PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Book Database’

It’s a dirty business, but someone’s got to do it… Newsletter – January 2008

Monday, January 7th, 2008

The Author Cleanup, that is!  Our database, which is compiled elsewhere, has author names spelled every which way, it seems: “I. M. Silly” could appear as “I.M. Silly”, “Ichabod M. Silly” or “Ichabod Marcus Silly”, for example.  This makes it tough on alphabetization of the system, and also can interfere with Book Recommendations and the Search. The system will work best if each author name appears exactly the same way wherever it appears.  That’s where the Author Cleanup comes in.  If you click the Approve Book Authors link at the bottom of any page on the site, you will see a screen with all of the books in the database that include a specific author in their author lists (if an author authored some books alone, and some books with other people, all of the books will be shown, but the screen will be ONLY for correcting that author’s name).   Each submission will be archived and we will add the corrections to the database periodically, in batches.  You can read more about this in the Help Center.

NEWS: Newsletter – September 2007

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Just Put Down the Stamps, and No One Will Get Hurt. PBS Printable postage is here!  Yes, now you can print the postage to send your books right onto the PBS Wrapper.  Just click Print Wrapper as usual, and you will see the new Wrapper Settings page with the option to choose postage (PBS-DC included), just PBS-DC, or neither.  Check the package weight estimate and correct it if necessary, then print the wrapper and mail!  Because printed postage is not subject to the “13-oz regulation” (all packages bearing stamps that weigh over 13 oz must be handed to a postal clerk at the PO), you can mail your PBS-printed-postage-package (say that three times fast) with your outgoing mail, drop it in a blue mailbox, etc.  If you don’t have a postal scale, you should check out the one in the PBS Store–it’s a great deal at $24.99.  Remember, you can opt to use printed postage with any package, or not; there is no monthly subscription fee.  It’s as easy (and inexpensive) as we could make it!  Now get a-printin’!  PBS Postage will also become available for Box-O-Books and Custom DC very soon.

She’s in the Money...Well, in the book credits, at least.  The Winner of the PBS Third Birthday Contest (and 50 book credits) was Dawn F., who made a spectacular guess of 1,477,378 for the total available books as of noon on September 1st.  The actual number was just ONE book more: 1,477,379.   We got guesses all over the spectrum (a couple of you thought we’d have seven million books!), and some very close to the number, but no one as close as Dawn.  We don’t know if she’s pyschic or lucky or what, but we will be asking her to choose our lottery numbers for sure…

Apology from PBS. We had significant server trouble on August 20th; it took down the whole site for several hours, a really unprecedented length of downtime for PBS.  It took a while to track the problem to its source: the PBS Daily Digest and Daily Wish List.  These emails really put a strain on the server.  We think we have fixed the problem now.  We know you all love your Digests!  We are sorry our servers found them…well, indigestible.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – August 2007

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Mailing an audiobook? If your audiobook is in a rigid plastic case, remember that those can be cracked by USPS sorting machinery–the discs and cassettes can be ruined too! Protect your audiobook by cushioning it for its journey–a bubble mailer, or bubble wrap inside the outer layer of wrapping, will do the job. Keep your audiobooks playable for many swaps to come!

Clean it up! There is a wave of keep-PBS-beautiful projects taking place on the site. When members browse for books, it really helps when listings are complete and accurate: descriptions and cover images help a lot. So do book reviews.

  • For missing cover images: submit these to our Image Approvers using the Upload Book Covers link at the bottom of the site. It’s really easy: contact Sarra B (sarradee) or Beverly P (hockeygal4ever), our Image Collection Co-Coordinators, for guidance if you need it. Check Sherry’s post here for guidance on both image uploading and data correction.
  • For book reviews: Angie B (AngieB901) started it, and a whole slew of members have joined in, posting “inappropriate” reviews in a Forum topic so that members can vote thumbs down on them. An “inappropriate” review is one that contains information about the particular copy of the book (its condition), or that indicates the book copy doesn’t match the listing! These members who wrote the reviews didn’t mean any harm–but they’re not helpful reviews for someone deciding whether or not to request the book. The review-rating process will go into effect when we have enough ratings.

Everyone can help–do a little or a lot! You can clean up just the books on your bookshelf, or your Books I’ve Read list. Make sure the information is accurate, that there is a good description of the book (from the back cover), and that you write a review telling what you thought about it. Just this little effort can get your books requested and on to their new homes. Your books will thank you! And so do we.

Look/listen before you click. Remember to check your books before you mark them received. If there is a problem, you won’t be able to record it on the site after you have marked the book received. So flip through your books when they arrive, check your audioCDs for scratches and make sure audiocassettes are playable before you mark them received without a problem. Yes, you can still contact the sender to ask for a credit refund if you discover a problem after the fact–but recording problem transactions in the database allows the system to track poor sending, so that we can intervene and keep book quality high on PBS. Of course, the vast majority of books are received without a problem–this is just a word to the wise.

13-digit ISBNs are here! Newsletter – December 2006

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

As we announced in the mass email sent out a couple of weeks ago, the site underwent a complete retooling on December 4th to allow books to be entered into the database with both 13- and 10-digit ISBNs. 13 digits will be the new standard in the publishing industry, as of January 1, 2007; some publishers have already made the change. You are now able to input the ISBN from your book (whether 10 or 13 digits) in order to post it, request it, or Wish List it. The site will work exactly the same as before—the only change will be that 13-digit ISBNs will be recognized by the database.

We’ve Got Your ISBN Number, Do You? Newsletter – August 2005

Friday, September 9th, 2005

We’ve updated our database of books and are ready to post just about anything. However, to make the club a pleasure for all our members, we cannot stress enough the importance of posting books with correct ISBNs. Many times a member may see a wish for a particular book. They have the book but it doesn’t exactly match the ISBN number. The member decides change the ISBN to match the wish list request. Please do not do this as it creates a lot of problems (and more feedback for us to answer). More times than not, there is a reason that the ISBNs don’t exactly match (hardback, paperback, condensed, unabridged, revised, etc.) Sometimes it is very important to the member “wishing” for the book that the ISBNs be the same. PLEASE DO NOT list books with incorrect ISBNs just to get a match on the Wish List. We are working on a system that will allow the “wishing member” to specify any and all versions of the book that will be considered acceptable to them as well as a way for you to notify the wishing member of a variation of the wish. Thank you to all members for helping to keep the ISBN system “clean” for PaperBackSwap.