PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for the ‘Dear Members’ Category

Dear Members,

Monday, October 12th, 2009

You may have seen on the news that Atlanta was hit by a series of torrential downpours that lasted for over a week. Although I was lucky not to be affected severely by it – I did spend more time indoors, and actually got to do some reading – the flooding was terrible and took some lives.   At times like these I think of our entire PBS family.  I hope that when any of you come face to face with Mother Nature’s wrath of any type, that you remain safe and well.

The flooding has stopped here now, and the creeks and rivers have returned to their banks.  The leaves are beginning to fall, and it’s hard to believe but it’s October again, and almost time for Trick-or-Treating.  Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, a good ghost (or witch, or vampire) story can’t be beat!  Look for our upcoming recommendations for books to get you into the Hallowe’en spirit.

We wish a safe and happy month to everyone,

and the PaperBackSwap Team

Dear Members: 5th Birthday almost 4 million books available.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Does any of us ever grow out of the feeling from our school days, that September is the start of something?  Even though it’s been ahem years since we last matriculated anywhere, every time that hint of crispness comes in the air we get that anticipatory feeling: school supplies! new classes! new locker! new sneakers!  …before we think Oh yeah, we’re old, bummer, September just means new TV shows now.

We weren’t thinking about that brand-new, start-of-the-year feeling back in September 2004 when we launched PBS, but it seems really appropriate now.  That’s right, PBS has made it out of the toddler years!  When we launched the site 5 years ago, we thought it might just end up being a friends-and-family bookswap, although we hoped it could be much more.  We just had a feeling that there might be a ton of people like us who loved to read and would love to find each other through books — and we were right.

There are so many members now.  We have nearly 4 million available books, over half a million unique titles, and over 66 thousand books were mailed in swaps in the last week – over 8000 were mailed just today*.  We love that so many books are finding fresh lives with new readers.  Some copies of books have been swapped a bunch of times!  That’s so much better than sitting on a shelf or going to a landfill.  And at the sibling sites SwapaCD and SwapaDVD things are going strong also – members who belong to more than one of the sites can transfer credits between their accounts (there is a link at the top of your My Account page to do this), and turn books into music, movies into books, et cetera.

We thank everyone who has taken this journey with us – those who have been here from the beginning, those who have just hopped aboard, and everyone who joined along the way.   It’s been another great year of reading and sharing, for all of us.

Happy 5th Birthday, PaperBackSwap!

and the PaperBackSwap Team

*as of this writing, at ~6:30 PM ET on Sept 1st

Dear Members,

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Dog Days are here again! Anyone else feeling that August lassitude? Even that exclamation point back there seemed to take too much energy. 🙂
The good news is that every change we have made recently on the site is designed to make things easier – so everything will take less effort to accomplish. Swapping should be simple, and we’re making it simpler all the time. All of our site tweaks this month will save you a click here and a click there…those clicks add up. Hey, don’t call it lazy, call it efficient! (We’ve been getting away with that one for years.)
And don’t say this in front of the children, but school will be starting soon! You can get a jump on those middle-school and high-school must-reads. Get reading lists ahead of time from your child’s school if you can, and order them through PBS in plenty of time to get them before the bell rings.
Argh – too hot to type – fingers sticking to keyboard – need ice-cold lemonade NOW.
Stay cool, everyone!
and the PaperBackSwap Team

Dear Members,

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!  It is such a fun holiday- the parades, the fireworks, the family picnics.  Such a contrast to that quiet day in 1776, when a bunch of guys sweating under their wigs in the heat voted to approve a single large page of words that would lead to a long bloody war for independence and the birth of a nation.  150-200 copies of the document were printed that night, and it was read in public in various places over the following days, as the news slowly spread across the new country.

Think of how the country – and the world – has changed since then.  Every day, we are buffeted by the news events of the day, the turmoil around the world rushing at us from satellites, internet, cell phones, all live and close-up and at unprecedented speeds.    It’s a fast-paced world, and it seems that we all have to keep moving, keep switching our attention from TV to blogs to Youtube to cell phones to Facebook in order to keep up.

I love technology and all that it has brought us, but I also believe that there is one way in which we don’t have to change – something that does not need to evolve, something that will keep us all sane in the typhoon of daily events.   The simple pleasure of reading a book will never be outmoded. There is something so wonderful, so calming, about holding the book and turning the pages, seeing the words and letting the images they describe fill your mind.

So keep at it everyone!  Keep taking those breathers from the breakneck pace of the new millennium.  Enjoy the freedom that comes with living in the greatest nation ever founded.   Let’s take advantage of our liberty–to sit back, clear our minds of all that noise, and…open a book.

Happy reading everyone!

and the PaperBackSwap Team

Dear Members, …Father’s Day

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Every year it sneaks up on us while we are gardening, finishing out the school year, getting ready for the Fourth of July…  Father’s Day!

When I was growing up, I never thought of my Dad as being special.   He went to work every day and came home to us three boys and my Mom.   My brothers and I hardly noticed when people stared at him rolling by in his wheelchair (where polio put him when he was a teenager) – to us he was just Dad.   But as I grow older and face my own relatively minor challenges every day, I begin to see things in a new light, and realize how  special he really was.  Not because of his disability – but because of his abilities.   Thinking of him inspires me to enjoy what I have instead of worrying about what I don’t have – to celebrate the many miracles that go into every day on this earth.

Here’s to you, Dad!   And to everyone else who reminds us that there is extraordinary in the ordinary all around us.
Let’s all have a wonderful June,
and the PaperBackSwap Team

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

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