PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for February, 2008

Member of the Month – February 2008

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008


We got a lot of nominations last month–many of you are accumulating votes at a great rate, and will surely be Member of the Month at some point.  But there is no doubt who February’s Member of the Month is!  A veritable avalanche of votes for Carol came in…they nearly buried us.  These are only a few of the comments that were included with member votes:

…one of the most gentle, kind-hearted PBS members…loved by everyone…

…a wonderful and caring person in every way…a great swapper, and a big support in the forums…

…always compassionate in the forums, thinking of others first. We love Carol!…

…sweet and encouraging and giving…

…so kind hearted and always concerned for other members and PBS…always a positive influence on the forums and quick with a good word for any situation…

Carol, PBS loves you!  Won’t you be our Valentine?

If you have any nominations for Member of the Month, submit them to us here.  Your nomination will not “expire”–anyone you nominate will have a chance at getting Member of the Month if enough nominations accumulate over time. Each month the person who has the most votes accumulated gets to be Member of the Month and gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride. So go for it! Tell us who’s helped you in the Forums, who’s been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS.  We are keeping a list of all the nominated members.  Who knows–one of them might be YOU!

How to Make a Cookbook: a PBS recipe. Newsletter – February 2008

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008


One extremely dedicated, energetic, organized PBS member, Sherry N. (royaltech)
Several assistant editors, also extremely energetic and organized
Tons of enthusiastic PBS cooks with great recipes and images for the book
Many, many hours of work


1. Agree with Sherry that this would be a great idea. Work up a cost estimate and all that number-y stuff.
2. Agree to fund the printing.  Give Sherry the go-ahead.
3. Ask for pre-orders in the Kiosk.
4. Mix Sherry with assistants and enthusiastic PBS members until well blended.
5. Work with Sherry to complete the final draft–choose images and options
6. Submit the final draft of the cookbook and $$ to the printers.
7. Wait 6-8 weeks.  When cookbooks arrive, ship them out!

Serves approximately 250.

Sherry is busy as a bee, doing the final draft of the Cookbook. When the draft is complete, we will submit it to the printers.    We currently have a little over 200 pre-orders!   So we are up to step 5.  Gee, cooking is easy when someone else does all the work.  🙂

You can pre-order the Cookbook in the Kiosk.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – February 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Dear R&R–Why do you keep making changes that no one asked for?  It’s just rude not to let us know in advance when you change something!  Don’t you care at all about what WE want? –Irate in Indiana

Dear Ira,

Yes, we absolutely care about what our members want.  That’s why a lot of the changes get made–they are in direct response to member feedback asking us for improvements to existing features.  Sometimes it may not be obvious how much would need to be changed, programming-wise, to incorporate what may seem to be a simple tweak to the site.  Pretty much everything on the site is interconnected, and often one change over here means a lot of changes over there, and over there, and over there.  We are grateful to our members who write in with suggestions: you all have really helped to improve the site!  We consider every suggestion, and those that we agree would be beneficial to the club we put on our To Do list, which is ranked in order of urgency.  Some items need to be done before others can be started on.  For each project, we hash out all the design features first, then work out the programming, and test it before we release it.  Right after a change “goes live” is the best time to tweak it–and we do, based on member comments in forums and in feedback.  We make a lot of little changes based on member comments in the first day or so after new programming is released.  So many times our members think of things we didn’t; constructive commentary about a new feature, especially if it seems to represent a consensus, often will result in a change.  Just saying “I hate it” won’t make the change go away, though.

We actually do try to make members aware of significant changes to the site.  We don’t send out an email for every single change: we are determined not to clutter up our members’ inboxes with emails.  For very major changes (like the change in Postal Rates by USPS in May 2007, and the site upgrade in the same month) we send out a club-wide email in advance to every single member; we also announce the change in the Newsletter, and update the Help Center.  Very significant changes to major features (for example, the Wish List) we announce in the Newsletter well in advance, to give plenty of notice before the change goes live.   For less significant changes (like the Buddy List and Bookshelf upgrades), we update the Help Center What’s New section, and also announce/explain in the Newsletter.  We can’t time the release of every single change to the site to coincide with the Newsletter–that’s just too restrictive a schedule, and not realistic.  Not everyone gets the Newsletter, and not everyone visits the Forums.  That’s why the Help Center What’s New section exists–it is accessible to every member with just three clicks, from anywhere on the site (click Help Center at the top of any page on the site > click Browse Help Docs > click What’s New! at the top of the list on the left).  For every change of any magnitude, we update the Help Center What’s New area, announce/explain in the Newsletter, and will often post a topic in the Discussion Forums (even though only a small portion of the club uses the Forums regularly).  In addition, the regular Help Center topics are continually updated to reflect smaller changes.

If you keep your eye on the What’s New topic in the Help Center, Ira, you won’t be taken by surprise!  And if you hate a change we make, we are really sorry.  We don’t do it to torture you, honestly.  We make changes only after much consideration and discussion, and nearly always directly in response to member demand.  We know that not all members will love all changes; that would be unrealistic to expect.  But each change is made with the membership in mind, to benefit the club as a whole.

Dear R&R–This Buddy thing is like junior high all over again.  My Buddy List is empty! I am too shy to ask someone to be a Buddy, and I feel like a loser.  I am having PTSD. –Shrinking Violet in Sheboygan

Dear Violet,

Don’t feel like a loser!  Some members haven’t gotten invitations because they lurk in the forums, and don’t post, so no one “knows” them to invite them.  And remember that others also may be feeling shy.  You don’t have to use the Buddy List at all, of course!  But if you want to, just try sending an invitation to a few people; you can send a PM telling them why if you like, but many folks have their Buddy Lists set to auto-accept all invitations.  You can ask members who have the same taste in books as you do, if you notice this while browsing bookshelves or the Forums; you can ask someone with whom you have had a good swap.  When marking a book received, you can say “thanks for the book–this was a really great swap!  If it’s okay I am going to invite you to be a Buddy so I can keep an eye on your bookshelf.”   There’s no reason they wouldn’t want to Buddy with you. A good buddy never harmed anyone, and they will probably be flattered.  You don’t have to know someone well to be Buddies–and you can set any or all of your information to private in your Privacy Controls so that your Buddy List doesn’t make you feel exposed.  And you won’t get “rejection” emails if an invitation isn’t accepted.

We are really sorry we brought back bad memories, Violet.   It may help to keep in mind that all members at PBS are required to be over 18, and that this is a friendly site.  Most members are terrifically kind and open to “meeting” others in the club.  We don’t think there’s anything to fear here.  And those who don’t have a lot of (or any) Buddies aren’t losers.  Not everyone uses the Buddy List.  We think it’s a great feature, but it’s not for everyone of course.  Don’t let it stress you out.