PaperBackSwap Blog

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – August 2007

Dear R&R–I joined PBS and I love it! I posted 9 books and ordered 3 right away. But no one wants my books, so now I have no more credits. I think my books are probably pretty common, and there are lots of folks who posted copies “ahead of me”. Is there anything I can do to get my books moving? I see so many books I want to request! –Bummed in Baton Rouge

Dear Batty,

You’re right: if you posted books that are numerous in the system, your books are waiting in line for requests. That doesn’t mean no one wants them! Even very numerous books are swapped frequently. But your books may have to wait a while for requests if you depend only on FIFO. Luckily, you don’t have to do this! Yes, most books at PBS are swapped according to the dates they entered the system, but members can also order directly from you if they like. To do that, they have to be able to find you. if you increase the visibility of yourself, and your bookshelf, on the site, you will get things moving.

So: first and foremost, make a public profile. Having one means that you are searchable in the Member Directory. Members with public profiles get roughly twice the number of requests that members without public profiles do. You don’t have to put a lot of personal info in there: just choose a nickname, and you’re off and running! Then you can participate more on the site–post in the Discussion Forums (we have many to choose from); members who see your posts can click your Booklist button and order directly from you. Post more books–anyone who requests one of your books in Books Posted Today can browse your bookshelf and send you a multiple-book request. Consider making a deal–visit the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum to read about how to do this.

All of the information above is in the Help document How to get your books requested! that is in the Help Center. Instructions on making a public profile are included there too.

Don’t worry, Bats. You’ll find new homes for your books–you may just have to give them a little push!

Dear R&R–My credit balance says NEGATIVE 2? How is this possible? Give my credits back and correct this system error immediately! –Steamed in Santa Fe

Dear Santa,

This was not a system error. The most likely reason why you would have negative credits would be if you told the system you received more books than you had credits to spend. This happens if you: order a book that is declared Lost in the Mail and get your credit back, then spend it on another book before the “lost” book arrives. You need to mark the Lost book received so the sender gets credit–and the credit is taken from you when you do that. If you don’t have credits when you mark a lost book received, PBS will “lend” them to you so that the sender gets credit–and your balance will be negative for that reason. When you get another credit from a book you sent being marked received, you will automatically “pay us back” and be back to even.

Or, and this is also a common cause of this situation, you went into your Transaction Archive and marked books received that you didn’t actually get. Because members sometimes send books without marking them mailed, the canceled transactions in the Transaction Archive have the “Was Book Received?” button on them. That button should be clicked ONLY if you got THAT copy from THAT sender. If you confused a canceled or lost transaction for a book with a transaction for a book of the same title that you received, and marked more than one transaction for the same title received, you were telling the system that you got more than one copy of that book. If you do this, you need to contact the sender first, to explain what happened so he or she can return the credit for the book that was never sent/received. If you don’t hear from the sender after a week, you can contact us.

Look before you click! You can read the Help docs How to Mark a Book Received, How to Use the Transaction Archive, Why are there canceled/lost books in my Transaction Archive that I know were sent/received?, Why is my account balance NEGATIVE? and I accidentally marked a book received! for much more information about this.

Oh, and Santa? Is it too early to remind you about that iPhone for Christmas? 🙂

Dear R&R–Why do I have to contact the sender if I mark a book received by mistake? Why can’t you do this for me? –Santa again

Hi, Santa!

Well, you understand what it’s like to be one person trying to help millions. We don’t have millions of members at PBS (yet), but we are really outnumbered. We can’t manage member transactions on a routine basis–but of course we will help if it is necessary–e.g., if the sender doesn’t answer your PM in this situation. Most of the time this can be taken care of between the members, and we don’t need to get involved. So we ask the members who make mistakes to try to correct them first themselves, before contacting us. It really makes a difference if we aren’t asked to address every issue personally–that means we can get to all those new features that our members want so much. Ho ho ho.

Dear R&R–I really love this site, and wish you allowed us to swap videos here. How about it? –Swapaddict in St Petersburg

Dear Addy,

A video swap site? Now that’s a big project! I wonder if we will find the time to put something like this together…hmmm….

COMING SOON: The Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend in Decatur, Georgia…also, the currently absolutely most-requested feature at PBS may become a reality…Shhh, the Founders are working…

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