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Topic: See the spine?

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Subject: See the spine?
Date Posted: 2/25/2010 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,125
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Hope I can explain this clearly.  I have received several books that you can see the spine on one or two pages.  Usually the first few or the last few.

I am not sure if I should repost them.  The pages aren't loose  but just open very deep.  I have a WL one that does this on the second to last chapter sort of strange place.

As I said they came to me this way.  But I'm the person who if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all.  So if this is not acceptable I would lose out.

What's the rule here?

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I'm really not sure. I know some very small mass market paperbacks I have are like that. I can open the book in the middle and see light. And I bought them new. I think it's probably just the result of cheap printing materials. I would assume they are still postable since the pages are intact and it's not really a loosening of the pages or anything.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 770
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I won't post them when they are like that.  Usually I just figure the life of the book has ended with me.  I just had this debate with a face to face friend who was once a PBS member..  I had a book like that and I told her that she could have it because I felt that it was unpostable and it's life ended with me.  She disagreed and felt it was perfectly fine, but gladly took the book off my hands.  I was going to offer it as a freebie.

I might be overly cautious, but I try to think about the next stop on the books journey.  Will the next person be happy with what I send?  I hope so! 

I think you will get lots of different views on this one. 

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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The Help Docs say this about bindings in the page on Swappability:


  • Must be intact, with no separation on the inside or outside of the book
  • If the book tends to open at a particular page, this is OKAY
  • Small amount of fraying or denting at top or bottom is OKAY

It sounds like you're describing a book in which, at some point, the pages on the left don't meet the pages on the right and you can see the binding.  If so, that'd fall under the first bulletpoint as "separation on the inside".  I've received books that initially just opened to a particular page, and then after a few readings opened and separated, and as Karen has done, typically viewed that as simply the end of that book's run.  If I get one in the mail that's already showing glue, that's a problem swap. 

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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It sounds cleaved and there is a bit of difference of opinion about them here. Some believe any separation of the spine breaks the rule so cleaving would break the rule. The site took the word cleaving out of the rules and have clarified that books opening to a certain page, but with all the pages clearly intact and not on the verge of falling out were ok.

If the book is clearly in two pieces held to gether by the paper cover, I would not post it. On the Wish List book you can always offer it in the Book Bazaar explaining the issue and see if someone wants it.

If it is just starting to cleave, I attempt to fix it before it separates. I take the book and wrap a thin towel around it and rub a hot iron along the spine while holding the book firmly closed. I rub for a few seconds, off for a few, rub for a few - repeating until I can see the glue is warming up. Then I put down the towel and the iron and hold the spine tightly while rubbing firmly up and down and pinching the spine, attempting to redistribute the warm glue. Then I set the book  flat and put something heavy for at least 24 hours. This has resealed the spines most of the times I have done it. I have books I've done it to before reading and it held up fine without attempting to reseparate. I do some pretty rigorous testing to see if it will hold before I ever send one out. If it looks like it will cleave on the next reading I don't send it. None that I have done this to and kept have ever separated.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,125
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Thanks for the help and clarifications.

Melanie I am going to try your fix I think it will work on some of the books but one I don't see it so I'll retire that one.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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The thread below has a response from the PBS team (mostly down the page) and pictures in the fourth post.



Your books sound postable to me.

Last Edited on: 2/25/10 3:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/25/2010 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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Must be intact, with no separation on the inside or outside of the book

I'd take that to mean that the pages haven't seperated from the spine, and the spine isn't cracked to where it seperates from itself. 

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I think the post from Kim in the thread to which Ruth linked is absolutely perfect.  The second picture would be on the postable side of the line, while a bit more separation would put the book out to pasture.  Thanks a ton for tracking down that thread, Ruth :)

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,926
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The pictures are very explanatory. I do agree that books as in the second picture are becoming more prevalent (i.e. cheaply made?) - not only do I receive them here, but unfortunately, I frequently buy them new! I'm glad they verge on postable,

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,125
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Oh those pictures are so helpful.  My WL book isn't even as bad as picture 2.  I guess I shouldn't be worried about sending it.


Date Posted: 2/25/2010 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2009
Posts: 125
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Melanie thanks for sharing the repair idea. I would never have thought to try that. But I will now.

Couldn't you offer it and then send the member a PM explaining your concern and let them decide if they are ok with it. Might head off a problem and then you would not have to worry.

Date Posted: 2/26/2010 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Unless they don't respond, and then you have to worry a lot more.

Date Posted: 2/26/2010 5:52 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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If it is just starting to cleave, I attempt to fix it before it separates.

Melanie, thanks posting for these suggestions!

Subject: Thank you for the link to those pictures!!!
Date Posted: 2/26/2010 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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So very helpful. I too have gotten a few "spine cracks" books, and do not like them, will not send them out without pm'ing the requester first. I have gotten, just once, a severely cleaved book, marked it as damaged and threw it away.

 Having said that, if the book is a hard to find much wanted book, I will probably try the iron and towel technique.


Overall, I am so pleasantly surprised at the great quality of PBS books that come to the house.