PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for April, 2009

Welcome to our 303rd PaperbackSwap.com Blog Post!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

First of all, I bet you’re wondering why we have 4 years worth of Blog Posts and you have never seen any of them before now!   Well, that’s because we’re starting our blog with the archives.   We realized that we had all of this great information in our newsletter archive and thought, our members might like to see how we’ve changed over time.  Take a look at the different milestones to see how the club has grown.  With the blog, it’s now easy to find things like the previous Members of the MonthSite Tips & TricksShipping & USPS info, Dear Librarian and much more.

What can you expect to see here in the future?  We plan to introduce some new features here, including podcasts, book discussions and author interviews, and we’d also like to use the blog to keep members updated on what’s happening in the club in between the monthly newsletters. We will continue “chopping up” the newsletters and posting them here as they do contain a lot of  great information, but we’ll also be able to announce club events (contests, new features, etc) here in a more real-time fashion.

Is there something you’d like us to blog about?  As always we’re open to suggestions!
Richard & the PBS Team

Dear Librarian,

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Dear Librarian- I got an offer of a book on my Wish LIst and then I got a Personal Message from the other member, saying it is an ARC and asking if I minded getting an ARC.  What’s an ARC? What if I don’t want it?  Should I click “Cancel” on the request?–Flummoxed in Florida

Dear Flo,

An ARC = Advanced Reader Copy.   ARCs (also known as Uncorrected Proofs and Review Copies) are not permitted for swapping here.  Actually, each time a member posts a book she or he is asked to confirm that the book is not an ARC. We don’t allow ARCs because they are not the “final” copy of books – changes can be made before the final version is printed.   Some members will post their ARCs anyway in violation of the rules — if they do this and send the book out, they have to refund the credit if the requestor asks (and the requestor does NOT have to send the ARC back!).  So posting ARCs, just like posting any unpostable book, is not a wise thing to do!

If someone posts a book that is on your Wish List and then tells you in a PM that it is an unpostable copy and you don’t want the unpostable copy, you should say “Please do not send this book to me” in your Personal Message but still click the button on your account to accept the offer – this is the only way to stay on the Wish List for the book.  The SENDER needs to cancel in this situation, so that you stay on the Wish List.  (The sender should not repost the book after cancelling, obviously.)

ARCs and other unpostables can be swapped in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum or offered as “freebie incentives” to request books from a bookshelf.  So they can still be exchanged here; it is just that they must not be posted to PBS Bookshelves.  All books posted to bookshelves must meet swapping criteria.   You can find new homes for your unpostables using the Book Bazaar – the items can be described in the Book Bazaar and members will know what they are getting.  The Book Bazaar is in the main list of Discussion Forums, accessible under Community at the top of any page on the site.

Dear Librarian-  I got my empty wrapping back for a book I mailed, along with a “sorry” note from USPS.  Does this mean someone in the Post Office stole the book?  What do I do now? — Stumped in Sweetwater

Dear Sweetie,

We’re sorry that this happened!  No, it is exceedingly unlikely that anyone stole the book.  Sometimes wrapping can tear and the book can fall out.  Take a look at your packaging.  If you used an envelope, was it taped down tight around the book, with no flaps to catch in postal machines?  If you used a PBS Wrapper, did you use tape to reinforce the corners and seams of the package?  Not that this situation always is attributable to wrapping inadequacies; even the best-wrapped package can fall afoul of the mighty USPS machines, but your chances of a mishap are greatly lessened if you wrap well.  You can read about this in the Help docs on wrapping in the Help Center.   If you are using other wrapping besides the PBS wrapper (envelope, padded mailer, brown paper, etc) you can place the “information for the receiver” inside the book itself.  This can increase the odds of your book being “reunited” with its packaging, or being sent on to the requestor, even if the package gets ripped open.

Now that the book has been separated from the packaging, it most probably is lost.  USPS may recover it  – but if they do, they should send it back to you.  The requestor should not have to wait for the book to be declared “lost” before she or he gets credit back to try to get another copy.  If you get a notice of loss (or the empty wrappings for a book) back in the mail, let the requestor know in a Personal Message, and then contact us and ask us to cancel the transaction, as explained in the Help doc “USPS lost the book I sent” in the Help Center.  When we cancel, either the request will be passed to a new sender (if there are more copies in the system), or the book will go onto the requestor’s Wish List and she or he will get credit back.

If you wrap well, this will be extremely unlikely to happen again!


Cool stuff…we’re always working on cool stuff. But you knew that. 🙂

Member of the Month – April 2009

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009


Mendy was one of our Games Mods in the Games Forum and has long been a quiet, gentle presence on the site, working hard behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.  She doesn’t go unnoticed, though! These are just a few of the comments we have gotten about Mendy:

“She is a dedicated games moderator…she’s smart, informed, and open-minded. We would be lost without her!”

“She is always pleasant, thoughtful & is just an all around great person!  Mendy makes everyone feel welcome and will go out of her way to answer questions for people no matter what the subject.”

