PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Printable Postage’

My Favorite PaperBackSwap Feature – Printable Postage

Thursday, May 10th, 2012




By Linda (Angeleyes)


So you’ve signed up for PaperBackSwap and even swapped a few books.  You’re hooked (like the rest of us) and wondering what other great features are available that you just haven’t found yet.  Well, let me tell you about one that saves time AND gets you INSTANT CREDIT: Printable Postage.  No more trips to the PO during “open hours”. No more fussing with stamps. You can mail packages at your convenience and USPS regulations that require packages over 13 ounces to be handed to a postal worker do not apply.

With no monthly charge the only cost (in addition to postage) is 55 cents.  This instant credit fee pays for the online postage provider fee, delivery confirmation and helps PBS defer some costs of site maintenance.  So you say “oh I’ll just save the 55 cents and go to the PO.”  Personally I look at this “fee” this way, 55 cents to help keep PBS going, I don’t have to try to make it to the PO during their condensed hours or use my gas to get there and I don’t have to wait and or worry that the book might not be marked as received and/or wait for a credit.  It’s a total win to me!

It is so easy to use printable postageJust click “Print Wrapper” on a request, and the Wrapper Settings page will come up. You can choose the Print Postage option on that page. You need to have PBS Money in your account to use printable postage.  If you don’t have money in your account you will be given the option to add money (using PayPal or a credit/debit card).  The system will walk you through adding money to your account.

Once you’ve added sufficient money to your account, the next step is to weigh the book(s).  It is best to always weigh your book(s) regardless of the weight in the database.  Database inaccuracies can cause books to have too little or too much postage.   PBS postage can’t be refunded and you don’t want a book returned to you for lack of postage so it’s really important to make sure you’re paying the right amount of postage, just like you would at the post office.

Next, adjust the weight and postage date and print your label. Wrap your book(s) as you normally would and mail.  The neat thing here is you can give it to your mail carrier, drop it in a blue mailbox (if you still have those in your area), or take it to the PO (but you don’t have to stand in line).  Easy peasy!   And don’t forget to mark the book as mailed (that’s super important).

Goodness knows we’ve all run out of ink from time to time or the papers jammed or we’ve run out of paper.  With printable postage you can reprint a label as many times as needed but you can’t change any of the information i.e. weight, date, etc.

Some people have asked so what’s the significance of the postmark date on the wrapper?  Well I’ll tell you.  You can mail the book(s) BEFORE the date but not after.  If you mail after the date you have to go to the PO and have a new metered $0.00 strip with that day’s date applied to the package.  This means that you have to stand in the same line you were trying to avoid in the first place. : )

So I mentioned INSTANT CREDIT earlier and you’re intrigued.  You’ve decided you want to use printable postage and you’re wondering when you will get your credit.  It couldn’t be simpler.  You get your credit as soon as you click the “Book Has Been Mailed” button.  If the book is lost in the mail or is damaged you still get to keep your credit. Of course you want to talk to the receiver and make it right but with Printable Postage and automatic DC it’s easier to find those lost books.

Now that you know all there is to know about PBS printable postage, Go Forth and Swap with confidence (and printable postage !).  For additional information on printable postage check out the Help Center – FAQs about Printable Postage.



Dear Librarian,

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Dear Librarian- What happens if I get a request on Friday or Saturday (or Sunday!) before the postage change on Monday, and the wrapper prints out with the “old” postal rate on it?  What do I do to be sure that the package has enough postage on it?  –Worried in Worthington

Dear Worthy,

Don’t worry – you’ll just have to pay a little extra attention for a few days.  Remember that anything you mail on Monday or after must have postage that satisfies the NEW postal rates.  Anything you mail before Monday can have the OLD postal rate postage on it.  So if you get a request on Friday or Saturday before the rates change, you should be sure to mail the books on Friday or Saturday, using the old postage rate.  If you have to mail on Sunday, you should use the NEW postal rate – because packages mailed on Sunday (for example, put into a blue mailbox on Sunday) will not enter the mailstream until Monday, and on Monday the new postal rates will apply.

