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Monks Hill Books Blog

On the condition of a second-hand book – 5

Posted on 01/09/17, filed under Fresh News | No Comments

Still they come – a few more noteworthy book descriptions from the web, together with my comments and interpretations [in italics] :

Original stock from main distributors, dispatched as fast as humanly possible. Buy with confidence and receive details of workshops with author and details of campaign organizations.  [I’m buying a book, thanks.  I get quite enough spam emails and junk mail already.]

Superb book from college library so very clean  [In my experience, something of a non-sequitur.  They mostly used to smell of weed.]

Well-loved but cared for, and still very readable.  The previous owner has certainly very much enjoyed reading this book more than once, therefore please be aware there will be some creasing on the spine or slight shelf wear.  If it's been in their collection for some time, say years old or more, some pages might be discoloured and there may be other minor age blemishes, but that won't affect its readability.  Shipped from the heart of the British countryside this book will leave our library within a day or two of your order and be with you shortly thereafter.  [May also smell of wet dogs and/or port and cigars]

Very good item. Some or no wear, highlights underlines.   [This has our award for the least useful book description.]

Wear & Tear Satisfaction 100% guaranteed!  [From a different bookseller, this has our second-place award for the least useful book description.]

Signs of a well loved book, of readable quality.  [From yet another bookseller, our third-place award.]

Is a new article.  From Japan will be shipped.  Delivery may be delayed for a particular reason.  Because of store Heibai, there is a possibility that has been sold out.  Our shop will strive to improve the service.  Thank you.  [Don’t mention it.  The part about the Heibai was very informative, but on the whole I must admit your English is marginally better than my Japanese.]

The dust jacket is torn, worn and chipped.  Shelf rubbed and marked.  It can still look good in cellophane.   [Mutton dressed up as lamb, you mean?]

On booksellers claiming spurious charitable credentials

Posted on 19/01/13, filed under Fresh News | No Comments

I make no secret of the fact that a good number of the books on this web-site I bought from charity shops.  There’s nothing wrong with that – the charity receives the price it asks for (I don’t have the cheek to claim a trade discount) and I then bear the risk of never finding a buyer for the book, and the cost of putting it on the web-site and storing it.

However, a number of organisations, not charities in themselves, now claim to be selling books on behalf of charities, or donating part of the proceeds of the sale to charity – and bear in mind that most of these organisations use a well-known web-site which charges a (not insubstantial) fee to its sellers.   You will see statements such as :

“We make a contribution to charity for every book sold”, and

“We use [that web-site] to raise funds for work we do in Africa and our UK team comprises long-term unemployed and prisoners coming to the end of sentences”.

All very laudable.  But let’s look at what they are selling.  The books (most of which are ex-library) are usually priced at £0.01.  The web-site sets a flat-rate fee of £2.80 for postage and packing.  A book over 750 grams and more than 3 centimetres thick cannot be sent, whether by Royal Mail or courier service, for less than that.  So even assuming the organisation has paid nothing to acquire the book, it will still be losing money by selling it.  So how much will the organisation be donating to charity, or putting aside for its valuable work in Africa?

Say I spend £5 buying a book from a charity shop.  I know the book is actually worth £10, so I put it on my web-site (it is a large book) for £15 carriage paid, and sell it.  The charity has £5 for its charitable purposes, I have £5 to pay for extortionately expensive electricity and gas, and the courier service has £5 to deliver the book to Auchtermuchty.

Is that more laudable?

On the condition of a second-hand book – 4

Posted on 19/01/13, filed under Fresh News | No Comments

Still they come – a few more noteworthy book descriptions from the web, together with my comments and interpretations [in italics] :

May contain minor creasing/scuffing to dust cover if there is one present and mild tanning to pages. But otherwise will be of exceptional quality.   [But we haven’t actually looked . . . . ]

Good readable copy, might have high-lighting or markings inside, might be ex-library book.   [As you’re offering me  a paperback book priced at £115.08, I want to know for certain, please!!!]

Region 1 encoding requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV.  [Nah, I’m sending this book back.  It’s far too big to fit into the drawer of my DVD player . . . . ]

Neatly stored.    [Madam, for the prices you charge for your books, I would want your assurance that this book has been stored only in the finest Icelandic eider-duck feathers . . . .  ]

spine is loose but book intact apart from first map lovely historical document    [Charging £14.50 for an (obviously defective) 1925 Ward Lock guide!]

h/b s   [I suppose the h/b might stand for hardback, but as for the s, well, your guess is as good as mine]

Book is used therefore may show signs of reading and wear.   [Duuurrrrrrh!!]

Book selection as BIG as Texas.   [Meaning – we’re so big we couldn’t care less what condition the book is in?  We’re so big you’re darn lucky we could find the book in our warehouse at all?]

Actually new and never read but has a slight mark on base of book where it has stood on book case.  [That really is taking honesty a bit far – have you never heard of taking a mark off with a soft pencil rubber?]

An excellent, clean tight copy of this amazing book.  [So amazing that I’m amazed nobody seems to have bothered to read this book up to now . . . . ]

Book is Used Very Good.   [Absolutely shot to bits]