PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for September, 2007

Dear Members, Newsletter – September 2007

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

We had a very nice birthday at the Decatur Book Festival!  It was great to meet some of our members and we got to tell a lot of booklovers about PBS.   For more photos of the festival, check out the new Photo Gallery (under Community in the menu at the top of the site).

PBS will be participating in festivals in Montana, WY, Baltimore, Georgia and South Dakota this month. In October, we’ll be in Kansas, New Jersey, Illinois, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida. Anyone who lives in the area of any of these festivals (see the list below) and who wants to help out, please contact us by sending email to  RichardPickering@paperbackswap.com.  What volunteers do: man the PBS booth, pass out flyers, yak with prospective members.  What volunteers get: the opportunity to get tons of referral credits by passing out flyers/business cards with their referral info on them, a PBS Tshirt, the chance to meet other members in their area, and our undying gratitude!  Some of the members who helped with Decatur have already had a lot of new referrals come rolling in…many before the festival had even officially ended!

Upcoming Book Festivals:

  • Missoula, MT “Montana Festival of the Book” September 13-15
  • Cheyenne, WY “Wyoming Book Festival” September 14th and 15th
  • Baltimore, MD “Baltimore Book Festival” September 28th-30th
  • South Dakota “South Dakota Festival of Books” September 28th-30th
  • Blue Ridge, GA “Georgia Literary Festival” September 29th and 30th
  • Wichita, KS “Kansas Book Festival” October 5th and 6th
  • Collingswood, NJ “Collingswood Book Festival” October 6th
  • Aurora, IL “Midwest Literary Festival” October 6th and 7th
  • Nashville, TN “The Southern Festival of Books” October 12th-14th
  • Charleston, WV “West Virginia Book Festival” October 12th-14th
  • St. Petersburg, FL “St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading” October 27th
  • Sarasota, FL “Sarasota Reading Festival” November 3rd
  • Miami, FL “Miami Book Fair International” November 4th-11th

and more to come….

Thanks to our members who made Decatur such a blast: Nancy G (nancyg) and Cheryl G (Poncer), who helped both days; and Diane G (icesk8tr), Lisa M, Patricia G (goldengirl), Jacqueline K, Nancy W (NancyW),  Elizabeth S, Nancy B (NancyB), Karen C (Karen), Jill M (jmccall93), Cynthia S. (Cynthia), Blair G (eblairj), Ronelle G (LargePrintBooks), Amy M (georgiagymdog), and Alan M. We are looking forward to meeting more of our members at future festivals!


and the PaperBackSwap Team

NEWS: Newsletter – September 2007

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Just Put Down the Stamps, and No One Will Get Hurt. PBS Printable postage is here!  Yes, now you can print the postage to send your books right onto the PBS Wrapper.  Just click Print Wrapper as usual, and you will see the new Wrapper Settings page with the option to choose postage (PBS-DC included), just PBS-DC, or neither.  Check the package weight estimate and correct it if necessary, then print the wrapper and mail!  Because printed postage is not subject to the “13-oz regulation” (all packages bearing stamps that weigh over 13 oz must be handed to a postal clerk at the PO), you can mail your PBS-printed-postage-package (say that three times fast) with your outgoing mail, drop it in a blue mailbox, etc.  If you don’t have a postal scale, you should check out the one in the PBS Store–it’s a great deal at $24.99.  Remember, you can opt to use printed postage with any package, or not; there is no monthly subscription fee.  It’s as easy (and inexpensive) as we could make it!  Now get a-printin’!  PBS Postage will also become available for Box-O-Books and Custom DC very soon.

She’s in the Money...Well, in the book credits, at least.  The Winner of the PBS Third Birthday Contest (and 50 book credits) was Dawn F., who made a spectacular guess of 1,477,378 for the total available books as of noon on September 1st.  The actual number was just ONE book more: 1,477,379.   We got guesses all over the spectrum (a couple of you thought we’d have seven million books!), and some very close to the number, but no one as close as Dawn.  We don’t know if she’s pyschic or lucky or what, but we will be asking her to choose our lottery numbers for sure…

Apology from PBS. We had significant server trouble on August 20th; it took down the whole site for several hours, a really unprecedented length of downtime for PBS.  It took a while to track the problem to its source: the PBS Daily Digest and Daily Wish List.  These emails really put a strain on the server.  We think we have fixed the problem now.  We know you all love your Digests!  We are sorry our servers found them…well, indigestible.

