Basket  0 Items Value: £0.00

Monks Hill Books Blog

On the condition of a second-hand book – 3

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

Here are a few more noteworthy book descriptions from the web, together with my comments and interpretations [in italics] :

Nice large copy.  [You mean I can choose the size of book I’d like?]

Used – Acceptable. Cover is almost completely detached from the binding upon opening the book, exposing the spine. Otherwise, wear to cover around edges.  Ex-library with wear and barcode page may have been removed.    [Are you sure you said acceptable?]

Kept in excellent condition by a man who loved books and was a proud Scotsman.   [Since when has the owner being Scottish had anything to do with the condition of a book???]

Absolutely perfect condition. Looks like new. No dustjacket.   [So not absolutely perfect, then . . . . ]  

A very nice copy of this First Edition.  Very clean and tidy protected dust wrapper*.  No significant dirt.  No chips or tears.  A little bumping /edge wear to the wrapper.  Not price-clipped.  The book itself is very clean and tidy, with no significant damage to it.  No inscriptions.  (*All our wrappers are protected in removable clear plastic film).  A very good copy of this book in a clean and tidy dust wrapper.  No significant flaws.  A touch of handling only.  A decent book at a low price.  [Yeah, yeah, we get the picture . . . . ]

Good condition item with wear and markings.  Ex-library.  Looks like an interesting title!  We ship daily using airmail services only, provide personalized customer service and want you to have a great experience purchasing from us.   [In fact every single book this bookseller offers for sale has the description “Looks like an interesting title!”.  In this case he is charging £44.54 for a 95-page 1977 academic paperback – buying from him would certainly be a great experience.]

All of our books are real.   [Stamp out e-books now!!]

To be continued . . . .

On the condition of a second-hand book – 2

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

As promised, here are a few noteworthy book descriptions from the web, together with my comments and interpretations [in italics] :

Nice clean book.  Clean pages. [Completely shot to bits, but clean]

Unknown binding. Condition: Good.  Used book but in Good Condition for sensible price. [But since we don’t know what kind of binding the book has, you can’t assume we’ve actually looked at it].

Scratch and dent version.  New book, may have cosmetic damage (i.e. dented corner).  [Make your mind up . . . . ]

This book may include some defects such moderate highlighting and notes.  Cover and some pages may be creased and show discolouration.  Ex-library.  However the book is still readable.  [Ah well, must be grateful for small mercies . . . . ]

Slight book odour overall a good copy.  [“Slight book odour”????]

Some of our books may have slightly worn corners & minor creases to the cover.  The spine may show signs of wear.  Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can be an ex library book.  Please note our covers may differ from the stock photo shown.    [In other words, our description, and the picture, may bear no relationship whatever to the actual book you will receive]

A lovely tightly bound hardcover book – carefully read.   [Well, carefully read by me, but thrown about the room a bit by my boisterous two-year-old].

Ex shelf copy. [This must take the prize for the most uninformative book description I have yet seen]

Almost very good.  [I almost want to buy it].

Belonged to my Father who looked after his books and so this one is in very good condition – Private Sale.    [Unfortunately Father also smoked like a chimney and kept 15 dogs . . . . . ]

Read once.    [But I clearly didn’t think much of it, or I’d have kept it . . . . ]

To be continued . . . . .

On the condition of a second-hand book

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

One of the problems of buying a book by mail-order is that you cannot handle the book, flick through it, look at the pictures, and make your own decision whether the book is worth the price being asked.  You can do that in a proper book-shop, but the combined effects of rent, business rates, staff costs and the innumerable charity shops just down the road have made “proper” book-shops very rare.

So in future most books will probably be sold on the internet – and I have found by bitter experience that it is very difficult to set up a web-site which will do exactly what you want it to do.  Most sellers of second-hand books use one or other of the major players in the internet marketing field – and as these sites are designed basically to sell large quantities of brand-new items, it is not surprising that they fall somewhat short when asked to sell a unique item with a coffee stain on the dustjacket, smelling of cigarette smoke and bearing a touching inscription from Auntie Eileen.

One well-known web-site (clearly intent on world domination) restricts its users to four descriptions –  like new, very good, good and acceptable – oh, and the hilarious description “collectable” – and some users simply leave it at that.  Others make a slightly better attempt to describe the book, but they have clearly heard something of the Sale of Goods Act.  In the vain hope of avoiding liability, their descriptions are so general and non-specific that the book could be in any state at all – for example, “A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes.  Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration.”

This is far too rich a vein to pass by.  In later blogs on this site I will let you have a selection of book descriptions I have found, with my comments and attempts at interpretation – rather like those lists of estate agents’ terms for property descriptions – six paving-stones together equals one patio . . . .