From the FAQ:

What should a complete ML book description include?

Generally speaking, a description should provide all the information that you need to make an informed purchase. A complete listing would include all of the following:

  • Title and author
  • Clear scans or photos of the front and spine of the dust jacket or (if no DJ) the front and spine of the book
  • Description of all faults including tears, folds, chips to DJ, browning, foxing, underlines, highlighting, loose pages, stains, warping, ex-library indications, integrity of the block in the boards, and so on
  • Copyright date if present
  • Date of the printing (including the points the seller used to determine the date)
  • If no date, then a description of the binding type
  • Whether the book and dust jacket match
  • Statement saying if the printing is a first or later (again, with the points)
  • Number of titles listed in the DJ catalog
  • If a buckram or a paperback, the number on the spine
  • If a paperback, description of the type (College Series, numbered series, and so on)
  • General condition statement based on AB Bookman's Weekly guidelines
  • Return policy

Don't expect all listings to have all this information - few sellers are Modern Library specialists! Most sellers aren't out to deceive you; more often than not, they're just amateurs who don't know what information to include. Just be sure to ask about any information that is not in the listing that's important to you.

You may need to ask very direct questions. For example, if a seller claims that a book is a first edition, ask for the points. If the seller doesn't seem to know what the points are, list them and have the seller confirm their presence.

For fine examples of what a listing should include, look at any of the listings for eBay sellers biederm (Sharon Biederman) or dbapaper (Albert Robbins).

For a summary article about buying and selling on eBay, see Ethics & eBay - No, Really! elsewhere on this Website.


Contributors to this FAQ answer include:

Michael Watson John Krygier Scot Kamins
Ronald Thoman

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