PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘ISBNs’

Dear Librarian: APO Military Address, Textbooks for Students

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Dear Librarian – Is there any way to send out a specific thank you to great swappers here?  We’re at a military address, and it is so hard to get books in English for our family.  PBS is a godsend!  We are so grateful to the members who are willing to make the extra effort to mail from the Post Office and fill out the customs forms, and to wait a little longer for their books to get to us.   How can we say thanks?  –Appreciative at an APO address

Dear Appy,

You just did! 🙂

Not everyone is able to go the extra mile to send to military addresses – we understand that, and they shouldn’t be blamed for it – but those who do are special people indeed.  They are booklovers who really care.  They sympathize with how tough it would be to be so far from a source of books.   So they make the extra effort to fill out the (short) customs form and take the package to the PO, and they don’t panic if it is declared “lost” en route – they know it might take time to get to its eager reader.   The requestor does her part here too, by marking the books received as promptly as possible – from the Transaction Archive if they are already “lost” before they arrive.

Our members are wonderful in so many ways – this is one of them!  We are made proud every day by the spirit of sharing and caring that exists at PBS.

Dear Librarian — I need a specific edition of a sociology textbook.  If I order the book here, can I be sure I will get the exact edition I need?   –  College Student in California

Dear Coco,

PBS is a terrific resource for students!  We have some tips to help you use PBS to take a bite out of your budget:

(1) Check the edition! The club is a great source for some kinds of schoolbooks – classics, Shakespeare plays, and the like — and for texts that do not get updated very frequently.  Keep in mind that although ISBN, author, title and book type must all match the listing, publication date does not have to match – and if more than one edition of a book shares the same ISBN, it can be possible to get either edition when you put in your request. That means that for textbooks that are frequently updated, you’ll need to make a little extra effort to be sure you get the edition that you need. If the edition is specified in the title on the listing, then the book should match the listing, but a Personal Message to the sender when requesting the book is not a bad idea, to be sure he or she didn’t make a mistake in posting.  (Sometimes a member, despite the instructions on the Post Books screen, will enter the ISBN and click Post, and doesn’t make sure the rest of the listing matches.)  Since some textbooks will keep the same ISBN through many updates, this can be a pitfall for the school-shopper.  Keep in mind, however, that some updates don’t change the book much, and depending on the subject, sometimes more than one edition will be usable for a class.

(2) Order early. Remember that Media Mail can be variable in its transit time.  Even though the average book arrives within about a week after it is mailed, sometimes books take longer.  So be sure to put in your request in plenty of time to get the book for your class.

It can be a little extra effort to make sure you get a version of the book that you can use, Coco, but it’s worth it!  The price of new textbooks can really be shocking.  If even one textbook can be gotten here instead of buying it new, the savings could be substantial.

The Last Word:

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 – December 2008

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian-I love Printed Postage!  Can’t believe I ever did without it.  My printer ran out of ink though and I had already downloaded the wrapper with postage – couldn’t print it.  I have put new cartridges in my printer – will I be re-charged when I reprint the wrapper?  – Nervous in Newton

Dear  Newt,

Nope! You won’t be re-charged.  If you ever need to reprint a wrapper for any reason, just start over by clicking Print Wrapper on the request, be sure that you choose the postage option on the Wrapper Settings page, and print.  You can confirm that you are not re-charged by looking in your Money Registry, linked from the top of your My Account main page.
Dear Librarian- I posted a book incorrectly – I used the hardcover listing when I had the paperback, and the ISBNs were the same so I was confused – and now I need to refund the credit.  Is there an easy way to do this?  -Careless in Coventry

Dear Carrie,

Yes, you can just go to the swap in your Transaction Archive (linked from your My Account main page) and click the Request Details link on the right, then scroll down a little on the details page and click the Give Refund button.

We are sorry you had this confusion when posting your book – because publishers sometimes re-use ISBNs and it is necessary for all books to match the listings used to post them (ISBN, title, author and booktype must all match), it is really important to double-check the booktype on the listing preview before clicking to post the book.

