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Topic: How would you describe "excessively worn"?

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Subject: How would you describe "excessively worn"?
Date Posted: 7/28/2008 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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I know that before you post a book, PBS comes up with a screen where you have to agree that the book is in postable condition.  In that screen, I noticed that PBS requires that the book not be "excessively worn".  I just recieved a book (haven't left any feedback yet) and I have a question... the book is worn with a crease right down the front of the cover, and there is tape on the spine (not sure if it was to prevent the cover from tearing off due to wear or if it has already partially torn off).  I would like to repost this book when I am finished with it, but am not sure if it will be within the guidelines.  In addition to that, since I haven't left any feedback yet, I am wondering whether or not I should mark it RWAP.

I am gonna throw one more question onto this... (please bear with me) :)

Another book I received (different sender)- the corner of the cover is torn off... ugh... I know this is RWAP.  I guess I just hate being the "bad guy".... since I know this means I can't repost the book... any suggestions so that this swap doesn't turn ugly?

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Last things first:  Is the corner definitely torn, as opposed to cut?  From the Help Center:


  • 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 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.

Of course, if it's really torn and it's a chunk that's missing, not that the corner has been cut off in the manner described above, then yes that's an RWAP.   I've begrudgingly accepted cropped corners, but one that's been ripped would definitely get marked as a problem.

As far as the first book, the


  • 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

Considering both sections, I believe the crease, unless nearing separation itself, is within the boundaries of the guidelines.  However, the tape, if it is holding the cover together, sounds like an indication of separation outside the book.  I couldn't find anything about whether or not books are allowed to be taped up even for reinforcement but it sounds excessively worn to me.  I mean, if the book needed taping, then it wasn't solid enough on it's own, regardless.  I'd wait to see if anyone else has any feedback, though, because aside from the tape I would have little problem accepting a book with a crease or two. 

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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The tape on the binding doesn't necessarily mean that it was torn or weak...often times folks and even libraries will tape the spine to prevent damage.  If you don't see evidence that it was torn or seperated I believe it was postable...the crease does not prevent it from being posted.

As far as the book with the corner off...that will depend on how much of the corner is missing.

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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Thanks for the feedback on the items.  I wasn't really worried about the book with the crease...I just wanted to get other people's take and make sure I could still post it.  I am more concerned about the tape...

The torn cover.. It is definitely not a clean cut... not a whole lot of it is torn... I would say about an inch of the corner.  Personally, it doesn't really bother me (I don't really feel I need to demand a credit back) but should I still mark it RWAP... so that hopefully the sender will be more aware next time?

Last Edited on: 7/28/08 7:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I suppose you could.  I've gotten books that I felt were close to, but not quite, problem swaps.  I sent a "heads up" sort of message saying to keep an eye out for things like that because there are people who will mark them as problem swaps, even if they shouldn't necessarily be marked as such.  So I'd say go with that, a friendly FYI vibe.  It's courteous of you :)

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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Thanks... I think I will do that.  I don't want to make a big deal about it... it really doesn't bother me.. but I do think that this is pretty close to being unpostable.  I will probably post this as a freebie with an order later to be safe.   I just feel that the person should be more careful in the future....

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Remember too...sometimes you're going to be the end of the line for a book.  There's always going to be one last trade for a book before it gets over that fuzzy line into unpostability.  This is where a judgement call comes in and PBS relies on traders to pull things out of the system.  It's happened to me but it's rare.


Date Posted: 7/28/2008 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I generally do what Jim does.  I'm not hugely picky about books but I like to repost them.  On one that's borderline, I won't mark it RWP because I can still read it and enjoy. Every book reaches it's last person as a postable book at some point and sometimes it might be you. I will send a courtesy PM suggesting very politely that they check other books more closely because the next person might mark it as being a bad book. 

Generally if I think a book is borderline-I offer it as a freebie or post it on another site that allows the condition to be posted.  It's just not worth the credit to deal with a complaint IMHO. 


To me excessively worn is where the book is technically postable-no tears, stains or loose pages but looks like it's been read 150times. You know the ones with the cover kind of beat up and the pages all dog eared and wrinkled-looking like it's been jammed into someone's over crowded purse one too many times. 

Date Posted: 7/28/2008 11:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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If you've not already done so, be sure to flip through the questionable books as well to be sure there isn't other unpostable damage --stains, rips, highlighting, dead spiders, boogers .... etc :-)  That might make your decision more clear.

If the book is unpostable, you should mark it RWP -- PBS depends upon members doing so in order for the checks and balances of the system to work.  Asking for a credit back is up to you, but marking damaged books RWP isn't optional.



Last Edited on: 7/28/08 11:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/29/2008 4:21 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Tape on the spine is excessively worn.  I sure as heck wouldn't pay $3.50 for a book that has tape on it.


Date Posted: 7/29/2008 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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A good number of libraries tape the spines of paperbacks (especially trade size) to prevent wear and tear on the covers on either side of the spine and the spine itself.

Generally, if a library bothers to tape the spine, they will tape the corners as well.  Some cover the spine and covers completely.

LG, would you pay $3.50 for a book that is taped as above?  Or one that you knew was taped as such because it was meant to protect the book?  Do you accept library books?  Just wondering, not criticizing.

PS:   Why does everyone I've seen lately think that $3.50 is the cost of a trade?  The last few books I've mailed were only $2.41 and $3.11 (with DC) for books that were 1lb+ and 2lb+ respectively (obviously cheaper if the book weighs less).  Is it $3.50 to mail a book with DC using PBS printable postage?

Date Posted: 7/29/2008 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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$3.45 is the cost of a credit.

Date Posted: 7/29/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,750
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If it's so worn out I'm afraid it is going to fall apart in my hands, I MIGHT mark it RWP or contact the sender and say something.  Otherwise, I consider myself last in line and offer it as a "free with order", take it to the UBS for trade, or donate it to the library for the FOL sale.

Date Posted: 7/29/2008 11:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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Never mind. ;)

Last Edited on: 7/29/08 11:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/30/2008 3:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Ange wrote: LG, would you pay $3.50 for a book that is taped as above?  Or one that you knew was taped as such because it was meant to protect the book?  Do you accept library books?  Just wondering, not criticizing.

That wouldn't bother me.  What would bother me would be a home-job on a well-used book done to keep it from falling apart.

I have received books that have been covered in what appears to be contact  paper - the clear type.  I have no problem with that.

I said $3.50 because a credit is $3.45.


Date Posted: 7/30/2008 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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Besides the cost of shipping the book is the actual cost of the book itself.  Granted, some books we post we get for free, but some we pay used bookstore prices for, thrift store prices for, or even full price.  Then there's the cost of shipping materials if you buy envelopes and tape.  When you average everything in together I think the $3.45 cost of a credit is a bargain.

Subject: Worn to me means
Date Posted: 7/30/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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beaten up/banged up, dinged, dented, but no real tears or stains, and the pages are all there. It's a completely subjective call, but the best I can offer would be "Do I feel there's a distinct possibility someone will complain, or make a comment like 'Frankly, I expected it to be in better shape'."

Date Posted: 7/31/2008 12:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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PS:   Why does everyone I've seen lately think that $3.50 is the cost of a trade? 

Not everyone does.  I completely understand it, but I value them more like you described Ange.  Everyone is different, of course.  I don't post books I bought new; if I buy it new I already know I want it as a keeper.  Most of my books came either from the FOL store (25 cents for MMP, $1 for trade-sized) or they were given to me by friends.  I haev mostly the cost of mailing and wrapping supplies tied up in my books, so it's not hitting the cost of a credit *for me*.