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Topic: Quality Of Books Received

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Subject: Quality Of Books Received
Date Posted: 2/24/2012 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2011
Posts: 2
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I have mailed out about one hundrd books since May and all were in very good to brand new condition. I have only requested about twenty books because I have become very leery about the books posted. One for example smelled so bady of cigarette smoke I had to put it in a closed container with activated charcoal for two months before it was readable. Another, a cookbook,  went straight into the trash after opening because it was so stained it was really unpleasant to handle. Other books are old and the pages close to disintigrating or covers bent and warped. I was wondering if any one else is running into this problem consistently? 

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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Just today I received a beautiful pristine book.  Wrapped in plastic.  Did not even look opened.  From FIFO.  It is just your luck.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 6:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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The vast majority of books I've ordered have been in very good condition, many looked brand new and I've even received several signed by the author editions.  There have been a few bad apples, but in my 5 years here, those have been the exception.  If you are ordering older books, there is always the chance that these books are going to show their age, but as long as they meet the posting requirements there's not much you can do about it; sometimes you're going to get the book that's on it's last read. As for smoky books, I don't have an RC in place, yet I've only received 3 books, all from the same person, that were overpowering, maybe I've been lucky.  If smoke is a problem for you, then set up an RC stating something specific like "I cannot accept books currently in a smoking home." or something like that.  Honestly, I think you may be having a run of bad luck; hopefully it will turn around for you soon.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 6:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Odors aren't covered in the rules, so unless you have a Requestor Condition (RC), there's a chance  you'll receive books that smell of smoke. I've received a few but not enough for me to set up an RC. Cookbooks are allowed to have some staining but can only be sent if the sender gets prior approval from the requestor. If that didn't happen, then you have a right to mark the book Received With a Problem (RWAP) and ask for your credit back.

If you're expecting all the books you receive to be in very good to brand new, unless you have an RC stating that, you may find yourself disappointed from time to time. I've gotten books that appear brand new but I've also gotten well used, on their last read, books.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 7:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,664
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The vast majority of the books I have received are in very good used condition, I would say. Many do look close to new, especially hardcovers and trade paperbacks. And, I've received just about 1,000.

I have received a small handful of smoky books (probably less than 10) .... but smoke does not bother me, so I usually just let them air out a little while. I've also received a couple of extremely bad books (one growing actual mold on it).  Covers that are bent or warped are postable ... if that bothers you, you should add a RC to your account. That does not bother me.

Another thing you might receive is ex-library books ... they are postable to this site, too. I don't know if that would bother you, but if it does, it is another thing to add to your RC.

Overall, the amount of books that I have received with what I would call severe problems are less than 10. (So, less than 1%) 

If your goal is to gain books for your keeper shelf, then you might really want to consider adding a polite, nicely worded RC to your account.

If you are going to re-trade books you receive anyway ... then as long as they are postable when you receive them, don't worry too much about the condition as long as they don't break rules of the site.



Last Edited on: 2/24/12 7:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/24/2012 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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The last book I ordered looked brand new. But then I seldom order books that were published a while back.

Regarding your problems:

One for example smelled so bady of cigarette smoke I had to put it in a closed container with activated charcoal for two months before it was readable. If smoke bothers you, set a requestor condition as suggested by other members.

A cookbook,  went straight into the trash after opening because it was so stained it was really unpleasant to handle. You should have RWAPed this book because the sender should have told you beforehand about the stains. Even if you wouldn't have gotten your credit back, you could have gotten back to the wish list.

Other books are old and the pages close to disintigrating or covers bent and warped. Old books and bent covers are not unpostable (see below requirements for the cover and pages.) Not sure what you mean when you say 'pages are close to desintegrating'. If the pages are not torn, chewed, water damaged then the book is postable. If you are ordering old editions of books, it's unlikely you'll find one in pristine condition although it can happen. Regarding the warped cover, if this is caused by water damage, then it's unpostable and you should RWAP.

Cover:

  • 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 water damaged (there may be no water damage to any part of the book)
  • 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 square 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

Pages:

  • 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
    • for travel guide books - maps if designed to be detachable may be detached, but must be included.
  • Cover not water damaged (there may be no water damage to any part of the book)
  • 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 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).
      • Exception: if it is a travel guide (not a picture book but a guide, such as Fodor's or Lonely Planet), some writing on text pages could be expected.  All maps must be present and included with the book - if detachable it is OK if they are detached, but they must not be missing.
        • if you post a travel guide that has writing in it, 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 textbooks/workbooks and cookbooks--see above and below).
    • No staining

      • 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 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 textbooks/workbooks--see above).
    • this exception applies to the covers of cookbooks also.
  • 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: 2/24/2012 9:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Overall I have been very pleased with the condition of hte books I receive here. I do get a lot of books where I make the decision to be the last one to pay a credit for them. But my main goal was to read cheaper and even with not reposting a book when I'm done-I still got it cheaper here than even my local thrift store.  (last night I had 2 used mass market paperbacks in my hand and put them back because they were $2.99 each at the thrift store and I can buy a credit here for $2.50 or even less).  I think I've maybe marked about 20 books now (out of over 700 received) as RWP and asked for my credit back, which I got on most of them.  I have yet to get a smelly book. But like I said, I have gotten a lot that were on their last legs.  Not obviously unpostable enough for me to ask for a credit back but worn enough to know that I wouldn't be reposting them. I have never had trouble earnign credits and so it's no big deal to me to be the one to pull it out of the system.  I think even used to say in the help docs somewhere at one point that everyone should expect to be the one to be the last to pay a credit for a book sometimes. 