If you’re careful to use only listings that match the books you have (see How to Post a Book and Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems, both accessible from the Need Help? tab on the upper right of the Post Books page), you won’t have this problem again!


  • The year 2009!   Are you ready?  What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

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 – December 2007

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Dear R&R–I wanted to ask you about…  Hey, are you wearing a Santa suit?   –Inquiring in Indiana

Dear Indy,

Ho Ho Ho!  Why yes, we are.  We thought it was appropriate.  Why, does the costume make us look fat?

Dear R&R– Well, yes, but that’s the point, isn’t it?  Anyway.  I wanted to talk to you about a book that I received.  It was the wrong book!  I ordered the Revised Edition, and that was in the title of the listing, but I got the old edition.  And now the sender refuses to give me my credit unless I send the book back.  I said that’s fine, but please send me postage to ship it, and she said that I was outrageous and scamming her.  She made the mistake in the first place!!  This isn’t right. Why should I pay postage to send back the book SHE listed incorrectly? This really steams me.  –Irritated now in Indiana

Dear Indy,

Yes, we understand your irritation.  We have made this clear in the Help Cent–

Dear R&R–Sorry to interrupt but I have the same problem.   I ordered a paperback book because hardbacks are hard for me to hold when I read.  I got a hardback!  The ISBN didn’t even match!  The sender is saying I shouldn’t complain because it is the same book, and is also asking me to send back the book HE posted wrong, at MY expense, if I want my credit back.  Don’t I have a right to get the book I requested?  He is saying that I should be happy with the hardback, since it’s more valuable, and I shouldn’t get to keep the book AND get my credit back.  I don’t like hardbacks!   Why do I have to justify wanting to get the book I requested?  Why would I have to pay to send back the book to get my credit back?  Tell him he’s being a jerk! –Fuming in Phoenix

Dear Feeny,

Now, now, Santa doesn’t use words like “jerk”.  Boys and girls who do are taking the fast road to the Naughty list.  As I was saying to Indy, the Help Center Doc does explain that the requestor doesn’t have to return the wrong item, if it IS a wrong item.  When you request a book, you should receive the book you requested: the book should match the listing’s ISBN, title, author and binding type EXACTLY.   It does not have to match the cover image or publication date.

So if the title included the words “Revised Edition”, Indy, you did get the wrong book.   But if the title did NOT include those words, and everything else (ISBN, author and binding type) matched the listing, you didn’t.   When this happens–

Well the ISBN does match!  But the listing said paperback, and I got a hardback!  So it’s YOUR fault, for having the wrong listing in the database.  –Indy

Dear Indy,

Publishers sometimes do reuse the ISBN for reprintings of books, which can confuse things.   PBS can assign one ISBN to only one listing.   When a member puts the ISBN into the Post Books page, she or he will see the listing previewed on the right, with the words in red text asking him or her to confirm that the ISBN, title, author and binding type on the listing preview ALL exactly match the book being posted.  If the title or binding type doesn’t match, that book can’t be posted with that listing, even if the ISBN matches.  In that case, the book needs to have a custom listing created by the posting member, which has the correct info on it.  The Post a Book Without an ISBN feature allows the posting member to create that custom listing for a book if it is necessary.

And Feeny, if you requested a paperback and got a hardcover, that was also the wrong book.  And if the ISBN didn’t match it is doubly wrong.  If the ISBN doesn’t match we suspect that the posting member went to the Club Wish List and clicked “post this book”.  There is a window that comes down that will ask you to confirm that the ISBN on your item matches if you do that, but the sender didn’t check it if you got the wrong ISBN.

When a sender makes an error and sends a wrong book, then the requestor does not have to return the wrong item at his or her expense.  Again, this is clear in the Help–

Hey!  I am one of the senders being called names here.  It’s the same book.  So what if it’s a hardcover?  It’s the same story!  You’re telling me that I spent postage and sent a book and now I have to spend postage AGAIN to get the book back, and I won’t even get a credit?  That’s insane.  –really Peeved in Pittsfield

Dear Pitty,

We are sorry that this happened, but Santa has some tough love for you:  You made a mistake.  Yes, you did.  You clicked Post This Book when your book didn’t match the listing.  We put those words in red on the listing preview on the Post Books page for a reason. And if you are looking at the Club Wish List and clicking Post this Book if something matches the title of a book you have without checking the ISBN and binding type to make sure that they match your book, then that is not the correct way to list a book.

