PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Email from PBS’

Dear Librarian: Facebook Share, too many email alerts, those little stars

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Dear Librarian – The “share” thing on Facebook has me confused.  I thought books were always ordered in the order in which they were posted.  Are you saying that if Joe Blow shares his book on Facebook it will jump ahead of mine that I have had posted for a month now?  That’s not fair!  – Worried in Weehauken

Dear Hawk,

We understand why this seems confusing, but don’t worry  – your book isn’t “knocked out of position” by a Facebook-shared book posting.  If Joe shares a book after posting it, then if any of Joe’s friends clicks that link on Facebook, Joe’s copy will be the one requested.  However, anyone else searching the database for the same book will get the earliest-posted copy.   Yes, Joe can “jump the line” for his friends to order from him.  Although this may not seem fair, we know that members often want to request books from their friends, and this is no different than “advertising” your Bookshelf in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum, or recommending books on your Bookshelf using the Suggest a Book feature on the site, or just telling a friend to order directly from your Bookshelf.   So if a Facebook-shared book “jumps ahead” of your copy in line it may reassure you to know that the member who requests it from that link might not have requested that particular book at all without having seen the link from his or her friend.

Again, anyone searching the database for a book (instead of using that specific link) will still request the earliest-posted copy of that book first.  So FIFO is still the backbone of the swapping system, as it always has been.

Dear Librarian — I want the audio CD version of a specific book, because it’s going to be a great one to listen to while I am commuting to and from work.  I have the audio CD version on my Wish List.  I am getting a lot of notices telling me that other versions are available, but I don’t want other versions!  I usually love those emails because I can get wish list books so easily that way.  But I don’t want these emails for this book.  How can I stop getting them, and ONLY get notified about the audio CD version of this book?  — feeling Bombarded in Boston

Dear Bossy,

Thanks for writing in about this!  It’s actually really easy to control these alerts.  You can do this from the links **within the emails themselves.** An overview of the different options you have:

(1) If you do not wish to receive any alerts about a certain book at all, and you don’t want the book, just remove all versons of that title from your Wish List.

(2) If you are wishing for specific versions (ISBNs) of all of the titles on your Wish List, and you do not wish to receive notifications about any other versions of any of your Wish List books, you can opt out of this category of email alerts. To do this, just click that link in the alert email, OR adjust your email settings on your Account Settings page.

(3) If you want to block alerts about alternate versions of a specific title only (but you want to get those alerts for other books on your Wish List), you should click the link in the alternate version alert email to opt out of alerts for that title only.  There is no way to do this from the account settings – that option is available only from the email.

So in your situation, Bossy, you would want to use option #3 – click the link in the alert email that will let you opt out of alerts for alternate versions of this title.  That should cure your bombarded feeling. 🙂

Of course you can read more about managing your PBS emails in the Help Center.

Dear Librarian – I just posted a book and the stars next to it on my Bookshelf are grey!  What do the grey stars mean?  – Puzzled in Pataskala

Dear Pat,

The stars to the right of the book are grey because no one in the club has yet rated the book. If the stars were blue that would mean other people (but not you) have rated the book. If the stars were yellow it would mean that you have rated the book.  If you have read the book, you should definitely rate it!  Those little stars do a lot to tell browsing members what books they might want to request.  If every member rated just the books on his or her Bookshelf, it would be really helpful to the whole club!

The Last Word:

As always, don‘t forget to start your Amazon shopping from the link at the top of the PBS site – when you do this, a small percentage of your purchase amount comes to us.  Please note that if you are an e-book reader, it used to be that e-book purchases at Amazon did not count to support the PBS site, but now they do! So be sure that whenever you plan to purchase on Amazon, that you start from the Amazon link at the top of the PBS site. It’s an easy, free way to support the club!

DEAR LIBRARIAN: Newsletter – February 2009

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Dear Librarian- I am not getting my Wish List notifications.  I just get the email that I didn’t respond and the wish list book isn’t available anymore!  Why is this happening?? — Confused in Carson City

Dear Connie,

This means that your email provider has been told not to send some categories of PBS emails to you.  You were not necessarily the one who told your email provider this!  Someone else could have done this, by marking PBS email as spam in their account.

If someone marks a PBS email as spam, it affects the delivery of PBS emails to all other members who use the same email provider. This is because marking a PBS email as spam tells the email provider “I have no relationship with PBS, I never gave them permission to contact me and they provide no method for me to stop receiving their emails.”  So the email provider (AOL, hotmail, yahoo, etc) thinks PBS is a spammer, and they will blacklist PBS emails for all AOL/hotmail/yahoo/etc. users.

