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Topic: Old books

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Subject: Old books
Date Posted: 9/20/2010 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 1
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I just signed up today and went to my bookself to pick some books to list. Some of my books have been on the shelf for 20 years or loger and are quite dusty.

As I am wiping them off I noticed that there are spots on the pages when the books are closed. So holding the book closed and looking at the top and the oppisite side of the binding the spots are quite visible.

Would these still be swappable and is there any way to clean them up better so they would be more presentable?

I was amazed at how many of them didnt even have ISBN's.

Thank you.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Hi Jeffrey and welcome to your new addiction ... PBS!

In the Help Center is a document called "Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS".  It has all sorts of details of different kinds of damage books can have, and whether it makes them postable or not.

Some relevant passages include:

  • Older books may have some page yellowing or spine-creasing or dogeared pages; these are all OKAY.
  • Overall condition: not soiled, no stains, No damage at all from water or other liquid
  • 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)
Date Posted: 9/21/2010 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,351
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Check the help doc Elizabeth mentioned to be sure all the books are postable.

If the spots are due to water damage, mold, or mildew, don't post them.  but there is spotting on older books called foxing.  If it's not too heavy (obscuring text, for example) foxing by itself wouldn't make a book unpostable


This thread talks about foxing and there's a link to an image, or you can google "foxing books" and see images.

Last Edited on: 9/21/10 1:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/21/2010 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2010
Posts: 8
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It looks like foxing after looking at the above link. Thanks for your help.

Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 9/21/2010 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 415
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i have seen some people post about when books started with the isbn.  maybe it was in the 70s?

I had some older books that were the only ones listed, so when I got a request for them I would pm the requester saying this is an old book & kind of ...... whatever I might have thought didn't look good.  just didn't want them not to realize and be disappointed.  I said I would cancel the order if I didn't hear from them by whatever time before set to mail.

If it is a heavily listed book with a newer edition, I might not list it on PBS even if it is postable, but in a condition that I would be disappointed to recieve.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,566
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I like old books best ,.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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ISBN numbers came into use in 1970 so if your books were published before that date, you will have to post them without a ISBN and enter all the information manually.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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YMMV, but I really believe books are either postable or not postable.  If postable, no PMing is necessary, just send.  If they're unpostable, they simply shouldn't be posted. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Look on the copyright page.  Before the bar code the ISBN would often be on the spine as well as on the copyright page.  Many books from the 70's and even 80's have the ISBN there.  And it would be a 10 digit one, not the new 13 digit.

Caviglia, I have also selected the last mail date and warned folks in a PM that the book was old.  They were postable.  But old paperbacks have a brittle spine and glue.   They might well not make a trip by media mail.  Folks do want those rare out of print books.  They can be very hard to find.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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No, I absolutely love old paperbacks - in fact I semi-seriously collect them.  I just think PMing leads to further problems.  But, as I said, YMMV.

Date Posted: 9/21/2010 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I also don't see a need to PM if the book is old, but in postable condition. As long as it's not posted under the ISBN of a later edition I have no problem with old books at all...in fact, I like them, and am envisioning all of us old book lovers (or rather, lovers of old books! LOL) clicking on Jeffrey's bookshelf now, going, "Dang! Nothing listed yet....hurry up and post some of those good old books!" LOL


Date Posted: 9/21/2010 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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LOL.  That's exactly what I did!

Sometimes, if I'm ordering something like a classic mystery, I'll purposefully opt for a no-ISBN version on the off chance I'll get an interesting cover.

Last Edited on: 9/21/10 2:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1