Think of it this way: if you order a sweater in blue, and you get a green sweater instead, do you have to send back the green sweater at your expense?   Do you have to justify that you wanted blue and not green?   No.  The sender of the green sweater either replaces the wrong item with the correct one at no charge, or refunds the money if the sender doesn’t have the blue sweater that was ordered.   Yes, the sweaters both fit the same and you can wear them both, no matter what color they are.   But if the requestor wants a blue sweater, don’t say you have one if you don’t.  And don’t send a green sweater and ask the person to be happy with it, or to pay to send it back to you in order to get a refund.

We know that no one means to do this, but when you make a mistake posting a book, you need to deal with it properly.  Some requestors don’t make a fuss about getting the wrong book.  But to others, the specifics (like binding type) really matter.  You can’t know how the requestor will feel about a wrong book, so you should post the book correctly in the first place, to avoid a problem swap. Otherwise, yes, you can end up losing item, postage and credit…but that will only happen because of a mistake you made when you posted the book.   If you list your sweaters–er, books–correctly, you will not have this trouble in future.

And please stop pulling Santa’s beard, okay?

Dear R&R–Well how about Large Print books?  Large Print isn’t included in the “ISBN, title, author, binding type” thing.  If I request a book for my mom who needs Large Print, and I get a regular-font book she can’t read, what do I do?  The last sender who did this to me told me just “Sorry, that was the way it was listed on PBS!  Hope you enjoy the book!”  What about me?   What do I do here?  –Seeing Red in San Pedro

Dear Pedro,

Large Print is a special case.  If a member enters the ISBN of an item into the Post Books page and that item is categorized at PBS as Large Print, the book listing preview will have some special text in a red box on the right of the Post Books page.  This text says very clearly that this listing can be used only if the book being posted is Large Print.  There are also links there to help post the book properly if it is not a Large Print book.  Because Large Print is not a preference in most cases but a necessity, Santa is taking a hard line on these problem swaps: if the sender does not return the credit within a week of your Personal Message that states the problem, the title of the book, and the request for a credit refund, let us know and we will do it if the book was really listed incorrectly.  We don’t intervene in problem swaps when the issue is subjective (such as book condition) or in dispute, but in the case of Large Print, we will.  Be sure that your Personal Message lets the sender know that you want your credit returned, and also that the member can read instructions on how to do this in the Help Center.

We do sympathize with the members who post books incorrectly; we know they don’t mean to.  But if you post a book incorrectly, you do run the risk of losing book, credit, and postage.  It is easy to prevent this: just follow the instructions on the Post Books screen when posting your book, and if you have trouble, read Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems in the Help Center, and this will help you get your book listed properly.

And if you get a problem book, do be clear in your Personal Message.  Be gentle, but do say that you would like the credit to be refunded.  Sometimes a sender is new and doesn’t even know this is an option.  And remember, if you report a problem swap (of any kind) to a sender,  in a PM clearly requesting a credit refund and you get no response at all from the sender within a week, let us know, and we’ll look into it.

Dear R&R–I got a book that smells funny.  I specifically requested no funny-smelling books in my Requestor Conditions.  This sender HAD to know the book smells funny.  Even my neighbor says it smells funny.  What about that?  Will you get my credit back from that sender for me? –Olfactorily Sensitive in St. Olaf

Dear Olaf,

No.  Santa can’t intervene in subjective cases, or when the issue is book condition and it is in dispute.   Members have to work these ones out; if a member has a pattern of problem sending on an account, it will emerge if you choose “yes but with a problem” while marking the book received.  We will intervene if there is a pattern, since several requestors having the same trouble with one sender is an objective situation.

Dear R&R–what if I send the book to you so you can smell it?  Or I can send a picture of my neighbor holding her nose.  –Olaf

Dear Olaf,

We’re not even answering that.