What can you do about this?   First, you should be sure to add the PBS auto-email addresses (librarian@paperbackswap.com and noreply@paperbackswap.com) to your email account’s address book.  This will really help!

You can also be sure never to mark any PBS emails as spam yourself; some members do this just to get the emails out of view, instead of deleting them.  But you can control the emails you receive from PBS from your Account Settings:

  • Use the email settings in your Account Settings to opt out of categories of email that you don’t want to receive.
  • If you don’t want the Newsletter, unsubscribe to it in your account settings.
  • If you ‘watched’ a topic and you don’t want the ‘watched-topic’ emails, unwatch the topic to stop them from coming in!
  • If you subscribed to the Daily Digest or Daily Wish List and don’t want them anymore, unsubscribe in your account settings.

We are also pro-active about this.  We have set up email feedback loops with the major email providers, to avoid getting blacklisted when members mark PBS mail as spam. So we are alerted when a member marks one of our emails as spam.  If a member does this once he or she will get an email from us; if a member does this repeatedly we are required by the email provider to suspend/close the member’s account so that he or she will not get any more emails from us!  And if a member marks our “Don’t Mark PBS Emails as Spam” emails as spam, this will also cause the account to be suspended/closed.

In this way, we are trying to keep the lines of communication open, so our members get the system auto-emails that are necessry to manage their accounts.
Dear Librarian-  I heard about a new law going into effect this month, which requires anyone selling items for children to test them for lead content!  Does this affect books swapped here (or DVDs at SwapaDVD, or CDs at SwapaCD)? How can we all test our books for lead? –Frantic in Foxborough

Dear Fran,

This law will not affect us, happily. The CPSC sent out a press release on 1/8/2009. The relevant excerpts follow:

“The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards…The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold.” (emphasis added)

You can visit the CPSC website at http://www.cpsc.gov for more information, or call the following numbers for more information:

CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

So our swapping clubs should not have a problem because of the new law, we’re glad to say.

Dear Librarian – My children like to look for books on PBS with me.  When I log in, the Member Homepage comes up and sometimes there are book images on it that I am not comfortable having my children see!  Is there a way NOT to show all the images in the Books Posted Today sliding display? –Bothered in Belleview

Dear Belle,

Yes!  You can set your homepage to exclude any genres you like in the sliding displays.  This option is available in your Account Settings, in My Account.   For example, you can exclude all but children’s books, and this will keep your Homepage “kid-safe” for browsing.


  • A couple of the Discussion Forums will be go back to “members only” this week…

DEAR LIBRARIAN, Newsletter – January 2009

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Dear Librarian-Please please please please do NOT send out emails reminding us to mail on the weekends or on holidays.   The post office is CLOSED!!  – Aggrieved in Altoona

Dear  Aggie,

Please please please please do not select a mail-by date that is on a weekend or holiday, when you accept a request.  The post office is closed!

Seriously- the PBS system works on calendar days.   We do mean to put some alerts into the system to tell members when they are choosing postal holidays as their mailby dates (and to prevent doing that), but we haven’t been able to get to that item on our (oh-so-long) To Do list yet.   In the meantime, remember that reminder emails won’t go out if the book is marked mailed on time; to prevent getting any of these, the sender needs to keep postal holidays and the like in mind when choosing the mail-by date at the time of accepting a book.  You have a grace period after the mailby date you choose – just be sure that you can actually mail before the deadline, and you will not have any problems with this.
Dear Librarian-  Can foreign-language books be listed under their own section so we can find them easily?   – Polyglot in Peoria

Dear Polly,

We work with a database that is compiled elsewhere, and we are limited to their genres/subgenres.  But there are a lot of ways to find foreign-language books on the site.  And there are a lot of ways to help foreign-language-seeking requestors find the books they are looking for!  For example:

