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Topic: Special requests handling

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Subject: Special requests handling
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 21
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Hi everyone! 

Yes, I'm a newbie, I'll get that confession off my chest right away. 

I had someone request a book the other day, my first and only request, but when I went to accept it and get ready to send it, I was given a screen that said the member:

   Doesn't want hardcovers without dust jackets.

   If the request is for a children's book, it must be perfect, no writing on the pages, in excellent condition because the member is donating the books to a school where it will be stocked on the classrooms shelves for 9-year-olds to read.

Honesty is the best policy, right?  Well, the book is a hard cover, however we bought it through Scholastic at a book fair and I don't recall there being a dust jacket ever.  The book is in perfect condition, even the pop-out map in the center is intact and neatly kept inside of it as it was when we got it (surprising, actually, given it's been in one of my twin sons' possession all this time).  The only other thing is on the very first page (the binding page) is a first name and last initial, there aren't even the typical penned in name later in the book (if the kids take the book to school, I have them also put their name on a specific page in the book just in case it does come up 'missing.').  I was very forthright about this when I claimed I "couldn't sent book because it didn't meet the member's request."

Here are my questions:

1.) Seriously?  Can you make those kinds of requests? (How do I get to do the same thing?)

2.) Is the information I wrote in response to why I couldn't fulfill the order made public?  If so, how do I go about seeing that myself?

3.) Given what I noted above, should I pull the book from my shelf and offer it in a different manner?

4.) For that matter, given what I noted about the book's condition, did I make a mistake and post something that really isn't postable?

5.) Is there anything  you can recommend for marking a book that does go with the kids to/from school (they're voracious readers and I really don't want to curb that, but they can be a bit 'forgetful' and fellow students aren't always trustworthy) but could be removed before putting it up on the bookshelf?  I was thinking a bookplate, but the expense and the ability to remove it easily were too big of a reason not to use it. 

I get that patience is a virtue here on PBS as I've been seeing repeatedly here in this forum, are there any tips or tricks to getting my inventory moving?  BOB, maybe? Offer up 2-fer's? Post more in forums?  Put stuff into my profile?  Any thoughts you are willing to share are most appreciated! 


Date Posted: 1/21/2009 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 550
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That is called a "requestor condition".  Yes, you can do that too. You can create your own by going to the "my account" menu, "settings" option

The majority of members don't use them.  They are usually used by people with various pet allergies or to avoid smokey books.  If you do use one, try to word it carefully.   "No smoke" will cause a lot of rejections from nonsmoking people with secondhand books who have no idea where the book came from.  "Not from a currently smoking house, or if you can smell smoke on it" is far better.  Unless you have a strong smoke allergy, in which case ("If there is any chance this book has ever been around a smoker, please reject this request as I'm highly allergic") would be quite appropriate.

Your response was not public, but you might as well keep it polite.  :-)   I usually just say something brief.  In your case, I'd say "No DJ, name written on flyleaf".

No, don't pull the book.  Just deny this request and it will be available for the next person who wants it.  As you are a new member, and quickly got a requst for it, you will probably get a request for it soon (though it is possible that many people have rejected the request).

Sounds quite postable to me.

Don't worry about a simple name written inside the front cover or a bookplate, that is generally perfectly acceptable to most members.  If you want it to be easily erasable, just write lightly in pencil.  If you want cheap, use one of those address lables from the sheets the junk mailers are always sending (well, to me, anyway).

I take the "post more books" approach.  BOB is certainly good, you can initiate trades as often as you want as long as you don't mind rejection (never take it personally).    For deals, I recommend not 2-1, but 3-2 or 4-2 - i.e. if you are going to do a deal, at least do one that gets you more credits for your postage $.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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1. Yes. Any member can have requestor conditions. If you want to add requestor conditions to your requests, go to the settings under My Account and you will find them there. If you have allergies (to dogs/cats, smoke, whatever), if you only want hardcovers with dust jackets, etc, you really can make whatever requestor condtions you choose. However depending on your conditions, you may be turned down frequently. If you do decide to add requestor conditions to your account, you should make sure they are clear and precise. "No books from a current non-smoking house, please" is much better than "no books that have an odor."

2. No. The information isn't public although the person whose request you turned down will see what you wrote.

3 and 4. Your book as you described it is postable. However, my interpretation of another book that you've had your children write their names later in the book would be that that book isn't postable.

5. I don't have an answer for you for this one.


If you have a lot of children's books, I'd think offering a 2 for 1 credit deal in the book bazaar is a way to get your shelf moving more. But once again, patience on PBS truly is a virtue and I'm sure your books will start moving.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 550
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I just remembered - on the removable bookplate front - most office supply stores are now carrying computer-printable lables with post-it adhesive.  You could print what you like on them, and they would be removable without damaging the book.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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Kathie, your questions about RCs have been answered but I'll add one other comment.  The more particular you are about what you ask for, the more rejections you will get.  Using the RC you got as an example:

Doesn't want hardcovers without dust jackets.

