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The following guidelines and tips are provided as suggestions based on our experiences at this time. We’ll update the list when necessary or add items other members have found to be helpful.
1. Review the listing carefully, noting any questions about the list price, seller’s terms, condition grade, description, photos or any other attributes you feel are important. This is especially important if you’re searching for a specific edition, signed copy, etc.
Tip: Clicking on the seller’s photo or name will direct you to their Profile Page where you can see how long they’ve been a member, the overall rating they’ve received and any comments left by other members who have worked with them.
2. Use the Send Message button located at the top of the listing page to contact the seller about your interest in the book and ask any questions you have after reviewing the listing. Ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand and confirmation of details or attributes that are important to you. Remember that the seller will be going through the same process – looking at your profile and asking you questions as well. It might require more than one exchange to ensure that each of you are clear about the expectations of the other.
Tip: If you ask the seller to reduce their price, make sure you can explain why. Asking a seller to reduce their price without justification – especially if it’s by a very small amount – might make them feel as if you’re more interested in winning a negotiation than pay a price that’s fair to both of you.
Tip: If you want to compare the seller’s price to other listings for the same book in similar condition, whether it’s on Photobook Collective or another site, be sure to review the seller’s terms first to see if their price includes a PayPal fee and shipping charges. Be sure you’re comparing apples to apples!
Tip: If the seller has requested a non-insured form of payment in their terms such as PayPal Friends & Family, Venmo, Apple Pay, etc, you are free to agree, or you can ask that an insured form of payment be used. There is a fee associated with standard PayPal payment processing, but that fee provides a degree of security to buyers who are paying before the item is shipped.
3. When an agreement is reached, initiate the exchange by paying the seller using the payment service agreed on. If the seller has chosen PayPal, ask for the email address they use, and pay promptly. The seller can leave the book listed for sale until they receive notification of payment and sell the book to another member if your payment isn’t received within the timeframe agreed to in their terms.
Tip: Before contacting a seller, you should be “ready, willing, and able” to pay for the book as soon as an agreement is reached.
4. When you receive the book, check it carefully to be sure the seller’s description was accurate, and that no damage occurred while in transit. If you have concerns, notify the seller immediately so the correct course of action can be determined.
Tip: Most sellers will appreciate a message letting them know when the book is safely in your hands.
Tip: If it appears the package has been damaged in transit, take photos before opening the box. Include as many angles as you feel are necessary to show the extent of the damage. Take additional photos of any damage evident to the packaging as you open it, and inspect the book carefully. If the book itself has been damaged document it with as many photos as necessary. Contact the seller immediately.
5. After you receive the book, return to the seller’s profile in the Member Directory and provide feedback by rating and commenting on your experience. Rating Guidelines are located on each member’s profile for your convenience.
1. When you receive an inquiry about a book you have listed, attempt to answer questions as quickly, thoroughly and accurately as possible. Ask any questions necessary to be confident the buyer’s expectations are appropriate and the book they receive will be the book they expect.
Tip: If you receive more than one inquiry, they should be responded to in the order they were received.
Tip: Click on the buyer’s name in their inquiry message to see their profile and experiences with other members they’ve worked with previously.
2. When an agreement is reached, make sure the buyer has the information they need to make payment.
3. When you receive notification of the buyer’s payment, change the status of the listing to Sold. Until notification of payment has been received other members who inquire about the book should be told it is pending sale and that you will alert them if the sale falls through.
Tip: Sellers should never ship a book until notification of payment has been received.
4. As soon as you’ve been notified of the buyer’s payment, package the book carefully and ship it as quickly as possible using the carrier and service level agreed to.
Tip: Although any carrier or service level agreed upon by you and the buyer can be used, we recommend you consider using those that include tracking and insurance.
Tip: Many photobooks are very valuable and, in some cases, difficult or even impossible to replace. We encourage you to consider requiring a signature upon receipt. Most will understand and make arrangements. If the book is left in public view and goes missing, the buyer will ask for a refund, but you’ll be unlikely to see your photobook again.
5. When the book has been shipped, add the tracking number to the PayPal activity record (if PayPal was used), and provide it directly to the buyer as well via PM.
6. Track the book so you’ll know when it’s been delivered. If there is any doubt, contact the buyer to confirm it was received.
7. At the conclusion of the exchange, return to the other member’s profile in the Member Directory and provide feedback by rating and commenting on your experience. Rating Guidelines are located on each member’s profile for your convenience.
