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    Seeking Advice: Possible Book Defect?

    Hey, all! I’m looking for a little input from the forum in regards to a recent purchase I made that looks like there might be some damage to it.

    I recent picked up the Centipede Press book, THE AUTOPSY & OTHER STORIES By Michael Shea. This is one of my all time almost Holy Grail books and was excited when I was finally able to get a copy off eBay.

    Once my copy arrived, I inspected it and it looks like the headband on the book has become detached. It also looks like the pages of the book are bowing out slightly.

    I’m rather bummed as it wasn’t a cheap purchase and if this is a defect/damage, it wasn’t noted in the listing.

    I’ve included some pictures below, including one of the bottom of the book to show the difference. I’d appreciate any thoughts or comments on this.

    Attached Files

    #2
    I'm not an expert. And I see defects everywhere I look. So take this just as one of (hopefully) many takes on your issue, but I think your book is fine and not damaged. I'll say it looks like it's been read a couple times, but I think the headbands pulling away like that are supposed to perform that way. But see what others say because I'm a moron.

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      #3
      Upon more inspection, I'm not liking the way the page block is pulling away from the back board. The spine part doesn't bother me, but the way that back endpaper is being tested makes me worry.

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        #4
        Not an expert but it looks like the book block has separated from the cover.

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          #5
          I have the same book, and mine doesn’t look like that. What you have is a big book with a heavy page block that has been improperly/lazily shelved, and the block is being pulled down by its weight because it’s unsupported. Not unusual, and I suspect we all have books like that in our collection. BUT as Martin points out, that last pic shows the beginning of separation between block and board, and I’d be concerned about that continuing.

          So I wouldn’t call that a defect, more like wear on the book caused by a thick page block in a tall book, and shelving/storage that left a lot to be desired. Keep in mind the binding is sewn, not glued, so nothing has become detached, per se. But I suspect the entire book now feels a bit “loose.” If you got it for a good deal, I wouldn’t bother trying to send it back, but if you paid market price, yeah I’d be displeased, too.

          If this was an eBay sale, you may have difficulty winning your case if the seller doesn’t want to take it back, as there’s no true defect. I would play up that last photo and show the beginning of the separation...that might help.

          Really sorry to hear this Grail didn’t work out for you...that kind of letdown is especially disappointing.
          Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by RonClinton View Post
            I have the same book, and mine doesn’t look like that. What you have is a big book with a heavy page block that has been improperly/lazily shelved, and the block is being pulled down by its weight because it’s unsupported. Not unusual, and I suspect we all have books like that in our collection. BUT as Martin points out, that last pic shows the beginning of separation between block and board, and I’d be concerned about that continuing.

            So I wouldn’t call that a defect, more like wear on the book caused by a thick page block in a tall book, and shelving/storage that left a lot to be desired. Keep in mind the binding is sewn, not glued, so nothing has become detached, per se. But I suspect the entire book now feels a bit “loose.” If you got it for a good deal, I wouldn’t bother trying to send it back, but if you paid market price, yeah I’d be displeased, too.

            If this was an eBay sale, you may have difficulty winning your case if the seller doesn’t want to take it back, as there’s no true defect. I would play up that last photo and show the beginning of the separation...that might help.

            Really sorry to hear this Grail didn’t work out for you...that kind of letdown is especially disappointing.
            Ron, you raise a point about improper shelving. My Salem's Lot gift edition looks pretty similar to the above photo (apart from the page block coming away from that back board) and all I ever did was put it on a shelf. Is there something I should do to elevate the book or tilt it? I came to the same conclusion you outlined above--heavy book block just pulling away from the spin over time.

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              #7
              This looks like a classic case of a "broken spine" to me. If you open it up, does it open further than you would expect? Far enough that if you find the middle of a signature you can see how it's bound together?
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                #8
                Originally posted by jeffingoff View Post

                Ron, you raise a point about improper shelving. My Salem's Lot gift edition looks pretty similar to the above photo (apart from the page block coming away from that back board) and all I ever did was put it on a shelf. Is there something I should do to elevate the book or tilt it? I came to the same conclusion you outlined above--heavy book block just pulling away from the spin over time.
                Here's what Camelot did with their lettered editions of Speaks the Nightbird a book notorious for this kind of separation:

                ...to help protect them from further damage we went through all of them, slid them in the slipcase backwards, put them in protective bags, and laid them on their spine for storage so the weight of the pages is not causing any more damage.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by slayn666 View Post

                  Here's what Camelot did with their lettered editions of Speaks the Nightbird a book notorious for this kind of separation:
                  Thanks for pointing that out. Looks like I'm going to need to have book cots so 'Salem's Lot, IT, and Sleeping Beauties can have a lay down. I'll write the titles on the bottoms of the cases in Sharpie.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jeffingoff View Post

                    Ron, you raise a point about improper shelving. My Salem's Lot gift edition looks pretty similar to the above photo (apart from the page block coming away from that back board) and all I ever did was put it on a shelf. Is there something I should do to elevate the book or tilt it? I came to the same conclusion you outlined above--heavy book block just pulling away from the spin over time.
                    Camelot's tactic above is one remedy, but not one I'd suggest...all that's going to do over time is flatten the spine and page block, which inherently stretches and weakens the bound curvature of the book, so when it is then put upright, it's already weakened and prone to issues of future bowing.