  • Genre search:
    • Use the Book Browser to search for Literature and Fiction > World Literature , choosing the geographic area of interest as a sub-subgenre.
  • Libres en Espanol:
    • The database does have a genre for Libros en Espanol – this is one of the “popular genres’ in the list on the Browse by Genre area.  To do this search, click Search at the top of the site, then click the Browse By Genre tab on the Search page, and you will see the Popular Genres list.
  • Book Tags:
    • Many books in foreign languages have been tagged by members with a corresponding Book Tag.  An easy way to find these tagged books is to tag a book you know is in Russian (for example) with the tag “Russian language”.  Then just click that tag you just created on the book listing to see all of the listings that bear the same tag.  This is an excellent, club-useful implementation of Book Tags.  You can read more about Book Tags in the Help Center.
  • Change the title using the Edit Book Data link:
    • If you have a book in a foreign language, help others find the book by adding the language information to the title, in parentheses : “(Lithuanian Language Edition)” after the title will make it very easy for requestors to know that your book is in Lithuanian!  You can use the Edit Book Data link at the bottom of any page on the site to submit these title amendments to our Data Correction Volunteers who will need to review the information before it can be approved and added to the site.
  • Keyword search:
    • Put “French language” (for example)  into the search space at the top of the site. Any books that have this phrase in the book description information or in the title will be found using this search.
  • Publisher search:
    • If you go to a listing for a book in the language you seek – click the publisher name to see all of the other books from that same publisher.

We hope this helps you Polly!  We wish you des echanges joyeux, los intercambios felices, das glückliche Tauschen, as trocas felizes, de gelukkige uitwisselingen and gli scambi felici!

New Features: Newsletter – September 2008

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Happy Birthday to PaperBackSwap.  Looky looky at your presents.  No, you can’t exchange them.  No, we don’t have them in a different color.  Click What’s New at the top of any page on the site, or go to the Help Center and read the items under What’s New to keep up with what features have been newly added to the site.

Bookshelf Header. New feature.  The Bookshelf Header allows you to add a custom, publicly-viewable message at the top of your PBS Bookshelf.  You can introduce yourself – give an overview of the types of books you have –  comment about a specific book you have posted – invite members to join your Game in the Games Forum – or just say Hello!  Read more about this feature here.

Book Notes. New feature. Book Notes allow you to write a private (only you can see it) note on any book in the database.  No matter where you are on the site when you apply the note, you will see the note (which appears as a yellow sticky-note applied to the book cover) pretty much everywhere you see the book, and putting your cursor over it will show the note. Read more about this feature here.

Yahoo Address Book LinkNew Feature.  We have had terrible trouble with Yahoo not delivering PBS emails lately.  The Yahoo server will accept the auto-emails from our server but then doesn’t deliver them!  This is at least partly being caused by Yahoo members clicking “Mark as Spam” on PBS emails (which can affect the reception of PBS emails for ALL Yahoo users at PBS).  Adding the PBS auto-email addresses to your Yahoo address book should solve this problem for an individual member.  We have provided a link for our members who use Yahoo.  Go to your Account Settings in My Account, and beside your email address (if you use Yahoo) will be this link: Yahoo Mail users: Click here to ensure receipt of PBS emails. Click that, sign into Yahoo if you need to, click on the next page, you’re done.  That will keep those Wish List offers and book request emails coming to you.

DEAR LIBRARIAN, Newsletter – June 2008

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian– Why am I not getting my PBS emails?   I just got a “FINAL NOTICE” email to respond to a book request…but that is the first email I got about this request!  And I missed a Wish List offer last week.  What is happening?  –Out of touch in Ohio

Dear Hi,

If you look in your Club Communications file (linked from the top of your My Account page) you will see that we have been sending the emails to you.   Your email provider may not be delivering them, though.   Sometimes this is because PBS emails are being treated as spam.  If you (or anyone who uses your same email provider) clicks to mark a PBS email as spam, this will tell that email provider that PBS emails should be blocked and not delivered.   Some people mark mail as spam as a way to delete the email from their inbox!  Yes, it’s maddening, because it affects not only their reception of PBS emails, but also yours, if you use the same email provider they do.

Anyone who is having this trouble should add “librarian@paperbackswap.com” and “noreply@paperbackswap.com” to his or her email address book (or list of accepted email senders), and this should work against the “spam-markers”.  If you have done this and are still having trouble receiving PBS emails, you should contact your email provider, and consider changing your email address on your account to an alternate address until the matter is sorted out.  A reliable email connection is crucial to managing your PBS account, and it is really frustrating when request notifications and Wish List offers are missed because the emails we sent were not delivered. You can read more in the Help doc If you think you are not getting your PBS emails… in the Help Center.

