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Topic: received a very NOT flat book

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Subject: received a very NOT flat book
Date Posted: 12/7/2009 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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I received a book today that is a big disappoinment, but I don't know whether it's an RWAP book or not.. It's extremely warped, to the point where I think it must've been damaged at least by humidity, if not by water itself, but I don't quite know how to handle the transaction.

It's a paperback--9"H x 7"W x 1"D. It has a huge indentation in it, like an arc starting on the bottom edge about 1" in from the spine (where the cover is wrinkled) then rising almost to the center of the book, then arcing back down to about 2" from the righthand edge. Can you visualize that? It looks sort of like the book were really soft with humidity at one point in time, and someone stepped on it really hard, leaving the imprint of the whole ball of their foot, but softly--not as a footprint, but as a huge warp in the shape of the book.

I've looked at all the pages and there aren't any tears or visible watermarks. On the other hand, I've tried folding the book all which-way and weighing it down with other books, and the warp only came partially out. It's really unsightly. The book will not get flat! I mean, it's UN-flat in multiple dimensions!

So is it water-damaged? Or what? How would I know? There's been a ton of wet weather on the East Coast recently, and this book came from Minnesota to Maryland. Could it have happened in transit? The wrapper was bone-dry on arrival, despite its being pretty drippy out today, and the wrapper had a lot of plastic tape all over it. If I had to guess, I'd guess it was warped when it went into the wrapper.

What do you guys think? If you think it's RWAP, what in the *heck* would I tell the sender?



Date Posted: 12/7/2009 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Well, I have to admit I'm probably not visualizing the book very well. Sounds like it could be where the book might have been dropped, or 'crunched' at one time. Is it a hardback, trade size, or MMPB? I know the wapper doesn't look wet, but is the envelope bent?

I think if the book was liquid damaged you can tell. The pages would feel rough and 'crispy' on the damaged pages, and a lot of times you can actually see the stain where the liquid was soaked up.

I don't think being warped or crunched is an official RWAP type of complaint. I think it's just one of those things that happen with used books. Sometimes they come dented or bent from being thrown into boxes.

But a picture might help if you can manage it.

Date Posted: 12/7/2009 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Thanks for your thoughts, Cindy. As I said before, the book is a paperback--9"H x 7"W x 1"D.That's an atypical size, much wider than a trade paperback. You're probably right that's it's simply bent or dented from being ill-used, thrown in boxes, etc. As I said, I really looked at the pages carefully, and couldn't find any evidence of liquid damage.

Gee, maybe I'm picky, but it seems to me that if a book is so bent out of shape it's nearly unusable, shouldn't that count as some kind of damage by the sender?

Any suggestions for restoration? Should I just put it under a huge pile of dictionaries and cross my fingers?

--Fi  =sorry to be so bummed out=

Date Posted: 12/7/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Sounds to me like the book was just not stored correctly and has taken its misformed shape from sitting wrong for too long. The only cure I've found for them is to put them under a lot of weight -- enough to push the book back into the correct shape -- for a very long time. Often the covers are never the same, but you might be able to get the pages straightened some.

As for unpostable v postable -- I'd never post one because I consider them not in good condition, but I'd probably not mark it RWP since there is no specific rule it breaks, and just make notes in the for PBS section of the survey on what poor shapre the book was in. Then I'd just take the book out of circulation.

Last Edited on: 12/7/09 9:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/7/2009 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 5,014
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I have some books right now that have been bent out of shape.  They are under the weight of heavy books plus 2 weights. They will sit there for at least a month. The last group of books that I did this with came out fine afterwards. This has been noone else's fault but mine. I bought some books from the bookstore and left them in the bag. When I took them out a couple of weeks later, they were all bent. The weight of the heavy books on top really helps.

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,232
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Personally, I feel the point of all of the rules at PBS fall into preventing 3 types of books .... unreadable books (writing, highlighting, missing/torn pages) or falling apart books (rips, broken spines) or gross books (water damage, stains, chewed) from being traded.

Bent is not unreadable or falling apart or gross, so I would think it is 100% postable.

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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Thanks for the thoughts. I agree that bent is not unpostable, so I did not mark this book RWAP. I did, though, write a friendly note to the sender asking her if it was bent when she sent it--while also expressing my concerns re. the rainy weather we've had, how long the book was in transit, & therefore how it was quite possible it might have gotten beat up by the USPS. She wrote back saying it was quite flat when she sent it, that it was one of her late father's books she'd been asked to help the family get rid of (sad), and that it had previously been stored flat in a box.

I guess it's a lesson for all of us: unusually heavy, large, or odd-shaped paperbacks need extra support in packaging. This one was packaged in a thin mailer, no more. What it needed was a thick piece of corrugated cardboard or something, to help it maintain its shape while shipping--or better yet, to be shipped in a box, not a thin mailer. Big paperbacks just don't support themselves very well: they can twist & fold & get warped under piles of other packages, and then they're ruined.


Last Edited on: 12/8/09 12:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1