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Topic: When to Refuse a Book

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Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: When to Refuse a Book
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,049
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Have a question for everyone. I know the PBS standards on what is allowed to ship. What do you do went a book is really boarderline? I had one sent to me recently the cover was creased, spine well worn a couple of small stains on last page. I accepted it but sent a note to the sender saying it was very boarderline and should reconsider sendign that type of book. Was I out of bounds?

Alice

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I think book conditions are subjective. PBS guidelines do say no stains except for cookbooks. Candidly, based on your description, this may be your only complaint under the guidelines. While I wouldn't send an excessively worn title, there's nothing in the guidelines about creases or worn spines.

If the cover was torn (more than a small tear) or chewed, that wouldn't be acceptable. But just creased isn't a violation that I can see. Regarding the spine, if it's broken (pages separating from the glue holding the binding), then that's a problem. But just a creased spine isn't a violation. Not that I can see anyways.

I hope this helps.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,410
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It's a regrettable fact of life, that while we all hope for the Golden Rule, it rarely happens. In direct answer to your question, "Was I out of bounds?" (sending a note saying the book was borderline) ... my response is absolutely not. You did accept the book, but it (obviously) is not the kind of book you would send & to gently try to get this other person to raise her standards in the future is an okay thing to do. (IMHO)

I have been sooo disappointed in the past by books that may have met the most rigid interpretation of posting guidelines, but were actually in such poor condition I wouldn't have even given them away. So, like you, we accept the book - maybe read it, maybe not - & chalk it up to knowing that overall, the majority of swappers are wonderful, conscientious people who swap books that are in good, solid trading condition.

One time, though, I was so upset I just needed to vent a little & told the shipper that while I was accepting the book, unfortunately because of its condition, I would subsequently be throwing the book away, thus depriving ourselves of the opportunity to regain our credit. To no one's surprise, I never heard back from the shipper ...

( I've already made a mental note to tell Karla when I ship her Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens that Linda & I are not the ones who folded down pages to mark a place. )

Kelly

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I had one that came once in very poor condition, the cover was torn and very raggedy. There's a place to complain about the condition when you acknowledge receipt of the book. I did that and they sent an email to the member and she ended up giving me my point back. I did not have to return the book. I say shame on someone for sending something in such poor condition. You can't tell me she couldn't have noticed.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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I recently got a book that had some extremely obvious water damage (wavy pages, etc.)  I emailed the sender and said that sending water-damaged books was against posting rules, but I'd keep it since it was readable and not moldy.  She insisted that it wasn't like that when she sent it and the postal service must have damaged it.  Except the wrapping was undisturbed and didn't look like it had met any rain at all.  I'm just going to offer it as an unpostable once I'm done with it.  I didn't want to get into an argument.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,049
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On tihs topic does anyone know a method to get the smell of cigeratte smoke out of a book?

Alice

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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May sound odd, Alice, but put it in the freezer.  That can sometimes help.  Just make sure it doesn't get stuck in there!

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,892
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On tihs topic does anyone know a method to get the smell of cigeratte smoke out of a book?

I've heard people putting dryer sheets in between the pages but I hate when people do this before they send a book because the smell is strong and gives me a headache.

I would try putting it in with unused kitty litter or with baking soda see if that helps.

I recently received a copy of When Christ and His Saints Slept by SKP that had a quarter sized stain in it.  I accepted it but it made me mad because it was a dark stain that could be seen from the outer edge of the book.  They had to have known it was there.  Recieved a book in the Twilight series too that had koolaid, cheeto, and black smudge stains in it and smelled like they fished it out of the trash can to send it to me (would explain the stains...).  I don't think you were out of line at all.  If someone sent me a PM like that and it was worded politely I wouldn't be offended.  It would just prompt me to look at my books closer.



Last Edited on: 2/19/10 4:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I have non-smoking on my requestor conditions. I hate to be so picky but once I got a book from the library that stunk so bad of cigs I couldn't read it.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,716
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When a book is worn, I always think that it has just finally reached the end of its swapping life.  No book is going to last forever if it goes through lots of different readers. 

There's a thread in CMT right now about getting odors out of books.  The most popular techniques are baking soda or charcoal. 

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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For books that smell of smoke, I put them in a airtight plastic container with an opened solid air freshener. I try to use the lightest scent possible. After leaving the book in the airtight container for at least 48 hours, I then set it on a table outside. Open it up and let the breeze blow the pages.

