PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Lost Books’

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – October 2006

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Dear R&R—I got a book where the wrapper was taped to the book itself! Why do people do this? –Annoyed in Ann Arbor

Dear Ann,

We don’t know. Nothing should ever be taped to a book. Applying tape to a book’s cover is almost certain to damage it when the package is opened. The Help Center item “How do I wrap a book?” has suggestions about how to wrap your book so that it gets to its new home in the same condition it left yours. The basics are: cover the book completely, consider an inner layer of plastic to protect against the elements, reinforce the corners and seams with tape (shipping, not Scotch) and make sure the contents of the package don’t slide around. We ask members who receive inadequately-wrapped books to give feedback to the sender (gently, please! Everyone is new to the club at one time), and share their personal “tips” on packaging, so that senders can improve their methods. If a wrapper is taped to a book and the book is damaged because of it, the requestor should ask for the credit back, and the sender should give it.

Dear R&R—I got an order for three books from one requestor, but when I printed out the wrapper only one title showed up on page 2! Am I not supposed to send the other two books? –Wondering in Willamette

Dear Will,

This has now been fixed! Previously, the wrapper for a bulk (multiple-book) request showed only one of the titles to be included in the package. Now you should see all the titles that are to be sent in that shipment on the second page of the PBS Wrapper. We have had this on our To Do list for a long time, and we thank our members for being so patient with us. Check your account page, Will, to be sure that all the titles are listed on the transaction there, because this must be a request submitted before we made this change. Any wrappers you print for future bulk requests should show all the titles on the second page.

Dear R&R—I ordered a book over a month ago, and it never arrived. I re-ordered it from someone else when the first copy was “lost in the mail” and today I received the book from the original sender and the postmark on the package was 2 weeks ago!!! This book was mailed late—why should I have to mark this received? The sender shouldn’t get credit for sending a book late! –Steamed in Schenectady

Dear Steamy,

Most books that arrive late were delayed en route through no fault of the sender’s (USPS is terrific, but it’s not perfect!) If the package bears stamps, the postmark might not reflect the actual date that it was mailed. If the package has a metered strip for postage, that is a different story: the date on a metered strip IS the date that the package was mailed. Before you write an angry message to the sender, do consider that something serious might have happened to delay this mailing. It is impossible to know the circumstances here. One late-mailed package can be understandable; however, PBS does not tolerate a pattern of late mailing. If a sender’s record shows that she or he is mailing late as a habit, we will reprimand him or her, and if the late-mailing does not stop, the sender will be removed from the club. It is important to let us know about late mailings, so we can investigate each case.

Late mailing without notice to the requestor is very inconsiderate, and we want to know about it when this happens. We tell senders that if they HAVE to mail a package late, to ask the requestor (using the PM feature) if it is OK to do so before marking the book mailed. This gives the requestor the chance to decline (the sender should cancel here, and repost the book when it can be mailed out within PBS timeframes), and try to get the book from someone else. In most cases, requestors don’t mind if a book is mailed a little late, as long as they are made aware of it, so they don’t re-order the book, and end up with two copies. We do recommend that “lost” books not be re-ordered too quickly, as frequently lost books are merely USPS-delayed, and do show up.

In this case, Steamy, you should mark the book received. You have gotten the book, and you can repost it and send it out to a new requestor, and get your credit back. While you are marking the book received, you will have an opportunity to let the sender know about the late mailing. Keep in mind that serious circumstances could be involved here—you don’t want to yell at a late-mailer who’s been hospitalized for a heart attack. But a firmly worded message to the sender, along with a notification to us by feedback, will go a long way to making sure that this does not become a habit with this person. Be sure to include the details of a transaction (book title, sender’s name, postmark date) when you notify us, so we can look into it.

Your List of Lists. Newsletter – May 2006

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Did you know that you have access to nine different kinds of lists from your account page? Here is a list of those lists, what they do, and where to find them:

(1) Active Transactions (books outgoing from you or incoming to you)
located on your Account page. Just log in and scroll down.

