PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for May, 2009

Twitter BackGround Design Contest is on! #pbs_twitter

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Got Mad Design Skills?

Existing PBS Twitter BG

PBS Twitter BG

PaperBackSwap.com is holding a Twitter Background Design Contest for their Twitter Profile @paperbackswap. We wanted to give our talented members a chance to get involved in representing our company. What better way than with a Twitter Background Design Contest!

When does it begin? Thursday, May 7th
Deadline for submissions: Sunday, June 7th 2009

Where to submit your entry?
Beginning May 7th!
Go to
TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com to submit your design.  A huge thanks to TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com for helping us set this up & use their website to run the contest.  *Please Note: After submitting your design please keep your original files safe and secure.  The winners will need to send the original files to PaperBackSwap for use. We will contact the winners with details.

Who will be judging the contest?

  • “People’s Choice” -You all will choose 5.
  • “Our Choice” – The PBS Team will choose 5.


  • Prizes will be offered to the top 10 designs!
  • 1st Place Winners (2):People’s Choice & Our Choice = $100 +25 credits (transferable between PaperbackSwap.com/SwapaCD.com/SwapaDVD.com), 1 Year Box-O-Books, 1 Year Book Journal, $10.00 PaperbackSwap Money, $10.00 SwapaCD.com Money and $10.00 SwapaDVD.com Money)
  • 2nd place Winners (2):  20 Credits transferable
  • 3rd place Winners (2):  15 Credits transferable
  • 4th place Winners (2):  10 Credits transferable
  • 5th place Winners (2):  5 Credits transferable
  • The top 10 designs will be rotated on the PaperbackSwap Twitter Profile (@paperbackswap) throughout the next 2 years.
  • The top 10 entries will be featured in the PaperbackSwap.com twitter profile, newsletter & blog.


  • To win- You must be a member of PaperbackSwap.com. (U.S. Only – Free & Easy to register)
  • Submit as many entries as you want.
  • We must receive your files and they must be usable. *See note above.
  • All Artwork must be original.
  • Professional, Creative, Family-Friendly designs only please.
  • By submitting your design, you release your rights & give PaperbackSwap.com full use of the design.
  • The Public / PaperbackSwap.com team will decide which designs are best.
  • You may use our Logos, Banners, or Stock Images found on PaperbackSwap.com
  • We reserve the right to make changes to the contest at any time.


  • View twitter background tips and resources on TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com
  • Multiple Monitor resolutions will be viewing the backgrounds.
  • Please credit yourself on the design (you can put ‘designed by…’ for instance)
  • must be up-loadable to twitter… test on your twitter profile first.

Help Spread the Word!

The more the merrier! Please help spread the word via your blogs, facebook, myspace, blogs, drop a flyer by an art class,  etc. For Twitter use the hashtag #pbs_twitter when tweeting about this competition. Retweeting the tweets of @paperbackswap about this competition will be really helpful too!

I’m sure questions will come up during the competition and we’ll try our best to address them as quickly as possible via Twitter and the PaperBackSwap.com Blog.


Richard & The PaperBackSwap Team

Dear Librarian,

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Dear Librarian- What happens if I get a request on Friday or Saturday (or Sunday!) before the postage change on Monday, and the wrapper prints out with the “old” postal rate on it?  What do I do to be sure that the package has enough postage on it?  –Worried in Worthington

Dear Worthy,

Don’t worry – you’ll just have to pay a little extra attention for a few days.  Remember that anything you mail on Monday or after must have postage that satisfies the NEW postal rates.  Anything you mail before Monday can have the OLD postal rate postage on it.  So if you get a request on Friday or Saturday before the rates change, you should be sure to mail the books on Friday or Saturday, using the old postage rate.  If you have to mail on Sunday, you should use the NEW postal rate – because packages mailed on Sunday (for example, put into a blue mailbox on Sunday) will not enter the mailstream until Monday, and on Monday the new postal rates will apply.

Dear Librarian-  OMG the flu is scary!  Did you read The Hot Zone?   Is it safe to mail to and from strangers?  Why doesn’t the government talk about the US mail as a risk factor for getting swine flu?  OMG OMG OMG –Caffeinated in Carson City

Dear Caffy,

While influenza is not Ebola virus (as described in The Hot Zone), you don’t want to get it if you don’t have to!  If you are careful to wash your hands frequently and well (using soap), avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth while out and about, and stay away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, your risk of getting this recent strain of influenza appears to be small.  No one is talking about the mail as a risk factor because mail is not a risk factor.  Yes, if someone with the flu were to sneeze wetly onto your mail and then hand it to you, that could be a risk.  But the influenza virus does not live very long on surfaces, especially in warm weather.  If you are very concerned, you can be sure to leave your mail in the mailbox for 2-3 hours before bringing it in.    Reasonable precautions will keep you safe, Caffy.  Hey, have you ever tried herbal tea?  Just a thought!


