PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Condition of Books’

Dear Librarian; Buying from Amazon, Unpostable Book Conditions

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Dear Librarian – I read about how using the link here to order from Amazon will help the club.  I already have an Amazon account – do I need to open a different account at Amazon in order to give you credit for my Amazon purchases? – Shopping in Charlotte

Dear Charly,

Thanks so much for wanting to support the club in this way!  All you have to do is click the Amazon link (any one you see) on our site to go to Amazon, and then from there just make your purchases using your Amazon account as you normally would. This works for whatever you buy at Amazon (it doesn’t just work for books) – whenever you start your Amazon shopping from the link on our site, it helps the club!   The part that gives us credit is your clicking the link on our site as a way to get to Amazon, before purchasing. It’s a great and free way to support PBS.

You can find the link at the top of any page on the site, or click the “Buy from Amazon” button on any book listing.

Dear Librarian – I see that the rules here for postable books say “no damage from water or any other liquid.”  How can I tell if a book I have is water-damaged? Are there some pictures of examples I could look at?  –Unsure in Uncasville

Dear Unc,

Generally, water or other liquid will make paper swell or ripple, and dried water/liquid damage will make pages stiff.  It’s hard to describe in words, though!  Water damage is one of those things that “you know it when you see it”.  We have been meaning for a while to get photos of water and other damage to books, to provide a helpful gallery to members in the Help Center.

If any members have images they would like to share to illustrate different book conditions, we would be happy to receive them.  We would be interested in photos clearly showing water damage, foxing, mold, mildew, etc. on books.  You can submit the photos to us one of two ways:

(1) upload them to a photo-hosting site and send the URL(s) to us in a feedback message – your feedback message should include a description of the condition (ie, “foxing on end pages” or “water damage”) so we know what the image is supposed to be illustrating.

(2) attach them in jpg format to an email sent to librarian@paperbackswap.com – your email text should include a description of the condition (ie, “foxing on end pages” or “water damage”) so we know what the image is supposed to be illustrating.

We may not be able to acknowledge each submission with a reply, but we will credit the photograph’s submitter if we use the image in the Help Center gallery.  Thanks in advance to those who submit images!

The Last Word:

  • Holiday shopping? Don’t forget to start your Amazon shopping from the link at the top of the PBS site – when you do this, a small percentage of your purchase amount comes to us.  Please note that if you are an e-book reader, it used to be that e-book purchases at Amazon did not count to support the PBS site, but now they do! So whenever you plan to purchase on Amazon, start from the Amazon link at the top of the PBS site. It’s an easy, free way to support the club!

Dear Librarian: Refund Credit, Book Reviews, No images,

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Dear Librarian-  I sent a book I shouldn’t have sent, I admit it. It had writing in it and I didn’t really pay attention to that when I posted it.  So the other member complained and I realized I hadn’t checked the book for writing before posting it!  I’ll be more careful next time and I won’t ever post another book that doesn’t meet the club criteria again.  I refunded her credit using the Give Refund button on the problem swap in my transaction archive, but she says I didn’t refund!  How can I prove that I did?  – Repentant in Rehoboth

Dear Hobey,

We’re glad to hear that you have learned the error of your ways. 🙂  You can tell this member that she can look in her Credit Registry (by clicking credits at the top of any page on the site) to see the credit you gave her.  And if you have to refund (or if someone refunds to you) in the future, this will be easier – an email will be sent when the Give Refund button is used, to tell the member that the refund was given.

For anyone reading who doesn’t know where the Give Refund button is – it is on the Request Details page on every completed outgoing transaction in your Transaction Archive.   Go to My Account > Transaction Archive  and click Request Details on any book you sent that was received (whether or not it was marked received with a problem).  You will see the Give Refund button at the top of the Request Details page.

Dear Librarian – I ran across a Book Review that was great.  The reviewer said EXACTLY what i think about the book.   Now I want to know what that reviewer thinks about other books.  But there’s no link on the review to show me that member’s other reviews.  Why not?  – Disappointed in Denver

Dear Denny,

If the link is not there it means that either (1) this member has not reviewed any other books or (2) the member has the option for “show other members my list of reviews” set to Private or Buddies Only in his or her privacy controls.