No problem here.  The book has one or it doesn't, easy to determine.

   If the request is for a children's book, it must be perfect, no writing on the pages, in excellent condition because the member is donating the books to a school where it will be stocked on the classrooms shelves for 9-year-olds to read.

I bet this one gets declined a *lot*.  Books here do not have to be perfect and asking for it is going to ruffle a lot of members, who will in turn decline...even if the book is brand new.

So, yes, you CAN have RCs just like that, but be aware that the picky ones get a lot of declines. 

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 2:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 21
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Thanks for the responses, Bret and Barbara, I appreciate it very much.  Bret, love the username, makes me laugh every time I see it!  :D

Whoa, Barbara, are you saying that if there is a name written in the book it becomes unpostable?  Holy schmoley, how'd I miss that?  I'll have to go check again because I really don't remember seeing that anywhere but then again, there's been so much information thrown at me, I could have.  Thanks for pointing that out. So you're saying it's ok to have names on the flyleaf but further back, say on page 58, having their name neatly printed (I usually do it for them so it's neat) wouldn't be? 

I was polite in the rejection response, even said what exactly was the reason for declining and stated that if those things were okay, the member could re-request it from me and I would ship immediately.  Never did receive a response back.  Of course, I'm not sure if they would have been able to re-request (anyone?). 

Bret - love the follow-up idea!  I'll definitely look into that.  I also liked the advice about the special offers.  I think I'll take the "wait and see" approach on BOB.  I don't have a lot of children's books, the kids usually take them in at one of the book fairs and swap them up for a new one or trade with their friends, donate to the school library or pass to their younger cousins.  They're now into young adult books (Twilight saga, Paper Towns, the series that James Patterson has written for kids, etc.) which I'm finding aren't generation specific as many of my adult friends read those about as much, if not more so, than mainstream fiction. 

Are "notes" in the profile useful?  Or do people even look at that when browsing books? 

Everyone else, keep those ideas coming!  This is very helpful and I'm sure not just to me.  ;)

Last Edited on: 1/21/09 3:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 21
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Thanks for the input.  I was quoting what the member had put into the RC.  Being that it was my very first book request, it was disheartening.  Thankfully the three of you have been so friendly and forthwith, I'm going to keep on plugging away as I learn the ropes. I happen to head up a writer's group, so I'm hoping that the others will soon join when they hear of how it's going so that we can continue to fuel our fires as we are also avid readers.  ;o)

Last Edited on: 1/21/09 3:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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Kathie, you CAN have a name written in the book in the front inside cover or on the flyleaf.  now if you write the name on page 10 or 58, which is most likely a text page, then no that is not postable.  Basically any writing on text pages makes the book unpostable unless it is a textbook and you PM the person first to make sure it is ok with them.

don't worry, you'll get the hang of it very quickly!

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Kathie, very few requests are that nit-picky.

Not all hardcovers have a dust jacket, even when new.  This type of request usually refers to hardback books that were originally sold with a dust jacket, like new releases that are solid black under the jacket.  I recently had a similar book requested...I purchased it new, hardback with a nice color printed cover and no jacket, never had one.  Just so there would be no unpleasant surprises, I pm'd requester who had no problem with the book.  Usually people are just requesting a book with no missing parts.

The writing subject has already been well covered.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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What I meant about the name  in the book is if the name is on a page other than at the front of the book--like on a page in the story. At least that's the way I interpret the conditions. So no, your book is safe!

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 21
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Wow!  All of you are so very helpful!  Thank you for clarifying all that for me.  I was dreading having to reboot my computer (had a bit o an overload induced crash here in the interim) and weeding through all the *rules* to find out about the page labeling.  Good to know about the text books, too.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,290
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OMG - Kathie, a few weeks back I had a RC's conditions very similar to this, of not the exact same one.  I did turn it down because I was afraid that my book just wouldn't be good enough for them.  It was used but in very, very good condition.  I was afraid that if it wasn't excellent by her/his standards then they would want their credit back. 

I don't mind RC's but when they get too lenghty or too picky then I usually deny it.  I don't need the stress or hassle. 

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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I just wanted to add my voice to the rest.  I think you handled it exactly right..  If a requester has a condition, then they know that they might have to go through a few people before they find someone that can meet that condition.  Most are willing to wait because they want a "perfect" book.  When I can't meet a condition, I reject that request and said, "Sorry, I can't meet the condition."  So far, no one has ever gotten mad at me for it.   

Date Posted: 1/23/2009 2:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2009
Posts: 21
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Back to the text on the interior pages, I was reading again the conditions on posting a book to the bookshelf.  I was delighted to read (and I'm copying and pasting it directly from their page:

Page edges: remainder marks are OK.  A name written on the page edges is okay (if it does not bleed in and obscure text on the text pages)

I'm relieved to know I'm good to go!  Happy book swapping my newfound family! :)

Date Posted: 1/23/2009 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Welcome, Kathie! Isn't this a great place!? I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I joined PBS 3 1/2 years ago, and my feelings about the place haven't changed despite the many changes we've gone through. I hope your experiences are as good as mine have been.

