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Topic: Wet Book Woes

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Subject: Wet Book Woes
Date Posted: 7/16/2008 2:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 131
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I got a book with obvious water damage, so I marked it as received with a problem and sent this justification:

This book is NOT postable by PBS standards. It has moderate water damage to the first third of the book and also to the last several pages. In addition, it was poorly packaged and suffered damage in shipping (corner crunched). The member used only a single sheet of printer paper to wrap the book and it was only lightly Scotch-taped. The package was half unwrapped by the time I got it. This was going to be a keeper, but I guess I'll have to find another copy.

I received this message back from the sender:

I'm sorry you're unhappy with your book and upset about the condition it arrived in.

Considering the price you paid, however, and the fact that it's completely readable (something you would have mentioned loudly, given your tone), I am not going to give you credit for this.

You might consider re-evaluating your expectations regarding this service. It's not a shopping mall or a bookstore. It's a recycling library.

Am I missing something here? Aren't we all operating under the same guidlines? There is no way I would post this book. I typically accept books that have minor water damage without complaint, but this one was way beyond that.

I am very frustrated and I don't know what to do from here. I'm tempted to send a scathing reply, but that won't help anything.

Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 4:04 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I hear your pain.  I've gotten books that due to poor wrapping were seriously damaged or soaked from wet weather.  It's never fun to have to deal with people who wrap their books poorly.  And Scotch tape isn't within PBS guidelines.  Neither is any amount of water damage.  You can't force her to send back your credit.  But you can report it and the result of your camplaint to the sender to the powers that be. It may not be the first time they've tried to pass off unpostable books.  I'm reading a book that seemed fine when I received it, but as I'm reading it I've discovered pages throughout that have stains of various but unknown origins.  The stains only affect 1 or2 pages at a time, but there are numerous ones.  Losing a "credit" isn't what bothers me...it's that I don't have much I can do with it now when I'm through.  I'll have to do a much better job or checking books as I receive them since this one passed the quick check I got it before telling PBS about receiving it.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I feel your pain as well.  This is not a "recycling library", it is "a used book swapping site".

The Help Center clearly says, "we expect members to follow these guidelines" and "No damage at all from water or other liquid".

The sender needs to "re-evaluate" her responsibilities regarding this service.  Stay cool and polite, cite the relevant parts of PBS condition guidelines and policy, and politely request your credit back.  Do not send a scathing reply, but do report her rude/abusive PMs to the site owners via the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of any page.

You might also remind her that "a pattern of sending out poor-condition or inappropriate books will jeopardize a sender's membership".

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.


Date Posted: 7/16/2008 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
Posts: 515
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That person doesn't seem to understand the site rules. Water-damaged  books are unpostable. Also, the tone of that message (not yours, but the person's reply) really rubs me the wrong way.

I say report it.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 8:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 3,384
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i think your last sentance was a little snarky...justified, but snarky.  lol

but you are completely within your rights to mark the transaction NOT resolved, if she refuses to listen to another PM specifically citing the help center and rules and regulations.

i just got a water damaged book the other day.  it sucks, but i'll use it in another unpostable swap!  yay!

btw...what book was it?  maybe someone else has a copy for your keeper shelf.  :)

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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How frustrating!  They are obviously the one with the problem and while you might feel the urge to snap back at them, it won't really help.

I just had my own interaction with someone who sent a heavily written in book.  When I sent the PBS book guidelines for condition, I was accused of being an Attourney.

I was going to say to copy/paste the bood guidelines to them and leave them to their conscience.  Obviously my sender didn't have one, but at least the only loss to me is a credit.  For me personally, I have marked the book as a problem and will leave it as such.  For me, getting "into it" and going through the process of reporting sender to PBS is more "costly" than the credit.  So it boils down

