PaperBackSwap Blog


DEAR R&R, Newsletter – March 2008

Dear R&R–What the heck are all those tag things on book listings?  They bug me. I can’t make any sense of them.  Some are just abbreviations, some are people’s names, and some say things like “autographed copy”!  Does that mean that every copy of the book available in the system is an autographed copy?  Will I get an autographed copy if I order a book that has that tag on it?  What is going on here?–Tag-sick in Tulsa

Dear Tully,

Ah, the Tags.  So many members use them in so many ways.   The Tags can be used as personal notations–you can tag a book your sister recommended as “recommended by Tally”, or a book you want to take to the beach as “for Maui 2008”.    They can also be used as descriptors for the general book: you can describe the genre (“historical fiction” or “Paranormal romance”),  or the main character type (“colorblind protagonist” or “techno-geek main character”) or the setting (“set in texas” or “urban setting” or “Nova Scotia”) or even your personal recommendation (“great for 9 year old boy”, “better than the movie”).

Personal tags are less likely to be applied by many members, and so they won’t all show to all members once enough tags have accumulated for a book listing (only the top 15-used tags for a book listing will show to all members; each member’s applied tags always show to that member).  General tags are more likely to be applied by many members, and are intended to be helpful to the membership–they can give information about the book in general.  Clicking a tag on a listing for “set in texas” for example will bring up all of the books tagged this way with one click.   Which is nice if you are looking for a book set in Texas.

There is a problem with some tags: some members are trying to use them to describe their particular copies of the book–they are apparently unaware that this is ineffective and even confusing to requestors.  Books at PBS are requested in FIFO order.  So “Missing Dust Jacket” and “Autographed copy” can be applied by anyone to any book listing, but that will not mean that if you request that book your request will go to the member who applied that tag.  Ignore the tags that seem to describe particular copies of books.  All books posted at PBS should meet basic condition requirements; if requestors want to define more specific requirements, they need to use Requestor Conditions.

We have one member who is determined to improve the use of Tags on the site!  Kudos to Jane K. (mahbaar).  She has various “Tag Missions” to make Tags useful to the membership.  Jane, your industry and organizational abilities make our heads spin!  Check out Jane’s Tag Missions by searching the Discussion Forums for “Making Tags Useful” or go to any of the threads directly:

Mission #1Mission #2Mission #3, Mission #4, Mission #5, Mission #6, Mission #7, Mission #8, Mission #9Mission #10

You can also turn tags off completely in your account settings, if you like.  You can read more about the Tag feature in the Help Center (search the Help Docs for “Book Tags” or just “Tags”).  We do have some improvements and expansion planned for this feature; these are on our list of things to get to in our continuous process of upgrading the site.

Dear R&R–I am what is known as a “snowbird” –I have two residences, each of which I live in part of the year.  Obviously, I have books in both places.  How can I manage my PBS Bookshelf to show only those books I have access to while I am in one of my homes?  Do I have to unpost my whole bookshelf and repost the books each time?  –Peripatetic PBSer

Dear Perry,

Good news!  Since the Bookshelf Upgrade, you are now able to put individual books on hold on your bookshelf.  Which means you can put the summer books on hold just before you move to your winter location, and vice versa.  When you are getting ready to head to your warm-weather locale, go to your bookshelf and click to place a checkmark in the boxes next to those books you will be leaving in your winter home.  Then click the Hold button on the top right of the Bookshelf to apply the hold to those books.  You should put your whole account on hold while you are in transit (so you don’t miss any requests or Wish list books); then when you get to your Winter location, you can unHold whatever books you have with you that you want to swap, and also UnHold your account.   This will save you lots of posting-unposting-reposting time.  You can even use the Tags (see above) to tag your books with codes for your two homes, so it’s easy to tell which ones are where.

You can read more about the recent changes to your Bookshelf in the Help Doc Bookshelf Upgrade under What’s New in the Help Center.

Ooh, we want two houses, too!  Wait…um…that would mean two houses to maintain, and two mortgages….okay, we still think it’s neat that you do this, Perry, but when it gets cold, we’ll just put on a sweater. 🙂

Dear R&R–Did you know that most paperback books/board books/dust covers can be cleaned up with ordinary rubbing alcohol dabbed on with a soft white cloth?  It makes them looks almost like new, takes off sticky stuff and most smudges.  —Marie T.

No we sure didn’t Marie, but now we do! Thanks for telling us.  We are sure many members will find this tip useful!

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