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Topic: Are Time Damaged Books Allowed?

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Subject: Are Time Damaged Books Allowed?
Date Posted: 10/11/2008 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 2
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I have been reading romance novels for several YEARS, and since I just recently discovered this club, I have an accumulation of books, many of which are probably 15 years old.  Most of the books were read only once, and were in perfect condition (no binding problems, no tears, no missing pages, no water damage, no writing on them, etc) but due to natural aging of the paper, many of them have ligning (small rust color stains) stains on the edges of the book.  This barely shows on the inside of the pages, and doesn't affect the words or the reading...Anyway, would books like these be allowed for trade?  If not, can anyone suggest what to do with them?  I've kept them all these years because I really HATE throwing out books and would like for someone else to enjoy them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



Date Posted: 10/11/2008 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Signs of age are okay.  Damage to them (the binding problems, tears, etc. that you mentioned) are not.

So your books sound postable to me.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Natural aging is allowed.  As long as the discoloration isn't from exposure to moisture like from being stored in a damp basement. 

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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Those rust stains you mention are probably "foxing," which PBS has said is allowed here.  Off to find a link for you....


OK, here ya go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxing

Last Edited on: 10/11/08 7:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2008 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
Posts: 2
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thanks for the replies!  I'll post them then, is there any way to edit the description or add a note to the book so I can notify anyone interested in them?  I'd hate for them to receive the books and be upset over this..

thanks again!


Date Posted: 10/13/2008 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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there is no way to add a note to the book. as long as the books are postable, i wouldnt worry about it.

if you really want to let the member know. you can send them a PM once they have ordered the book. but i wouldnt suggest doing this, because then ppl start to expect it

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I agree that the "stains" in question are most likely foxing, but here's the thing about that: Most members who order old out of print collectibles are aware of what it is, and they won't be surprised or put out if they receive books with moderate to heavy discoloration of the inside covers & pages, or the spotty brown stains commonly referred to as "foxing".  However, foxing technically is staining in a very literal sense.  What the help docs say about old books addresses "page yellowing, spine-creasing or dogeared pages", but the only exception made for stains are cookbooks.  I think very old collectible books should be mentioned in the help docs as a possible exception to the staining rule - provided the stains are truly foxing (and not food, animal urine, etc) and the receiver has been messaged regarding the condition in advance before the book is sent.  IMO, regardless of how you interpret the help docs on this issue, it's the safest, most foolproof way of insuring that you won't end up with a problem transaction on your hands.  It's never safe to assume anything, and it is possible that someone who doesn't know what foxing is could mark a book RWAP, thinking the stains are from some sort of food or liquid, like coffee or tea, or even, God forbid, animal urine.  I personally knew it was something to do with aging the first time I saw it, but I don't think it's safe to assume that everyone will.  I've seen at least one or two posts on this forum from members describing stains that sounded like foxing to me, but they didn't know what the stains were and were asking if they should mark the books RWAP.

*ETA: I should also mention that books with moderate to heavy foxing often have a very distinctive smell to them as well.  I'm not sure quite how to describe it, but it reminds me of vegetable oil & rust - of all things.  That could just be my weird sense of smell at work though:P  A friend of mine once described it as rusty motorcycle parts packed in cosmoline:P  That could possibly lend credence to the theory that foxing is related to iron or copper oxidation.

Last Edited on: 10/13/08 12:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/15/2008 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/7/2005
Posts: 34
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I have a few 1970, vintage books on my shelf.  Most are'nt available any more.  When they get requested, I pm the person first to make sure they are aware of the age of the book, even though it is clearly stated when they request it.  I do so because I did get one person who decided , after getting this book unavilable anywhere else!, the book was unpostable, in their opinion, because of the yellowed pages and general age of the book of which I was the sole owner.  But an over 30 year old paperback is OLD. 

Have not had any other problems, only the one.  good luck finding happy homes for your books.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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if you decide to PM someone, put a reply by date and state that if you do not hear by X date that you will be sending the book.

as the others said, i am sure the books are fine and what you have is a natural process for older books

Date Posted: 10/18/2008 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
Posts: 797
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I have always appreciated when someone lets me know the condition of the book is postable, but older or whatever and have repaid the favor on a few occasions.  Never had one cancelled yet, but lots of nice PMs :)

Date Posted: 10/18/2008 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think the communication is a good idea too.  I understand the concern that people might come to expect it when they probably shouldn't, but I do tend to think that it is outweighed by the possibility of having a transaction marked RWAP by a member who doesn't know about foxing, and could easily mistake it for something else.  Just MHO:)