PaperBackSwap Blog

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – March 2007

Dear R&R— I am trying to request a book, and it says I can’t! I have to “confirm my email address”. What gives? –Mystified in Mississipi

Dear Missy,

You must have joined fairly recently. Welcome to PBS! The system now asks you to confirm your email address before you can request a book. This is very easy—one of the emails you received after you completed your registration has a link in it, which you can click to go to the page where you enter your password to verify that your email address works. If the link isn’t clickable in the email you got (some email providers don’t display clickable links), you can just copy-paste the URL into your browser to be taken to the appropriate page. If you can’t find the email in your inbox or spam folders, or if you think you might have deleted it, just contact us by sending an email to librarian@paperbackswap.com from your PBS User Email address (the one that you used to register) and we will help you out. This information is also in the Quick Help box on the right side of the Help Center page.

Dear R&R—I’m new. Are there any basic, bottom-line things I should know about using the site before I plunge in? –Brand-new in Bellingham

Dear Belle,

PBS is really designed so that you can manage everything as it happens—posting books, requesting them and sending them—by reading the information on the screens that come up as you go along. That said, there are some basic pointers that we would love to share (thanks for asking!):

  1. Make sure your books meet the criteria for Book Condition on the site. These aren’t stringent—books are NOT supposed to be new—but there are some baseline requirements. We have made them as clear as possible in the Help Center items “What can be swapped here?” and “Book Condition”. These are both found under the heading “Posting Books”.
  2. Wrap your books well for their journeys. You don’t have to use the PBS Wrapper if you don’t want (see the Help Center about this), and the wrapping doesn’t have to be labor-intensive! But the books do need to be enclosed COMPLETELY by the packaging (whatever method you choose), and packages should be sealed with plenty of tape (shipping tape, not Scotch). Don’t apply tape to the books themselves—this can damage the book when the package is opened by the eager receiver, Also, don’t tape over the stamps, because USPS doesn’t like that. There is a full discussion of wrapping techniques in the Help Center items “How do I wrap a book?” and “Sending Larger/Hardcover/Multiple Books”. These are both under the heading “Sending a Book”. Be kind to your books—you want them to get where they are going safely, and arrive in the same condition in which you sent them out.
  3. Don’t forget to mark your books mailed. The sending process isn’t complete until you have clicked the “Book Has Been Mailed” button on the transaction on your account page. There is a (flexible) deadline to do this—you choose the deadline when you choose your mail-by date at the time of accepting the request. You’ll get reminder emails if you forget to mark your books mailed. You can read all about the sending process in the Help Center item “How do I send a book?” under the heading “Sending a Book”.
  4. You can put your bookshelf on Hold whenever you like. This will prevent incoming requests when you can’t send out books for any reason. You can read all about the Hold feature in the Help Center item “How to put your account on hold” which is under the heading “Account Options”.
  5. As you might have guessed, we do recommend checking out the Help Center. A great deal of information is available there. You can start with the Help Center item “I just joined! Where do I start?” which can be found at the top of the list of items in the Quick Help box on the right side of the Help Center page. All major items on posting, sending, and requesting are linked from that item, and it gives a good overview of the site.
  6. Don’t forget to check out the Discussion Forums! Our more experienced members are friendly and very willing to help if you have a question, and there is lively discussion going on about almost anything you can think of at all times of day and night. It’s a real community here, and you are welcome! You can get to the Discussion Forums by clicking “Discussion Forums” in the left menu of any page on the site.

Don’t worry, Belle, PBS is really very easy to use, and after your first few swaps you’ll be a pro!

Love numbers? We do, too! Our real-time counter is a hit with the membership; it’s fun to watch the numbers change. We hope to have some other stats for you to watch on the site very soon…

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