We know this is disappointing!  You should check his or her profile, if that is public, to see what books are on the Bookshelf and Wish List there, and check out your similarity index to this member.  You can invite him or her to be a Buddy, since you liked that review so much.  If she or he allows Buddies to see his or her review list, then you will have the “inside scoop”!

Dear Librarian – Something is seriously wrong with PBS when I try to get on from my work computer.  There aren’t any images and it’s just a bunch of text on white background.   It works fine from my computer at home.  What’s up and how do I fix it? – Officeworker in Orlando

Dear Lando,

Your office’s computer system must be set to block unfamiliar domains.  We have images stored in a number of places, and your work system must be refusing to let those domains be accessed to show you the site properly.  If it is OK for you to access PaperBackSwap from work, you should ask your IT person to unblock the following domains:


These are the domains that host the site’s images, among other things.  It is safe to allow access to these domains.

We add new subdomains when necessary to balance the workload across our servers, so this list can change over time, which is why accessing PBS from a very strict location such as a workplace or a school may pose difficulties intermittently.

We hope your boss is OK with letting you use the site during work hours, but if not, PaperBackSwap is always there for you when you get home!


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New Moon Moon Bk 7All New PeopleI'm Not the New MeNew Day RisingA New LuNew GirlsBraveNew CardiffA New DayA New LeafThe New WomanAnnie's New Life

Dear Librarian,

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Dear Librarian- Why doesn’t the site “remember me” when I go to log in?  I click that box on the Login page to “remember me” but every time I come back I have to fill in my login information.  Why doesn’t this work? — Forgotten in Fairmont

Dear Monty,

Login information is remembered by your browser, using a “cookie” (a little bit of information stored on your computer).  Your login information will be remembered by your browser indefinitely as long as you log in here at least once every two weeks and don’t clear cookies in your browser during that time.

The following actions will cause your login information to be deleted:

– clicking the Logout link in the upper right corner of the page
– deleting the cookies from your computer (this may be done manually or by an automated cleanup program setting or by your reboot)
– waiting more than two weeks since your previous login

Additionally, you will not have access to the previously remembered login information if any of the following are true:

– you use a different computer
– you login to Windows using a different user name
– you switch to a different browser (e.g. from IE7 to Firefox)

Most members who have experienced the problem of being “forgotten” by the login page are either clicking the Logout link, or have found that they have some software installed that cleans up their browser cookies for them.

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”.


  • new feature on the Book Details page
  • projects coming out of beta-testing
  • new stuff in the PBS Store!

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – January 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Dear R&R—I requested a book from another member, who apparently read my Requestor Conditions wrong. My conditions say “I only want hardcovers if they have their dustjackets”, but this was a paperback book! I have no conditions for paperbacks. She declined the request! How do I get this book from her? –Frantic in Phoenix

Dear Franny,

Bottom line: you can’t. If the sender declined your request by clicking “My book does not meet these conditions”, then you will not be able to re-request that copy of the book from her.   It is very important to word your Requestor Conditions as clearly as possible for this reason: once the book is declined, you will not be able to get this copy. If you have Requestor Conditions on your account, review them to make sure that they reflect exactly what you mean.

In your case, Fran, the sender may have read only as far as “I am only willing to accept hardcovers…” before she clicked to decline. Yes, that’s her error, but you can’t eliminate human mistakes! Everyone makes them sometimes. The best you can do is prevent them as much as possible, by wording your Requestor Conditions as clearly and unambiguously as possible.

We suggest that all members read the Help Center item “How to Use Requestor Conditions” to learn how this feature works from both the sender and the requestor’s point of view.

Sorry, Franny, you will have to wait until another copy of the book is posted into the system.   If this book was on a Wish List, it was passed to the next Wishing member when the sender clicked “My Book Does Not Meet Conditions”. If it was not on a Wish List, it will have to be requested by another member before you can put it onto your Wish List.

Dear R&R—My Requestor Conditions say “I don’t want books that smell funny. If you have any questions, PM me.” I got an email from PBS saying that the book couldn’t be sent, but the email included a message from the sender saying “It doesn’t smell funny to me, but I was born without a sense of smell.  I had my sister smell it, and she says it smells okay to her.  Do you still want it?”     YES, I do!  How do I tell her that?  –Disappointed in Denver

Dear Denny,

You can’t.   She clicked “My book does not meet conditions” on the request, and that copy of the book can’t be requested by you now.