After buying, selling or trading with another Photobook Collective member, please take a moment to provide feedback about your experience. This should be done as soon as possible after a buyer has received their book, or in the case of a trade, books have been received by both members.
First, rate your overall experience on a scale of 1 to 5 by clicking the appropriate number of stars. Leave any meaningful comments that will be helpful to other members in the future. If everything went well and your expectations were met, let the community know. If the member exceeded your expectations in some way, let them know that as well!
Members can see their feedback by navigating to their dashboard and clicking on the stars under their name. Members with a high rating and positive comments are able to show they’ve met or exceeded the expectations of other members they’ve worked with previously. This translates into a sense of trust on the part of members and helps them feel more comfortable with transactions, particularly those involving trades or rare and expensive books.
Our Membership Appreciation Program (MAP) is a very unique benefit available to all members of the Photobook Collective community. It includes a variety of fun events and unique opportunities for members to acquire desirable photobooks at reduced prices – or to win them outright! It’s our way of expressing gratitude to our members and allows us to reinvest in our community.
MAP events come in a variety of flavors, including unique sales, contests, and silent auctions to name a few. Some events might be held with some frequency…others may be one-of-a-kind, random and occur with little notice. Some will be quick and easy…others might require a little more effort.
We’ll provide details for each specific event as they’re scheduled. Watch for these notices in our Member Appreciation Program Events forum, and be sure to turn on notifications so you can take advantage of these unique opportunities to help you build your collection.
Photobook Collective will also recognize select members with our Contribution Awards. An individual recognized for this type of award may have contributed significantly to the community by helping moderate a forum, listed a large number of book titles at very competitive prices, or contributed books for use in our MAP.
There are many other benefits available to our members as a result of the model we created, and we think it should be a very easy decision for anyone who wants to buy, sell or trade photobooks to become a member of Photobook Collective based on those alone. To use a slightly dusty phrase, we believe our value proposition was outstanding even before we implemented the Member Appreciation Program. But who doesn’t like a little surprise or recognition? Who in this community doesn’t love the idea of winning a well-regarded photobook or finding a group of them on sale for less than their worth?
The MAP is just icing on the cake, for some members, although we could just as easily make the opposite argument for those who really just like icing. Given the degree to which many books will be discounted in our sales and the fun to be had in our contests, the value proposition is pretty attractive for those who join just to take advantage of our MAP events as well!
Our goal is to make the Member Appreciation Program as robust as possible, but our ability to do so will always be directly related to the number of members in our community. Help us spread the word about Photobook Collective and our unique appreciation program. Each new member increases our ability to reinvest in the community and put more unexpected smiles on more faces!
As New (AN):
A book in As New condition will appear to be just that – indistinguishable from a new, unread copy. It will have no visible defects and should be in the same flawless condition as when it left the bindery. A book that has been removed from the shrink wrap it was issued in and opened for purposes such as a signature by the artist can still be considered in As New condition provided no defects were caused during the process.
Note: Photographers listing self-published work delivered directly from the printer in flawless condition will be graded As New with a note in the Description field confirming that the book is indeed New by definition.
A book that has been very gently used but falls just shy of being As New in appearance. There might be a shallow crease or very small, closed tear in the dust jacket or a minor bump to a corner or edge of the cover. Most frequently the reason a book can’t quite be graded As New is because of shelf wear – very minor flaws that develop when a book is removed and replaced from its position on a shelf repeatedly. Shelf wear can be difficult to see in certain lighting conditions. Turning the book so the light is “raking” across the covers at a low angle will typically allow them to be assessed so an accurate description can be provided in the listing.
Very Good (VG):
A book that remains attractive but shows mild signs of wear and may have a few defects that don’t impact any pages containing text or imagery. If issued, the dust jacket must be present. Any flaws must be noted in the description field, and photographs are encouraged.
An average well-worn book with multiple flaws or defects, but that remains intact and complete with the exception of the dust jacket, which may be missing. All pages with text or imagery must be legible to the extent that the content of the book can be appreciated as intended. All flaws and defects must be noted in the description field, and photographs are encouraged.
An obviously well-worn and handled book. All pages with text or imagery must be present and legible, but there may otherwise be significant marking, creases, wrinkles, tears, stains or minor damage from moisture. All defects should be noted in detail in the description. Photographs are strongly encouraged so expectations are appropriate and there are no bad surprises when the buyer receives the book.
