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Topic: Wondering about Textbook rules

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Subject: Wondering about Textbook rules
Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I have read numerous posts here about books that were received with highlighting in the book and the sender didn't e-mail the requestor to see if they really wanted the book.  In many cases, the book was apparently NOT a textbook.

My question is:  Do you consider the "textbook rules" to apply to all book posted on this site or only textbooks, as the rules state?  If so, why.

Last Edited on: 9/17/10 12:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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All books. TPTB have even stated that the textbook rule can apply to any book. ETA: I'm posting this from my phone, so can't provide the exact statement from TPTB, but am sure someone else will come along and provide it :)

Last Edited on: 9/17/10 12:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2009
Posts: 5,738
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Last Edited on: 5/27/11 6:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Actually, I was the person who initially contacted TPTB with this issue, and they subsequently clarified via the help documents.  Anything may be objectively posted under the "Textbook Exception". See below:

Actually, the way the system and rules are designed, it does not matter what the "objective definition" of a textbook is.  The club members decide this - as long as the rules in the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS are followed.  See the explanation and examples below.

If a member considers her book a textbook she may Post it with underlining/highlighting/writing on text pages, according to the "textbook exception" in the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS; BUT since the textbook exception in the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS require her to contact the requestor and obtain PM consent to the book's condition, she won't be in the position of sending a "stealth textbook" to someone who doesn't expect to receive one.

Examples/further explanation:

  • Member A posts an Economics 101 textbook - something that most people would clearly consider a textbook.   
  • Following the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS textbook exception rules, she sends a Personal Message to the requestor when she gets a request, describing the book's condition.
  • Chances are good that she will get PM consent from the requestor to send the book with highlighting/etc. 
  • Member B posts a novel (fiction) that she used in a class - something that most people would NOT consider a textbook.
    • Following the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS textbook exception rules, she sends a Personal Message to the requestor when she gets a request, describing the book's condition.
    • Chances are good that she will NOT get PM consent from the requestor to send the book with highlighting/etc.
    • If the requestor declines the book in its condition, Member B will have to cancel the request and repost her book.  It will go to the 'back of the line' for requests.  (If it is a Wish Listed book, it will be offered to the same wisher and the sender will again have to cancel.  She will have to wait for the wishing member to get a copy of this book from someone else before Member B can post her copy again.)

So, the farther the book is from a 'textbook' in common perception, the more likely it will be difficult to get consent to its condition.  Members in Member B's situation may encounter several declines, and will eventually realize that the book is not likely to be acceptable to the club in its condition.  Member B will stop trying to offer it as a "textbook"  and will consider it instead an unpostable/damaged book.

In this way, the club defines "textbook" on a case-by-case basis, and no one who is following the rules will be able to "surprise" another person with a highlighted/written-in/underlined book.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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Even before the clarification that any book can be used, the rule always applied to Textbooks and Workbooks. Since any book can be used as a workbook, logic would say that any book could be posted under that rule. But, yes, the Team has clarified that any book can be posted under the exception as long as its rules are followed.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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PMing is always your best bet in this case. Even books that you would think would be counted as textbooks, it's better to be on the safe side.

Take this for example:

I was in a Children's Lit class at my college last year. We read several popular titles, like Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. If I had made a mark in any of those books and then wanted to post them, I would PM any requestor to say that I used these books in a class and, as so, they are marked with a few notes on the pages.

It might be that the requestor is looking at that book because they need it for class similar to mine and they don't care that it has notes in it (heck, I welcome used books with notes in them because then I can use them in my own class! I once had an old note from a previous student give me a brilliant idea for a topic in our upcoming paper!). Or they might be looking for a nicer copy for their personal library and this kind of book simply won't do.

