PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for March, 2009

Dear Librarian

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Dear Librarian- I worry about the authors–your website promotes swapping and not buying books.  How are the authors to survive?   — Worried in Waltham

Dear Walt,

We do understand your concerns!  We love authors too and we don’t want their income to be compromised.  So we are glad to tell you that we have many authors who are members, and who love PBS.  They have explained to us that PaperBackSwap is a great way for an author to find his or her public – members who would not take a chance and buy an unknown author will request unknown authors’ books here, since the investment is only a credit and that can be regained by re-swapping the book.  In this way, members find new authors to love, and are more likely to buy their books in the future (we all know there are some books you just can’t wait for!).   We have heard from many members, telling us that they have found new favorites here; and from many authors, thanking us for this way to get their books out to readers.  We think of PBS as kind of like a library – just a huge one, with no “due dates” to return the books you get.  It’s not a way to replace bookselling, but a great way for readers to get books and “meet” authors they might otherwise never have encountered.

Dear Librarian-  I recently moved to a small town and was saddened to leave behind the used bookstores of the city. Then I found paperback swap. I love it – I can get my used books (and for less than I was paying in the city). I tell everyone about this site and the service you provide for us.  — Rural Reader

Dear Roo,

Thanks for sending this message in! We are so glad the club is working to get books for you.  This is another reason why authors love PBS – because it opens up a world of books to so many who might otherwise be cut off!  A lot of America is still rural; not everyone has a bookstore or even a library nearby.    We are humbled by letters like yours, Roo, which remind us that PaperBackSswap is playing a really big part in some of our members’ lives.  It’s wonderful what the internet has made possible, isn’t it?

A whole lotta tweeting goin’ on. Follow PBS news on Twitter:

Member of the Month – March 2009

Monday, March 9th, 2009


Dartha has a big fan club; members love her posts in forums with links to funny things, silly images, or just a bit of her own quirky humor.  Members also appreciate her time finding and uploading book cover images where they are missing.  Some typical comments we have gotten:

“She lifts up my spirits when I need to laugh. No matter how horrible I feel (physical disability), I can log on to PBS and find a forum she participates in and laugh.”

“She has given her time to put covers on books. She made an offer on a thread in the discussion group, and wow, does my shelf look better! Thanks, Dartha!”

“Everyone is glad to hear from her when she posts.  I am always cheered up by her posts…my day is always brighter for a little “dose of Dartha”!”

Members agree: you are our Ambassador of Mirth!  A little light-hearted humor is a blessing in these difficult times. Dartha, you are our Member of the Month for March.  Congratulations!

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 when the Newsletter goes to press 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!

Wearing O’ the Green

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Check out these books, currently available to request right now! These come highly recommended by Team Blarney O’PBS.

Memoir.. A Song for Mary: An Irish-American Memory. Growing up on the rough-and-tumble streets of New York City in the 1940s and ’50s, Dennis Smith was a “tenement kid,” dirt-poor, Irish-Catholic, and missing a father.  He was told that his father had a disability which required him to stay in a hospital and have no visitors. By his early teens, Smith had become an angry rebel… Just as his life was about to spin out of control, he learned the truth behind his father’s absence.  This lyrical remembrance by a bestselling author is a powerful odyssey of one young man coming of age in a confusing and sometimes hostile world.
Historical Fiction 1921 : The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War. Morgan Llywelyn, the acclaimed historical writer, brings the story of the Irish War of Independence and the heartbreaking civil war that followed to life. Henry Mooney, a newspaper reporter, struggles with his passion for a Protestant Anglo-Irish woman, and as he reports the events in the political battle for independence, he comes to realize that the Irish struggle for freedom will leave no life untouched–and no Irish citizen with a dry eye or an untroubled heart.
Humor … How to Be Irish  (Even if You Already Are). Of course you want to be Irish.  This handbook will tell you how to “talk, look, and act Irish” and more.  Whether you’re proudly Irish, anti-Irish, fallen-away Irish, or would-be Irish–that is to say, if you’re a living, breathing human being–How to Be Irish is for you.  Remember – Luck has nothing to do with it!
General Fiction…A Star Called Henry With his trademark sharp-edged wit and breathtaking prose, Roddy Doyle introduces Henry Smart–adventurer, IRA assassin, and lover. Narrated by its protagonist, A Star Called Henry takes us through Henry’s early years of reckless heroism and adventure…to his role as a young father and rebel. At once an epic, a love story, and a portrait of Irish history A Star Called Henry is a tour de force told in a voice that is quintessentially Irish.