Member of the Month – September 2007

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Steve L. (Coffee)

As many of you know, Steve is the Moderator of the USPS Postal Regulations DIscussion Forum at PBS.
He answers questions about USPS from members, with patience and kindness, every day.
He is our go-to guy when we have questions.
We appreciate your efforts more than we can say, Steve; you do so much to make the club better for everyone!

Would you like to nominate a member for Member of the Month?  Contact us.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – September 2007

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

What’s Hot. We are often asked for guidance on what kinds of books are popular at PBS.  Well, the tastes of the membership run the gamut, but we see that cookbooks, audiobooks, erotica, Large Print and nonfiction pretty much fly off the shelves.  If you have any of these types of books, post them and get a quick request!

What do Gone With the Wind and The Lord of the Flies have in common? Well, two things: they are both on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century list, and they are both challenged/banned books.  No, not challenging: challenged, as in books that groups have tried to remove from school libraries.   See the Radcliffe top 100 list (42 of which have been banned/challenged) here.  The last week of September is National Banned Books Week.  Be daring!  Read a banned book.  You can read more about Banned Books Week here.  Thanks to member Jene (sexymf) for her heads-up about this.  Warning: some of these books may be found to be offensive by some members.  But many of them are literary classics already, and some of them are sure to be literary classics in the future!

Words and Music. We’re happy to see that more and more of you are taking advantage of the ability to transfer credits between your PBS and SwapaCD accounts.  It looks like many of you are off-loading your music CDs and using the credits at PBS to get books; others are swapping their books and getting new music.  It’s so easy to transfer credits between the sites: the link to do this is under My Account on the SwapaCD site.   If you haven’t joined SwapaCD yet, join now!  You don’t have to do anything special to “link” the accounts at registration–when you go to transfer credits, the system will ask you to identify your PBS account.  Nothing could be easier.

On the Move? If you are moving house, please remember to update your address information in your Account Settings.  It is really important to prevent books from arriving at your old address after you have moved.  Media Mail postal rate does not come with automatic forwarding service, and such books would be lost or returned to the sender (usually postage due)!  If you have a requested book that hasn’t arrived yet, and your move date is coming up, you can make arrangements with the PO for your OLD zip code to forward your Media Mail (this may entail extra postage-due on arrival).  If you have submitted requests that haven’t been mailed yet, please see How to change the mailing address on a request you have already submitted, in the Help Center.  And don’t forget to put your account on Hold during the move!

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – September 2007

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Dear R&R–I sent a book and the requestor says she got it but I didn’t get a credit! What gives?  –Cheated in Chattanooga

Dear Chatty,

There are three possibilities here:

(1) You did get the credit, and you spent it after getting it

  • When the requestor marked the book you sent received, you would have gotten an email from PBS telling you that you got the credit.
    • If you sent the book with PBS-DC, you may have gotten the Quick Credit early, and when the book was marked received, you had already gotten credit; in this case you would have gotten two emails: one telling you Quick Credit had been given, and one telling you the book had been received.
    • You can check your Club Communications file (linked from My Account) to see copies of your recent PBS emails.
  • fter getting the credit, you may have requested a book, and that is why it seems you did not get a credit; OR if you marked a Lost or Canceled book received in your Transaction Archive since getting the credit, this would have removed the credit, as you were telling the system that you got an extra book. (Please read How to Use the Transaction Archive in the Help Center for more information about this.)

(2) The requestor marked a different copy of the same book (sent by a different member) received.

  • If you did not mark your copy of the book mailed and the transaction canceled, the requestor could have gotten two copies, and could not mark yours received (since you had not marked it mailed); if she marked one received she marked the second copy, and that sender got credit.  In this case, you should read My request was canceled but I already mailed the book! in the Help Center, and the requestor should read I received 2 copies of the same book! for more information.
  • If the requestor marked the wrong copy received (ie, she marked the same title received from a Canceled Transaction in her Transaction Archive), then the credit went to that sender (who may never have sent the book, or even responded to the request!). In this case, the requestor should read I accidentally marked a book received! in the Help Center.