What this does, in reality, is cover the cigarette smoke smell with another less offensive (to me) odor. But nothing truly removes smoke from a book.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I've received some books in very poor shape.  Cover tearing away from bottom part of spine.  Outside of spine peeling and so badly creased that you almost can't read the title and author on it.  However, they are 40 year old OOP books, so I didn't complain; I'm just grateful to get them, slap some tape along the spine to prevent more damage, and enjoy the book.  But I would not be so forgiving if the book was closer to 20 years old than 40.

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,965
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Last Edited on: 2/27/10 5:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I had my first RWAP book last week. Actually, I had a couple before that but did not pursue them because I was busy or did not note the unpostable condition before I clicked on the received button. The woman who sent me the book was upset and felt I was accusing her of sending a bad book. I asked her if she had opened the book before she mailed it (the cover was more than half detached along the spine of the book) and she was not sure. She wanted to refund my credit and have me send her back the book. After three PMs I decided it was not worth the effort and I did not want to incur the time/cost of sending the book back so I told her that unfortunately there was no simple way to recitify the situation and that I would keep the unpostable book and she could keep her credit. I also suggested she check the books she mails out a little more thoroughly. The next day she refunded my credit so I sent her a thank you PM.

If a book is unpostable I guess you should pursue it but honestly, I did not feel it was worth my time and effort.

I just looked at my transaction archive and I have received nearly 200 books from this site and only 4-5 have been in a condition I would unconsider unpostable. Excellent stats all things considered.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,049
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Thanks for the smelly books suggstion. the books is now in a large sealed bucket with an airfreshener.

I am glad to hear that I am not the only frustrated by condition of some books. Early on a got a complaint about a book I sent (I thought it was fine) ever since that I am much more choosey about what I send out.

Alice

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 214
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What I have done with cigarette boooks is to set them outside in the hot sun. This works better in the South than up North, but it has worked for me.


I know that I have sent some water-damaged books, before I realized what happened. I did not know that water damage could leave the pages wrinkled. I do know that setting heavy things on books can wreinkle the pages, so that's what I thought it was. I think I returned credits in all cases, and now I am much pickier about what I send. I apologize if any of you were my guina pigs.

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Humidity can also cause wavy pages, so that fact that they're wavy doesn't necessarily indicate water damage. But it's hard to know if you get the book used.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,049
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Genie,

You trick worked. I put the book in an air tight container with an air freshen. No more smoke smell. The smell is quite mild and I hoping will fade over time. Sea breeze smell is much more pleasant.

Alice

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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I don't kick up a fuss over the older ones (1970s and earlier). Considering my other options are to either spend hours trawling and retrawling UBSs or pay the price + $4 shipping on Amazon or any other online used source, any defects from PBS copies are definitely tolerable.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Question then about damaged books - how can you try to alleviate wavy pages?  I don't know if it was humidity or water damage or what but is there some kind of trick to lessen the waves?  Let me know what your secrets are.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I absolutely hate conflict, so I'll usually accept a book and then just find another way to send it along after I'm done.

In fact, I got one today with coffee stains on the back. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I'm glad it worked, Alice. I collect certain first editions, and I used to sell for awhile, so I learned a few tricks.

As for wavy pages, Erika. I don't know of any way to smooth them back out. But if the pages are not rougher than the rest of the pages in the book, it's probably humidity and not water damage. Water damage also usually leaves a faint stain.

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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I agree with Mimi, I always try to send the best books I have, and don't complain when I receive a dud.

I had a sent an practically brand new copy of New Moon once and the only thing wrong with it was that it had a line in pen on 1 page.  I didn't even notice it myself when I got the book, but I thought since you really wouldn't see it, and it didn't inhibit you from reading the page, it would be alright.  Of course the person complained, and wanted credit back for the book plus money from me to send the book back.  I thought that was a little much.

I gave the credit and told her to keep the copy.  But if it had been me, and it was that popular a book, I wouldn't have said anything about the line on the page, especially if I had gotten it for free.  It is hard to keep a book spine in good shape sometimes, especially if it's an older book.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 41,049
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I am a very tolerant person when it comes to accepting books, but today did me in. Someone sent me a book today covered in mold, water damaged and creased cover. Ick.  I let it sit on the desk for a while before I did anything, but I marked it received with a problem.  Just had to vent ladies. I would not send a book out like that.

Alice

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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About smoke smell I have put fish aquarium charcoal in a open dish with crumpled newspaper in a paper grocery bag then put the book on top then put it on my porch for a few days it worked like a charm.  I have also wondered if a flat iron you use on hair might be used to "iron" wavey pages I might have to experiment.

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