Dear Librarian-  OMG the flu is scary!  Did you read The Hot Zone?   Is it safe to mail to and from strangers?  Why doesn’t the government talk about the US mail as a risk factor for getting swine flu?  OMG OMG OMG –Caffeinated in Carson City

Dear Caffy,

While influenza is not Ebola virus (as described in The Hot Zone), you don’t want to get it if you don’t have to!  If you are careful to wash your hands frequently and well (using soap), avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth while out and about, and stay away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, your risk of getting this recent strain of influenza appears to be small.  No one is talking about the mail as a risk factor because mail is not a risk factor.  Yes, if someone with the flu were to sneeze wetly onto your mail and then hand it to you, that could be a risk.  But the influenza virus does not live very long on surfaces, especially in warm weather.  If you are very concerned, you can be sure to leave your mail in the mailbox for 2-3 hours before bringing it in.    Reasonable precautions will keep you safe, Caffy.  Hey, have you ever tried herbal tea?  Just a thought!


  • The Twitter background contest beginning May 7th submit your designs, and vote on the submissions, on TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com
  • Postage increase May 11th…the new rates will be in the PBS system, and in the Help Center, on the 11th.

News: Better Browsing, Postage Increase, Survey, Twitter BG Contest, Requestor Conditions & Caps!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Holy Better Browsing, Batman! Check out the new browsing options on the Member Homepage.  Click Home in the top menu to get to this page, on which you can choose up to 3 favorite genres for your sliding display of available books; below that, you can now also browse available books in other genres – just one click displays the genre you choose from the list.  What used to be the Recently Posted Available Books display is now viewable by genre – so you can look at cookbooks — mysteries — Libros en Espanol — whatever you like.   One click “refills” the display with available books in the genre you have chosen.  There’s no quicker way to browse for your next great read!

Postage Increase THIS MONDAY. Effective Monday, May 11, postal rates will increase slightly.  The price of a First Class letter stamp will increase from 42 cents to 44 cents (so stock up on those Forever stamps this week!).   A 1-lb Media Mail package will be $2.38 (up from $2.23). Download the USPS’ new price list, or read the information at USPS‘s website.  Please note that PBS Printable Postage will shut down for Sunday May 10th, so you will not be able to print the “old rates” on that day.  It will be enabled again on May 11, and the new rates will print out.  Remember to mail your books  you have agreed to mail on or before Saturday the 9th of May, so that you are not sending packages with insufficient postage!

We’ll give you something to talk about…. We’re looking for member input on the club, and we will be sending out survey emails to random members in the next couple of weeks.  When you get one of these emails (it will come from librarian@paperbackswap.com and it will have the PBS logo in the message body), click the link inside to take the survey.   The surveys will be short, and your responses will help us make decisions about what direction to take new features in the club.   So if you get a survey email, please take a few minutes to take the survey.  Your opinions could have a big impact!

So you think you can design? Prove it in our upcoming Twitter Background Design Contest!  We want our members to be a part of representing the club on our Twitter profile @paperbackswap.   The contest begins May 7th and ends June 7th. You can submit your entry on the site http://www.TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com after May 7th.   Winners get cold hard cash, credits, and Swap Money as well as unending glory!  And those of you who dont design…you can still get in on the act by voting on the submissions. There will be “people’s choice” AND “PBS Team choice” winners!   For more about how to submit, the prizes, and all the nifty details, check out the PBS Blog. A huge thanks to TwitterBackgroundsGallery.com for helping us set this up & use their website to run the contest.

Oh, we didn’t mention the Blog? It’s just a little somethin’ we threw together…. You can find it under Community at the top of any page on the site.  It has info from previous newsletters, plus stuff you can’t find anywhere else on the site, and you can comment on the items there.  Check it out.

Requestor Conditions Refinement. Now when you request a book you will have the option NOT to apply your Requestor Conditions to that request, during the process of submitting the request.  No need to go into your Account Settings to turn them off, then back to the request, then back to your Account Settings to turn them on again.  This new streamlined option should make things easier for those who use the Requestor Conditions feature.

And to top it all off… PBS Caps are in the Kiosk!  100% cotton in black or mustard, and a sueded cotton blend in stone.  Don’t tell us you don’t love them.  It’s not possible not to love them!   Ten bucks to protect your face from sunburn and proclaim your membership in the best online bookclub on the planet?  It’s ridiculous not to buy these.

NEWS: Newsletter – January 2009

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

We have heard your cries! Yes, the chant (What do we want? Printed Postage for Box-O-Books! When do we want it? Real soon!) has finally been answered.   All you Boxers can give your vocal cords a rest because Printable Postage for Box-O-Books is now available!  (Yay, Team!) You can read about the Box-O-Books service here.

