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Topic: selling received books

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Subject: selling received books
Date Posted: 12/4/2011 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2011
Posts: 3
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I recently bought some books on ebay only to find the seller left a mailing insert from this site - the seller admitted that she/he gets books off this site and then sells them on Ebay, I find that to be unethical at the least, but couldn't find anything on this website, prohibiting it ... anyone have an opinion?  Turns out my daughter doesn't want to read the books after all so I'm probably going to put them back into your system once I figure it out ...

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Here's what the Help Docs say about selling books obtained from PBS:


  • PBS may not be used to obtain books for the purpose of resale.  Commercial use of the site is prohibited.
  • When you receive a book you requested, it does belong to you, and you can do whatever you would like with it after you have read it.   An occasional resale of an item obtained here for personal use is OK.
    • Of course we would like to see you repost your books on this site when you are finished with them, because it makes more books available for our many members to choose from.
    • Again, the occasional PBS book that is obtained for personal use, and then ends up being sold elsewhere, is perfectly okay. However, any systematic attempt to obtain books for resale (instead of personal use) will jeopardize your membership, and may lead to criminal prosecution.
    • That means: if you obtain books to read, and sell an occasional one, that is fine. If you request a book not to read, but in order to re-sell it, that is NOT fine.
  • We do have some booksellers who belong to the club.
    • They contribute a lot of books here, and booksellers are usually avid readers too!
    • Booksellers per se are not prohibited from membership.
    • But if there is a pattern to a bookseller's (or any member's account) of systematically obtaining books for resale, or if it becomes clear that a bookseller is attempting to use PBS to stock his or her (online or brick-and-mortar) bookstore, we will close his or her membership permanently, and legal prosecution may ensue. Again, commercial activity is prohibited at PBS.
Date Posted: 12/4/2011 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Well, my opinion is that that's just sad.  While I don't think there's anything that prohibits people from selling books received here, I always hope that the books I post will in turn be posted here to other members. 

That being said, welcome to PBS!  If the inserts you found in the books led you here, I'm glad!  Again, welcome!

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Whoops, I stand corrected.  Apparently there ARE rules that say you can't resell!

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 12/4/2011 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,156
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It's right in the Terms of Use. When you registered an account, you checked a box that said you had read them and agreed to them. If you weren't being honest when you checked that box, I'd recommend you go back and read them now. They're not long and they're not hard to understand and they are enforced. The link is on the next to last line of every page.

Here's the relevant section:

Commercial Use Prohibited

This Site and the associated service are to be used for non-commercial purposes only. Commercial use of the Site or associated service is absolutely prohibited and constitutes a breach of this contract, giving rise to substantial damages. Commercial use includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Any systematic effort to resell ordered items online or in person
  • Any use of bots or other systems to repeatedly access the site in an automated fashion
  • Use of the search function on the site for any purpose not directly related to participation in the book exchange


Commercial use will result in immediate cancellation of service and forfeiture of Book Credits. You hereby agree that damages from the commercial use of this site are difficult to compute. Damages from breach of this commercial use provision shall therefore be set at $10 per unauthorized Site visit. You hereby agree that such damages are a reasonable estimate of actual damages and you waive your right to contest these damages in a court of law or other proceeding.

Subject: reselling books obtained here
Date Posted: 12/4/2011 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 58
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I always felt that people who request books in pristine condition might have resale in mind or are actively reselling.  I guess there's really no way to verify that, though. 

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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If you still have the slip of paper, you should use the "Contact Us" button on the bottom of the page and report them, since it is against the ToS.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,730
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I'd turn it into the team and give them all the info I had, including the other person's Ebay user ID.  Occasional selling of a book obtained here is okay but flat out admitting that they use PBS to gain inventory is wrong.  The team can look into the books this person's received via PBS versus what they've sold on Ebay.  If they find that to be an unacceptable number, the other member will lose their account.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Were these books that were WL here? I ask because it's possible that she just has a ton of books and is selling off some rather than acruing more pts here.  Using PBS to acquire books just to sell wouldn't be very profitable.  Most books aren't worth very much used and the ones that are either don't get posted very often or have WL lines. 

She might be like me and just have built up a massive stash of books at this point.  I'm not selling mine off on Ebay because I'm too lazy and I know I wouldn't make any money on them. But that's me.

I would still report it to PBS so they can investigate. 

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2011
Posts: 3
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her emailed response says very plainly that she uses this site to stock her ebay sales of complete sets (I bought a complete set of Lemony Snickets), that's my bone of contention, thank you all for your guidance and input, I will be forwarding all of my information to the website administrators, I have to say that I had a lot of difficulty navigating this website without being a member and pages were slow to load, so thank you Cathy A for insinutating that I was the one who was being dishonest when all I was trying to do was find an answer 

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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Could be the situation where you get a book here but when you turn around to swap it back on the site you notice that there are already 50 copies in the system so you turn around and sell it for the lowest price (75 cents) on half.ebay.com if your goal is to get it out of the house as soon as possible.  Some people don't have enormous space to store books so they use whatever means possible to move books out of the house whether by selling or trading them.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2011
Posts: 3
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No she readily admitted that she uses the site to complete sets to sell - looking at her listings on Ebay, its a business not a storage solution ;)  I would understand if I thought she actually read the books and was trying to just get more desirable books for the circulation - this is the text of her response, when I asked her to clarify how she obtained the books 'In order for me to acquire sets of books I acquire them from a variety of sources. Goodwill, thrift stores, used books stores and paperbackswap. The books I received from paperbackswap were obtain by another person ordering books from me and I in turn receive a credit for each book I exchange. Then I use my credit to acquire books such as Lemony Snicket books, Hardy Boy books etc. This is how I make up sets to offer on ebay'