(2) Completed Transactions (books that have been received by you, or sent by you and received by others), accessible from the right-hand side of your account page. Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right.

(3) Books I have Read (books you have read), accessible from the
right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click Books I
have Read on the right.

(4) TBR Pile (= Books To Be Read; books you have received from PBS and have yet to read), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account page. You can repost books to your bookshelf directly from this list; the big red W by any book means that another member is currently wishing for this book—you might want to read it sooner, so that you can send it out!
Just log in and click TBR Pile on the right.

(5) Wish List (books you want to order that are not currently available
in the system), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account
page. Just log in and click Wish/Reminder List on the right.

(6) Reminder List (books you are considering ordering, whether
currently available or unavailable), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click Wish/Reminder List on the right, then click the Reminder List tab.

(7) My Bookshelf (books you are offering for swapping), accessible
from the right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click My
Bookshelf on the right.

(8) Books Lost en Route to Me (books that were not marked received by
the System Action Date for the transaction), available from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. You can, and should, mark “lost” books received from here, if they arrive (and they often do). Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right, then click the link at the top of the page, “Books Lost en Route to Me.”

(9) Canceled Transactions (all cancellations, coming to you or going
from you, associated with your account for the past 45 days), accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right, then click the link at the top of the page, “Canceled Transactions.”

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – April 2006

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Don’t forget to mark your Lost Books received when they arrive!
What happens when a book that was supposed to come to you doesn’t arrive by the system action date on the request? It becomes a Lost Book and goes into your list of Books Lost en Route to Me, which is accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Does this mean the book is really lost? Quite frequently, no. Most Lost books aren’t actually lost–they are simply delayed en route to you, and will eventually arrive. When a Lost book does arrive, it is very important to mark it received, so that the sender’s account shows that he or she sent the book. If you do receive a “Lost” book, make sure to mark it received. You can do this by logging into your account, clicking Completed Transactions on the right, then clicking the link at the top of the page “Books Lost en Route to Me.” Locate the book in this list and click the Was Book Received? button. After you have completed the process of marking the book received, the transaction will move to your Completed Transactions list.

How to Wrap a Book.
We know you want your books delivered in the same condition in which you sent them! We know you don’t want to have your books get separated from the wrapping en route. Here are some tips for keeping your books safe while they are in the arms of the USPS:

Using the PBS wrapper. If your book is small enough, you just need to use both printed sheets as the wrapper. See the photographs of how to do this at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/how_to_wrap.php. *PLEASE NOTE that these photographs predate the Media Mail postal rate increase; 4 first-class (letter) stamps no longer suffice to send a typical paperback. See the FAQs for current media mail rates; check your wrapper for the specific required postage for your package; when in doubt, take it to the post office.*

Many members use an inner layer of plastic, around the book, to protect it from wet weather or accidents en route. Plastic grocery bags, Ziploc bags, clean inverted bread wrappers, saran wrap all work great! Just don’t use the “press and seal” wrap, as that has a tendency to stick to and ruin books.

For larger or heavier books or multiple book shipments, you’ll need to make a sturdier package, using a padded mailer or manila envelope or even a cut-down paper grocery sack. You can cut out the address from the first page of the PBS wrapper and tape it to the outside of your package. Slip the second page into the package with the book. If you use an unpadded envelope of any kind, make sure the excess envelope material is taped down to avoid catching in the postal machines. The key to packing multiple-book shipments well is to prevent the books sliding around in the package en route. They will be jostled a lot on the way to the requestor! You don’t want them to tear through the packaging.

No matter what wrapping method you choose, TAPE is the most important component! Use plenty, especially over the corners. Tape down every seam with packing (not Scotch) tape. It’s always better to use too much tape than not enough.

Our USPS does a great job, but packages are jostled en route and good packaging will protect them for many reads to come.