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Topic: Postable?

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Subject: Postable?
Date Posted: 1/12/2010 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I have seen postcard books and paperdoll books listed under suspicious items.   Is there a rule against them?   I can't find one (maybe I missed it)?    To me these things are books similar to workbooks.

I don't understand the rule about coloring books.    Many elementary level workbooks include coloring activities or are coloring books.   Many "coloring books" are very informative, especially the Dover kind.   I understand that some people may be unhappy and complain about receiving coloring books, but I think this is the fault of the requested who requested something without making sure they knew what it was first (which can happen with other books too).    If you can't tell exactly what you are requesting and you request anyway, its rather silly to complain.  And as far as cluttering up the system, I really doubt that many people will post the $1 kind of coloring book because who wants to keep such a thing around waiting for someone to request it when the chances are very small that someone will.

Magazines -- I understand the advertising issue as it relates to media rate.   To me, the solution would be for "magazine/periodical" to be a format option and that format automatically trigger first class postage.   The next problem is that there are way too many of them and too little demand and so I lean toward keeping the ban.    But yet, there remains the problem that there are lots of items that can be considered both magazines and books.    Special issues of magazines are often legitimate stand alone books -- a good example would the be annual buying guide from Consumer Reports.  Some periodical issues each have an individual title and no advertising at all.    My actual suggestion would be to keep the rule against magazines, with the exception of those that have individual ISBNs on the issue and no advertising.

Oh -- here's a question not even addressed by the rules.   There are many periodicals that are not magazines.   Are they postable?

I think coloring books, paperdoll books, postcard books, calendars, and periodicals should be postable if they have individual ISBN and can be found in the system.   

Any other thoughts on this out there?


Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 1/12/2010 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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There are many periodicals that are not magazines.   Are they postable?

Is there some official distinction between the two? I'd have said they're synonyms, but if you're reading something fancy, you're more likely to call it a periodical. So I don't know what my answer is, until I know what the distinction (if any) is.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 1/12/2010 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
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Edith, there IS a rule against such items.  Not all the things with an ISBN can be posted here.  This site is primarily for the exchange of books, traditionally stories or informational tracts, in paperback, hardcover, and audio formats.  Things that are not traditionally considered as "reading books" or books that can be read, are not postable here.  PBS does not allow posting of anything that is "not a book" and their own definitions rule out calendars, coloring books, and blank journals.  Most periodicals ARE considered magazines, and are not postable here.  They often contain advertising that prohibits them from being mailed utilizing the Media Mail postage class.

Here are the Help Center guidelines on the things that can be swapped at PBS:


ETA:  Regarding coloring books:  these are meant to be used, i.e. colored in, and PBS guidelines prohibit the posting of books that have been written in and/or highlighted (with exceptions for certain types of books such as textbooks).  Since by their very nature, coloring books are designed to be written in/colored, that is why they are prohibited here.  Even a clean copy that has never been used.  There has been some debate here in the forums on this issue, especially concerning the "educational" type of coloring book and design "mandala" type of coloring book - you can search the forums for more discussion on this topic.

Last Edited on: 1/12/10 1:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/12/2010 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I just wrote a reply and lost it somehow.   Argh.    (No one's fault but my own).  Trying again. 

I have read the rules (though I could have missed something).

I know that coloring books are against the rules.     I am arguing against that rule.

I know that calendars are against the rules.   I don't really care one way or another here, but calendars can be considered books.

Postcard books and paperdoll books -- I don't see that they are addressed by the rules.

Magazines/periodicals/journals/serials/series are different but often usage overlaps are are used differently by different people and the definition of a book can include all of them.    Dictionary.com's defintion of a books is:   "a written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers".         The American Library Association probably has the clearest defintions of magazines, periodicals, journals, serials and series, but there is still overlap.  

Examples of serially published books:   Writer's Market; Who's Who; Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature; Dictionary of Literary Biography; State of the World; Almanacs (usually); and so on.    One is as likely to find Writer's Market in the periodicals section of a library as in the book section.    Some libraries don't even have separate sections for books and periodicals, they put them all on the shelf together in call number order.

With regard to the philosophy about coloring books being by nature designed to be colored and written in, this would apply to all workbooks.   Are workbooks okay to post?   I thought they were?    To me coloring books, postcardbooks, and paperdoll books are all workbooks.   Are workbooks against the rules?

Well, I'd better submit before I loose this message again.    I hope I said something understandable and nothing rude.