Hey Santa–you don’t sound very jolly.  –Amused in Ann Arbor

Dear Ann,

Sorry.  Santa gets weary of squabbling, especially at Christmas.  That doesn’t mean that Santa doesn’t care about each and every one of you!  Um, Ho ho ho.

Hey, did you know that in the Netherlands, Santa is called Sinterklaas, and comes to the home of naughty boys and girls and beats them with sticks? There’s actually a burlap sack involved.  The naughty person goes into the sack, and out come the sticks.

Dear R&R–We didn’t know that. Why do you mention it?  –Ann

Dear Ann,

Just a fun fact.   And we like saying Sinterklaas.   Sinterklaaaaas.  Really rolls off the tongue.

Anyway, to get back on track here:   Problem swaps aren’t actually as common as you might be led to believe if you read the Discussion Forums–the vast majority of swaps take place without a problem at PBS–but of course with a membership of this size, they will happen.  Please everyone, if one happens to you, take a step back and look at things from the other member’s point of view:  The member who posted a book by clicking on the Club Wish List may have thought “Hey!  I’m granting a wish!”  The member who posted a hardcover instead of a paperback may have thought “This member will be so happy because she’s getting a more valuable book”.   The member who posted the “Revised Edition” may simply not have noticed those words in parentheses in the title.

The person who sends you a wrong book is not trying to scam you.  He or she has taken the time to wrap up the book and mail it to you because he or she thought you wanted it.  If he or she made a mistake, BE NICE.  You may make a mistake someday yourself, after all.  In fact, if you search your memory, we bet that you can probably recall having made a mistake yourself at one time.  So BE NICE in your Personal Messages to each other.  We have a club of humans who sometimes make mistakes; they are not “scammers” if they do.

And if you made a mistake and someone lets you know about it, BE NICE in your reply.  Check the Help Center and see if the requestor is correct about the way you listed your book.  Suck it up and take the loss if you made a mistake and the requestor asks you to refund the credit.  You’ll be a better person for it, and a better swapper.  And Santa–who knows all–will keep you on the Nice list if you behave well during the communication about a problem swap.

If you are naughty… there’s always the Sinterklaas clause to invoke.   Santa could use a little cardio.

Dear R&R–Now I’m afraid to post a book.  You are a scary Santa.  –CindyLou in Whoville

Dear CindyLou,

We are sorry we scared you!  Don’t worry–it is easy to post a book properly.  Just read the information on the page when you post, and check your book against the listing shown.  And even if there is a problem with a swap, most members ARE nice about it.  They understand that the sender could be someone like their own mom or grandpa, and they treat them as they would want their Mom or Grandpa treated.   We have a nice club overall.  But tempers do get short sometimes. Even ours, sorry.

Dear R&R–That’s okay.  I wouldn’t want someone asking me to smell a book over the internet either. –CindyLou

Dear CindyLou,

Thanks for understanding.  I know a little Who who’s getting a Wii this year!

Enjoy your Roast Beast, everyone!   HO, HO, HO!


  • For Facebook users: a PaperBackSwap application that will let you share your booklists with that community…
  • The New Wish List: You love to say you’ll hate it, but we think you will love it.  We are working to perfect it, and we will explain it thoroughly when we are closer to a release date…

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.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – November 2006

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

Dear R&R—I have a book that has only a 13-digit number in the front where the ISBN should be. The Help Center says I have to use the 10-digit number to post the book, but my book doesn’t have one! What gives? –Frazzled in Frisco

Dear Frazz,

The 10-digit ISBN will give way to the 13-digit ISBN (now known as the EAN) on January 1st, 2007. The book industry has made this choice in order to bring the U.S. ISBN system into line with the EAN system used in other world markets, and also to alleviate “numbering shortages”. Some publishers have already started to publish their books with the 13-digit EANs. They should be publishing with BOTH numbers to ease the transition, but some aren’t doing this, we hear. On January 1st, 2007, the EAN will become the ISBN, and the use of 10-digit ISBNs will be phased out in all aspects of the book industry. PBS will make this change too, at that time. Until then, you can convert your 13-digit EAN to a 10-digit ISBN using the information at this site, IF your book was assigned a 10-digit ISBN by the publisher: http://www.bisg.org/isbn-13/conversions.html (scroll down to see the portion under the heading “Retrieving the 10-digit ISBN….” ). If this doesn’t work (or is too complicated and you don’t want to mess with it), just post your book as if it does not have an ISBN (using the link beneath the graphic on the Post Books page). Or you can hang in there until January, when your book’s 13-digit ISBN should be in the database. If you worry that your book won’t be noticed if it is posted without an ISBN, you can always “advertise” it in the Book Bazaar. Doing so usually results in a quick request.