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.  I am sorry you ran into a ignorant PBSer.  If we keep reporting books with damage...eventually the bad apples will go away.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Mark the problem NOT resolved using the button to the right of the listing in your Transaction Archive.  Then copy and paste the PM's to PBS via the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.  I'm so sick of people arguing the "cost" of the book as somehow a justification for violating the rules.  Like when they go "well it IS a free/used book site".  I had trouble with a book just the other day ( http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=124910 ) where over 2/3rds of the book had underlining in it and the Sender thought me too picky because I had invoked the rules of the site.  Water damage is unacceptable, a single page wrapper isn't right, even the scotch tape is out of line.  There isn't even really that much tone in your PM, but that's beside the point.  They are supposed to refund the credit if they sent a book that clearly violates the posting guidelines, plain and simple.  It's funny that they didn't even refute the notion that they sent you damaged goods.  It's all in the Help Center under both There is a problem with a book I received! and A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!  Your Sender had better reevaluate their expectations of the site, considering they think somehow they might trump the rules with their own brand of "logic".

Last Edited on: 7/16/08 9:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/16/2008 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2008
Posts: 417
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I totally feel you. I've only been a member for about a month and sent out a BUNCH of books (seems like to me anyway! :). I've gotten two already that didn't meet the posting guidelines or my RC. One they refunded the credit, the other refused. Since I hadn't marked it RWP -- I was so pleased to have gotten it (see, still new! Getting a book in the mail is exciting!) and it looked ok from the outside, I didn't think to check the inside until it was too late -- I'm not going to 'report it'. But in the future I'm going to be a lot more careful of my examination before I report a book received.

What completely rubbed me the wrong way is that they obviously sent out a 'bad' book (bindings completely separated from the cover on a hardcover) but accused me of lying just to get a free book. :( Um, no. And if it wasn't for my keeper shelf I wouldn't care. But now I'm going to have to spend another credit to get the SAME book and hope it comes in acceptable condition.

End Rant,  Sorry! :)

On a side note, I've noticed that I've had ZERO issues with people I've worked with (sending and receiving) through the forums. Every issue I've had so far (including members not responding to PM's, marking books received late, etc.) has been through FIFO. I get the feeling that they're not as invested in making the site work and thus just don't care as much.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I hate to inform the nitwit who sent you that inbox of this, but the books you get through here are not "free".  That's completely absurd.  You paid for a book and the postage to mail it in order to get the credit you spent on their crummy, unpostable book.  Now you're not only out that credit, but the one you're going to have to use to reorder that book again, should you choose to do so.  Mark that transaction RWP, if you haven't already, note that it wasn't resolved, and send their inbox to the site owners.  I agree that FIFO can be a dicey prospect at times, but it's not supposed to be.  Reporting the members who are trying to make it so with their flagrant disregard for the site rules & posting guidelines is the best defense we have against that.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2007
Posts: 4,013
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Got one of those myself today.  The poster KNEW that the book had damage, but posted it anyway (she said this to me in her PM).  I didn't ask for my credit back (I don't mind offering it free with an order later), but it does peeve me off when people knowingly post something that's against the rules.


Date Posted: 7/16/2008 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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i think your last sentance was a little snarky...justified, but snarky.  lol

I would just like to second this. When I read your first message it came off as addressed to PBS instead of the sender of the book. When you click RWP you are given a screen to contact the sender and let them know what was wrong with the book, this is also where you can ask for your credit to be returned. You have every right to be irritated, but I have found that I get my credits back if I address the senders personally and politely request that my credit be returned.

Unfortunately I have a bit of experience with the situation, I have gotten four water damaged books in the last few months. This is just a suggestion though, feel free to disregard.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Hopefully you at least marked it Received With a Problem, Alise.  If we don't officially record incidents such as this people like that will continue to ignore the rules.  This site can only be at it's best when everyone's on the same page, which is what the rules are for.  As far as I have seen, aside from the occasional forum disagreement, nobody really has any complaints about the site except for the few Swappers who think the PBS Guidelines are more like polite suggestion than rules.  It's up to those of us who know and follow the rules to hold those few accountable.

Date Posted: 7/17/2008 2:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 131
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Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I have decided to send a polite message using some of the great suggestions you've given me. I may even cut and paste a bit. I hope no one minds.

BTW, the book is

Into a Dark Realm: Book Two of the Darkwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

It is currently on 16 wishlists.

I did not realize the RWP entry was for the sender. Now I do. In the future I'll address my message to the member.