Paranormal Romance...Irish Magic and Irish Magic II Changelings, fairies, ancient deities, all ready to fall in love–where but in Ireland, the inspired setting for novellas that straddle the genre boundary between romance and fantasy.  Authors Morgan Llywelyn, Susan Wiggs, Roberta Gellis and Barbara Samuel.

Dear Members,

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Something ominous about March, isn’t there? It isn’t anything new: Beware the Ides of March was the warning given to Julius Caesar before his assassination.  This year, everyone is worried – about saving money and how best to cope with the economic downturn.  Everyone is looking for a way to ease their budgets.

We know that PaperBackSwap helps with this. Members tell us all the time with messages like this one:

“This book club is the best! I can read to my heart’s content and not spend a fortune — and I read a lot! Thank You!”

and this one

“I enjoy this site TREMENDOUSLY… in this economy, buying new books is almost laughable for my family. I appreciate that I can save money, especially by not paying “club fees”, and can help reduce waste by finding my books a new home.  THANK YOU!!”

Those are real feedback messages from members, and we get many similar messages from members all the time.  It’s clear that swapping here (and at SwapaDVD and SwapaCD) is helping many people cope.   Everywhere I go I try to spread the news about PBS – I wear my PaperBackSwap sweatshirt, and I pass out business cards (printable and personalizable from the Spread the Word page on the site).

We were so excited when SwapaDVD was on The Today Show!  And then PBS was in O (Oprah) Magazine and People Magazine last month!  We have had a lot of new members sign up from these mentions, and we got to thinking.   There must be a lot of people out there who would love membership, but who just don’t know about us.   It seems that every day I meet someone (or more than one person) who is so excited to hear about the swapping concept!  But I am just one guy – I can’t tell everyone.   But the TV news and magazine items get to a lot of people.   So I thought it would be a great idea to ask all of you to send us the name of a reporter in your town or city who might be interested in doing a story on our clubs.  Then we can help all kinds of people across the country to find out about this way to save money and get great entertainment for nothing more than the cost of postage.

You can send an email to us at RichardPickering@paperbackswap.com.  Tell us your town/city and state, and the TV/radio channel/newspaper and the reporter’s name, and we’ll take it from there!   You are also welcome to submit the story idea yourself directly to the reporter, of course.  Often times when I have spoken to reporters, they will ask me if I can find a local member for an interview.   Who knows, you could end up being quoted or broadcast on the local news (if you agreed to that).  And the great thing is – the more members we have, the more books for everyone to share.

Remember, bad times don’t last forever!   We will get through this together.

Best from

Richard Pickering and
the PaperBackSwap Team

News from the PBS Newsletter

Friday, March 6th, 2009

We look like (half a) million books! Yes, there are over 3 million books available to request right now at PBS – you can watch that number grow at the top of the site– but the number of unique titles has been growing too.   It’s true: there are over 500,000 different books available right now to request.   Everything from memoirs to regency romance to children’s books to classic literature to chick-lit to police procedurals to how-to books…there is no end to the variety.  No end because that number keeps on growing.  You can keep an eye on it and other nifty “vital statistics” on the Pulse of PBS page.

People loved you!  You are O so great! Club members should have gotten a big ego-boost when both People magazine and Oprah’s magazine recommended PBS for its ease of use and its principle of reducing waste and saving money.   Thanks to all of you who are swapping your books and proving every day how well this club works!   We’ll keep working hard every day to make the site even better.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Now you can see ALL the details about the books on a sender’s bookshelf when you are using the “Order More from Member” function to add books to a request.  Click the Full Details button and the Book Details page will come up as an overlay, so you can browse more efficiently.  Be sure to use this function to check for extra books you might want when you are requesting one – sending multiple books at once saves postage for the sender.

What’s in a name? Whatever you want!  Now you can decide what to show (your name and nickname, only your name, only your nickname, etc) on your personal messages, profile, forum posts, etc, by adjusting your club Identity in your Privacy Controls.  You can get to your privacy controls from your Acount Settings in My Account.