If you are ordering a lot of older books than you need to research the ISBNs you are requesting and only request ones that are newer. Some publisher's will reissue a book with the same ISBN for many years. The cover picture here might show the latest edition but the one you get sent might be a much older edition.  I had this happen to me recently.  A book was out of print for about 20 years.  It was finally reissued but they used the same ISBN.  The one I received here was the 20yr old version.  I personally didn't care as I just wanted to read the book and paying a credit for it was cheaper than buying it new. 

You might want to set up RCS if you only want very new looking books but be prepared to get turned down a lot.

And don't feel guilty about markng books that don't meet the guidelines as RWP and asking for your credit back.  RWPs are how PBS weeds out the chronic bad senders.

 

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 9:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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The very first book I received on PBS was the comletely wrong book. I kind of freaked thinking I had just made this huge mistake in spending all that postage money.  But it was quickly remedied and I was glad that I stuck around.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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I've only had to RWAP one book out of hundreds I have received through the club.

-RD

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 202
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I have received 250 books and would break them down roughly as:

40%- new or almost new ( It always astounds me when I receive books that appear never to have been opened. I guess that some members are book dealers getting rid of excess inventory and thatr's fine with me.)

40%-- used but in excellent condition

18%- well read but still fine condition

1%-marginally okay (but readable)

1%- Cannot repost (but readable)

I only remeber asking for 1 credit back and that was not due to condition but that they sent the wrong book.

I am extremely happy with the quality of the books I've gotten.



Last Edited on: 2/24/12 10:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/24/2012 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,978
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Most of the books I have gotten lately are in like new/very good condition.  That's because I have enough books on my To Be Read pile that I save my credit primarily for Wish List books now.  Since most of my WL books are within a few years of their publication dates, they tend to still be in pretty good condition. 

I would say your expereience is probably a combination of bad luck and the type of books you are ordering.  Definitely don't be afraid to set up RCs if you think you will need them (forum members are always willing to help you craft a good RC if you need the assistance) and make sure you are marking those bad books as RWAP.

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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Please please please do not vent in your RC.  Be very clear and very polite.  Feel free to ask for help editing your RC.  This forum is a great place for RC feedback. 

Date Posted: 2/24/2012 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2008
Posts: 9,884
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I don't think I have ever received a bad book.  If I have received one, it must not have been very traumatic,  because I don't remember it.  I have an RC and I've received nothing but positive comments regarding my RC.  And if my RC gets turned down, then I didn't really want that book anyway.

 

Here's my RC, feel free to copy it.

 

I'm happy with used books and I'm not looking for "like new condition".  But please decline this request if the book doesn't meet PBS's conditions

I beg of you - please wrap the book in plastic (if you have it) and use something stronger than magic / scotch / invisible tape.  Don't feel bad about sending books in used envelopes held together by too much tape!  Mummified books don't bother me.  :o) 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to shoot me a PM

Thank ya kindly for your consideration and enjoy your day.

~ JonnieAngel

Date Posted: 2/25/2012 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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I've received...I dunno, must be over 1600 books now...and only a handful have been in a condition that I would consider unpostable and two of those were damaged by USPS in transit so not even the sender's fault.

Smells of any kind are not inherently unpostable by PBS standards so if smoke or other smells like perfumey smells or the musty smell that sometimes accompanies older books bothers you, you should set an RC as others suggest.

I have ordered plenty of older books that had yellowed pages, bent covers, dog-eared pages and were obviously well-used and read many times, but when ordering those, I consider that it IS an older book I'm ordering so to expect it to be near-new condition is just silly. Bent or worn covers are not unpostable. Of the books that are five years old or newer that I've ordered, I would say that the vast majority were in almost-new condition or at least 'very good' condition.

Anytime you get a book that does not meet the posting guidelines set by PBS, you should mark it RWAP so that if the person makes a habit of sending books that are water-damaged, have stained pages, missing pages, etc. there is a record of it on their trading history so that PBS can counsel them--or boot them out if they continue to post such books. But do be certain the book is actually unpostable before you do that!

Cheryl

Date Posted: 2/25/2012 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,504
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+1 Alisha ----"Most of the books I have gotten lately are in like new/very good condition."   ---I swear some of these books were NEVER read by anyone!

However, even though I have the "no smoky smell" RC on my acct due to severe allergies, I have gotten at least 4 horribly smoky books since last April ( my first year as a member, I got none that violated my RC)

It just depends, but overall the % of "bad" book swaps is very small.