PaperBackSwap Blog

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – April 2007

Dear R&R— I got a book which was all marked up inside. The Book Conditions item in the Help Center says “no writing inside a book”. I contacted the sender, who said that she got the book this way from another member. Can YOU give my credit back? –Annoyed in Ashtabula

Dear Ann,

We are so sorry to hear you received a book in poor condition! Unfortunately, we cannot give your credit back. The sender who sent you the book has your credit, and she needs to do this. If she got this book from another member, it was her responsibility to deal with the problem then—not pass it on to you! As the Help item “I received a book in poor condition!” says, “”If a member receives a book in poor condition, he or she must NOT compound the error by reposting it. The “buck” (or should we say “book”) has to stop SOMEWHERE!” Each person is responsible for the books he or she sends out. Members should not make someone else’s violation into their own violation by passing along an unacceptable book.

Take this up with the sender who sent you the book. She should give your credit back, and contact the sender who sent HER the book to ask for the credit back. I do hope that both of you marked the book “received with a problem,” and chose “Damaged by Sender” from the options. This is the only way that PBS can keep track of poor swapping behavior. You can find more information in the Help item “I received a book in poor condition!” which is in the Help Center (search there for “damaged”) and also in the Need Help? Tab at the upper right of your account page—choose “Questions about receiving a book?” from the list that drops down there.

Dear R&R—I can’t ever find any answers in the Help Center. Who organized that thing? It’s confusing! –Muddled in Montana

Dear Monty—LOL. We tried to organize the Help Center logically by category, with “troubleshooting” items in a subheading for each. For example, clicking “Posting Books” shows you items about posting books, and clicking “Having trouble posting a book?” in the list that drops down after you click the “Posting Books” heading shows you troubleshooting items about posting books. We put in a Help Center search at the top (we have refined this lately, so it works better)—simple terms work best there, such as “lost” or “book condition”. We put in a Quick Help box on the right of the Help Center page for one-click answers to the most-commonly asked or most urgent questions. But we have to admit that it is a lot of information to wade through! And it may be inconvenient at times to have to click away from a page you are having trouble with, to go to the Help Center and find your answer, and then have to find your way back.

So we have added a Need Help? tab at the top right of nearly every page on the site. Each Need Help? tab contains items that are relevant to that page—so if you are on the Wish List page, the Need Help? tab has a list of Help items about the Wish List feature, for example. Almost ALL Help items are available from the Need Help? tab on your account page—these are organized into (1) basic questions (like “How do I post a book?”), (2) category questions (like “Questions about posting a book?”—troubleshooting items are included), and (3) urgent items (like “I can’t mark my book mailed!”). There is also an item which contains links to information managing your PBS account, called “Managing Your PBS Account”; and “The Wish List” has its own item too.

We hope that you will find this useful, Monty. Next time you have a question about something, click Need Help? on the upper right of the page you are on, and choose from the list that drops down. Most information will be viewable in a popup window, without even leaving that page.

Dear R&R—I am so frustrated! I posted a Wish Listed book that has 47 people Wishing for that ISBN in the Club Wish List. The first THREE have declined the book! The request is pending with the fourth Wisher now. I posted this book a week ago! When will I be able to send out this book? –Outraged in Ohio

Dear Hi,

This is classic Wish List abuse, which we have done so much to discourage. I sympathize with your frustration—all you want to do is share the book with someone who wants it! Some members don’t understand the different purposes of the Wish and Reminder Lists. The Wish List is for items that members KNOW they want, and that will be requested when they are offered; the Reminder List is for items that members are only considering requesting in the future. We tell people this over and over, and the information is very clear in the Help Center.

  • If you don’t want an item anymore, remove it from your Wish List (very easy to do, on the Wish List page). If you are not sure you want an item, use the “convert” feature on your Wish List to move it to your Reminder List. If you are going to be away from your account, put your bookshelf on hold and set the Wish List items you have credits for to auto-request.
  • If you don’t have credits but you want to stay in line for a book, put your bookshelf on hold (this puts your Wish List on hold too). You can post books to your “Held” bookshelf after you have applied the hold, and those newly posted books will appear available (see “How to put your account on hold” in the Help Center under “Account Options”, or from the Need Help? Tab on your account page, under “Managing your PBS Account”). You can send out the newly posted books, get credits, and then take your Wish List off hold again. It’s a little extra work, but it’s good swapping behavior to use the Wish List feature appropriately.

The worst Wish List abusers (those that decline or ignore multiple Wish List offers in a row) risk having their entire Wish Lists cleared, so it is important for them to heed this rule! There’s nothing you can do about this book, Hi, except wait for someone who actually wants it to accept your offer. You can take a little comfort from the fact that by doing this, you are helping to clear the Wish Lists of Wish List abusers—all by yourself!

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