Date Posted: 1/12/2010 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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Yes but once a coloring book page has been colored it's now useless.  you can't recolor the page.  And if they made a rule that no pages can be colored in-you know it would be broken left and right.  Also if they ahve to go 1st class I'm not sure it would be worth it all that much to trade them here.  PBS has decided to be a book swapping site adn to stick with that.  They shouldn't be expected to add additional programming to the label system to account for items that can't be sent media mail.  (other book sites don't even have a label system or online postage options). 

A workbook can still be used as a study guide if some of the pages have been filled in already. 

It's just what PBS decided when they created the site and how they wanted to run it. 

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
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Coloring books are books.   They are a subcategory of books.   I don't argue that the people of PBS don't have the right to decide they aren't okay.   They most certainly can decide whatever they want.  

But, the logic that coloring books aren't books doesn't work unless I am given a definition to go by of what a book is that excludes coloring books.   All of these things that I am talking about fit the general defintion of the word book.

And this still doesn't account for why workbooks are postable and coloring books aren't.    Workbooks are designed to be used up.   And people do break the rules with them and I still think they should be allowed to be posted.  

And yes, people will break the rules and post colored in one coloring.   And if they do it too many times they will get kicked off just like if they post too many other bad items.

Are you saying that the USPS doesn't consider coloring books to be books?    Can you provide a link to your source?   I'd love to see the USPS definition of a book.  

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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Yes, coloring books are books. They are books that PBS prohibits from being swapped on their site. Whether we agree or not, that is their rule. You can send in Feedback through the Contact Us link if you want to give them your or why they should be allowed. My personal guess is that their nature leads them to be problem swaps, same with paper doll books and postcard books-- once they are used, they are used up. That is not the definition of a workbook to me. Workbooks are (to me)  where their content is analyzed or used to follow a process but left intact, not used up, and would continue to have value after use for that analysis or process. 

Coloring books and magazines just beg for problem swaps so I suspect its their way of eliminating a lot of time consuming problems before they happen. A used book is going to have all of its pages and all of its content as described, a coloring book, paperdoll book, and postcard book may not after it has been used.

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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This is the USPS definition of what can be mailed media mail. It sounds to me like coloring books cannot be sent media mail because the books must be "reading matter".

Content Standards

Only these items may be mailed at the Media Mail prices:

a. Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers' own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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The portion that Melanie has highlighted is the reason behind no coloring books, postcard books, and paper doll books. As a general rule, there's not enough READING MATTER to make it considered a READING BOOK, which is what is considered a book by both the USPS and PBS.

As others stated, we can disagree with the ruling all we want, but these have all been declared as non-postable by PBS and it's their site, we just get the priveledge of using it, so we don't get to vote on the rules, we just get them handed down to us by the owner(s) of the site. There are a lot of things that a lot of people don't like or want changed, and sometimes PBS will see a value in making the change, I've seen lots of rules adjusted and changed thru the last 4+ yrs I've been here, but this is one that's been debated and discussed and rejected by them time and time again.

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I'm not at all convinced that coloring books don't meet the USPS definition of book.  Many coffee table books have less words.   Are we going to ban photographic works?  Most Dover books have plenty of words.  Some books that have no words require a lot of scholarship to create (for example those paperdoll books require scholarship in order to get the costumes accurate).       

Most of my concern has to do with interpretation.  I keep hearing "that isn't a book" about things that are books by my understanding of the dictionary defintion, yet other people are positive that they aren't.   I don't want to get criticized for posting something that the other person thinks obviously isn't a book and I think obviously is.  But I don't want to not post something I think someone wants and I think is a book --  Dover coloring books and paperdoll books are a good examples.   I posted a book of punch out masks once.   I'm sure someone would have said it wasn't a book, definitely had some words, no advertising, required scholarship, and wasn't even a periodical.

Things mentioned by name such as coloring books and magazines I can avoid when obvious, but what each of these items is and isn't is vague.   To me a magazine is a glossy paper publication with advertising, which is different from a journal which is a periodical produced by a scholarly society and has no advertising (or at least that is one kind of journal, there are other kinds).  But there is a lot of in between those 2 (and we can argue about what a scholarly society is LOL).   So, as far as I can see, I can post what I think is a journal.   But I'm betting that if I do someone will say I have posted a magazine.

I agree that PBS can make whatever rules they want and that people should follow them.   I'm not disagreeing with following the rules.  Rather, I am pointing out the vagueness, illogic and inconsistency behind some of them.  My purpose in bringing it up here is it to PBS attention in a manner that allows other people to hear my reasoning and comment too, perhaps getting me to change my mind. 

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
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Edith, if you want to "bring it to PBS attention" you would do better to contact TPTB because they are not going to see your arguments here.

ETA:  The New England Journal of Medicine...while a "journal" is still a magazine AND it contains advertisement but, in a much more discrete manner.

