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Topic: Requestor Condition - Need your opinion

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Subject: Requestor Condition - Need your opinion
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 322
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I recently received a request for a book with the following condition:

"I will only accept books from a non-smoking environment.  Also, books must be in good to new condition."

I accepted the request, but send her the following message via PM:

I read your conditions and accepted your request. The book is from a non-smoking environment, and *I* think the book is in good condition - it certainly meets the guidelines of PBS, but it is not a "new" book. This book is one of her older books and has an older book cover - not the new updated one that just came out. Please let me know if this is not acceptable. Thank you.

Do you think I handled this matter appropriately.  I've never had to deal with this before.  I didn't want to just reject her request because of her condition, but I also don't know if a book that was published 8 years ago meets her condition.

This is why I really hate when people have these types of conditions!  It's sort of insulting in a way, because I only post books that are in good condition - conditions that meet the PBS guidelines.  There is no reason to restate this.  And if she is looking for a book that's in NEW condition, then she needs to go to Borders and buy it herself.  This is a "used" book swap for goodness sakes!

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I think your response was perfect.  It was very polite and let her know about your book.  She will either accept or reject.  It is up to her now.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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you certainly went further than I would have...because of the subjective nature of her RC's I wouldn't have accepted it.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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I agree, you were very nice and went further than I would have also (I would also have rejected it if I had any doubt that my book might not meet this subjective condition.)

One recommendation that I would make is to state a deadline for reply in your PM.  Otherwise you may run up against the mailing deadline and you still haven't heard back from the requester.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 345
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I agree with Christy and Lynne -- I probably would have rejected the request.   The "good" condition is too subjective for me to be sure the book was acceptable to *her*.  While it's nice to contact her about it, it's also opening up a big can of worms I wouldn't want to deal with.  It puts me in the position of possibly trying to accurately describe the condition of the book to *her* satisfaction.  When she receives it, will she say, "but you didn't tell me about this" or "you didn't tell me about that" and I want my credit back? 


You never know what's going to be the deal breaker for someone when you're trying to describe something like that.  The most important point to her might be something that I wouldn't even think about. 

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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While I agree with the points that y'all make, and can see how problems *could* possibly arise from someone with those conditions - if it had been me on the other end, I personally would have greatly appreciated Jennifer's PM about the book.   But again, I can see how things could work out many different ways, depending on the requestor themselves.

But before summarily dismissing someone's RC's - try to see it from the other side as well.   It can be rather difficult to word any kind of condition without using some sort of subjective language.   For example, the only "RC" I have is that I prefer to get dustjackets on the hardcovers I request.   They don't have to be perfect, but I'd like them to be in reasonably decent shape.  How does one define "decent shape" in such a way to make it clear?   I have re-written my RC so many times now, to try to clarify exactly what I meant.   It's really pretty simple, I just would like a dustjacket and for it to be in reasonable condition, I know these are used books, I just don't want a DJ that's all torn apart & trashy-looking  - but I kept having to add more & more text to my RC to try to cover every last question imaginable.   

Shortly after adding my RC, I had someone reject a request , informing me that paperbacks don't have dustjackets, therefore she couldn't meet my RC.   So, I specifically stated that it applied to hardcovers only.   Another time, I was rejected for a book that was one of those "printed-cover" books that never had a dustjacket - so I added in text to clarify that it only applied to those hardover books that WERE issued with a dustjacket to begin with.   Then a third time, I was rejected, the person writing a rather snooty-sounding message stating that the DJ had one tiny 1/4" tear, so therefore she didn't want to take the chance of it not meeting my definition of "decent shape" or not --- so I added yet more verbage, something along the lines of "normal wear & tear is fine - for example, a small 1/2" rip or two, or small creases, etc are OK, but if the DJ is ripped to pieces & all taped  back together, that's not OK"

I've tried to condense it back down again now - but at one point, my poor RC was probably 3 rather lengthy paragraphs, as I tried to cover all these different possibilities that people threw at me.   All I wanted was a dustjacket in reasonably decent shape - but "decent" or  "good" are subjective words, of course  - but I think some common sense needs to play into the picture sometimes too.  


Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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The problems with PMing someone after accepting are: what happens if they don't respond? Do you send the book anyway or do you cancel?  If you cancel and it's not a WL book than you have to go to the end of the FIFO line and work your way up again. If it's a WL book than you have to repost it and it'll offer it to the same person again.  If they cancel and reorder than it'll offer the request to you again or if it's WL they lose their place in line. If the book is PBS postable than there shouldn't have to be a discussion about the book.

If RC's are vague-I usually hit decline.  I don't auto-decline all RCS but if they're vague, ask for a PM before sending or seem to want a brand new book than I decline.  If they just ask to make sure it's a postable book than I accept.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 322
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It's weird, but this lady hasn't responded to my PM's but she logged on and ordered another book from me.  If I don't hear back from her, I'm just going to send her the books and hope for the best.  I will be thinking twice about accepting these vague conditions again!  It just isn't worth all of this hassle.  (These books are WL'd books).

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Sample RC based on above issues:

No Hardback Books without a dustjacket IF they were orininally published with one.  Please make sure that dustjacket has no tears greater than 1/2 inch,  no water damage or stains, no large (entire length or width of book) creases, no tears that are mended with tape.


The key is to spell out clearly what you specifically want or don't want.  Using words like "good" or "decent" shape are way to subjective...instead of using those words spell out what those words mean to you....it isn't hard...and if you are having problems writing it come on the forums and folks here are real good about helping you.


Last Edited on: 6/26/08 4:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2008 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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Jennifer, I don't blame you for feeling that way - the person should have replied to you ASAP once they logged back in.  

Christy, thanks for the suggestions.  Actually, when my hubby was more active here (now he just lets me get his books for him) - he was the one that initially started with the RC about dustjackets & his was worded almost exactly as your example - giving specific details but keeping it polite & brief.   (He didn't have any mention of water damage in his, but otherwise, it was almost identical to your example)   Although he had some requests filled, he also got several very snide messages telling him that they weren't about to "get a ruler & measure the  rips" and so forth & that he was being way too picky by giving precise "limits" like that.    Seems no matter which way you go, some people are  not going to like it. 

I don't remember just how my RC is worded right now, I've re-written it so many times - but so far (knock on wood), it seems to be working out OK.   No denials, no questions, etc - so *hopefully* I've finally gotten it to where it seems to get my general meaning across, without upsetting anyone or getting anyong thinking I'm being too picky....

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Nickie...funny how people get so snide about measurements in RC's but, guess what that exact measurement is part of PBS rules regarding tears in books...guess they had better get their ruler out afterall.

Date Posted: 6/26/2008 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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LOL, oh I know!   Maybe those were some of the same people who don't read the guidelines anyway.    And it's not as if WE were going to get our ruler out --- "OMG, look at this - I said no rip larger than 1/2" and this tear is 1/100 of a millimeter larger!!!!"    ROFL!

I guess I worry too much.   I really am NOT super-picky about books I get here - I just like to have DJ's on my hardcovers if at all possible, and don't want them falling to pieces.    Especially after reading the forums regularly, I see so many people who have problems w/ folks' RC's and I don't want to come across as being overly picky or demanding - so anytime someone said something, I kept trying to redo it & redo it again, to try to make it as "inoffensive" as possible while stating what I would like. 

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
Posts: 413
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Chris I would say that since she ordered another book from your shelf that that was a "yes" thats fine with me.  You said, "please let me know if this is NOT acceptable".  Since she did not respond, she must have thought she didn't have to becuase you said let me know if things are NOT okay.   I would go ahead with the order and feel confident about it.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 322
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Well, the requestor cancelled the books she ordered from me without replying to my PM's.   *sigh*

I pulled the books last night and they are perfectly acceptable and what I would consider "good".  They are NOT absoutely pristine because they are used books and are about 8 years old with outdated covers - (the books have since been re-released with updated covers).  They were on her wish list for a long time, too.  Her loss, I guess.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2007
Posts: 6,567
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I admit this does annoy me. I understand wanting nice books. This is why I LOVE Paperback Swap. The condition that Paperback Swap has for the posted books makes perfect sense. As long as the books meets that it is fine with me!