                    Here's what I do...keep in mind these tactics have not been subjected to scientific rigor and analysis. But 30 years of caretaking books tends to clue one in on what works and what doesn't. BTW, these recommendations assume the book is as-new(ish) and doesn't already suffer from a bowed or broken spine...that's a different ball of wax, and has a different approach. It also assumes the book is a very thick book that requires this treatment...obviously (and thankfully), most books do not.

                    Bear with me...I've never tried to explain this process before...but it's what I do, and it seems to works quite well. As anecdotal proof, my copy of the Shea book above still looks like new.
                    • Select a spot for it on your shelf; make sure the shelf is completely full with other books (save for the spot needed for this book).
                    • Remove a book or two to the right of where this book will sit.
                    • Take a long strip of white paper (preferably acid-free) and cut it to the width of the page block -- do NOT include the boards in this width, only the page block. In fact, unless the paper is folded perfectly, it will tend to be wider than wanted, so take a tiny bit off the width of the page block. Fold the piece of paper (in a one(ish)-inch rectangular shape) until it is the height of the gap between the bottom of the boards and the bottom of the page block...now fold it another time or two, so is in slight excess of that difference.
                    • Make sure the book is curved as much as it's able to be...hold the spine on both sides with the forefinger and thumb, and then push forward on both sides in a rocking motion as you're pressing in (toward the spine) on the outer page block...you're trying to make the curvature as pronounced as possible.
                    • Now hold the spine, and with your other hand place the folded piece of paper against the front (right side if looking a book face on) width area of the page block, i.e. the point farthest from the spine.
                    • Holding the spine and the piece of paper in place, slide the bottom of the boards carefully onto the shelf (or into a slipcase, if it has one), releasing the folded piece of paper as it slides onto the shelf (or into the slipcase) -- which now rests against the bottom page block and supports it, keeping it from drooping (and pulling away from / bowing the spine).
                    • Slide it sideways against the book to its left, making sure the boards don't lift up from the shelf and disturb the placement of the folded paper.
                    • Now slide the books to its right one at a time back onto the shelf and make sure the first one is set against the book in question, so it holds it in place, before sliding in the second...make sure entire shelf is filled tightly, not so tightly that it "squeezes" the book and creates bowing-without-drooping (pushing the page block outward by the extreme force), but very firmly so that the book is not only supported on the bottom by the folded paper, but also by the tension on both sides which then prevents the page block from drooping.
                    Hope this helps. It's actually a lot simpler than that mass of words above would suggest. Anybody needs clarification, let me know. Again, it's my home remedy, one I've never heard anyone else use, so take it for what it's worth, but I continue to use it because it works.
                    Last edited by RonClinton; 08-26-2020, 09:53 PM.
                    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by slayn666 View Post

                      Here's what Camelot did with their lettered editions of Speaks the Nightbird a book notorious for this kind of separation:
                      The lettered editions that aren't. There was no such thing until someone at River City decided to letter some copies for who knows why. Just saying. This is not a slam on Camelot. It's not their doing. But as I explained in great detail on DT.org, there was never a lettered edition until a few copies with letters all showed up at the same time a couple of years ago.

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                        #12
                        Thanks for the pointers Ron. Very helpful!

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                          #13
                          Sorry I couldn't post sooner, but I put the first post up right before work and then...life.

                          Thank you to everyone who has replied and for Ron's very cool preventative care post. I'd have never thought of that.

                          Per Dan's question, the book does open more than what I'd expect, but not enough to see how it's bound together. It seems the thought is that it's a page block coming loose or a broken spine. Either way, I'm rather bummed. I agree with Ron that I'm unsure if I'll be able to get a refund for this book from the seller and/or win the case through eBay. The listing made no comments as to the condition of the book in either direction. I was hesitant at first but scoured the pictures for potential defects or issues and could see none. There was no picture of the top headband of the book that would have shown the issue.

                          Ron also made the comment as to if I got "a good deal" then it would be easier to keep it. I guess that raises the question of what a good deal is. I won the auction at around $375 and after shipping and sales tax, the purchased crossed the $400 line. I was very happy with the price of the book when I had believed its condition was better. Prices for this book can be rather steep, though, as usual, with Centipede, you'll get some sellers asking ridiculous prices they'll never get. I wouldn't have bid that high or maybe at all if I had known the issue.

                          I'm mulling over whether or not to reach out to the seller or just live with the book.

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                            #14
                            Decided to reach out to seller. We’ll see if they get back to me or not.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Sock Monkey View Post
                              Decided to reach out to seller. We’ll see if they get back to me or not.
                              Good luck. Let us know how it turns out. Would you consider spending additional $$ to have it repaired?

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