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Topic: New to Posting Books, how strict are the standards?

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Subject: New to Posting Books, how strict are the standards?
Date Posted: 2/20/2008 11:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2008
Posts: 39
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Hi all!

I just joined like three days ago, and I have lots of books I got from a local used bookstore. I used to swap them back out, but they have really gotten picky about what they will take and "don't need" dozens of my darlings. SO... I have literally hundreds of gently to heavily used books with such issues as dogeared pages, creased covers, worn edges of spines (paperbacks usually) and just general wear and tear. I don't want a rep for posting unpostables or sending under-quality books, but I would *LOVE* to post all these for trades. Any advice or recommendations? I know loose pages are clearly out, but what about the rest of the "gray area". I am not picky, I will read anything, so advice about "Not posting a book you wouldn't like to get" doesn't really help me, because I am always happy to read something I haven't read yet!"  Thanks in advance, and I am SO glad I found this site!

Date Posted: 2/20/2008 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
Posts: 1,883
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Hi Barbara, These are the basic book posting guidelines for posting books to PBS. They should give you a pretty good idea of what is ok to post. Welcome to PBS hope you have fun!


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 --see below)


  • 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 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.
  • A bookplate inside the cover or on the flyleaf is OKAY


  • 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


  • 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
  • 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 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 before the book is sent
        • This is the one of the ONLY two cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent(the other is for cookbooks--see 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 before the book is sent
      • This is the one of the ONLY two cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent (the other is for textbooks--see above).
      • this exception applies to the covers of cookbooks also.


  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
Date Posted: 2/21/2008 1:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2008
Posts: 39
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Thanks. I have posted some other books now. Just dipping my toes in!

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If you read the Help docs and follow the posting guidelines, you should be fine. 

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,494
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Barbara, when I have books that only just meet posting requirements, I ask myself if I would spend a credit for it - keeping in mind that it costs $3.45 to buy a credit.  As a new member, you are probably trying to build up credits(as well as a good rep) and barely postable or unpostable books can be a great incentive as a "2 books for 1 credit", or "free with an order" - such as  mrslefty (Mary L) has in the above post.  Check out the Book Bazaar forum and see the kinds of offers being made.  Lots of ways to swap those books and keep everybody happy...

Oops - I should have re-read that before posting - the unpostable books should always be offered as 'free with" .

Last Edited on: 2/21/08 8:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2008 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 3/1/10 7:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Would you pay $3.45 for the book?  If not, don't post it.



Last Edited on: 2/22/08 1:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2007
Posts: 16,896
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Barbara, thanks so much for asking!!!!  It's great you want to be careful what you post. If you just follow the guidelines that were posted above, you'll be fine!

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,603
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Don't forget to keep a list of the unpostables.  You can add a list of them to your profile or signature line and offer as many as you'd like free with an order from your shelf.

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,091
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  Barbara, welcome to PBS!!  One of my rules, aside from what's posted, and the usual great advice , is  " would I want to recieve this book after spending a credit on it?"   If I have doubts, I set it aside and either offer a deal  or bring it to my used book store.     I think it's great that you've taken it seriously, and I think you'll do fine!  But  keep posting and you'll do great!   Good Luck and most of all, Have FUN!!

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I agree with the "would I spend a credit" thought process BUT if it is an out of print book or one that is hard to find or even a book that is 20+ years old, the posting through process might be a little different than another book that is newer and easy to obtain.  You still want it to be in good condition and meet PBS standards, but some books people will be happy to receive in a more worn condition because it is OOP

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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An addendum to the item about older books:  Paperbacks that are older, sometimes only as old as 10 years or so, but frequently with ones older than that,  often have yellowing or "tanning" on the pages, especially the edges.  This is nothing but a reflection of oxidation on older paper, and is OK to post.  If this is a marked condition (a severe one) probably a PM might be appreciated, but these books do meet posting guidelines.  Sometimes these books are coming loose from the glue that attached the covers and they are not postable as such.  A few times, with my keepers, and even once or twice with ones that I posted, I have reglued these areas, and if you can do it undetectably, that is probably OK.  I would call that restoration rather than something sneaky.  I don't know others feelings on this, but I think it is nothing but doing a favor for a book with lots of readings left in it.

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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When you've decided, based on the guidelines, what is NOT postable, then offer a deal in the bazaar.  List your unpostables and do a deal.  :>)

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,722
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There's nothing wrong with a well-loved book as long as it meets those guidelines that are posted above and you feel confident that it isn't going to fall apart while the next person is reading it.  If you're ever in doubt, it's probably best not to post it, but your books certainly don't need to be "like new" to be posted here.  :)