PaperBackSwap Blog

Dear Librarian,

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. 🙂

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