My only conditions is that it doesn't have a STRONG smell of smoke. This is due to my migraines.

I also swap books on Bookmooch and sadly that site has NO posting conditions what so ever. It is up to the poster to put in the conditions and a lot of people don't. Let me tell you have gotten some HORRIBLE books from that site! Most are great but one was so water damaged I couldn't even open the book well enough to read it. The water had warped it. Another book was missing more than half it's pages! Both were clear to anyone with common sense. lol Yet the posted didn't post the conditions.

Not to long ago I had someone request a book on Bookmooch. She PM me asking me about the conditions even though I had written in VERY clear detail. I again though gave her very clear details on the conditions. She wrote me back saying she wanted a book that LIKE NEW & in VERY GOOD condition. I yet AGAIN sent her a message detailing the condition of my book. The book was in good used shape, still readable, pages were in tight, yet it was an older book from the 70's and a tad worn. Yet my kids had read it and enjoyed it. Long story short: She never answered my message so I sent it and ofcourse she wasn't happy. (sigh)

I hate to say it but this site is a USED BOOK SITE you can can buy books cheaply from Amazon.com that are used if you want books in near perfect condition. Some people seem to forget that.

Honestly I am thankful for any book someone takes the time to send me. As a homeschooling family this site is a HUGE blessing to us. Books cost money, we LOVE books, we read through and want more! lol Perfect place for us.

Subject: Book condition
Date Posted: 6/28/2008 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2008
Posts: 183
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I would say  as far as condition goes--don't send a book out that you wouldn't want to receive. That is how I feel.

Subject: Conditions
Date Posted: 6/28/2008 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
Posts: 151
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I've always thought the RC option was mainly put out there to circumvent allergies (smells like smoke or pet fur) and not really for how used a book is... if I saw a condition asking to send only "good to like new" books, I'd pass.  This is a USED book site.

I have a question, though... how does one know if a hardback was originally issued with a dust-jacket?  I wouldn't know. 

Subject: condition request other than allergies/environmental
Date Posted: 6/30/2008 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2008
Posts: 3
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If it meets PBS standards THAT IS IT !   If anything else is allowed, why wouldn't I just put a CR on every book I order and work my way down the list until some offerer meets my elevated standards?  I recently received a requirement for a condition suitable for use as a gift.  That should not be allowed.  If it is allowed, I will start working my way through the to a superior copy of any popular (more than one copy offered) books I want.


Every book I offer meets or exceeds PBS standards.  Many are new.  That is all I should be concerned with.  There are always some folks playing the system. Let  them go elsewhere and start the SCPSW (Superior Condition Paperback Book Swap).

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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why wouldn't I just put a CR on every book I order and work my way down the list until some offerer meets my elevated standards - on THIS site you can most certainly do that. PBS allows RCs and specifically state they are to be used to get a book in better than site standards. I get pretty sick of people saying if someone want a better book go to another site, PBS allows it so get over it. If someone wants a site to send out whatever the heck they please, THEY can go to another site that allows that. This site allows it and I wish people would get over the bashing of people that are doing exactly what the site says they can do.

BTW - I do not have any such RCs, mine are only smoke and repeating the binding rule.

Last Edited on: 6/30/08 12:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: I was wrong - sorry
Date Posted: 6/30/2008 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2008
Posts: 3
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I was certainly wrong in criticizing folks for using RCs not related to allergy.  When I reviewed PBS "rules" I had missed that RCs are allowed .


I disagree with the policy, but the rules are the rules so I will shut up.

Last Edited on: 6/30/08 8:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/30/2008 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/16/2007
Posts: 148
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Why do some get so upset about RCs? Just as PBS rules allows anyone to put any RC they desire, anyone and everyone is free to accept or decline a request.  If your book(s) meets their RC(s) and you wish to accept, fine. If your book(s), don't, just decline.  If the RC(s) are very subjective and there is a question, decline.  If you want to just decline simply because they have an RC, then just decline.  If you decline because of  RCs, your book goes back into the same FIFO slot (at least that is the case from what I have read under PBS guidelines) as it was before the request.

Life is just too short to sweat the little stuff.  Any if anything qualifies as 'the little stuff', RCs on PBS certainly do.

