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Archive for the ‘New Features & Improvements’ Category

News: PBS Gift Certificates, Daily Digest, Reviews

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

One for me, and one for you… If you gave  PBS Gift Certificates this holiday, don’t forget to tell the lucky recipients to enter your PBS Nickname (or the email address you use for your PBS account) when registering, so that you get your referral credit!  Referred accounts must be the first for the household to be eligible for referral credit, of course, and referral credit is granted when the new member has completed registration, including posting the first 10 books.

Are you in the loop? If you don’t get the Daily Digest, you may be missing out on books you would love to read!   The Daily Digest is a daily email that shows you the books posted during the previous day, in the genres you have selected.   We’ve upgraded the feature so that now, only currently-available books are shown to you by default (no more disappointment seeing books other people have already ordered by the time you get the email), and the new, easy-on-the-eyes format includes book descriptions. It’s a great way to start each day – browsing for books with your morning coffee.  Read more about the Daily Digest and subscribe today!

Be a person of influence. Every reader knows the thrill of reading a wonderful book, and wanting to share that feeling with other readers.  It’s easy to spread the news with the club by writing Book Reviews.  Take a few minutes and review a few books every day – review the books on your Bookshelf or Books I’ve Read list, or books you’ve read that you see while browsing your Daily Digest or Books Posted Today page.  Members tell us all the time how much book reviews help them decide whether or not to request a book.  And now, a list of your reviews is linked from any review you have written. So if you read a review you agree with, you should check out that member’s other reviews by clicking the “see all reviews by this member” link…it’s a terrific way to find your next great read!

Dear Librarian; Printable Gift Certificates

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Dear Librarian-  I love the new Gift Certificate pictures!  I have seven buddies I’d like to give gift certificates to, and I want to use a different message and picture for each card.  But I can’t seem to save the card I am working on and add another – every time I finish one card and click Discard to start over, it throws away my design!  There has to be a better way to do this.  — Donder

Dear Dondy,
We’re sorry you are having this experience!  Yes, the template can save only one design at a time, so what you need to do is buy the giftcodes (purchase 7 gift certificates) in the Kiosk and then come back to the Gift Certificate page and make the cards, applying a gift code to each one. Once you’ve created a card and it has a code, you will be able to re-generate it from the list in your Receipts link in your account.  In other words, you can save your design by applying a gift code to it and printing it or sending it as an eCard.

We hope that helps.  Please give our warmest regards to your “deer” buddies, and be careful on those icy roofs!

COMING SOON:

  • The next round of Books for Schools schools...keep your eye on the donations page for updates.
  • Christmas…if you’re going to Amazon to shop, use the Buy From Amazon link on any book here to get over there, and your purchases (of anything, not just books) will support the club!

News; Customizable Gift Certificates, Virtual Box Swap, Games Forum, Books for Schools

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Let your fingers do the shopping… Why fuss over what to give?   PBS Gift Certificates are the answer!   We’ve spruced them up and now you can create your own custom card with a gift code redeemable for 5 or 10 book credits.   You can choose from among the many holiday-themed designs we offer OR upload your own graphic.  Then add your own personalized message, purchase the gift code and email the card, or print the card out to go into the mail.  There is even an option to send an e-Card to a PBS Buddy (so you don’t have to know his or her email address to be Santa)!   It’s a great way to show the readers in your life that you care – no worries about sizes or colors or do-they-already-have-one…  You can’t go wrong with books!

Started as a game, turned into friendship... junie (June E.) writes in to tell us that the Mystery/Thriller Virtual Box swap she participates in is the longest running Virtual box in the club, and all of the participants have become good friends.    “We are planning a get together in June 2010 with some of us flying from all over the Country, possibly in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  However, six of us didn’t want to wait, so we all met in Lake Anna, Virginia Oct. 23 thru 25th in a beautiful 5 bedroom house on the lake.” Looks like they had a great time!

Left to right, Debbie G-(deb3009), Diana M. (booklady4), Rachel P. (Retrogram), June E. (junie), Nita A. (nawatramani), Kay A. (jegka).