(3) The requestor has not yet marked any copy of the book received.  She can read the Help doc How to Mark a Book Received in the Help Center, and follow the instructions in there.

We know that it is confusing not to be able to see your credit and PBS Money history on the site, and so we do plan to make this information available from your account page very soon.  That will make figuring something like this out much easier!

Dear R&R–I sent a BoB to another Boxer, and she got my books, but I never got hers!  She is not responding to my PMs.  What do I do?  –Swaplifting Victim in Sewanee

Dear Vic,

Well, she might not be a “swaplifter”.  She may be out of town, and hasn’t seen your PMs.   Or she has had some kind of emergency that has interfered with her PBS activity.  But you could not know this of course, so in the case where a Boxer is not answering PMs about a swap, you should contact us so we can look into the situation.  We recommend giving the books 2 weeks from the date they were marked mailed to arrive; then sending the Boxer a PM that clearly asks for a response (“I haven’t gotten your books.  Did you mail them yet?”); and then giving the Boxer a week to respond.  If she doesn’t respond to you, let us know by sending in feedback giving the name of the other Boxer, and explaining the situation.

The vast majority of our Boxers are honest and dependable.  PBS functions on the honor system, and it is a testament to the honorableness of our membership how infrequently Box-O-Books swaps go wrong.    When they do, it is usually not due to a member’s dishonesty.  But there will always be “bad apples” and if you let us know following the instructions above, we will look into things as quickly as we can.  Thanks to timely alerts from disappointed Boxers, we have been able to nip bad-apple behavior in the bud and keep our club working the way it is supposed to!

Dear R&R–I am so excited about Printable Postage I am jumping up and down!  But I want to know how much it costs, and is there a monthly subscription fee like other sites, and how it works.  I looked in the Help Center and there’s nothing about it in there.  Can you explain? –Raring to Go in Raritan

Dear Ra-Ra,

We are so glad you are happy about Printable Postage!  And we are happy to be able to offer this.  We will be updating the Help Center shortly.  In the meantime, the information about how to use the feature and how much it costs can be seen by clicking the Print Wrapper button on the request (just like always), and reading the information on the Wrapper Settings page that comes up.  You will pay $0.61 extra if you choose to print a wrapper with postage (and PBS-DC is included).  That $0.61 is broken down like this:

  • 18 cents to USPS for electronic DC (this is included in the postage that prints out)
  • 43 cents Printable Postage Fee
    • 27 cents of this goes to PBS for the service
    • 16 cents goes to the printable postage provider, endicia.com

So PBS gets the same fee (27 cents) if you use postage with PBS-DC or if you use PBS-DC alone.  Since we can’t change the endicia fee, we didn’t want to ask for extra for the combined service, so we made it basically nothing. 🙂  We want this service to be affordable to our members.  There is no subscription fee, and you can choose whether or not to print postage with each wrapper you print.  You can reprint any wrapper without charge (but obviously each wrapper can be used to mail only one package), but you will not be able to change the postage amount after printing the first time, so be sure the amount is correct before you print! The system will calculate the least expensive postal rate (Media Mail or First Class Parcel rate) automatically for your shipment, based on weight.  It is a great idea to have a postal scale to check your package weights against the system estimate that will show (and is correctable) on the Wrapper Settings page.

When you click Print Wrapper Now, you will be able to download the wrapper (you can choose to download it or have it download and open); then you just have to print the downloaded file.  The backup wrapper link (beneath the Print Wrapper Now button) works the same as always–no download necessary; instead, the wrapper image is shown on a printable web page.  Oh, and we had some requests from beta-testers to change the font size on the wrapper, but unfortunately, this is not possible–USPS is very strict about printable postage wrappers, and we have to follow their guidelines.  And you may notice the “black box” next to the postage amount at the top of the wrapper–this is also required, and indicates any non-First-Class mailing.  If the package is being sent First Class, that black box will not appear.

Those are the basics–now we’ll go update the Help Center!