This is indeed a very helpful bunch and you did handle that exactly right. There are some pretty "out there" requestor conditions, but yes, you can make a requestor condition with any limitations you want. The most common requestor conditions come from people who want "no books from a smoking home" or "no pets in the home" and things like that--sometimes that's because of allergies. One that I get that I always have to check the book for is "no ex-library books." Since those are postable here at PBS, I do get a fair number of books from library sales, but some people just don't like 'em with the stickers and I guess figure they're more well-worn or something.

Anyway, if ever you aren't sure about an RC, it's best to decline the request and don't just cancel it--decline based on the RC, otherwise your book gets removed from your bookshelf and you need to repost it--and then  the request will likely go right back to the same person.


Date Posted: 1/25/2009 4:01 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I think the main thing, with requester conditions, is to be polite in your response when you feel your book does not meet the conditions.


I recently had a request declined by someone because my conditions were, "Bizarre and impossible to comply with."  I sent a PM to the member who said that, asking, politely, what they found bizarre about my conditions, but got no response back.


For the record, my two conditions are that I won't accept any book, textbooks included, with any form of highlighting, writing or underlining on any page, and I won't accept books with stickers, stamps or numbers printed in them from bookcrossing.com

I also go on to explain my reasons for these conditions (highlighted sections make my eyes burn, and it's never info that I find useful that seems to get highlighted; and tracking where books go just seems like an invasion of privacy to me)


I'd sure like to know which of those conditions the sender found "bizarre and impossible to comply with" but I think a simple, polite, "Sorry, my book does not meet your conditions" would have been better.


I know that when I get requests with conditions, and I have to deny the request, I will usually put precisely why I'm denying the request in my response, and tell the requestor to contact me if they change their mind.  The most frequent condition I encounter is regarding smoking, and I do my best to comply with those conditions, even if I feel my book might be okay.  You see, I'm a smoker but, and here's the key, I don't smoke in the house since my wife is very allergic to it.  The books are never exposed to smoke (heck, half of them belong to my wife) but if the condition says they don't want books from a "smoking household" I deny the request and say the book doesn't meet the conditions.  If they say "no odor of smoke" that's a different matter, and I feel mine meet that condition and I'll accept the request, but I'll also PM them before mailing the book to verify that this is okay with them.


In the end it just comes down to common sense and common courtesy (two things which are becoming less common these days I fear), and good old-fashioned manners.


Date Posted: 1/25/2009 7:38 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 136
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Berhard B: Every time I see a signature line that says, "My books come from a pet-free, smoke-free environment" I get the urge to offer my condolences.

Same here. I have a busy, stressful job and at the end of the day my brain is pretty much fried. The perfect ending to my day is to come home, sit in my big comfy chair with a drink in one hand, a book in the other, and a cat in my lap.

I know there are some people who can't have pets due to reasons such as allergies or a "no pets" clause in their lease, etc., that's understandable. But I always think it's sad to see how so many people seem to be so proud not to have a pet in the house.

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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But I always think it's sad to see how so many people seem to be so proud not to have a pet in the house.

I don't think they are being prideful in their pet-free home status, but rather are just stating this for those members who have cat dander allergies.

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 5:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2009 8:32 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2006
Posts: 136
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I wasn't commenting on the people  whose sig lines state the "no pets" info for ordering purposes. I meant the people whose sig lines claim "My books come from a pet-free home!!!!" with many gleeful little exclamation points. They seem very happy about it.

Sorry if I offended anyone. 

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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"Name written on page edges" was not meant to mean that a name is written in the margin of a text page in a book.  It means, as often done with textbooks, that when the book was CLOSED, a name or identifier was written across the edges of the page.

A name written in the margins of a text page - while a pretty minor issue - is not postable by PBS rules, unless it's a textbook and you PM first.

"Page edges" are not the same as "page margins."

Date Posted: 1/25/2009 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Anne, I well understand the problem with allergies, I have them myself.  In fact, as a kid I was twice declared dead during severe allergy attacks, so I'm 100% sympathetic to others who have them.  One of the things that bugs me about typical "no pet" RC's is that they don't differentiate between all the different types of pets.  At one time I had all of the following, living in a rented hotel suite:

  • 9 zebra finches
  • 1 water dragon
  • 2 anoles
  • 1 rat snake
  • 1 hamster (named Lucy who used to wander the entire hotel in her ball)
  • 1 50 gallon salt water aquarium filled with fish and corals
  • 4 various sized (20-40 gal.) tropical aquariums with assorted fish
  • 1 cold water 40 gallon aquarium with goldfish

Not exactly "pet free", but with most RC's about pets I'd have to say my books don't comply with the conditions.  It'd be easier if they said, "Allergic to dogs/cats/goats/whatever" because that's more informative.