We looked and saw that this Virtual Box began way back in May 2008!   If you are interested in playing Games at PBS (or finding out what the heck a Virtual Box is), check out the Games forum. Don’t be shy! Experienced Gamers and Games Moderators will help you learn the ropes, and there are topics in the forums that you can read to teach you how things work. Make some friends, get some books, have some fun!

We think you guys are awesome. And so do the schools to whom you all so generously donated your credits, so that we could send them books.  We were astonished by, and really proud of, the response our Books for Schools program got.   You donated enough credits to provide books to NINE schools in need – for some of those schools, these books will actually start their school libraries!  Currently, we’re getting the books all shipped and making sure everything goes well with the first nine, and then we will be enrolling more schools from the long list of needy schools we’ve compiled from your suggestions.  You can read more about Books for Schools here.


A letter from one of the teachers in NC says it all:
I want to thank all of the PBS members from the bottom of my heart for the book donations! With your donation, teachers will have many books in their classrooms that students can have easy access to. Our students are enthusiastic and excited about learning and reading. Your donation — your thoughtfulness — is helping to grow these kids into lifelong readers and learners.  You are readers, so you know the power of books.  Thank you for giving that power to our students! – Jayne Jennings, AIG Specialist, Henderson County Schools.

News: Customizable Bookmarks, Expand your Wish List,

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Can you expand upon that? Why yes, you can! We’ve made several more tweaks to the Wish List, to make it work even better to get books matched up with new readers.  Since different publishers use different ISBNs to publish different versions of a book, there can be multiple listings for one book in the system.  If you click on only ONE of those ISBNs you might miss out on a more commonly-posted version of the book (or even a currently-available one).  The Wish Expander allows you to see ALL versions of the book that are known to our database at the time you are adding a book to your Wish List – you can browse all the versions, and add any or all to your Wish List quickly and easily.   You can activate the Wish Expander under Options at the top of your WIsh LIst; after you do that, every time you click +Wish on a book listing you will be taken to the Wish Expander page.

Other changes you’ll notice on the Wish List: we moved the Sort and Search to the top of the list  to make them more convenient, and the auto-request setting is there too, so it can be applied to multiple items at once now.  Read about all of the new Wish List changes here.

Bookmarks on Demand. Those customizable bookmarks that you can download from the Spread the Word page are really popular!  Note that you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download here) to print the bookmarks.  Don’t forget that each new account you refer will earn you another book credit.  Read about eligibility requirements for referrals.

And the winners are…. Every author interview in the PBS blog offers not only fascinating insights from the author but also a chance at a signed copy of the author’s book to anyone who comments on the blog!  Bruce Boston was very generous and gave 4.  The randomly-chosen blog commenters are Janet M. (BookwormMoucha), Jennifer C. (mrscasler), Carla G. (readragon) and Shondra W. (shoni). Congratulations!

Dear Librarian: flu from a package, credits for sharing, reminder list

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Dear Librarian-  I am so worried I will get the flu from a PBS package. What are the risks? –Cautious in Cleveland

Dear Eve,

It is known that the flu virus will survive on paper surfaces and currency for 8-12 hours at room temperature. So there is a theoretical risk of getting infectious mail (or change at Starbucks!) if someone sneezed or coughed onto your package within several hours of the time it comes to your mailbox. No one knows what the *real* risk is, of course.

In these situations, common sense applies: maintain good handwashing practices as always, and if you are concerned about your mail you can always bring it in, put it into an airtight bin for 12 hours and disinfect your hands (alcohol hand sanitizers kill the flu virus effectively), and then open the bin 12 hours later, at which point you can be sure any flu virus that might have been sneezed onto your mail en route is dead.

