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Topic: What Do You Do When...

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Subject: What Do You Do When...
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2013
Posts: 767
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...someone puts crazy demands on the books they request?  Not normal ones, like non-smoking only, but ones like 'book must be gift quality,' 'book must have no broken spines,' etc.  Do people think these books are directly from Barnes and Noble?  I understand not wanting a book that is falling apart, no one does and I would hope no one would post such a book; but if a book is read, it's obviously not gift-quality and the spine will be broken to some extent.  How do you respond to these requests?  And what is considered 'broken spine?'  I have books that will lie flat, but the glue is not broken, the pages are not coming apart, etc., but someone has obviously opened them completely.  Any help is appreciated...

Date Posted: 12/11/2013 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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You don't do anything, but decide if your book meets the RC and if so accept, If not decline. 

I have, in my time, have absolutely pristine books I have been able to pass on and would have absolutely no trouble sending under a 'giftable' RC. One Christmas I ran across 24 paranormal MMPB's that I picked up to trade here because you couldn't tell they'd ever been touched.

Just because this is a used book site doesn't mean everyone's books look 'pre-owned' or 'well loved'. I have a local thrift that sometimes gets quite a few that look like they're new out of a shipment box somewhere. 

So I wouldn't assume the person behind you couldn't fullfill the RC. Just decline it and let it go.

As for a broken spine, the rules here say...


  • 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
Date Posted: 12/11/2013 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2013
Posts: 767
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Thanks.  Just confused as to the 'no broken spine' thing.  In my opinion, a broken spine would be if the book was separating (coming unglued), but someone thought it meant if the book opened to a certain page, then that was a broken spine.  So it's sort of ambiguous; because PBS is reading one thing, and the requestor is asking another.

Date Posted: 12/11/2013 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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 In my opinion, a broken spine would be if the book was separating (coming unglued), but someone thought it meant if the book opened to a certain page, then that was a broken spine.

If they need it, you can always send them a link to the rules so they'll know you're going that that criteria. Then if they don't want a book to open to a certain page, they'll have to specifically request that it not.

Like you, I think a broken spine is more like this... Here.


Date Posted: 12/11/2013 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,066
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This time of year you are more likely to see someone asking for a "pristine" book because they may be asking for it to gift it to someone so they want it as perfect as possible.  Now I get used books gifted to me every Christmas from my MIL who buys them discounted at Sam's Club, she has read them and they still look brand new so a pristine book need not be "never read".

Remember that we have a lot of low income folks who are members here so this may be a good way for them to get some nice gifts to give.  Or someone may be gifting a needy person through a charity drive so they want a "like-new" book.

But you are right that there are some "crazy" RCs that come up now and then.

Date Posted: 12/11/2013 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Just say NO

They have the right to want any type of book that pleases them.

All we have to do is say NO and move on to the next requestor.

Date Posted: 12/12/2013 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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Requester Conditions are meant to be used to put higher than club standard requests on books. They can be as high as the requester wants to make them. If your book meets them and you want to send the book, accept it and send the book. If your book does not meet them or you don't want to send to them, politely decline and your book will be next in line for the next request.

If you should happen to have an RC for "no broken spines" line up with one of your books that lay flat in a particular spot, it may be better to just decline the request than worry about the difference in definitions of "broken spine". That is a rare RC so it shouldn't come up that often. I always send to RCs if I can meet them, but there is any doubt in my mind that the books meets the RC I err on the side of caution and do not send the book.I'll get another request, they'll get another offer and we'll both be happy.

Date Posted: 12/12/2013 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Just decline and move on, no need to stress or feel guilty.   If you feel uncomfortable trying to decipher what the requester considers a 'broken spine' or 'like new condition'...just use the decline button. Even those you find annoying are not worth a headyache.

My usual response is "Does not meet Requestor Conditions."  Unless there's a specific issue, such as asking for a pm and not providing a name so I can do so...in which case, I try to politely address the issue so they can hopefully learn and correct it.