  • The Twitter background contest beginning May 7th submit your designs, and vote on the submissions, on TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com
  • Postage increase May 11th…the new rates will be in the PBS system, and in the Help Center, on the 11th.

Member of the Month

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Bernhard B  (daboss)

Once upon a time, there was a 4 year old girl who had a beanie buddy named Steg.  Steg went everywhere with the little girl.  But one day – disaster!  Steg was lost.  The little girl was devastated. Her mommy tried to find Steg but couldn’t.  A very nice man named Bernhard felt very sad for the little girl, and he decided that HE would find Steg and reunite the two buddies!  He tracked Steg, who had actually gone in search of his sister Stegi, around the country.   See this topic to read the whole story.  We hope that Steg finds his way home to the little girl very soon!

As the little girl’s mommy said:

” Bernhard showed us that this site isn’t just about books.  It is a site about friends.  His was truly a Random Act of Kindness.  And I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay him.”

Many members were touched by this.  Bernhard, you are our Member of the Month for May.  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!

PBS Local Chapter News:

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
The Massachusetts Local Chapter had a special guest at their last meetup: author Louise Shaffer!  Read all about it in Lori’s blog here.

Above, Left to right: Diane (onefinetabby), Laurie O (badkitty), Lori G (thebookpimp), Melanie (Melsy626), author Louise Shaffer, Trice D. (Trice) holding Lori’s pup Sadie, Jacquelyn (JJO), Lisa E (LisaCC), Lynn D (bears1) & Lynne D (Lynne)

Below: Louise Shaffer holds the group enthralled.

New Local Chapter Leaders:

  • Ruth T. – RegencyBelle – Long Island (Suffolk County), NY
  • Debbie DDarlin-DKentuckiana (Louisville KY + Southern Indiana)
  • Anna B – annajay – Front Range area, CO
  • Melody G – blondeprincess Western Hernando and Pasco Counties, FL
  • Jenn E. – JennEscalona – Midtown Atlanta, GA
  • Paulette S – mswings4him – San Bernadino County, CA

If you want to be a Local Chapter Leader for PBS, you just need to have a PBS NIckname, a viewable public profile, and some organizational skills…check the Local Chapter Leaders Forum List of Official Chapters to see if your area already has a local Chapter.  If not, and you want to do this, just contact us.  There are no formal guidelines for being a Chapter Leader.  All of the information is in the Local Chapter Leader Discussion Forum topic.    If you are an official Chapter Leader and want us to include your upcoming meetup in the Newsletter, send in a message to us with the date, at least a week before the end of the preceding month.

Get your Summer Reading Here!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Check out these books, currently available to request…

Children’s...  Hatchet. On his way to visit his recently divorced father in the Canadian mountains, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.  More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions…Brian discovers that if he is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.
Memoirs The Glass Castle. In this riveting and un-self-pitying memoir, Jeannette Walls’ chronicles her upbringing at the hands of eccentric, nomadic parents…she describes in fascinating detail what it was to be a child in this family, from the embarrassing (wearing shoes held together with safety pins; using markers to color her skin in an effort to camouflage holes in her pants) to the horrific (being pimped by her father at a bar)…the author’s removed, nonjudgmental stance lets her love for her parents – despite their flaws and overwhelming self-absorption – resonate from cover to cover.
Mystery/Thriller … 1st to Die (Women’s Murder Club, Book 1).  The first book in bestselling author James Patterson’s hugely popular series The Women’s Murder Club pits four San Francisco women professionals against a serial killer who’s stalking and murdering newlyweds.   This is a PBS club favorite.  The whole series so far (all seven books) is currently available to request. Get your whole summer’s reading – although if the couldn’t-put-them-down reviews are correct, these books won’t last you that long!
Contemporary Fiction…The Friday Night Knitting Club.  “Walker and Daughter” is Georgia Walker’s little yarn shop, tucked into a quiet storefront on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The Friday Night Knitting Club was started by some of Georgia’s regulars, who gather once a week to work on their latest projects and to chat-and occasionally clash-over their stories of love, life, and everything in between….they’ve created not just a knitting club, but a sisterhood.  A charming and moving novel about women’s friendship.

