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Topic: question about book I sent, received as damaged

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Subject: question about book I sent, received as damaged
Date Posted: 4/29/2009 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 10
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I don't mean to sound dense, honest. I shipped a 20-yr-old cookbook earlier this month. Ten days after DC says it arrived, the requestor leaves a 'received, but with a problem.' The binding has come undone and the book is in two pieces, making it unsuitable as the gift for which it was intended. The requestor asks me if I can make the situation right. The book was OK when I sent it -- worn but not torn. Do I refund a credit? Sorry, I'm used to ebay with its pictures, descriptions, and usually quicker notifications of a problem. Thank you!
Date Posted: 4/29/2009 1:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 2,486
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Well, firstly I'd really question someone using a used book swap site to request a 20yr cookbook intended as a gift...

Are you certain the binding was not cleaved? 

It could be possible that, with the book being 20yrs old, the trauma of traveling in the USPS battered it such that it ARRIVED in two pieces.

You could request photos from the person, to determine the type of damage...

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 1:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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How did you package it? If the packaging was left loose at all it could very well have gotten damaged during shipping.
Date Posted: 4/29/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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I have a Betty Crocker Cookbook that is a 1st edition, published in 1980.

The cover is peeling a bit, but the spin seems to be indestructable. 

I think that they made books a little tougher back in the day, so if I were in the shoes of the OP, I would definitely require photos before returning the credit.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I was wondering about how it was wrapped as well. If you wrapped it well and you know the book was in postable condition when you sent it out then don't refund the credit.  Its not your fault if the post office damaged the book.  If you just wrapped an old, delicate cookbook in some paper and sent in on-then maybe return the credit and use this as a learning experience to wrap books better. I always use some kind of cushioning when sending hardbacks.  Their edges are sharper, they aren't flexible like paperbacks and they just can't be sent wrapped in paper alone.


I can see someone wanting and old cookbook like that as a gift.  Maybe someone they know collects them.  Or they had the cookbook at one time, got rid of it and decided they wanted it back.  Maybe they collect all the cookbooks from a certain chef or series.

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 10
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It was in a tyvek bag.  I taped the edges under so they wouldn't flap around.  It's softcover with a spiral/comb binding.  I'm sure it wasn't split in the binding or the cover.  I'm pretty sure the trip through the mail put it on its last leg.

Would you reply with a PM asking for pictures and maybe that will show that it was mail damage?

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 11,024
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It has been my experience that books with the spiral bound notebook-style bindings don't hold up well to the various abuses of the postal system. All it takes is a couple of the cover tabs to separate from the binding, and the spiral binding piece can come right out, leaving you with a bunch of loose pages.

Since it sounds like a case of "damaged by USPS" you don't have to return the credit but in this case, if it were me, I think I would return the credit IF the receiver first sent me a photo of the damage. I would feel really bad that someone had received a book in two pieces even if it were the fault of the PO.

Date Posted: 4/29/2009 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2007
Posts: 765
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I don't understand how a spiral/comb binding can come apart and split the book into two pieces?  If it came apart the pages would be loose, not two pieces, right?

If it were me I would want to see pictures.  Though, I not sure how to request pictures from someone.  Some ppl don't have the technical ability to capture, store, and send you a link to the picture.

Take at look at the member's account to see if this is a long standing member with lots of books traded.  If it were me I would want to politely talk about this some more with the other person and possibly ask if they took any pictures of the damaged book.

Dan (for Marilyn)