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Topic: Newbie wants to know what condition books you usually get

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Subject: Newbie wants to know what condition books you usually get
Date Posted: 12/10/2009 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2009
Posts: 8
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I haven't been on the system long, but I have been taking the PBS postable conditions as pretty absolute. I got a book the other day (my second so far) that makes me wonder what everyone else's experience has been regarding the condition of books they receive. Overall, I suppose, the book isn't that bad, the spine is damaged, the covers are bent, but those really wouldn't make it unpostable. There is, however, quite a bit of writing in the margins. Don't get me wrong, I write in the margins of my keepers too, I don't think we have to read books that are academic tools with white gloves on, but these marginal notes are not terribly "scholarly" when they're even legible, and they are on 45 of the first 100 pages, by a rough count. I didn't mark it as RWAP, because this is only my second book, and I'm a big boy, I can ignore the marginalia when I read it, but there is no way I would ever consider reposting this book or any book that looked like it. I have a couple of books that I haven't listed because they have some underlining on 5-10 pages. Should I have marked it RWAP? Should I post something even though somebody wrote on a few pages? I don't mind if the community standards are a little more lax than the written rules (maybe occasionally I go 5 mph over the posted speed limit, maybe) but I'd like to be sure I'm playing by the same rules as everyone else, so I'm curious about your experiences.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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The written rules are the rules. Period. Anything breaking them should be marked RWAP, both for your own good and for the good of the club as a whole. People only get away with breaking the rules if we (the club members) let them. And, you certainly don't do anyone any favors by not marking RWAPs, since then the sender will feel its perfectly okay to keep sending problem books until someone does call them on it.

So, please, as a favor to us all, don't post unpostable books, and DO mark all problem books RWAP. You'll be helping the club out enormously by doing so.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Should I have marked it RWAP?

Yes.

Should I post something even though somebody wrote on a few pages?

You cannot, as it is unpostable as per PBS guidelines.

The only exception with writing & highlighting is if it is agreed to before the book is sent.  From the help docs:

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).
Date Posted: 12/10/2009 11:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I should say, I know where you're coming from. I was in the same spot not too terribly long ago really. You're new, don't really know how things work in reality (as opposed to what's written), and aren't quite sure if what's in the guidelines is really what you should be expecting. But, I can tell you, it's EXACTLY what you should expect. Here on PBS, what's in the Help Center is really what goes. So, if it says something there, you know you can trust it. If a book violates any of the posting conditions, it should be marked RWAP with no regrets.

I remember the first time I got a problem book. I came to the forums and asked, and was encouraged (enthusiastically so) to mark it RWAP. I was incredibly nervous and afraid of getting yelled at or something by the sender, but that never happened. I got my credit back and a sincere apology the next day. Since then, I've marked every problem book I've gotten RWAP, and though there have been several of them, virtually all were handled really easily and quickly. If they don't want to resolve it, or can't be bothered to be civil, just remember to mark it unresolved and walk away knowing your job is done. Either way, it helps us all to have problem books marked as such.

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 11:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Michael,  welcome to PBS.

Keep in mind that the answers you get from forum-posters are an unrepresentative sample of the entire PBS population.

But I would take the standards as written. So yes, the book you got should have been marked RWAP. Whether to ask for a credit back is up to you.  If your underlined books are the sort that doesn't come into the system very often, you can post them and follow the rules for textbooks for text page markings. Alternatively you can post in the Book Bazaar or other appropriate genre forum with or without a deal to move them out.

Good luck and enjoy PBS.

off topic: how many languages do you know? I looked at your WL ... it's very esoteric. I think you will be waiting a long time...

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 12:30 AM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2009
Posts: 8
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Thanks for the replies so far. It sounds like the people who have responded expect higher quality than the book I described, and that is a relief. I wouldn't start listing sub-par books, but I might start to lose enthusiasm if too many books came in bad shape without a PM. The book in question might have been considered a text book (it was probably used in a class, but not everything used in a class counts as a "text book" in my mind), but even so, according to the rules, this book fell into a gray area that justified a PM.

By the way, for those of you looking at my WL, this book is nowhere near the top of the esoterism scale. And yes, I realize with amusement that I'll be waiting a long time for some of those books, if they ever post at all, but I figure a wish list is a wish list, right! Shoot for the stars. Seriously though, in light of my infrequently posted tastes, I'm always open to unpostables, as long as I know in advance.

