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Topic: Manners for Newbies (dust jackets and related questions)

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Subject: Manners for Newbies (dust jackets and related questions)
Date Posted: 2/6/2010 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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Newer member with some questions about manners-

Is it considered good manners to inform the requesting member about problems with the book that are outside the rules? For example, I sent a book with a blemish on the dust jacket to a member who had no listed conditions for receiving books.  The rules state that dust jacket condition cannot be considered a condition of the book if the member did not specify they only wanted books with jackets.  Should I have informed the member of the blemish before sending the book? What if the book has no jacket but the requesting member doesn't have listed conditions? Should I inform them anyway that the book is missing the jacket? I confess I've already done that twice.

I assumed that if a member did not have listed conditions you don't need to inform them of these things, but I'm wondering if I haven't been breaking an unwritten rule.  I really don't want to come across as rude to other members, but I also don't want to have to worry overly much about the condition of a book that falls within the accepted guidelines listed on the site.  Any thoughts on this or other etiquette rules I might not know about?

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Welcome, Jennifer!  I think you will find that the written rules of PBS are so black and white that there aren't really any "unwritten" rules.  As long as your book meets the posting requirements (and it sounds like your's did) and the Requester's Conditions (if any), then you are fine.  Outside of those rules, the "preferences" (plastic vs. no plastic, say thank you vs. no thank you, deal or no deal, etc. etc. ad infinitum) cover a very broad spectrum and you could never please everybody.  So stay within the rules, be thoughtful and courteous and you'll be fine!



Last Edited on: 2/6/10 8:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/6/2010 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Some people may imagine grey areas in the rules, but I find Christa is right: the rules are many and varied, and really do a good job of establishing a fairly cut and dry ettiquette regarding swapping here.  Your assumption that, absent any conditions, you need to nothing extra is correct, and as Christa said, if you follow the rules and you're nice you're pretty much set. 


Welcome to the Swap!  May it feed your booklust for as long as you've eyes with which to read!

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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There is a very divided opinion on that in the forum. Some people want the other member to know upfront so there are no suprises for the receiver and send PMs about that kind of stuff. Some people don't want members getting the idea that PMs are required about issues that don't make the book unpostable and believe it can set you up for a what-do-I-do-now situation if you PM and then don't hear back from them.

I am in the don't PM camp unless it is something that I think could cause a lot of hassle to deal with after the fact. I don't want newer members getting the idea that they will get PMs on any books missing dustjackets so the mark the transactions Received With A Problem when they don't get the PM.  I'd rather people get used to using Requester Conditions if they want something outside of postability.

Welcome to PBS! Hope you've been having fun the last month and are finding some good books.

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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Thanks for the replies! The requestor was not happy that the book had a blemish on the cover.  The tour guide I spoke with about the issue said it is a good idea to PM the requesting member about issues like that or missing jackets, which surprised me.  I did end up sending the requesting member a credit because they later said the book also had a hole in the last two pages, which I honestly can't say if it did or it didn't (I flipped through but it is possible I missed that- I never read that particular book myself).  I just feel bad because this is the first time I had an issue with a book I sent out.  I did have another book marked damaged by USPS, but the member didn't PM me to let me know what was wrong.  I wish they had in case I could have done a better job wrapping.  

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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The tour guide I spoke with about the issue said it is a good idea to PM the requesting member about issues like that or missing jackets, which surprised me.

I disagree.  As long as the book meets the PBS rules about being postable, you should mail it (unless, of course, the requester had conditions).  PMing about every slight flaw in the book (no dustcover, dog-eared pages, a name on the inside cover of the book) just creates more work for you and sets up the receiver to expect a PM everytime a book is less than perfect.

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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That's a really good point, Britney- Melanie mentioned that as well.  Then when they don't get a PM they're going to be more likely to have an issue with the book even if it falls within what's acceptable. The other reason I didn't want to send out messages for things like that is I want to get the books posted so I can get the credits.  If the book falls within guidelines, I don't want to give the member a reason not to accept it if they haven't already posted conditions, you know? I do have one book with a large star sticker on the dust jacket- I'm wondering if maybe I should just remove the dust jacket entirely. 

Personally I'm pretty happy as long as I can read the book and it doesn't fall apart on me, but I hate thinking that I disappointed someone who was waiting for a book.  On the other hand, that's why I didn't post any conditions- because any books that falls into the guidelines would be fine with me.  Again, in this case the requesting member may have had a valid issue with the book separate from the dust jacket, but the first message I received was only about the blemish on the front.