If a book listed was previously part of a public or institutional library it must be disclosed in the listing, and a description of any marks, stamps or other indications of ownership and usage should be noted in the description. Ex-Lib is not a condition grade, but a modifier. An Ex-Library book might qualify as Fair, Good, or even Very Good in some instances. An Ex-Library book can’t be graded As New, and Excellent would be extremely unlikely.
The + Symbol:
There are times when a book legitimately seems to fall between two condition grades. Although one grade must be selected for the book and dust jacket if one was issued by the publisher, it is allowable to use the + symbol in the Listing Title Field and the Description field to indicate that the book being listed just barely fell short of the next higher grade. The Description field should explain why this is thought to be the case.
Grading The Condition Of Books With Dust Jackets:
When a photobook was issued with a dust jacket by the publisher, the book and the dust jacket should be graded separately. We’ve provided dropdown menus for both, with two additional choices for the dust jacket: Not Issued and Missing. When the condition of the book is described in the Listing Title or the Description field, the grade given the book always precedes the grade for the dust jacket. Therefore, a book described as E/VG would be a book in Excellent condition with a dust jacket that shows a bit more wear and was graded Very Good.
Condition Grades Not Used on Photobook Collective:
Photobook Collective does not allow a book to be graded New because we consider a new book to be one that has not previously been circulated to a buyer. Since our membership is composed of individual photobook enthusiasts rather than authorized dealers, even if the book being listed was never opened or removed from its packaging, the person who buys or trades for it will be the second owner. Also, new is not actually a description of condition as a new book may display shelf wear from a retail store, the distributor supplying it, or printing errors or defects from publishing that were not detected.
Although Poor is a condition recognized in both the AB Bookman and IOBA guidelines, we’ve chosen not to include this grade on the Photobook Collective platform. Books in Poor condition can be damaged to the extent that content is missing, and therefore the work – whether text or imagery – can’t be appreciated as it was intended by the artist or anyone else who invested their time, energy and resources in the project.
We’ve created the following step-by-step guidelines to help with any questions that might arise when completing the Add Listing form – whether it’s for a book being listed for sale or a Want To Buy (WTB) listing for a book you’re in search of.
If you are creating a WTB listing we’ve included a bold “WTB” in the guidelines at each field that will be completed differently than would be the case for a book listed for sale.
If you are a self-published photographer listing a book (or books) that has been delivered to you directly from the printer in new condition, please list only one copy of each title.
We strongly recommend reading through the guidelines prior to creating your first listing, as there are a few fields that have specific requirements. Note: * indicates a required field.
1. Listing Title* – This field is for the title of your listing. It’s the first thing other members will see when they browse or search for specific books, so it’s important to include the information they’ll need to make the decision whether to click to see your full listing. Typically, this will be the title of the book and artist (or primary contributor), the condition, and any special attributes (e.g., first or limited edition, signed by the artist, etc.). WTB listings: Be sure to use WTB in the Listing Title field. Many members will use the WTB filter to determine whether anyone is seeking books they own but have not yet listed. For example, WTB: A Fourfold Vision by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (Nazraeli Press, 2005) in VG or better condition.
Please note: Although words such as “well-priced” or “price reduced” are acceptable, no specific prices or personal contact information should be included in this field or the Description field (#19 below).
2. Price – US$ only. WTB listing: Enter $0.00 in this field.
3. Book Condition* – Please see the Condition Grading Guidelines which are located just below this document. Although there will always be books that fall between two grade levels, we’ve done our best to provide descriptions that will bring a degree of consistency that buyers will appreciate. When there is any doubt that a book meets the standards for a specific grade it’s always best to consider grading down and using the Description field to explain why it fell just shy.
Self-published photographers: We don’t currently allow books to be graded as New. Please select As New and note that the book is as delivered from the printer in the Description field. If that is not the case grade the book as appropriate.
WTB listings: Select the lowest condition grade you will find acceptable. More detailed requirements can be entered in the Description field.
4. Photos – Each listing can contain up to 10 photos. Photos will go a long way toward making certain a buyer has appropriate expectations. Professional-looking photos are not necessary. Good ambient light and a mobile phone camera will do the job nicely. It’s much easier to show any flaws or defects than to describe them. Photos are not required, but highly recommended! Buyers and WTB listers – it falls to you to do your due diligence. Ask for photos if none are included in the listing and there is any question about the condition of a book. WTB listing: We recommend against use of the publisher’s stock photo, despite what is done on other platforms, and instead list the book with no photo.