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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You don't have to justify yourself here or figure it out yourself Julia,  send the information you have on the member to the Team via Feedback and let the Team sort it out. It is absolutely against the site's Terms of Use to systematically get books here and re-sell them. This member sounds like she freely admits she is breaking the Terms of Use, but that is neither for you to have to figure out nor for other members of the forums to defend or decide. Let the Team know you received the book with a PBS packing slip in it via eBay and what the seller said and let them deal with her.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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A person selling as an individual is different from a person selling as a company or business.  A person who "hobby sells" on eBay is not a commercial seller, in my opinion.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I see a difference between WL books and heavily posted books.  But that is totally in my own self interest.  Not anything to do with PBS' policy.

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2009
Posts: 8,077
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But wouldn't getting PBS books to make complete sets to sell on ebay be "systematic efforts to resell ordered items online"?

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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yes  What Melanie said (and Sarah) yes

Welcome to PBS Julia  heart  

Date Posted: 12/4/2011 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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With that increased info-she needs to be reported.

I was thinking the same thing as Kay-that if she's just selling off books that aren't WL because she doesn't want to store them anymore-that's one thing.  But to be using to stock an Ebay store. That's wrong.

I can't imagine how she'd make money on that.  Those Lemony Snicket book are easy to find at thrift stores. They can't be worth much money. 

Date Posted: 12/5/2011 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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A person selling as an individual is different from a person selling as a company or business. A person who "hobby sells" on eBay is not a commercial seller, in my opinion.

Since only individuals and no businesses can be members on PBS, the TofU have to be refering to individual persons selling books. Any person selling is in the act of commerce. Just ask the IRSwink

Date Posted: 12/5/2011 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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Let TPTB sort this one out.

Personally I believe that a book received is mine to do with what I want.


Date Posted: 12/5/2011 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,286
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As several have noted it is not against site rules to sell any and all books obtained here ... it's against the rules to systematically use PBS for the purposes of reselling.

I agree, let the Team decide, they are the ones who will know if this fits inside their rules or not.

To me, its all about volume. If she trades 20 books a month here, and sells 10, thats selling 50% of the books ... to me, a violation.
However, if she trades 100 a month, and sells the same 10 ... that means she is only selling 10% of the books she ontains here .... don't know what the team would say, but to me, that might be OK.

In any case, not up to us to decide anyway.

Julia, welcome to PBS. Hope you stick around, it's a great site! And, don't be too upset about the negative response you got to your question ... sometimes people answer questions in a hurry and either don't read them fully or misinterpret what they meant, so the answer can be odd and incorrect. I think we all try hard to give good advice, though!

Date Posted: 12/5/2011 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 5,016
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Last week I posted a children's book published in 1990 and not by a popular children's author. There are 102 wishers. When I was ready to wrap the book, I went to Amazon to check on their weight and shipping rates for the book. I noticed the book, used, was selling for $49.00. I was shocked that this book would go for that high price, and my book was in pristine condition. I sent the book and am wondering if the member will be selling it, lol. Maybe, maybe not. I noticed that the hardcover version of the same book for new was selling for $189.00. I am flabbergasted! Both versions have less than 55 pages.

Last Edited on: 12/5/11 1:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 12/5/2011 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
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Connie, it might be that the book you had really was a collector's item, or it might be that you saw one of the arificially inflated prices that Amazon has.  When people have something to sell and there aren't any others available in the condition category they're using, they sometimes put an outrageous price, maybe hoping someone will be foolish enough to pay it.  Often when you look further down the listings, to the other conditions, you'll see the book selling for a few dollars--so the book isn't really selling for that outlandish price.

Even if there aren't copies shown for a lot less in the same listing, it's possible someone overestimated how much people should pay for the book and it will not sell at that price anyway.



Date Posted: 12/5/2011 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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LOL Connie!  I've sold a few things on Amazon in the past (mostly my old textbooks), and have noticed there is a big difference between was a book is listed for and what it's acutally selling for.  Who knows how long it's been sitting in their inventory...

I always felt that people who request books in pristine condition might have resale in mind or are actively reselling.  I guess there's really no way to verify that, though.

This sentiment always perplexes me.  I see it pop up quite often in the forums, usually in connection to rant posts about RWAPs or RCs.  As someone pointed out above, there's really not a lot of money to be made in selling used books of the type you find here commonly.  I can think of many other reasons why someone would want a pristine condition book (giving as a gift, want for keeper shelf, burned on previous trades, etc.) before my mind would jump to selling.  IMHO it just isn't profitable enough.  *shrug*

My mom is the type who usually jumps to the "conspiracy" type conclusion like that too.  I think she's just being paranoid.

Date Posted: 12/5/2011 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Julia -- Welcome to PBS. Sorry you had trouble navigating the site. Also, sorry that you thought Cathy's response was insulting -- but I didn't read it that way at all. I interpreted her "you" generally, not "you" specifically. In fact, I saw nothing in her response to insinuate that you were being dishonest. Maybe she'll come back to explain what she meant. Regardless, I, like so many others, appreciate that you are trying to do the right thing. Hope you find PBS to your liking.