Date Posted: 1/12/2010 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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Thanks.  Like I said, there is a lot of in between.  My definition isn't perfect either.  Lots of journals do advertise.  Having advertising hurts a journals credibility because then it has a conflict of interest (if the NEJM advertises drugs then its less likely to want to publish research that says a drug doesn't work).  Lots of magazines put "journal" in their name and "journal" does have other meanings than the one I supplied, can mean (probably more often) a record of the organization.  At least this has been a good sounding board for my opinion on it.  

Date Posted: 3/17/2010 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
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Personally, I don't think that adult mandala books should even be considered coloring books - clumped together with children's coloring books - there is most definitely a difference. Granted there are a few mandala books specifically for children.

I've been going thru a lot of personal turmoil the last 3 years. Even put in a psychiatric unit for a couple days - in '08. Which by the way, is where I discovered mandalas. We'd have a table of 5 or 6 of us sitting there coloring, with soft music playing in the background. We were all able to relax, be soothed and feel calm.

I have several mandala books, I never color in them. I treat them with respect, copying the pages and color them, sometimes the same one several times. I never give away the copied pages - obeying copyrights.

If you want the truth, I've come to rely on my pages as a form of calmness & a little peace in my life. They are considered meditation books, tell me how many children sit; coloring & meditating? I'm not saying that all children don't, but I do believe that it is a rarity.

These are books geared towards adults, not even close to children. I just think that certain rules, need to be examined a little more closely and see that some books aren't what they are currently considered/categorized - seen from a very different point of view.

I just checked, and there over 100 mandala books on wish lists, I personally have a couple as well.

To me, it seems almost closed minded to see all these type of books judged/viewed/considered in one category. I can understand not posting children's mandala books, but the adult books aren't just for coloring; a great deal of them are considered books to aid in healing. There is a purpose for these books, not just to color, but for ones' mental health - many physciatrists even recommend them to their patients.

I just posted a "Celtic Knotwork Stain Glass Colouring book" - by Dover Books.

This is what it says on the inside cover/desribed:

Spirals and curves intertwined with mythological creatures and gripping beasts are characterics of the intricate knotwork used in Celtic art. These decorative and complex designs can be found on monuments, jewelry, and in illuminated manuscripts like the "Book of Kells". Creating these patterns takes some concentration, as you must make sure that your cords and loops are symmetrical. When you colour the sixteen stained glass designs in this book you will understand the complexity of the knotwork, and possibly be inspired to create your own patterns.

None of how this book is described is geared towards children, but more on the history of Celtics/Book of Kells. It even states art. Sorry, but I didn't see anything about children - I know there are probabley some, but how many children know about Celtic art & history?

So, now I suppose to remove this book from my bookshelf, when to me it is clear in the description that it's not a typical colouring book. I'm not trying to stir up trouble, just stating that I believe that some rules aren't quite fair. Workbooks are acceptable, but adult coloring books that are created for several purposes: healing, meditation, tranquility, peace and for some us; soothing our broken/damaged/traumatized mental health.

How can any of this be geared more towards children, than adults? That seems closed minded - some rules just can't clump everything into one category. Perhaps the entire section of books that are in the health/mind/body category should be removed. Wouldn't it make much more sense to put adult mandala books in the health/mind/body category where it truly belongs instead of children's coloring books?

I have a feeling that some authors of above posts have never had to live with/heal from mental illness. I'm Bi-Polar, and for the majority of the time I have absolutely no support from my family, just the opposite - having it used against me - as if I've committed some crime - these books have helped me in trying to get better, it has helped me many times in holding it together.

I have reasons for posting my thoughts/views; taking a stand in support of mandala books. They aren't just adult play color books, they serve a huge purpose - mental & medical. So, I'm sorry, but I can't just sit here, reading all the above posts and remain quiet - especially about something that has saved me - literally.

We are all entitled to our opinions, some of you may judge me for having a mental illness, that's your choice. But, I felt that I had to show how these books aren't play things, but are actually used for one's well being.

I hope that I haven't come across angry, I'm not. Frustrated at first, but now I just want to open some eyes and minds to see mandalas are so much more than coloring books. Please, don't judge a book by it's cover ;o)

Stepping off the soap box. I hope that I have taught some of you that mandalas actually serve a purpose. I would be grateful if I was even helpful to those who need it, a little piece of hope that there is another form of self help available..


Date Posted: 3/19/2010 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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Have you been told you can't post a Mandala book? (By someone with the power to do something about it?)

I don't think children's or adult has anything to do with it. After all children's books are allowed."Play" is actually education for a child. Coloring is fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, necessary skills to later development of handwriting.

