Tag Archives: sob story

The Problems with Book Swapping


Over two years ago, I’d added a Rock Fiction title to my wishlist over at one of the Book Trading sites I frequently use. If you look over the Rock Fiction reviews, or many of my posts about books in general, you’ll see that I am able to feed my reading addiction quite well, thanks to this site.

So I was really pleased when I got a note that one of the books I’d added two years ago was finally available. Yes, I said happily as I clicked on the button, I still want the book.

Now, on this particular site, the person requesting the book can include a list of issues they may have. Particulars. Peculiarities. I’ve seen requests that books not come from a smoking household (no problem there), or from a home with pets (sorry!).

My request reads that I won’t accept a book with any sort of water stains or damage. To please check the books and, if the person who’d like to send the book out has any doubts, to please drop me a note.

You can guess where this is going… Yesterday, I picked up a book from my Post Office box. I got it home, opened the package, cracked the front cover and … almost half the book shows signs of water damage. The entire front matter — that stuff on the pages before the book actually begins — bears a stain that goes from the top of the page to the bottom.

At first, I was going to let it slide. But as the morning progressed, I got angry. The rules of this particular trading site state that water damaged books are not welcome. I’d written a note that specifically asked the sender to double-check. In my mind, failing to do so is pretty darn disrespectful.

I can’t send this book back out, and the site works on a point basis: you spend a credit to get a book and you receive a credit when you mail something out.

So I’ve wasted a point. Which, in this day and age of e-books isn’t the big deal it had been a few years ago.

But what if I love this book and wind up coming back here and shouting from the rafters about it? I can’t even find out… books with water damage often grow mold, and mold spores simply aren’t good for one’s lungs.

So I have to let this book join my garage door opener in a burial by landfill.

What a horrible ending for a noble book.