Transitions are tough, but the 13-digit ISBN promises to be a good thing once everyone has changed over. In this case, 13 should be considered a lucky number (but not until January 2007)!

Dear R&R—I joined PBS, and then moved, and now I can’t change my address in the Account Settings. Why is that? How can I request a book to be sent to my current address? — Bewildered in Boise

Dear Bee,

You probably haven’t received 3 books from PBS yet. Only after you receive 3 books from PBS will you have the option to change your address in your Account Settings. If you move, and need to change your address, but haven’t received 3 books yet, send us a note in Feedback with your current address and we will help. After you have received three books, you will need to “validate” your address, which is very easy to do—just visit your Account Settings and click the Update button at the bottom of the information in the top section. Your address will be converted to a USPS-validated address automatically. If there is a problem with validating your address, you can read the Help Center item “I can’t change my address in my account settings!” under the heading “Account Options”. There is a link in there to a site which can guide you in validating your address. USPS is very picky about how addresses appear—the change can be as simple as “LN” instead of “LANE”–and a “valid” USPS address is necessary in order to use Delivery Confirmation for that destination.

Dear R&R—I got a package postage-due. It was marked “First-Class Mail”! The sender had put only enough postage for Media Mail rate on the package. Arghh! –Reading too much in Alabama

Dear Bama,

Yes, Media Mail is the cheapest way to send your package if it weighs 6 ounces or more. The PBS Wrapper (and label) is marked MEDIA MAIL. But some of our members don’t have a printer, or their printer is malfunctioning, and they hand-write the addresses to send their books. Please give the sender feedback about this, so that she doesn’t send these “postage-due bombs” to other requestors. You can always refuse a postage-due item (and note the return address before you hand the package back to the mail carrier, so that you can send a PM to the sender letting her know what happened), or if the amount is significant enough, ask the sender to send you postage (or “buddy” you a credit) to compensate you. And be sure to indicate that the package arrived postage-due, on the mini-survey when marking the book received. If the sender makes a habit of this, we will contact her. I am sure it was just a mistake, and one that she will be eager to correct for future mailings.

Dear R&R—I got an email telling me that I mailed a book late! I swear I didn’t! Will this affect my swapping record at PBS? –Panicked in Pomona

Dear Mona,

The email you got was generated automatically when a requestor entered the postmark from a package received from you. Don’t panic! There are several reasons why you could have gotten this email even if you didn’t mail late:

  1. The requestor indicated the wrong date when marking the book received on the optional “mini-survey”
  2. You sent the book late BUT you had gotten the requestor’s consent to do this
  3. You put the book in your outgoing mailbox and it took a few days to get its postmark from USPS
  4. You sent the book on time, but it came back to you for some reason (insufficient postage, the hand-written address was wrong, etc). and you resent the book, which naturally arrived with the postmark of the resending date.

One report of a late-mailed book will not affect your account status. It is only if a pattern shows that we will take action, and ask you to change your habits.

PBS is dedicated to timely shipping, but the system is designed to be flexible. We understand that a delayed shipment can happen on occasion. As long as you keep the requestor informed (so she doesn’t re-order the book if it is declared Lost by PBS), an occasional late mailing is acceptable. It is ideal to get the requestor’s consent BEFORE a book is mailed late, but we also understand (and so do most requestors) that this is not always possible.

Please see the Help Center item “Can a book be sent later?” under the heading “Sending a Book” for a thorough discussion of this topic.

If you receive one of these emails, and you didn’t mail the book late, don’t worry about it. We won’t!

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.