Dear Librarian–Why am I getting wrong books?  First I get a Wish List book that had the wrong ISBN on it.  I wanted one ISBN (it has the author’s notes in the foreword that I want) but someone sent me a totally different version of the book, with a different ISBN on it.  And another time, I got the wrong ISBN and the member who sent it to me said she DID enter the ISBN  and she used the listing that came up on PBS.   She swears that’s what she did.  And another time a member sent me a hardcover instead of a  paperback.  The ISBN on the book DID match the listing of the book I requested, but the book was hardcover and the listing said paperback!   Is this a system problem?  –Disappointed in Duluth

Dear Lulu,

No, it’s not a system problem!  The member who posts a book using the listing for an ISBN that is not on the book is wrong to do so.  When posting a book, the ISBN, title, author and binding type shown on the listing used must ALL match the book being posted.  But some members do strange things when posting a book.   The study of erroneous posting is known as Posteology, and we are (sadly and involuntarily) experts on it. 🙂

Posteology defines wrong-book posters as species Postus Erronatus, and there are several sub-species, distinguished by characteristic behaviors.

  • Titlius Solius Matchius. Familiar names: Match-by-title posters or “click-happy” posters.

These members match by title only. You can find them searching the Club Wish List and clicking “post this book” if the title on a listing matches the title of a book they have.   A box comes down asking them to confirm that the ISBN matches, but they click past this to post the book.   That’s how you get a Wish List offer for a book the member doesn’t actually have, and when the book arrives it has a different ISBN than the one you wished for.

  • Imagius Importantus. Familiar names: Cover-image posters or “so-close-and-yet-so-far” posters.

These members match title/author and cover image (but don’t match ISBN or binding type). They start off okay: they enter the ISBN on the book they have. But then their behavior abruptly becomes erratic: even though the Post Books screen says that the ISBN, title, author and binding type must ALL match, and that the cover image doesn’t have to match, they won’t use the (correct) listing that comes up for the ISBN they entered because the cover image does not match.  They click one of the alternate versions shown below the listing preview, and use that listing to post their book, even though the ISBN (and sometimes also the binding type) does not match the book they have.  That’s how you get a book with a different ISBN on it than the one you requested, and the member will insist that she entered the ISBN on the book she had.  Yes, she entered the ISBN on the book she had–and that listing that she saw first would have been correct–but she didn’t use that listing.  She passed it up to seek out and use one with a matching cover image.

  • Tertio-quaternarius. Familiar names: Three-out-of-four posters, or Drat-the-publishers posters.

These members match ISBN and title/author, but not binding type. They enter the ISBN on their book, check the title and the author and then click Post The Above Book, even if the binding type says Hardcover and the book they are holding is a paperback.  Their characteristic cry is “PBS is to blame!”  Sometimes the PBS listing is in error, actually (our database is compiled elsewhere, and does have some errors)…BUT that doesn’t mean it’s okay to use a listing with the wrong binding type on it.

Most the time this is NOT a database error.  This happens when the publisher(s) re-used the ISBN when reprinting a book in a different format.  When that is the case, ONLY the binding type on the listing at PBS can be posted with that ISBN: the “other” format(s) need to be posted without an ISBN, so that the correct binding type appears on the listing being used.   To make the distinction between publisher re-use of an ISBN and PBS database error (and to figure out if the listing at PBS should be corrected), the ISBN needs to be researched on an internet search, and if there is NO evidence that more than one binding was used for that ISBN, the ISBN can be submitted to us for correction, as described in the Help doc “If the information on a book listing in the database is incorrect…” in the Help Center.    If a member matches only ISBN and title/author, but does not match binding type, when he or she posts, that is how the requestor can end up with the right ISBN but wrong binding type.

  • Swappus DentusFamilar names: “Bite me, PBS!” posters, or “We-don’t-need-no-stinkin-iSBNs” posters.

These members seek  ISBNs to use to post their books that don’t have ISBNs at all! Some even go to other databases on the internet to find these ISBNs to use with their ISBN-less books. This takes a good amount of effort–far more than using the Post a Book Without an ISBN feature which would work to post the book properly.   We find this behavior curious indeed; it is not adaptive in the least, and is correlated with poor longevity in the club.

There are other sub-species of Postus Erronatus, but the above are the most common.

Posteology indicates strongly that all of these sub-species will become extinct if all members follow the instructions shown while posting a book (full instructions can also be read in How to Post a Book in the Help Center), and if a member runs into trouble posting a book, the Help doc Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems in the Help Center will usually solve the problem.

All kidding aside, Lulu, we know that members don’t make these mistakes on purpose when they post books.   You need to follow the instructions in the Help doc There is a problem with a book I received if this happens.  The good news is that problem swaps are not as common at PBS as it might seem to you if you happen to get a couple wrong books in a row.

Everyone should post their books properly, to make sure that when a book is requested, that book is the one that is actually wanted!  There is no point in sending a wrong book–no one is happy when that happens.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – March 2007

Thursday, March 1st, 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…