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Topic: Two questions about unpostables

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Subject: Two questions about unpostables
Date Posted: 5/27/2010 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/24/2010
Posts: 214
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I have a paperback Jan Karon book that has two covers. The outer cover is gold with the title info and has a cut out window to see the inner cover of flowers. The gold cover has a small tear at the top of the cut out window. It was less than 1/4 thick at the top and I think it tore when I put it on my shelf. It could easily be taped and this small amount of damage doesn't affect the text pages at all and the second cover protects the pages as well. Is this unpostable with the slight tear?

I was out of town earlier this week and found a thift shop where they write the price on the covers of the books with either black or red crayon or grease pencil (not sure which). Then if they lower the price, they cross it out and write the lower price. I saw some good titles but was reluctant to buy them since I wasn't sure if they would be postable. So I was wondering what happens with this. Is it unpostable with the cover written on or is it based on the requester's RCs? I bought one for my son (he's since lost some pages so I know that one is unpostable) and was going to try wiping the writing off but was worried about water damage to the cover.

Date Posted: 5/27/2010 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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I'd say both situations are postable.  If a tear is less than an inch, then it's fine.  I know those overlay covers get ripped a lot!  The price on the cover is also fine.  I wouldn't even worry about trying to get it off.

Date Posted: 5/27/2010 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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You can use Goo Gone adhesive remover to wipe off the grease pencil.  Just a dab on a cotton ball usually works great on most paperback book covers.  I've also heard of people having success with baby oil or rubbing alcohol, but I keep a bottle of Goo Gone for other things, so I just use that.  Note that it's purely an aesthetic thing - you don't have to remove price markings & stickers from the cover.  I hate the covers with the little cutout windows.  They never last.  If it's less than an inch, I'd just leave it alone rather than putting tape on it.  Sometimes tape just makes it worse.

Last Edited on: 5/27/10 9:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2010 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,569
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If the price on the PB cover is written in grease pencil it should come off just by buffing/rubbing with a piece of tissue/toilet paper.  My UBS uses a green pencil and I've cleaned the covers up very easily this way.  It wipes off completely from both textured, shiny and matte covers.

A miniscule tear to the cover can be fixed using a tiny bit of regular glue on each edge of the tear (use a toothpick or tiny brush) and matching them back together.  Don't get glue on the page itself, glue only the edges.  Keep it separated from the next page until it dries.  I've used this to mend a number of keeper and reference books that I carry around and that get a lot of wear and tear.  This method also works if the  book gets banged and roughed up and the layers of the paperboard at the corner start to separate.  No tape necessary and the stiffness of the glue actually ends up making the corners more durable. 

Last Edited on: 5/27/10 12:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2010 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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A word of caution when cleaning book covers from an old printer. All paperback covers are made to look shiney by one of three methods.

One is Aqueous Coating, which is a water-based clear liquid that add a gloss and a certain amount of protection to the paper cover. The problem is that cleaning it with water or alcohol can take the coating off! What you have is a clean cover with a dull spot that looks a lot like water damage (well, i guess it is!)

Another is using super-calendared paper. It is made by applying a coat of clay (yep, like dirt) to the paper under extreme pressure and heat. Then it is "calendared" (scrapped/buffed off by super sharp blades). Again, using water or alcohol can remove the coating under the ink, or at best, make it bubble up. Again it looks like water damage.

The third is to use printer's varnish which is just a clear oil-based ink with hardners in it applied on top of the ink. The problem with that is it does not protect the paper from water/alcohol when you try to clean it. It also scratches rather easily.

I'm not sure what Goo Gone is made from, so it MAY clean safely. Since price markings/tags don't make the book unpostable, it would probably be safest to just leave it.


Date Posted: 5/27/2010 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I believe Goo Gone is citrus oil.  Maybe with some additives.  I'd have check the label on mine to be sure what.