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Topic: Question on Book Condition

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Subject: Question on Book Condition
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 2:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 131
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I have a 30 year old book that has many brown spots on the book edges. They look like discoloration due to the acid in the cheap paper.  On some pages and the insides of the covers, they go in a ways. They are definitely not "stains" as disallowed by the condition guidelines. Other than that the book is lightly worn with a shallow cover crease and no spine creasing (solid good condition).

Some books have very attractive age yellowing. The brown edge bloches on this book are definitely unattractive.

Is this book "postable"?


Last Edited on: 5/26/08 2:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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If the spots go onto the actual page, I wouldn't post it myself, but it sounds like a judgement call you will have to make.  You could accept the order and PM the requestor and describe the spots.  If they don't want the book, you can then cancel the order.  Good luck!


Date Posted: 5/26/2008 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 8,411
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It's called "foxing", and is a natural part of books aging. LINK  Not sure if that makes it postable, but it's not like they are food stains.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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Since it is probably foxing, not staining, I would say that it is postable.  If not, it falls into the gray area.  Since this is an older book, the requestor may not mind the foxing.  If you decide to post it, I would definitely PM the member & tell them the book's condition to ask if they are still interested in the book. 

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
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I agree that this falls into a gray area of "postability." What you might do is reverse the question. That is, ask yourself  what you would think if you received this book, and let that be your guide.



Date Posted: 5/26/2008 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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Some people call it foxing, but since I believe it is due to a fungus, I wouldn't post it.
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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I'd post it and PM the person when it is requested but, remember when you PM them give them a deadline to reply and say if you haven't heard from them by that deadline you'll think they want it and will mail it.

Website Reference:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxing

Foxing is a term describing the age-related spots and browning seen on vintage paper documents such as books, postage stamps, certificates, and so forth. The name is believed to derive from the fox-like reddish-brown color of the stains. Paper so affected is said to be "foxed."

While unsightly, and a negative factor in the value of the paper item for collectors, foxing does not affect the integrity of the paper.

The causes of foxing are not well understood. One theory is that foxing is caused by a fungal growth on the paper. Another theory is that foxing is caused by the effect on certain papers of the oxidation of iron, copper, or other substances in the pulp or rag from which the paper was made. It is possible that multiple factors are involved.

It is believed that high humidity contributes to foxing.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Is it a rare book? A WL book?  If it was a hard to find WL book, I'd post it and then PM the requestor and give them a deadline to respond.  If it's a rare book than someone is more likely to want it no matter what condition.  But if it's already in the PBS system then I'd offer it as a freebie or donate it or something. 

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 131
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Thank you all for the excellent advice. I had never heard of foxing before; live and learn. The book doesn't smell at all moldy and other than the spots it's in really nice condtion, so I'll probably post and PM. It is only on one wishlist anyway.

BTW, I mooched the book from another swap site and I was completely happy to get it. It's not real easy to find.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 1,222
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I had this question before so I contacted R&R and they said foxing is allowed.

Quoted from their response: "Foxing is not against the guidelines."

Last Edited on: 5/29/08 9:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1