Photos should be JPEG (.jpg), files saved at quality 8 (80%), in color space sRGB at 72dpi. Image size should be 1500px ideally, and preferably not less than 1000px on the long side.
5. Listing Type* – Select the appropriate listing type based on whether you’re listing a book for sale or trade or you’re listing a book you’d like to purchase or trade for.
Very important: When the book has been sold or traded, or in the case of a WTB listing, when the book has been acquired, please change the status of the listing as soon as possible to be fair to other members who might have had an interest. To do this, go to your Dashboard, click on the My Listings dropdown menu and select the My Listings option. You’ll notice another dropdown menu on each listing you currently have in the system. Choose the correct listing, click the dropdown and select the appropriate choice. This will usually be Sold/Bought/Traded. In the event you’ve decided you no longer wish to sell or purchase this particular book, select Withdrawn under this menu rather than deleting the listing.
6. Price Status* – Regular Pricing is the option you’ll normally choose. If you decide to reduce the price of a book this can be changed to Price Reduced. Should you decide to reduce the price temporarily or participate in a site-wide sale you’ll want to change the status to Currently On Sale until the sale ends and then back to Regular Pricing.
7. Book Title* – Include the artist’s name when it is integral to the title, such as Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath by Keith F. Davis
8. Artist/Author or Primary Contributor* – Include first name followed by last. Be careful to credit the author or primary contributor where it is not the artist. See example above.
9. Terms* – Very important: Indicate what the list price includes, how and where the book can be shipped and who pays for the payment processing fee (e.g. PayPal)) and shipping fees. Try to be as detailed as possible to avoid misunderstandings. An example might be: Payment via PayPal (Please don’t use Friends & Family). The listed price includes PayPal’s fee, as well as shipment to any PayPal verified address in the Continental U.S. via USPS Priority Mail, insured, with tracking # provided. If outside the CONUS, please PM for shipping options and any changes in price due to increased costs. WTB listing: Please list the terms you will consider or find most acceptable.
10. Dust Jacket Condition* – Grade the condition of the dust jacket (if one was issued by the publisher) using the same standards used for the book itself (#3 above). Select None Issued from the dropdown menu if that’s the case. If a dust jacket was issued but is no longer present, select Missing and note this in the Description field as well.
11. Binding* – If other is chosen, please provide additional detail in the Description field. WTB listing: Select the appropriate choice for the book being sought.
12. Publisher – Not a required field but is very helpful to collectors searching for a specific edition.
WTB listing: Enter the publisher if you are in search of a specific edition of the book.
Self-published photographers: enter self or self-published in this field.
13. Self-Published checkbox – Important: this box should only be checked by those who are listing their own self-published work. Do not check this box if you are listing the self-published work of someone other than yourself.
14. Year of Publication – Not a required field but is very helpful in determining edition.
WTB listing: Enter the year of publication if you are in search of a specific edition.
15. Ex-Library* – Any book that was formerly part of a public or institutional library must be disclosed. Markings that indicate ownership and usage should be noted in the Description field along with any flaws or defects. WTB listing: Select “Yes” or “No” to indicate if an Ex-Library book is acceptable.
16 ISBN* – Enter digits only. Prior to January of 2007 a 10-digit ISBN was the standard. Please enter the 13-digit ISBN for books published since that time. WTB listing: Include the ISBN for the specific edition desired.
17. Attributes – Please select any/all that apply.
18. Citations – Please select any/all that apply. Also note the page number in the Description field.
19. Description – Any flaws or defects in a book must be noted and described. Likewise, any and all positive attributes or citations should be noted. In the case of flaws, accompanying photos can be referenced, making the task of describing the flaw much easier. The more detail provided, the more comfortable buyers will feel. As a rule of thumb, over-describe, and when there is any doubt – under-grade. WTB listing: Use the Description to provide additional information about the specific book being sought (e.g., most desirable condition, edition, signed copy, etc.) as well as what you’re not interested in (e.g., ex-library copies, copies graded less than As New).
Please note: Personal contact information is not permitted in the Description field.
To edit a listing or change its status (for example, from Active to Sold), return to your Dashboard and click My Listings, then My Listings again. You’ll see all the books you have in our database, and each will have a dropdown menu to change the listing status as well as icons for editing or deleting the listing. Click the pencil icon to add photos, make price changes, additions to the Description field or in any other way edit your listing.
Note: If you choose to remove your book from the market, consider choosing the option to withdraw it rather than deleting it. No one will see the listing, but it will be there if you should ever change your mind, and you won’t have to re-enter all the information again.