Related question- I have a book with water damage to the last two pages.  I don't mean the last two pages of the story- these are blank pages at the very back of the book (many hardcovers have two or three blank pages before the back cover). The rest of the book is in great shape.  Would it be acceptable to remove those pages and inform a requesting member of this? Or am I better off just not posting it?

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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That's a good question, jonascat.  Your book definitely isn't postable with the damage, and I'm inclined to think removing pages would also make the book unpostable.  However, considering some books have several blank pages at the end, I'm not entirely confident in my response.  My bet would be that the book is, unfortunately, not postable, though from what I understand you can offer it in the Book Bazaar.  Someone more knowledgeable about changes to the rules in that respect might be better suited to explain your options should the book prove unpostable.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 2:21 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,982
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JimiJam is right, the water damage makes it unpostable as is. 

Even though the pages are blank, taking them out and having missing pages could also potentially get you into trouble for meeting postability guidelines.  I'd say Book Bazaar would be your best bet.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 2:40 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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The actual guidelines state "no missing text pages"- that would seem to apply that missing pages without text are okay (wouldn't it otherwise say "no missing pages"?)  I'm going to post it at the Bazaar just to be safe though.  I'd rather not post a book that falls into that sort of gray area than post it and have someone get upset with me.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 3:46 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,861
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My library routinely cuts out the page of the book (a non-text page) where their barcode or book pocket existed. I post these all the time, since ex-library books are postable (as long as they meet the other conditions, too) and I have never had a problem.

Yes, books with missing non-text pages are OK to post.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I personally don't PM over books. If it's meets PBS posting guidelines than I post it and that's that. 

Unpostable books can be traded for a credit-they just have to be offered in the Book Bazaar. Although you are not likely to get a credit for an unpostable book that's readily availalbe in the system.  Most people offer those as freebies or do something else with them. But people regularly offer unpostable WL books in their signatures and in the BB for a credit.  I've sent out several that way.  Nothing gross-just ones with minor damage that makes them unpostable. 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I had emailed TPTB via the contact us form. I was told NOT to PM people about things. If they want dust jackets then they need an RC.

Rather then send dust jacket that has issues, just take it off and send the book.

I am also in the camp of do not PM, if the book meets the guidelines then send it. The few times I did PM they refused the book and they did NOT have pms.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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While I don't think a PM is required, I disagre with xengab about not sending the dust jacket if it's got a blemish.  Why presume they'll be picky??  I say send the book with the jacket, and if they try to complain point out that the dust jacket isn't part of the posting guidelines.  If you don't send it at all it's more likely to spite people who wouldn't mind the blemish than it would people who complain about such things.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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If there is any question at all, I will PM the requestor.  I would rather they cancel the order, even if my book meets posting guidelines, than to have to deal with a RWAP.  This would be especially true if the problem with the book had to do with a dust jacket, since some people seem to be particularly fussy about that.

I once had a paperback where the cover was different than the cover shown here for that particular ISBN.  And not only was the cover different, the author was different (Sharon Sala writing as Dinah McCall).  The displayed book on PBS said the author was Sharon Sala and my copy said the author was Dinah McCall.  I PM'ed the requestor and she said "no problem, as long as it's the same book".  If I hadn't PM'ed her, I would have risked getting a RWAP, even though the ISBN was the same.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,861
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Yes, please please send the damaged dustjacket (unless there is an RC, of course).  

I would much rather get a book with a questionable dustjacket  (that I can choose myself to repair or throw away) that have someone else toss it before they send the book.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I'm surprised at the people that feel the rules are black and white.   The two biggest gray areas I see are the issues of "water damage" and "soiled".   To me, wavy pages are water damage and yet I receive books like that fairly often and think the sender doesn't consider them water damage.  About 1/4 of the books I receive should have been cleaned off first, are dirty someplace.  Some can't be cleaned without damaging the book.  If it looks like it might be water damage or if there is something on the book that is not part of the book that might be considered "soiled" or "stained", I will PM first and wish others would PM me.     

Oh another area I consider to be a gray area is textbooks.  We are allowed to post textbooks with highlighting as long as we PM the requestor and get an okay before sending, but we are not supposed to post things with highlighting that aren't textbooks -- there are a lot of books that may be used as a textbook for a class that lots of people might not consider to be textbooks.    Of course, since a PM is required I don't think anyone should get grumped if something isn't a textbook by their definition, but it certainly isn't black and white.  

On the other hand, with the issue of the book jacket, I agree, no PM should be needed unless someone put something in their RC about the book jacket.   The rules are very plain that the book jacket is not required at all much less required to be in good condition.



Last Edited on: 2/8/10 12:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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It has less to do with manners and more to do with avoiding future hassles.  It's prefectly fine to send a book with a dustjacket that is damaged or missing, but as you found out, there are still some people that will get upset over it.  So I just send them a quick PM and give them the option to cancel it.  If they don't respond and/or don't cancel it, then I send them the book. 

