Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Wet International Package

I went to the post office to pick up a package that had arrived yesterday.  As soon as I saw the package, I knew that the books were likely damaged.  I could tell that the top of the package had been wet.

Once I had the package in hand, I could feel the dampness on the outside.  When I arrived home, I opened the package.  Water had soaked through the package.  The below picture shows the inside of the box right after I removed the books.

Since photos often make it harder to see what is obvious in person, compare the above picture to the below picture, which shows the box a few hours later after it had partially dried.

Now for the books.  At first, they looked fine.

However, the seller had not wrapped bubble wrap around the bottom or top edges of the books, which meant I had a problem.  Once I extracted the books, I discovered that three of the four books were partially wet.

The above picture shows that the book in the lower right was wet along the top of the front cover.  That book was damaged the most.

The below picture shows that the books in the upper right and lower left were each wet along the bottom edge of the back cover.

The pages of the those three books were also damp towards the outer edges.

The following book did not get touched by moisture at all, as far as I can tell.

This is unbelievably fortunate, since I purchased the four books just to get the above book.  The other three books are duplicates of books I already have.  While I am not happy that three books arrived wet, I am very happy that the book I needed was spared from the damage.  So this isn't all bad.

The three books that arrived wet are now in front of a fan.  The pages are now dry, but the inner portion of the boards probably still holds moisture.  I hope that I can get the boards dried out completely before mold or mildew sets in.

Unfortunately, the boards have already warped slightly as they dry.  Books are never the same after moisture exposure.  At least these books did not get completely wet, so the damage will most likely not be that bad, so long as the books don't mold or mildew.

I am concerned that I picked up the package 24 hours after it arrived, which means that the books were wet for more than 24 hours.  That's not good.

This situation serves as another example of why sellers should completely wrap books in plastic before mailing them.  Packages do get wet sometimes, and once books get wet, they are permanently damaged.

I am not going to tell the seller about the damage.  We have a language barrier, and besides, I did receive the books.  The one I wanted is fine.  When I purchase books internationally, it is with the understanding that much can go wrong and that I am willing to take the risk.

I purchase a lot of books internationally, and the transactions from outside North America always have a greater risk.  Transactions with Canada are of no higher risk than domestic transactions via media mail.  When the packages come from overseas, much more can go wrong.  I have had at least three international transactions from Europe that went missing and never arrived, and I have had several damaged packages over the years.

I will sell the three books that are extras, and I will not price them cheap, even with the damage.  These books were not inexpensive.  I have found that many collectors do not know how expensive it is to import international editions.  Prospective buyers have often asked me to lower my prices for the international editions.  It's quite common for international editions to cost $15 to $25 each after international postage is added to the initial cost.  That's why sellers of international editions do not usually offer them at low prices.

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