Sophia - how many languages? Now that I've written what follows, I can give a short answer. Six that really count, that I can really make use of, and then a willingness to dabble. English, German, Greek, Latin are currently pretty strong (although my advisor isn't impressed with my ability to write in English ;)). I can make good headway in French and Hebrew, and I once knew Aramaic, but you know what they say about what you don't use. For the last few days I've been pretending I can read Italian (easier than I expected) and to at least follow Classical Ethiopic across a page. I've found that once you learn a handful of languages, making reasonable sense out of related languages, so if I need it for something I'm working on, I'll jump into short bits of almost any European or Semitic language. Some of the Semitic stuff on the wishlist is really just for comparative purposes.

Again, thanks for the replies, and I look forward to finding out what others realistically expect to get in the mail.

Mike

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I've been lucky so far...I've received several books in the almost two months I've been here and so far and no RWAPs yet.  I've even received some "unpostables"--noted as such in the Book Bazaar that were in pretty good shape!  Hopefully the quality of the books you receive will improve!

BTW--I'm very impressed with your language skills!  Sometimes I feel like I have trouble with just English!



Last Edited on: 12/11/09 12:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I would also like to apoligize, as looking at my response it looks a little more abrupt than I intended.  Welcome to PBS!

I've received app. 200 books since I joined and only a handful were unpostable, and an even smaller number were in truly awful condition (I think maybe two). 

The international Harry Potters are so much fun.  Have you seen the Latin ones?  My brother read them a few years ago.  Like you, he has a scarily long number of languages - which makes him fabulous to travel with.  I just have bad French, bad Spanish, bad Italian and even worse Latin.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2008
Posts: 108
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I have received 372 books so far and only marked 3 as RWAP, two were water damaged and one had almost every word underlined. Another 3 or 4 were so worn they ended their posting life with me. At least 80% have been in pristine condition, though one of those fell apart when we read it because the glue was so brittle. That one was a 40 year old book that had never been read.

As the others said, you received an unpostable book because of the writing and the fact you didn't agree to the condition beforehand. I post a lot of WL science books and have swapped several with underlining/highlighting but always pick the last mail by date and then PM the sender. I haven't had one turned down yet but they were all seldom posted  books. I took some advice I once saw in a forum post and tag them as possible textbooks. FYI they were all books I received from this site in that condition, most with my permission ahead of time.

Hope you enjoy your time on PBS as much as I have.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2009
Posts: 8
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No need for apologies. I didn't take any of the answers as abrupt in a brush off sense, just to the point. Nonetheless, thanks for the welcomes and the encouragement.

That is an interesting idea about tagging them as possible text books. I assume that tag applies to the whole lot of them on the network - but if it is wishlisted, then that isn't much of an issue. Would that be something appropriate to do both with books I might post as well as with books I'm wishing for to plant that thought with potential posters? It sounds on the margins (I'm not accusing anyone, I'm just saying it could be taken too far, step by incremental step), so I'm curious about how people usually do it.

Caviglia - Believe it or not, I haven't read the Harry Potter books! I probably will, if only because the international editions are so available. I have a friend who teaches himself new languages using the book and the audiobook in concert, and Harry is his standard entry point. Sounds far more fun than paradigms (which I know must come eventually, they should even in our native languages) and it works for him.

Oh yeah, unfortunately for both me and Caviglia, Latin (bad or otherwise) doesn't make us any more fun to travel with. It just makes one scene in Life of Brian funnier.



Last Edited on: 12/11/09 11:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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I've been a member since 2005, and up until recently I answered every query about book condition with a glowing report of how I never get unpostable books sent to me, how the majority of books that I get look brand new.  Well, in the last month, I've received THREE unpostables--two water damaged, and one with a badly damaged spine.  And, right around December 1st, I had two books go lost--one each way.  I honestly don't think I've had many more than 5 problem transactions in my whole prior four years here, so either this is a big coincidence, or the number of bad books going out is increasing quite sharply.  I'm hoping that it's just a coincidence and I go back to my former, happy state!

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I have a friend who is brushing up on her Russian by reading the Potter books.  She speaks it fairly fluently as she grew up in a Russian speaking home, but her reading comprehension is not great.  As she says, more fun than The Cancer Ward.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Keep in mind that by marking a book in poor condition RWAP is the responsible thing to do.  As long as this person thinks that they can get away with posting unpostable books, they will continue to do so.  It's really up to us to keep this place honest.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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To put it another way - we are the quality control here at PBS.  PBS can't see what the books are like.  So it's up to us to uphold the standards set.

