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Topic: Spine Postability

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Subject: Spine Postability
Date Posted: 12/7/2010 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Received a book and wondering about the current PBS guideline regarding cleaved spine and postability. 

The book is a thick paperback, in otherwise nice condition.  Before logging it in as received, I gave it a quick sniff test and a quick flip through the pages.  The book fell open between pages 453 & 453 (about half way), which in itself this is not unpostable.  Although the pages are all firm in the spine at this time, there is a clear and visiable 1/8 gap between the pages the entire length of the book top to bottom.  Only the paper spine-cover is holding the book together.

IIRC this is considered a cleaved spine, is it currently considered unpostable or postable?

ETA - checking help documents, this is the closest I found:


  • 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

Last Edited on: 12/7/10 6:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/7/2010 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2005
Posts: 1,592
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sounds unpostable to me.....it's up to you whether or not to ask for credit returned but I would RWAP and PM the sender about checking books before sending. All books have an end and this one has reached it.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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The way I look at it is if you can clearly see the spine, then the spine is broken.  I received a book recently where there were six separate areas where the book fell open and the spine was visible.  Without very careful handling, there are going to be pages falling ouit soon.  I PM'ed the sender and she said that because there weren't "pages falling out" it was postable.  Obviously I disagree with her assessment.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 7:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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The PBS Condition guidelines state that, for binding:

"Must be intact, with no separation on the inside or outside of the book"

It sounds like yours is not intact, and thus is unpostable.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,512
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I often wonder about this too. Some books like to fall open where photos pages are all placed together.  When in doubt don't post.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,951
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When the book falls open at a spot, even if you can see the binding, I believe it is still postable.

When it is broken in half and only the paper is holding it together, I think it's definitely RWAP.

IMO, of course.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,352
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Because this comes up so often, I've bookmarked this thread:


Basically, TPTB spell it out as whether the pages are loose or not.  Almost all newer paperbacks will have separation on the inside to some degree due to cheap production processes.

Date Posted: 12/7/2010 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Unfortunately, this isn't just the pin-holes or gaps but a complete 1/8 inch seperation top to bottom.  At this point all the pages are still firmly attached to the spine, although only the outer paper is holding the two halves toghether.  I thought this used to be spelled out more clearly in the posting guidelines (thought I would cut, paste, & reference in a pm) but don't see it now.  Just the part about intact inside & out, which could be open to different interpretations.  The outside binding is intact, in fact the entire rest of the book is actually in nice condition.

What about USPS & Media Mail?  This is 880 pages of trade size paperback, which came loosely wrapped in a manilla envelope.  What's the chances USPS was too rough and damaged it in transit?  It's a big book & cost more to ship, I'd like to give the sender the benefit of the doubt (if at all reasonable).

Personally, when mailing thick (or multiple) books, I wrap them in plastic then strap a few wraps of packing tape around the spine for support before adding the outside wrapper & more packing tape.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and opinions  heart

Date Posted: 12/8/2010 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 3,041
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Is it a WL book? If it is, you could consider posting it in the Unpostables WL thread after you have finished reading it and ask for a credit for it there.

I think I understand what you are saying about the 1/8" gap, and I would consider that to be unpostable. If the spine is visible between the two halves of the book, that is not intact, IMO. I would not be happy receiving a book in that condition, and have marked books as such in the past as RWAP. If you do not think you'll be able to get a credit back from it, I would mark it and also request it back. Yes, it sucks that the book is heavy and costs extra than normal to mail, but the member should have taken the gap into consideration before posting it.

Date Posted: 12/9/2010 2:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Thanks everyone, the book was reported RWAP.