Take a deep breath.  Appreciate that we have a great site like PBS.

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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I think one (of many) reasons that PBS has been so popular & successful is that the system does meet the needs/desires of a wide variety of people.

Some people use sites like this as a "mail-order library" -- they "check out a book", read it & then immediately "check it back in".  In that case, as long as the book is in readable & re-postable condition, that's all that matters.

Others do swapping in the literal sense of the word.   They order Book A because they want it for their personal library, and they want to keep it.  They then post Book B up for grabs that they no longer want.   For those folks, condition is likely to be a little bit more important than it is for the person who's only going to read the book then be rid of it.  

Some strongly prefer paperbacks, others strongly prefer hardcover & we have that choice.   Some people post TONS more books than they ever order, some post books & never order any in return --- some order many more books than they are able to post, and so forth.  

Some people don't even care whether a book has it's covers or not (I know that's against PBS rules - I've just seen a couple comments that they wouldn't care...)   Others want books that are in like-new condition & are apparently willing to wait for gosh-knows-how-long before they will ever get a request accepted, in order to get a book just as they want it.

There's room for everyone here and room for all different tastes & ways of doing things.   It's the diversity that has made this THE best book site around IMO - we can all have our own way of handling our swapping - we're not tied down to ONE way of thinking & doing things here.    I think that's one of the strengths of this site - we should be happy for the diversity here, and happy that the system is set up to accomodate ALL different viewpoints & tastes.   If you are really bothered by the way another person is handling their business, then you're free to bypass that person & not deal with them at all.   No biggie, IMO. 

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2008
Posts: 417
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Marcia ~ To your question about knowing if a book was issued with a dustjacket:

Some books are not issued with a dustjacket, and it's usually fairly obvious. Think of the cover of a cookbook, or a hardback children's book, or some gaming books. They are hardcovers, but have shiny printed boards whereas hardcovers issued with dustcovers often are very plainly cloth bound books under the wrapper (dustcover).

On a personal note, when I order a hardcover edition specifically it's a book for my keeper shelf. I might (or probably!) already have it in paperback or a 'bookclub' sized edition and decided I liked it enough that I want a regular sized hardcover for my shelf. I do have an RC that I want books with dustjackets.

Dustjackets don't just look nicer, they make the book easier to identify on the shelf and help protect the actual book from damage.

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1,487
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I am super happy that we're allowed to have RC on PBS. My husband is wicked sensitive to cigarette smoke, so that's one of mine. I'm also using the site to stock my library with my old childhood favorites in hardcovers - because of that, I ask that any hardcovers that originally came with dustjackets come with it in "good" condition. I know "good" is very subjective, so I note that it's for my Keeper shelf... that usually gives someone a better idea of what I'm looking for. I haven't had a problem with this yet!


Sure some people are going to take the RCs to the extreme and only ask for books in perfect/near-perfect condition, but that's up to them. If that's how they want to use this site, then so be it. We're all here for different reasons, but we're all here because we love books!  :)


Date Posted: 6/30/2008 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2005
Posts: 131
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(Jen said - I'm also using the site to stock my library with my old childhood favorites in hardcovers)

Oh Jen, I'm glad to hear someone else say that!!   Over the past year or two, I've been trying to do the exact same thing!   .   I've been fortunate enough to find some books here, and have lucked out on a few through Alibris, Ebay, Powells, etc.   I recently got one of my earlier childhood favorites here, the complete *original* story of Pinocchio (not the Disney-fied version) & it was a *beautiful* ornate hardcover - I was so thrilled with it but was sheepishly joking with my husband, saying it must seem so silly for an almost-50 year old woman to be getting her favorite childhood books all over again!    When I was 8, my grandmother sent me a lovely boxed set of 6 hardcover Dr. Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting- I *loved* those books.   I recently spotted the same identical set at a steal on Ebay & had to grab them.

I'm glad I'm not the only one "reliving my childhood"  (grin)

Editted to add ---- well, maybe you didn't quite mean children's books to that extent - so perhaps I AM weird -- but it gives me a warm cozy feeling to look in the library & see some of the books that I dearly loved when I was little....

Last Edited on: 6/30/08 7:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 2