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Topic: Picky Requestors?

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Subject: Picky Requestors?
Date Posted: 3/7/2012 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2009
Posts: 13
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I refunded a credit recently because someone said the spine of a paperback was broken.  Book guidelines allow for some "spine creasing" because it is almost impossible to read a paperback without some spine creasing.  I didn't want an argument, so refunded the credit just in case it is possible for a spine to get broken in tranist.  What would you consider "broken"?  I know I would not mail a book if I thought it was in danger of breaking into pieces; however, I don't expect every book I get to look new either.  I have been blessed to get a lot of really "new" books through swapping, but I'm not disappointed with any book as long as it conforms to the guidelines.

I try to PM people if there is anything about my books that I think might offend them, even if my book meets guidelines (e.g. if dust jacket is missing, I'll PM even though it is technically OK)  Now I guess I have to PM if the spine is creased, too.


Date Posted: 3/7/2012 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 6,022
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A broken spine occurs on the inside of a book. Spine creases occur on the outside of a book. 

Sometimes you can see a broken spine when you open a book and it falls open to a certain page. If it's a broken spine, you'll see a gap between the right and left page at the spine. Sometimes newer books can have a broken spine just because of bad manufacturing. I fan through the pages of every book and can usually catch broken spines. 

Lately I've been receiving a LOT of hardcovers with broken spines. Most look like a new book from the outside. But there's a huge gap either where the front cover or the back cover attaches to the pages. 


Date Posted: 3/7/2012 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2009
Posts: 13
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OK, that is what I would consider to be a broken spine.  The book I sent was a paperback and when I finished reading it I did not recall any gaps where the pages are glued to the spine. 

Date Posted: 3/7/2012 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I didn't want an argument, so refunded the credit just in case it is possible for a spine to get broken in tranist.

Spines can get broken in transit. I've been finding that more with tradeback size books that have brittle glue. They bet buried under tons of weight, or get jammed in a corner sideways, and the brittle glue will break.

I actually broke the spine of three of mine just by opening them. Cheap, hard glue.

Problem is, if you wrap well that will still happen. If you know that the book didn't have a broken spine when you sent it, then I wouldn't refund the credit. You can only do so much to wrap a book, and not everyone can afford to pack them in boxes.

Spine creases aren't even close to being a broken spine.


Date Posted: 3/7/2012 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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One thing that can help in understanding the problem is to politely ask for photos of the damage, if they have the ability to take them.  If they have a digital camera, they can post photos on a sharing site, like Photobucket, and PM you the link.  Sometimes that helps in understanding the damage they are seeing, and figuring out if that's how it looked when it left your house, or if something possibly happened in transit.


Date Posted: 3/7/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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PMing people for books that meet the guidelines just sets them up to thinking that is the norm, here at PBS. its not.   If it meets the PBS guidelines then send it to them, if they want a brand new looking book they get set an RC for that.

And yes books can get broken spines while en route to the requestor, especially recently with the weather being freaky hot one day, cold the next perfect weather to break glue..:(

Date Posted: 3/7/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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From what we hear, it does seem that book spines can be damaged enroute.  Especially older books where the glue has become brittle or some of the newer books with less quality construction.  Lately I've read several mmpb that are only a year or two old, obviously lightly read (1 to 3 times maybe) and the spine is cleaved or very close.  Very frustrating, books used to last much longer than a couple (non-abusive) readings.

I now try to wrap my outgoing books in a manner as to give the spine some support in transit, especially large ones such as tradesize or thicker mmpb.  I use plastic underwrap and sometimes just add a couple wraps of packing tape over the plastic (the short width of the book) to support the spine.  If I have light cardboard, I cut a piece the size of the tradesize cover (or longer and wrap around the book) and again tape it firmly over the plastic underwrap before applying outer wrapper.  When possible I try to use a small box for vintage paperbacks.

Last Edited on: 3/7/12 1:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/7/2012 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2009
Posts: 13
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Perhaps a small piece of cardboard, the size of the spine would help when mailing paperbacks?  It wouldn't add much weight, so I might try that next time.

Date Posted: 3/7/2012 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Cold weather can also make the spine more brittle.  


Date Posted: 3/7/2012 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,410
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A couple of years ago I purchased a book for my DGS as a Christmas gift from B&N.  Brought it home, opened it up, and the spine broke.  Returned it, they were very nice, and he checked 3 more books before he found one where the spine didn't break as soon as it was opened.  He said it was the glue and the weather.  Those things do happen, and it's really nobody's fault.  Pat

Date Posted: 3/7/2012 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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"broken spines" are one of the things that I sometimes just accept and not mark RWP.  Just becasue I know it can happen in transit and that sometimes I have to be the last one that pays a credit for a book and removes it from PBS circulation.  Not all members realize that they will sometimes have to be the last person who pays a credit for a book.  I wouldn't have refunded the credit if I knew the book left me in postable condition. 

(I am not saying that I accept bad books routinely. I will RWP and ask for a credti back for a book was obviously faling apart.  But sometimes they're borderline and it's just obvious that the mail trip did it in or that one more read will do it). 

Date Posted: 3/8/2012 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2006
Posts: 80
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Wow, i did not realize that could happen in transit! TY!

What exactly would a spine creasing be...?

What about books where the cover is coming apart from the book...?

Date Posted: 3/9/2012 12:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Spine creasing is on the outside, the white 'crease' lines you can see on the color spine portion of a (paperback) book after a reading or two.  Spine cleave or other breaks are on the inside of the book (unless they go all the way through to the outside). 

Books that have the cover seperating from the 'book' section are damaged and unpostable.  Note that this does not include the normal gap designed in hardcovers between the spine cover and pages while laying open.

Date Posted: 3/10/2012 11:59 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,576
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paperback  -->  broken spine  -->  Elmer's glue  --> postable book

Date Posted: 3/10/2012 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2010
Posts: 288
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I just got an RC this afternoon that says:


 For paperbacks, please don't send a book with a broken binding (if the book separates and lies completely flat when it's open, the binding is broken). 

That seems pretty clear to me and is a good way to put it. Creases often occur when I open a paperback far enough to read the full page at the center of the book (especially if it's a thick book), but that's not a broken spine. A broken spine can be a problem because sections of pages can fall out. I don't know how well gluing them back together would work. It'd be a risk to glue and send a book, I think.