Whenever you have an upostable doesn't always mean you can't get a credit for it.  I've gotten several credits for books with some flaw.  Usually minor underlining.  Put the information on your profile, in the blue header of your bookshelf and in the signature line of your posts.  Then come to the forums and post.  Also try listing it in the Book Bazaar.  Never accept the old  "I got it from here that way" excuse.  and watch for people who say something like "most of my books are in good shape some with a little writing or underlining." on their profiles.  I've actually seen that. Or something like "I don't think that books with minor underlining or ____ means the book isn't tradeable."  It's hard to see that.  I don't feel those people can be "turned in" to the PBS team because they haven't sent me one of those books so I have no standing to complain.  But I don't accept that thinking that books that don't meet set standards are still tradeable here.

Welcome to PBS and we're so glad to meet a new member who is aware of the rules and guidlines!

Ruth

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 11/20/2009
Posts: 8
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I'm just putting this in for the sheer irony of it, I swear. This morning, after reading over the responses I decided that I should at least send the guy a PM to let him know what the rule was and what the concensus was. I just came back from lunch and read the latest replies, and as I finished reading Ruth's I got a PM response from him including these choice excerpts.

I had just gotten it from someone else at PBS. And the spine was fine when I sent it.

I've seen people put conditions on books which basically come down to, "Must be in mint condition." If that's the case, people should go to Amazon and purchase them.

Ruth, are you sure you're not reading my PMs before they get written? :)

Long and Short: I've learned my lesson, no more letting flagrant violations slide.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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No, I didn't have to - these are always the first things most members say who send unpostables.  That's why I said not to accept it.  You should PM back that he should have marked them RWAP and not accepted them -not send them on to someone else.  ;D

Ruth

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 166
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 I have gotten books in really good condition, I haven't had a problem on this site.  I know others have, but I think most of us adhere to the rules. 

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Out of over 500 books received (1,000 if you count games, deals and BOBs)-I've received maybe 10 unpostables.  I've received a lot of borderline books that I would not have posted but I accept the fact that every book eventually comes to it's last PBSer as a postable book and sometimes that PBSer is me.  I RWP the obviously unpostable ones.  I have never gotten a book with writing or highlighting.  But since I order mostly romance, mysteries, childrens and fantasy that's probably why. Nothing I order is likely to be used as a textbook.

I got my credits back on all but I think 2 of the books I marked RWP.  The people who gave me the hardest time were long time members (longer than me) who gave me the "I got it that way and I didn't complain and don't ever order a book from me again" speech.  I just reminded them that it's not my problem that they didn't complain.  The 2 nastiest books I got (unidentified brown stains) came from charter 2005 members. 

Subject: Book condition
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,418
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I have been a member since 2005 and I blieve I have gotten maybe 3 unpostables and have receive hundreds of books in  pactically pristine condition.  I was sending off one book and was thumbing through it and saw some minor underlining. I had already printed the wrapper and didn't want it to go to waste, so I PMed the person and gave her two options-either pick another book from my shelf and I would send the underlined one as a freebie or I would give the boook as a freebie byt budding her credit back to her-which is the option she picked.



Last Edited on: 12/11/09 6:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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Welcome, Michael.  I receive a high rate of unpostables, guessing around 25%.  I should change my nickname to RWAPmagnet.  Anyway,

I refuse to post a book that does not meet PBS's very specific condition guidelines.  If I receive a book that does not meet the guidelines, I know I

cannot repost, and do not hesitate to mark it RWAP.  I refuse to lose a credit because someone chose to send me a sub-standard book.  After all, they

got one of my credits.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Good for you, Valerie!  Does it seem to be limited to one particular genre?  Don't worry if it isn't.  I am known as the World's Queen of Flat Tires.  I've always been able to attract nails to my tires.  It's been the bane of my existence.  Must be a curse or something.

Ruth 

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I'm curious about this...it seems that some people have much higher rates of unacceptable books received than others.  Is it possible that it's the type of books they read?  Maybe some genre's are more prone to people posting unacceptable books?  Don't know why that would be--except maybe for more scholarly type books being more likely to have writing and highlighting.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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I've asked the genre question before too, because as I said, I almost NEVER used to get an unpostable book--in fact, practically every book I got looked new.  And I've traded LOTS of books.  I order mainly mysteries, plus some literary fiction and nonfiction.

Date Posted: 12/11/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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I really can't say that I get more RWAPs in certain genres than others.  My primary genres are historical fiction, mystery, contemporary lit, classics, & biogs.  But I can count on getting at least one a week.  So aggravating.

Ruth, I had to laugh about your tire/nail attraction.  I feel the same way about RWAPs.   And there is really nothing funny about it.



Last Edited on: 12/11/09 8:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/11/2009 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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I could probably break down the damage as follows: 

water/fluid damage by sender   80%

cleaved spines  10%

variety, i.e., pages torn out   9%

writing/highlighting   1%

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