
    • if the book originally included supplementary Media materials, the supplementary materials must accompany the book for the book to be postable.
    • The supplementary materials cannot be posted alone - both the book and the supplementary media must be included in the posting.  
    • These combination listings are valued at 1 credit.
  • Books that require non-Media supplementary materials MAY NOT be posted

    • an example would be a book that requires a decoder or craft materials
    • these items cannot be sent MediaMail
  • Books that originally had accompanying non-Media materials that are not required to read the book (ie, jewelry) MAY be posted.
    • The extra material does not have to be included, and if it is included, the book must not be sent using Media mail rate.
  • Books that require batteries to work do NOT have to include the batteries, but they MUST be in working condition.
  • The member who sends a book that requires batteries must test the book before posting it, and again before sending it.  The batteries do not have to be included when it is shipped (although they can be), but the item must have been tested and working before the item is sent.
Date Posted: 10/5/2010 7:28 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,206
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Jeff - I had the same thing happen last week, WL book, with water damage but no PM.  Mine is readable but I will not be able to repost it.  But I looked and saw that the member was on PBS only a few months so I didn't mark it RWAP but just PMed her and said that it wasn't really postable and said that she should follow the guidelines beacuse most people would have asked for the credit back.  She was very nice about it and I ended up feeling fine with what I did in that case.  I guess I am just saying it depends sometimes, but you are in the right and you should not feel bad about asking for your credit back.

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Please ALWAYS mark books that do not meet the guidelines as RWAP. The system cannot work correctly if people do not follow the rules. If its a newmem and you feel sorry for them, you can forgo asking for the credit back, but a damaged book should always be marked properly.

Jeff - some stuff like spine fraying, cover creases will be allowed and its up to the sender/receiver to decide if they believe the book is past the "in good and not excessively worn" stage. However, tears in a cover that exceed 1" are not allowed and taping one up doesn't make it postable again. If that tear is over 1" or the sum total of the problems with the book make it not "in good condition and not excessively worn" then please mark it received with a problem - damaged by sender. The sender has already admitted to problem so they should be willing to return the credit if you ask for it.

KAH
Date Posted: 10/5/2010 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 5/30/2007
Posts: 21
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I agree that you should always mark a RWAP as a RWAP.  Otherwise people assume that what they did was OK and may continue to send out books that don't meet the rules.  I just received a book with water damage (I did mark it RWAP and asked for my credit back), and although the member was very nice and refunded my credit, her explanation was that she did see the damage but didn't think it was "that bad."

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,206
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You are both right, I was wrong - I should have RWAP and not asked for credit, I just hated for her to worry about having WRAP so early on.

Date Posted: 10/5/2010 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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Jeff, I am sorry you got a book that was so damaged. That is not very common. In this case I would do as others have stated and mark it RWAP and ask for your credit back considering they knew it was damaged and sent it anyway. We want PBS to be the best place possible and by holding each other accountable we help to make it the best place for our loved but good condition books. Let us know how this goes!