In the case of textbooks, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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PBS also addressed this in their newsletter last year: 

"Dear Librarian- I saw that there is a "textbook exception" that allows textbooks to be posted if they have underlining or highlighting or writing in them.  How do you define a textbook?  What if I have a novel that was used in a class?  - Hesitant in Hattiesburg

Dear Hattie,

The "textbook exception"  has three parts, really.  Each one is very important, and together they help the textbook exception work well in the club.  First, the textbook exception allows textbooks to be posted with writing/highlighting/underlining (no non-textbooks may be posted with such markings). Second, the textbook exception includes the stipulation that the sender write a Personal Message to the requestor describing the book's condition and third (and most important!), the sender must receive a Personal Message in reply from the requestor, agreeing to the described condition, BEFORE sending the book.  If the requestor does not respond, or declines the book in its condition, the sender must NOT send the book - the sender must let the system cancel, or cancel it by clicking "cancel order".

This requirement of a PM exchange with the requestor accepting the book means that it is not possible for a sender who is following the rules to send a "surprise" highlighted/written in book to a requestor.   For that reason, it does not matter what the sender considers a textbook - if it has markings that will allow it to be posted only if it is a textbook, then the sender is bound by the textbook exception rules to describe it in a PM, and must receive a reply PM consenting to its condition, before sending it.  In this way, matters will naturally sort themselves out: the math textbook that a requestor would expect to have writing in it will be accepted when it is described, while the novel that is read for a class will probably NOT be accepted when it is described.  The sender needs to decline if the requestor refuses the book in its condition.  At some point (after enough refusals from requestors), the member who is trying to send a novel as a textbook will realize that since it is not generally perceived as a textbook, it will probably not be possible to send out a marked-up version of that book here. 

Hope that helps clarify this issue! You can read the textbook exception in the Help Center, of course, in the Help doc "Book Condition Criteria". "

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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PMing is always your best bet in this case.

It's not just that PMing is your best bet -- it is REQUIRED if your posted book has writing, underlining, or highlighting on text pages.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Regarding postability Kate, what members consider 'textbook' is less relevent than what TPTB have defined as 'textbook'. 

DD has several boxes of books required for her college courses, there's a surprising mix of fiction and non-fiction/traditional texts. I've also received a number of Weekend Biographies containing highlighting and/or underlining (most also have a big 'used' sticker on the back such as a college bookstore might use)....I assume classroom use, or other PBS members just enjoy reading biographies with highlighter in-hand.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,343
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And of course, to echo what Deb said, you have to PM, and receive an okay, before sending any book with writing.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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I had a college professor once require for a writing class that we use the book "A Week in the Zone" which is a Zone Diet book. Go figure! 


I think with a more traditional textbook, the receiver is more likely to accept with underlining and highlighting, while with a common novel you're more likely to get a rejection. 

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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If a book was used in a class then its considered a textbook and a person has to PM the requestor about highlighting/underlining etc.

So yes any book used in a class is seen as a text book in my eyes.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I've been surprised by how many people have mentioned in their thanks that they needed the book(s) for class - theirs or their childerren's. None have been books I would have considered a "textbook" per se, but I'm sure that almost any book can in fact be a textbook, especially as their are now continuing education courses and courses simply for pleasure on almost every subject, and there seem to be enough for classes in even the most esoteric subjects. 

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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Yes, because the site owners have said it can be applied to any book.

Date Posted: 9/17/2010 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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It sounds to me like it would be better to scrap the textbook rule altogether and just say that you need to ask before sending anything with highlighting. Some people seem to be taking "the textbook rule" to mean that if it was a textbook, it's okay for it to be highlighted, and that is not the intention.

Date Posted: 9/18/2010 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I agree with you, Willa, it's easier for people to overlook the need to send that PM irregardless of whether it was a textbook or not. Since any book can be considered a textbook and have highlighting, more emphasis should be made on the PM part of the rule, so that people don't miss that instead of focusing on whether or not it can be considered a textbook. I agree too that people can easily misread it and think that because it does quailify as a textbook, they can send the book with the highlighting forgetting that the important part of the rule is that they must send a PM for ANY highlighting and receive an answer agreeing to receive the book with the highlighting. Rephrasing the rule to state simply that "any book with highlighting requires a PM be sent to the requestor notifying them of the highlighting and that you must receive a PM agreeing that the requestor wishes it to be sent even with the highlighting", would be something that would make better sense, IMHO. I suppose if I think it's actually a good idea and something I think they should think about, I should send in feedback instead of just commenting here in the forum, huh? Off to send in a feedback :)