PaperBackSwap Blog


Dear Librarian: APO Military Address, Textbooks for Students

Dear Librarian – Is there any way to send out a specific thank you to great swappers here?  We’re at a military address, and it is so hard to get books in English for our family.  PBS is a godsend!  We are so grateful to the members who are willing to make the extra effort to mail from the Post Office and fill out the customs forms, and to wait a little longer for their books to get to us.   How can we say thanks?  –Appreciative at an APO address

Dear Appy,

You just did! 🙂

Not everyone is able to go the extra mile to send to military addresses – we understand that, and they shouldn’t be blamed for it – but those who do are special people indeed.  They are booklovers who really care.  They sympathize with how tough it would be to be so far from a source of books.   So they make the extra effort to fill out the (short) customs form and take the package to the PO, and they don’t panic if it is declared “lost” en route – they know it might take time to get to its eager reader.   The requestor does her part here too, by marking the books received as promptly as possible – from the Transaction Archive if they are already “lost” before they arrive.

Our members are wonderful in so many ways – this is one of them!  We are made proud every day by the spirit of sharing and caring that exists at PBS.

Dear Librarian — I need a specific edition of a sociology textbook.  If I order the book here, can I be sure I will get the exact edition I need?   –  College Student in California

Dear Coco,

PBS is a terrific resource for students!  We have some tips to help you use PBS to take a bite out of your budget:

(1) Check the edition! The club is a great source for some kinds of schoolbooks – classics, Shakespeare plays, and the like — and for texts that do not get updated very frequently.  Keep in mind that although ISBN, author, title and book type must all match the listing, publication date does not have to match – and if more than one edition of a book shares the same ISBN, it can be possible to get either edition when you put in your request. That means that for textbooks that are frequently updated, you’ll need to make a little extra effort to be sure you get the edition that you need. If the edition is specified in the title on the listing, then the book should match the listing, but a Personal Message to the sender when requesting the book is not a bad idea, to be sure he or she didn’t make a mistake in posting.  (Sometimes a member, despite the instructions on the Post Books screen, will enter the ISBN and click Post, and doesn’t make sure the rest of the listing matches.)  Since some textbooks will keep the same ISBN through many updates, this can be a pitfall for the school-shopper.  Keep in mind, however, that some updates don’t change the book much, and depending on the subject, sometimes more than one edition will be usable for a class.

(2) Order early. Remember that Media Mail can be variable in its transit time.  Even though the average book arrives within about a week after it is mailed, sometimes books take longer.  So be sure to put in your request in plenty of time to get the book for your class.

It can be a little extra effort to make sure you get a version of the book that you can use, Coco, but it’s worth it!  The price of new textbooks can really be shocking.  If even one textbook can be gotten here instead of buying it new, the savings could be substantial.


The Last Word:

Don’t forget to start your Amazon shopping from the link at the top of the PBS site – when you do this, a small percentage of your purchase amount comes to us.  Please note that if you are an e-book reader, it used to be that e-book purchases at Amazon did not count to support the PBS site, but now they do! So be sure that whenever you plan to purchase on Amazon, that you start from the Amazon link at the top of the PBS site. It’s an easy, free way to support the club!

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One Response to “Dear Librarian: APO Military Address, Textbooks for Students”

  1. S. Wilk says:

    A helpful feature would be one that could mark an account and/or bookshelf as willing to mail to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. I served in the Peace Corps & realize how precious books in English are when so very far from home. A good book is also a great diversion or a someone going through a rough patch. Maybe that feature exists and I haven’t noticed. Thanks

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