There are a couple of things about your Requestor Conditions to consider: (1) they are very subjective.  What smells “funny” to one person may smell fine to another.  If you have a problem with odors, it may be tough for you to get books here that meet your conditions, and you may miss out on some books you might have been okay with.   And (2) Requestor  Conditions should NOT ask members to PM you to ask for more details. The Conditions should be clearly interpretable by themselves, without added PM communication. The reason for this is that the sender does not have a way to PM you before accepting or declining the request; she or he may think declining is the first step toward further negotiation/discussion about this book.  And once declined, that copy of the book can’t be re-requested by you! So if you MUST have something like this in your Requestor Conditions, it should be worded as “If you have any questions, please ACCEPT my request and send me a Personal Message. If you decline this request, I won’t be allowed to request the book from you!”

Dear R&R–I am allergic to cats, so my Requestor Conditions ask for “No books from a household containing cats, please, due to severe allergies.”  I requested a book as a present for my sister, who is NOT allergic to cats.  But the sender declined it.  How can I tell her that it would be okay to send?  –Sniffly in San Jose

Dear Jose,

Did you know that you can toggle your Requestor Conditions on and off when you request a book?  Yes, you can do this in your account settings: choose “No” at the top of your Requestor Conditions and then click Update.  Then request the book, and go back to your Account Settings and choose “Yes” again, and click Update again.

If a book that you don’t need to apply Requestor Conditions for is on your Wish List, don’t set it to Auto-Request: if you do, it will be requested by your account and your Requestor Conditions will be applied to the request.  Instead, set it to Auto-Request: No, and when the book is offered to you, you can turn OFF your Requestor Conditions before accepting the offer.  Then turn them back on again, and they will be applied to your future requests.

We are sorry that you will not be able to get this copy of this book from this sender.  We hope that it is posted again soon, and you are able to get it by turning off your Requestor Conditions just before accepting the offer, as above.

Dear R&R–I am so upset about the coming Wish List changes at PBS that I can’t sleep at night.  What should I do? –Insomniac in Idaho

Dear Ida,

Don’t fret.  We know that change can be tough.  Will it help if we sing a little lullaby? (to the tune of Brahms’ Lullaby)

Lullaby, and goodnight…don’t let the Wish List upset you…You will be quite sur-prised…By how well it’ll work, we bet you!
You will not… lose out on books… you have been waiting for…In fact, we expect…that you’ll get even more.

The club… needs to evolve…to keep alive for many more seasons…We wouldn’t make this change if there…weren’t a heck of a lot of good reasons…
We don’t have…a date yet…for im-ple-men-ta-tion… You will see…when it comes…that your fears were largely mis-in-for-mation.

Shhh…she’s sleeping….

Dear R&R–Why don’t you shut up about the coming Wish List changes?  Either do it, or don’t do it, but stop talking about it! –Annoyed in Arizona

Dear Ari,

We only mention it because it came up in the Discussion Forums, and there has been a lot of incorrect info bandied about.  We don’t want to ignore our members’ concerns, even if they are premature.  We would have informed the membership well in advance of the change, but some members demanded we discuss it now. So we did.  We’ll be happy to shut up about it.  This is how it sounds when we shut up.  🙂

Condition of Books: Newsletter – August 2005

Saturday, August 6th, 2005

As a reminder, we ask that all members comply with the “Condition of Books” statement in the posting and shipping area of the site. Remember, the club policy on book conditions is listed on the posting page. It state:

“Please remember our club is based on honesty and integrity from our members about their books. You will not receive a credit if your book is shipped in poor condition. In order to post this book you must AGREE to the conditions of the book listed below:

1. My book is not missing its cover.
2. My book is not an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)
3. My book has no water damage of any kind.
4. My book is not excessively worn, and it is in good condition.”

In addition to the above conditions, all members will be required to agree to the statement below in order to post books into the system.

“By posting books, I agree to fulfill shipping the requests of other PBS members. I understand that the posting of books without the intention of mailing them upon request constitutes fraud and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

This condition was required because we were alerted to a handful of members who were posting books only to receive their three free credits. Some would even accept a request only to never mail the book. As you all know, one bad apple can affect the entire basket if we don’t take action to prevent it in the future. We thank you in advance for understanding the need for this action.