Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: RWAP - Damaged By USPS

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: RWAP - Damaged By USPS
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 2:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
Back To Top

I received a book today that is very obviously a Damaged by USPS RWAP. I will be marking it as such, but I am also toying with the idea of whether or not to ask for my credit back. This is mostly because

A) Although taped well, it was a hardcover sent in what appears to be a single sheet of paper and

B) There are a few separated pages in the front part of the book, completely opposite from whether the main damage is. I suppose it's possible it was all cause en route, but since there are not other loose pages anywhere in the book (not even where the most damage is) my gut feeling is that it was like that before it was sent. I'm not sure though, since I've never seen damage this bad.

I'm super bummed because it was a Wish List Book I've been waiting on for about a year. I might still be able to read it, but I'm pretty sure this is too ripped up even for the Book Bazaar unpostable WL thread. I've posted some pictures of the damage below.

So what would you do in this situation?  

ETA: Here's the whole album in case the posted photos aren't showing up: http://s221.photobucket.com/albums/dd47/shadyglade/Wide%20Awake/

Last Edited on: 3/23/11 2:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 3:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
Back To Top


With such bad damage, it is possible that the page split happened because of it.  And, honestly, I think whatever 'ate' it would have chewed through anything, even if wrapped in more than just paper. A padded enelope might have saved it, but would more secure paper really have helped it?

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 3:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

Ugh, pity. Looks like that was seriously caught up in the sorting machine. With something like that, there's really no telling how the pages got seperated. The way it's been mauled, I wouldn't doubt it was the machinery.

I'd personally just have a little cry, mark it "damaged by P.O.", and wait for another copy.

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 3:18 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

I'd personally just have a little cry, mark it "damaged by P.O.", and wait for another copy.  +1

I really wish PBS would change their wrapping recommendations, one sheet (or even two) is not adequate protection for a hardcover book.  Sometimes they arrive with the corners all bent and smooshed.

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 4:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
Back To Top

I agree that good packaging wouldn't have saved this book -- that machine could have torn through anything.  But just want to clarify that PBS doesn't recommend "one sheet (or even two)" for hardcover books.

Wrapping Larger/Multiple Book Shipments

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route.  You will need to use alternate packaging methods.  You can use the 1-page PBS Label (the choice on the far right on the Wrapper Settings page) as an address label.

Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:

  • Heavy brown paper (from a cut-down grocery sack)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • Bubble or padded mailer
  • Tyvek or similar large envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • taping tightly around the book(s) also prevents the contents from sliding around inside
  • Box
    • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
    • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
  • Poor choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • Giftwrapping paper (too thin)
    • Newspaper (can smudge ink onto the books)
    • Priority mail envelope (this is illegal to use for MediaMail, even if you are reusing it, and even if you turn it inside out!)
      • if you do this, and the package is inspected, it will arrive postage-due at the requestor's, or be returned postage-due to you (the additional postage required will be the difference between postage paid and Priority Mail rate)


The aim is to have a sturdy package that will not permit the books to slide around inside, and which will not have loose flaps to get caught in postal machinery. It can take some experimentation to find the best method for you.

That said, when you mark it "damaged by USPS", you'll be placed back in your previous spot on the wish list for this book.  If it's on wish list hold, you can take it off hold by checking the little box next to it and then going up and clicking "unhold."

Last Edited on: 3/23/11 4:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
Back To Top

I thought you could RWAP this damaged by sender for them NOT using adequate wrapping. 

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
Back To Top
I would rwap it on the senders behalf for not wrapping it properly.
Subject: Ugh!
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
Back To Top
I agree - it looks as if the sorting/shredding machine caught one edge of the package and battered on it for quite awhile. Since hardbacks produced these days aren't as well-produced as older ones, I'd think it possible that all the stress on the back edge of the spine might have sprung the whole spine so as to loosen the front pages. I think I'd mark it as damaged by sender, too, because of the cheesy wrapping job. If the book had been in a padded envelope, it might not have been so badly chewed.
Date Posted: 3/23/2011 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
Back To Top

I usually send hardbacks in a box.  I like the extra protection.

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
Back To Top

My first instinct was that this was a problem with the sender's choice of wrapping materials.  Common sense should tell you that a single sheet of printer paper is not enough for a hardcover book. 

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,235
Back To Top

With that much damage, no kind of wrapping would have saved it.  Really, the PBS rules say quite clearly that brown craft paper and manila envelopes are sturdy enough for hardcovers ... if that book had been in a brown paper wrapper or a manila envelope LIKE PBS RECOMMENDS ..... there would have been just as much damage. It was obviously chewed through by a machine, and I doubt that a manila envelope would have saved it, even a tiny little bit.

That's a very clear case of damage by USPS.

If you want to make extreme cases ... then sure, I guess if everybody packages all books in boxes with bubble wrap around them ... then maybe it would not have been damaged, but PBS does not require that book packaging must withstand extremes of handling ... it must just withstand the ordinary rough handling that mail goes through.

If you mailed it out like that and got a request back for a credit ... would you refund it? Seriously?

Date Posted: 3/23/2011 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
Back To Top

I'd personally just have a little cry, mark it "damaged by P.O."

Yeah, I pretty much cried when I took it out of my mailbox like that.  As I said, I've been in the number 1 spot for almost a year, so I was really disappointed. 

Thank you for the advice everyone!