Dear Librarian– It seems like you guys are always changing things.  I JUST found out that I can get credits for referring new members!  There’s so much going on that I am not sure how to keep up with it all.  Any suggestions? –Quizzical in Queens

Dear Izzy,

You’re right, we are always tweaking things on the site.  Although a lot of the stuff we do is behind the scenes to keep the site loading fast and everything moving smoothly, we are also constantly upgrading existing features to work better.   When we make significant changes, we will announce them in the Newsletter, but you can also look in the What’s New! section on the site to keep up with changes as they happen.  You can get to What’s New! from the link at the very top right corner of the screen, and also from the Browse Help Docs page in the Help Center.  We try to put updates in What’s New so that new features don’t escape notice; if you check there once a week or so (or if you see something you think might be new),  it can keep you “up to speed”.

Dear Librarian– Can you put the “Convert” button back on the Reminder List? I used that to move stuff from my Reminder List to my Wish List and I don’t know how to do that now! –Boggled in Boston

Dear Tony,

We know that some people used the Convert function on the Reminder and Wish Lists, but on the whole it caused confusion – members didn’t realize that an item couldn’t be on both lists at once, and so they would add a book that was already on their Wish List to their Reminder Lists, and that would take the item off their Wish Lists although they didn’t intend this.   Now an item can be on both lists, and the Reminder List can be a list of ALL the books you want, so you can see it in one place.

It is still easy to Wish List a Reminder List book, by clicking +Wish on the listing on the Reminder List. You can read about the Wish List changes in the What’s New area linked from the “What’s New” at the very top of the site (and on the Browse Help Docs page in the Help Center).

Coming Soon:

  • Updated flyers to help Spread the Word
  • Book giveaways in the PBS blog

News: Wishlist Changes & Bookmarks on Demand

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Wish List Changes: We’ve made several tweaks to make this feature work better for you!  New sorting options are available, and now you can put individual items on hold without putting your Bookshelf on hold, and without losing your place in line for the book (you will continue to move up in line to get the book even while you have that item on hold).  You can read more about the changes in the Help Center.

Bookmarks on Demand. We asked the membership for input about updating the customizable bookmarks that you can download from the Spread the Word page to help you spread the word to fellow readers, and we’re thrilled with the results!  We think you will like them too.  Thanks to all who submitted suggestions to us.  Note that you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download here) to print the bookmarks.  Don’t forget that each new account you refer will earn you another book credit!  Read about eligibility requirements for referrals.

Wish List Changes!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

See How the Wish List Works for the information about how the Wish List works.

The following changes were introduced on 10/6/2009:

  • New feature! You can sort your Wish List by author (alphabetically by author’s last name), title (alphabetically), date (date you added it to your Wish List, position (your position in the lines for the books) and estimate (our estimate of when you might be offered the book).
  • New feature! Putting your whole Wish List on hold:
    • To do this, you choose “check all” at the top of the list and then click “Hold checked”
      • this will preserve your “place in line” in the Wish List but your Wish will not be active
      • this hold will also make auto-requested wishes INACTIVE.
      • You can do this page by page or do the whole Wish List by checking the additional box that appears when you check the “check all” box
    • You may want to do this for example if you have no credits to accept Wish List books, but you still want your Bookshelf to be active
  • New feature! You can also put individual items on hold if you are not ready to accept those items when they are offered to you
    • to do this, check the box to the left of the item and click Hold Checked.
    • This will preserve your “place in line” for the book but make the wish INACTIVE
    • Note: items on hold still count toward the 200-item limit on the Wish List.
  • New feature! Default auto-request option
    • You can now set the default at the top of the Wish List to choose auto-request for your future wishes – if you check this box, it will not affect any existing Wishes on your list, but all Wishes added while the box is checked will be set to auto-request by default.
    • Unchecking the box will not affect the settings on any items already on your list, but all wishes added to your list while the box is UNchecked will be added with the 48-hour offer option (NOT set to auto-request).
  • New feature! Auto-request options are now color-coded for at-a-glance list management
    • Items set to auto-request will be green
    • Items on hold will be red
    • Items not on hold and not set to auto-request will have no color applied.
    • If you put an auto-request item on hold, it will turn red.