The rule itself is silly and how to apply it is not black and white.Lots of books with the word "coloring"in their title are much muchmore than coloring books. I really the think book police need to focus on real problems and not sillylittle issues.


Date Posted: 3/19/2010 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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You may wish to re-read your PBS membership agreement, it is contingent upon agreeing to and following PBS postability guidelines. Members should have the assurance that any books they order FIFO meet ALL postability guidelines. Questionable or unpostables are welcome in the Book Bazaar and genre forums, I've swapped non-postables in the Homeschool forum (ie abacus with an abacus workbook).

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 12:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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Sorry you find following the rules the site has laid out as silly issues Edith, but it is their site, their rules, and those of us who have volunteered to help the site will continue to tell people that they cannot post coloring books because the rules clearly state that. Whether someone agrees with the rule or whether the books would be helpful to someone is completely irrelevant.

Bethany /Elaine- I don't thinkanyone has said that there isn't a great benefit for someone to use the adult coloring books, that isn't really the issue. The site doesn't ban them because of who might use them. But they do ban them and they should not be posted. If you post it and send it, you have no recourse if the receiver does not give you credit because they are items clearly identified as not postable here. The ones with coloring book in the title will very likely get tagged and deleted. Somehow who repeatedly ignores the posting rules risk getting their account closed and would lose any credits accumulated at that point. Not really worth it in my opinion.

Last Edited on: 3/19/10 12:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/19/2010 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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I just posted a "Celtic Knotwork Stain Glass Colouring book" - by Dover Books.

I think I'd be careful admitting that I posted something not allowed here. TPTB can read this and close your account for not following the rules. There are a lot of thing posted here that is not allowed, hence the need for this sticky thread. Report Suspicious Items Here team_post.png

It really doesn't matter if you agree with the rules or not. You agreed to FOLLOW them when you joined the site.

You are making your argument in the wrong place. If you disagree with the rules you should use the link below and talk to the owners. Other members only have the power to agree or disagree with you, not the power to change the rules.

Some of the arguments against coloring books would also apply to puzzle books and activity books and yet TPTB has said these are ok. Can you post word seach, puzzle, crossword books, sticker, etc.? Their answer is on the second page about these books.

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
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I know what the rules say. At issue the definition of a coloring book. You have to interpret the rules. How you interpret the rules is up to you. In order to decide what I can and cannot post, I have to interpret the rules. Yes, you can kick me off for not interpreting the same way you interpret, but since I cannot read your mind I can only guess at how you are going to interpret.I am still left with no choice but to interpret.

To me a book that hasconsiderable text and other activities than coloring is not a coloring book even if the word "coloring" is in the title.Thus most Dover "coloring books" are not coloring books. To me a coloring book is a cheapy newspaper print book with large pictures designed for little hands. I think the rules against them is silly, butI won't post them because I perceive themto be against the rules.

Lots ofchildren'smath book include the processof coloring in order to do the problems . . . are they coloring books? How about a book of paint by number pictures . .. how about a book on "hair coloring" or "wall coloring."

Yes, theowners can make whatever rules theywant. Ihave no choice but to interpret the rules. For someone to think that their understanding ofwhat the rules mean is obvious to assume that everyone useslanguage the same and sees the world the same.


Date Posted: 3/19/2010 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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A celtic knot stained glass coloring book would be a very useful reference book on celtic knots.

The purpose in posting this discussionhere is to get the people who enforce the rules to realize that that not everyone reads the rules the way they do, that the rules can be understood to mean many different things.There can be good reason for considering something with the words "coloring book" in thetitle to not be a coloring book intended to be banned by the rules. There is a really big gray area in the the definition of a "coloring book" and just like there is a big gray area in the what is book in "good condition" and what is a "stain" (lots of what I receive has what I consider to be a stain and is not in good condition, but I tryto be open minded about interpret when I choose whether to RWAP or not. Just got one the other day got a book that smelled reallymusty to me. Musty = water damage to me, wouldn't have posted it, didn't RWAP it, may throw it away). It would be nice if people tried to understand the breadth of how this might be interpreted instead of assuming that everyone reads things the same way they do and is just ignoring the rules if they behave in a manner that contradicts their personal individualunderstanding of the rules.

Date Posted: 3/19/2010 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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Arethesecoloring books?

*A First Cookbook for Children (Dover Pictorial Archive Series) (Paperback)

* First Lessons In...: Cutting & Coloring, Arts & Crafts, Holidays & Seasons, Cooking & Baking (Monkey Sisters) (Paperback)

* American Historical Illustrations and Emblems CD-ROM and Book