“She is so diplomatic and fair… She is the person that started me with games and has been a great help to a newbie player.”

“She’s very friendly and a great swapper.”

Gamers agree: you are a winner!   Mendy, you are our Member of the Month for April.  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!

No foolin’! Check out these books, currently available to request right now…

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Children’s… The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool. “A very long time ago, when all the countries you’ve ever heard of were in different places on the map, a princess was born who was not beautiful. She wasn’t even remotely pretty, and the whole kingdom was in deep shock about it…” Princess Rose doesn’t get any prettier as she grows up, but the kingdom does get over its shock. Everyone adores the skinny, buck-toothed princess, and she doesn’t mind her appearance —until the handsomest prince in the world comes looking for a bride. Despite warnings from her seafaring fairy godmother and a wise fool named Jasper, reckless Rose wishes for beauty….
Historical Fiction The Queen’s Fool. Winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court….  This is a story of a young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, who must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.  Another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.
Cozy Mystery … Fool’s Puzzle Newly widowed, Benni’s making a fresh start.  Moving to the trendy California town of San Celina, she takes an exciting new job as director of a folk-art museum. While setting up an exhibit of handmade quilts, she stumbles upon a body of a brutally stabbed artist…and soon Benni uncovers an alarming pattern of family secrets, small-town lies — and the shocking truth about the night her husband died.
Contemporary Fiction…Nobody’s Fool. Sixty-year-old Sully is “nobody’s fool,” except maybe his own.  He’s started on a run of bad luck….The banker son of his octogenarian landlady wants him evicted; his high-strung ex-wife seems headed for a nervous breakdown; his longtime lover is blaming him for her daughter’s winding up in the hospital with a busted jaw.  But Sully’s biggest problem is the memory of his own abusive father, a ghost who haunts his every day…. Richard Russo knows the small towns of upstate New York and the people who inhabit them; he writes with biting wit and compassion.

Paranormal Mystery... The Diva’s Fool. On the night of her final performance, Opera Diva Carmen Dellamorte, famous for her passion of Tarot cards, staggers onto the Chicago Lyric Opera House stage and dies. Is it the curse of Macbeth or a malevolent plot to dethrone the queen?  Alexandria Vilkas, Chicago reporter, does more than write about the supernatural. She peeks behind the veil of death to investigate murders of the paranormal, and solving the mysterious death of a Diva is the first step on her journey.   2008 Love Is Murder Award Recipient for “Best Paranormal Mystery”.


Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Yes, no kidding, you won’t have to hover over that darned ! anymore.  Plus, we’re psychic. Look for these changes in the next day or so: your Wish List will show your position in line right on the listing, AND will project if possible when you might get the book offered to you.  Because we want the predictions to have some accuracy, a lot of your WIshes might not have enough data to have a projection – but when you see an estimate on a listing, you will know it has some substance.

…And we’ll give you a sense of history. For each Wish List book on your list that has been posted in the past (but has not been posted within the last week), you will see the “last posted on” date, to give you an idea of how often the book has entered the system in the past.

Objects on Wish List are closer than they appear…Remember that any estimates you see on the Wish List will always be worse than reality.  Since as the membership grows more books come into the system, your Wish List odds are always improving!

Postage Increase Coming in May. Effective May 11, postal rates will increase slightly.  The price of a First Class letter stamp will increase from 42 cents to 44 cents (so stock up on those Forever stamps!).   A 1-lb Media Mail package will be $2.38 (up from $2.23). Download the USPS’ new price list, or read the information at USPS‘s website.

One, two, one, two – Get Your Account in Shape for Spring! Come on, everyone, take a minute to look over your Bookshelf and be sure that all items shown there as “available” are actually available to be sent when they are requested.   Now check your WIsh List to be sure that all items there are ones you still want.   Delete any items that don’t belong (books you no longer have to swap, books you are no longer wishing for) on the lists, and you’re done!  Now, that wasn’t hard, was it?

Dear Members,

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Spring! Each day I wonder Is it really here? Are we really past the last freeze of the year? Are the buds on the trees and flowers going to make it, and is the weather soon going to be nice enough so that we can spend time outside soaking up the sunshine?

As the earth emerges from its winter sleep, we can all do our own awakening, and see this as a time for new growth and opportunity in our lives. Each Spring sees us all a year older (hopefully a year wiser!), with one more year enjoyed with family and friends behind us, another unfolding. This season is about renewal, about accepting change while also cherishing the familiar and beloved.

My wish for you and your loved ones this season is that you celebrate the moment! Let go of the stress that consumes too much of all of our lives and pause to appreciate what is right in front of you. Listen to some music. Read a book. Look for a four-leaf clover. Make a daisy chain. Make a silly face. Fly a kite, do a somersault, skip rope. Teach a child to fly a kite, do a somersault or skip rope. Take a walk, and welcome Spring with a song in your heart. Carpe diem!
All the best to all of you for a joyful Spring,

Richard Pickering and
the PaperBackSwap Team