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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So I guess the moral is that if you think someone may get peeved by a condition of the book, even if that guidelines say the book is postable, it can't hurt to PM them and let them know.   Unless that causes them to refuse a postable book, but that still might be better than having them marked it damaged and going through the hassle of dealing with that. I know i'm the type who is going to end up refunding the credit even when I really don't have to, so probably better to avoid that sort of thing as much as possible. Just losing the one credit from this go around bummed me out.

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 12:28 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,448
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If I do PM about a book's condition, I always give a deadline.  I'll select the latest mail by date.  Then I'll start the PM with something like This book is X (for me it is usually about yellowed out of print books rather than dust jackets)  if you want me to cancel this book, then please get back to before X date.  I will assume the condition is acceptable if I do not hear from you by then.

I personally am much tougher with my own posting standards if the book is common compared to a hard to find book.  I'll post a much more beat up book if it is rare and out of print.



Last Edited on: 2/8/10 12:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I guess I'd only PM if I thought that someone could conceivably mark it RWAP.   Anyone that griped about a damaged book jacket, I would respond by stating that the book was postable by the rules and that they hadn't RCed about it and suggest that they create an RC to avoid future disappointments.  I don't think they should be getting their credit back for something obviously okay that they didn't RC about, all that giving them the credit back would do is teach them that they might get a free book if they griped about some slight imperfection when it arrived.   But a gray area, if I hadn't PMed, I would give them their credit back.  

M.E. (ryenke) -
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2009
Posts: 625
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I'm one who thinks the rules are pretty clear (I don't post highlighted-underlined or water damaged books nor do I seem to get them) and I almost never PM - certainly would not PM about covers being different or dust jacket condition.  I did get one complaint about no dust jacket, but I politely told the person they could put an RC on (I'm pretty sure the person already knew that but just wanted to give me a hard time) and that PBS said no dust jackets were acceptable for hard cover books. 

I PM'd the receiver once, upon inspection of a book just before I sent it out I found 2 pages in the back had underlining (about 5 or 6 words total).  I checked the book thoroughly after that and indeed it was just those two pages.  I PM'd the receiver, and they said it was fine and to send it.  I would not have posted the book had I noticed the highlighting (although, it almost certainly was being used as a college textbook) but I only noticed it as I was checking it again before wrapping it up. 

I have only received one PM - and it was similar circumstances to my situation - there was some stray highlighting in the book they were to send me.



Last Edited on: 2/8/10 12:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: reply
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 2:20 AM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2009
Posts: 25
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 I recently had a request for a book and I couldn't find the dust jacket. So I pmed them And they never responded so I just sent the book. I learned to give them a reply by date that way I'm not waiting around till the last min. I mail stuff from Hawaii so when someone requests a book I try to get it out ASAP. 

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 3/16/2008
Posts: 75
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I've learned to use RCs for keepers even though it does not guaranty that the posters would adhere to them.  I've also received 2 of what I consider unpostables (ARC and cleaved spine with really wavy pages) in the mail but I tend to let things go.

Personally, most of my books that are nonfiction, somewhat rare and were used in classes and thus I'd consider them textbooks (such as Analects of Confucius by Leys) --> that's where the grey area comes in for me since they'd be a bit more beat up and dog-eared with possible writing/highlights from previous owners.  I would PM people even if they don't have RCs and generally received acceptance for the books but they usually gripe about the fact that the book came with a gigantic used sticker from the college bookstore, not that they file RWAP but still....

Maybe the senders would have an option to fill in a requestor-need-to-read-about-the-book-before-confirming-request box where you'll be able to post stuff specific to the book (like ex-library, creased cover)?  or would it make an big mess of the system?

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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It would introduce new problems if you could describe the every books condition in the database itself.  Then some folks would expect the condition to be described every time and if it wasn't done they would expect to get a "like new" book.   If many copies are in the system, then the ones that aren't "like new" would probably rarely be taken since who would take a more worn copy if they can have a better one?

I think a better solution would be get rid of the I CAN MAIL IN 2 DAYS button (keep the select a date button) and add an option of NEED REQUESTOR APPROVAL which would create a PM form in which you describe your books issues and would have a deadline spot.  The requestor would then get a message which required them to select APPROVE or NOT APPROVE and if they don't respond by the deadline it would become an automatic NOT APPROVE.

Even that has problems.   I can imagine lots of RCs that would then say always describe the book condition first.   Of course, those would be turned down by about 90% of people without bothering, which is their perogative.   Maybe it isn't really a problem.      

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