Chick Lit... The Next Big Thing.  Kat Larson figured she had nothing to lose by becoming a contestant on the new reality show “From Fat to Fabulous” — except maybe a few dozen pounds. Then she’d finally be able to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Nick, the British hunk she met online, who still thinks she’s a size four….  In this funny, poignant debut, a plus-size heroine discovers she’s already beautiful enough to be… the next big thing.

News: Better Browsing, Postage Increase, Survey, Twitter BG Contest, Requestor Conditions & Caps!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Holy Better Browsing, Batman! Check out the new browsing options on the Member Homepage.  Click Home in the top menu to get to this page, on which you can choose up to 3 favorite genres for your sliding display of available books; below that, you can now also browse available books in other genres – just one click displays the genre you choose from the list.  What used to be the Recently Posted Available Books display is now viewable by genre – so you can look at cookbooks — mysteries — Libros en Espanol — whatever you like.   One click “refills” the display with available books in the genre you have chosen.  There’s no quicker way to browse for your next great read!

Postage Increase THIS MONDAY. Effective Monday, 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 this week!).   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.  Please note that PBS Printable Postage will shut down for Sunday May 10th, so you will not be able to print the “old rates” on that day.  It will be enabled again on May 11, and the new rates will print out.  Remember to mail your books  you have agreed to mail on or before Saturday the 9th of May, so that you are not sending packages with insufficient postage!

We’ll give you something to talk about…. We’re looking for member input on the club, and we will be sending out survey emails to random members in the next couple of weeks.  When you get one of these emails (it will come from librarian@paperbackswap.com and it will have the PBS logo in the message body), click the link inside to take the survey.   The surveys will be short, and your responses will help us make decisions about what direction to take new features in the club.   So if you get a survey email, please take a few minutes to take the survey.  Your opinions could have a big impact!

So you think you can design? Prove it in our upcoming Twitter Background Design Contest!  We want our members to be a part of representing the club on our Twitter profile @paperbackswap.   The contest begins May 7th and ends June 7th. You can submit your entry on the site http://www.TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com after May 7th.   Winners get cold hard cash, credits, and Swap Money as well as unending glory!  And those of you who dont design…you can still get in on the act by voting on the submissions. There will be “people’s choice” AND “PBS Team choice” winners!   For more about how to submit, the prizes, and all the nifty details, check out the PBS Blog. A huge thanks to TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com for helping us set this up & use their website to run the contest.

Oh, we didn’t mention the Blog? It’s just a little somethin’ we threw together…. You can find it under Community at the top of any page on the site.  It has info from previous newsletters, plus stuff you can’t find anywhere else on the site, and you can comment on the items there.  Check it out.

Requestor Conditions Refinement. Now when you request a book you will have the option NOT to apply your Requestor Conditions to that request, during the process of submitting the request.  No need to go into your Account Settings to turn them off, then back to the request, then back to your Account Settings to turn them on again.  This new streamlined option should make things easier for those who use the Requestor Conditions feature.

And to top it all off… PBS Caps are in the Kiosk!  100% cotton in black or mustard, and a sueded cotton blend in stone.  Don’t tell us you don’t love them.  It’s not possible not to love them!   Ten bucks to protect your face from sunburn and proclaim your membership in the best online bookclub on the planet?  It’s ridiculous not to buy these.

Dear Members,

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I have always enjoyed the month of May! Flowers blooming. Mother’s Day. Warm spring rain. Art festivals and sidewalk sales. Neighbors who haven’t seen each other all winter, giving friendly waves as they work in their gardens. It is just a great time of year.

Yes, I know that the news is dreadful – the flu, the economy – but you know what I have noticed? The news is always dreadful. Life is too short to focus on the negative! The flowers, the wonderful weather, the energy of everything growing all around – I can’t wear a frown. Yes, I’m washing my hands so I don’t pick up germs (I don’t worry about objects carrying flu because the flu doesn’t live long on surfaces, especially in warm, moist weather), and I’m economizing along with the rest of the nation (but still spending what I can reasonably spare, to support the businesses who’ve been there for me when I needed them). I’m mindful of world events. But…the lilacs are out, I’ve started reading another great book … Life is good!

We have some terrific things for you this month: tweaks to existing features, new stuff in the Kiosk, and even a rocking design contest! See below for details.

“May” you all have a wonderful month!

Richard Pickering and
the PaperBackSwap Team