Last Edited on: 7/17/08 2:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/17/2008 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2007
Posts: 6,567
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I wonder if this person is "new" to Paperback Swap.

I came here from Bookmooch and honestly I was quite annoyed AT FIRST with all the things about conditions. But, after I got my first book I was VERY IMPRESSED the first book and just about 90% of the books I get from here are "like new".

I really think the only rule people need to follow when posting a book is plain common sense. I mean, is this a book you would like to get in the mail? It doesn't matter if the person PAYS for it or not. Your sending a book and once the person gets it you get a credit to get your own book. So I'd think people would follow the "do unto others" rule.

Sadly todays people are selfish and only care about themselves.

Date Posted: 7/18/2008 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2005
Posts: 827
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I also think your message was too harsh.  It was totally appropriate if you know the sender is an experienced member, but what if she or he is brand new (or just born stupid LOL)?

You can't know if this was her first mistake or her seventeenth; if she knows and doesn't care about the rules, or she honestly doesn't know about them.

I think it's best to presume the best about the sender, and be nice about it (still ask for credit, but nicely explain the rules and why this book was not postable, etc) in the first message about a problem.  You got nothing to lose by going that way, IMHO. 


Edited to add: yeah the top box on the Received page goes to the sender.  The bottom box goes to PBS.  I  nearly always put something in both boxes.  

Hey Alan, are you a BSG fan (your nick)?

Last Edited on: 7/18/08 3:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/18/2008 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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**SIGH** I just marked my very first "RWP". I received a booked with obvious water damage/staining. Yes, the book is readable but by PBS standards it is NOT postable. I knew this day would come and I have knots in my stomach over it but, rules are rules. I WON'T be able to post this book into the system. The book was wrapped and sealed with scotch tape but the outer wrapping was completely intact and undamaged. **sigh**
Date Posted: 7/18/2008 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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Here is what I recently sent when I got an book with writing inside.  It was my first book I reported as Damaged by Sender... and I was nervous too.  In my note, I tried to give benefit of the doubt:


Hi ________,

I very much appreciate you sending the _________ book and the sturdiness of your packaging. I am sorry to have marked this book Received with a Problem but I found pencil and pen marking and notes written inside the pages of the book on about half of the pages. I suspect someone must have been using it for a reference at some point and went a little crazy. This is mostly in the first half of the book.. its on about every page for the 1st half of the book. The last 100 pages are totally clean, so it might be that when you flipped through it that those were the pages you saw.
Sorry to be so wordy... but I wanted you to know why I marked it the way I did.
Please let me know if there is anything further you wish me to do.

Date Posted: 7/19/2008 7:50 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 38,893
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Alan-For awhile I had been getting books with water damage out the wazoo-I finally had to put that in my conditions even though it clearly states in the rules that people aren't allowed to send them.  Since I have put it in my requestor conditions, I haven't had a single one. =)

Date Posted: 7/19/2008 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2007
Posts: 131
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I've been getting a lot too. It may have something to do with the cheap paper they use nowdays. I've gotten ones that have wavy pages, but no obvious water damage. I went to a Borders recently and noticed that a few of the new books had that same issue. Maybe the cheap paper absorbs moisture in high humidity. The store was very near the beach. 

Date Posted: 7/19/2008 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I did the exact same thing!  I got a run of water damaged books, as well as a bunch with pages falling out.  On top of that I got all the arguments from Senders as to why that should be acceptable, so I started referring people to the Posting Guidelines in my RC.  I didn't have many problems and after a while it seemed unnecessary for the few problems I did have (which were so blatant as to be considered Damaged By Sender) so I took my conditions down. 

There's something about the lights and paperbacks at the stores, actually.  My fiance used to swap out old books for new at various stores as a merchandiser for a book company and she was always changing out the books on the top shelves due to waviness and discoloration.  They told her it was the lights and the way they affect the paper.  Publishers have gotten cheap and most books have some problem or other these days, like bad bindings or pages that are wavy due to improper bunching at the spine.  I can't tell you how many more newer books I have that are wavy compared to all of the older editions that, aside from yellowing, are in fantastic condition.  It's why I prefer vintage print, it was made better.