New Forums! Yes, we have lovely new icons in the Discussion Forums, if we do say so ourselves…AND new Forums to boot!  Check ’em out:

Health & Fitness Forum

Going Green

Money Saving Tips

Postal Rate increase. NOT for Media Mail or First Class mail, folks, which are the only rates we recommend using here!  But for those of you who sometimes use Priority Mail, here’s a heads -up from USPS:  On January 18, 2009, prices will change for Express Mail, Priority Mail, Parcel Select, Parcel Return Service and some international shipping products. Overall, shipping services prices will increase an average of 5 percent. The new prices are available at http://www.usps.com/prices  (click “New Shipping Prices” box). Don’t worry if you are a typical PBS member who uses Media Mail or First Class mail – this change won’t affect you.

Thank you! We appreciate how many people have given credits and/or money to become Friends of PBS.  We applaud your generous spirits, and please know that with each donation you are helping PBS stay strong and grow better!  Members can give here, and see the list of local and recently-added friends here.

Dear Members, Newsletter – October 2008

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

We’re all feeling a little tense these days what with the economy, eh?   Time for…
…a PaperBackSwap Members’ Survival Guide!

  • Multiple-book swaps save postage – a LOT of postage.
    Requestors should be sure to click Order More from Member to check the bookshelf of the sender you are ordering from to see if there are other books you’d like.  If everyone does this, everyone saves!  Senders who use printable postage shouldn’t print the wrapper to send a book right away – wait until you are ready to wrap, to be sure the requestor isn’t in the process of browsing your bookshelf for more books.   And don’t forget Box-O-Books!  It’s a small investment (8 dollars for a year’s subscription) and it pays for itself in postage savings after just your first few swaps.
  • There’s gold in them thar backpacks!
    The schoolbooks you paid so dearly for that will bring you peanuts at the Used Book Store can each earn a credit to get another book!  So get your kids’ upcoming reading lists and plan ahead.  Remember that textbooks (unlike other books posted for swapping at PBS) may have highlighting/writing/underlining in them – BUT you do have to get consent from the requestor about the book condition before sending it, as described in the Book Condition Guidelines. Encourage your kids to take good care of their books so there’s a lot of life (and reads) left in them!
  • Triple your swapping power!

Did you know that you can transfer credits between your accounts at PBS, SwapaDVD and SwapaCD ? Remember those DVDs your child wanted to watch every day until…she didn’t? That emo CD your nephew knew you would love…but you didn’t?  Join SwapaDVD.com and SwapaCD.com and post them for swapping!  Earn DVD and CD credits and bring ’em back to your account on PBS (1:1 transfer from SwapaCD, 2:3 transfer from SwapaDVD) on PBS.  Read more about how to do this.

  • That’s Entertainment!
    We bet one of the biggest bills you pay each month is…for TV.  Consider getting rid of TV service altogether. Yes, stop gasping, we’re serious.  What you can do without TV:  Read, talk, play games, take an after-dinner walk; Listen to online radio while you knit a sweater;  Learn to cook, learn to tango, learn to speak Chinese (most podcasts are FREE).  For your video fix, remember that: your local library has DVDs to borrow for FREE; SwapaDVD allows you to swap the unwatched DVDs you own for new ones, and then swap those for others; many TV shows are legally available online (you have to wait a few hours or a day for them to be uploaded, but many networks have websites and stream their TV series there FREE);  you can be “fashionably late” to watch premium-channel series–they’ll come out on DVD so you can get them from your library or SwapaDVD for FREE.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint – as precious these days as the carbon in a diamond!
    There are so many ways to do this: Walk to the post office if it’s close enough (and you don’t have too many books to carry); Combine and plan your errands so that you drive from one to the other (in a loop if possible, ending back at home); Save gasoline by mailing from home using PBS Printable Postage; If you don’t use printed postage, designate one day per week as your go-to-PO day and make sure you accept every request with a mailby date that falls on or after that day of the week; run the heat-producing dishwasher/clothes dryer in the evening during summer and during the day during winter.

Times are tough. Hang in there, everyone–we know things will bounce back.  In good times or bad, swapping saves!
Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team

DEAR LIBRARIAN: Newsletter – May 2008

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian– I got a book request for a book that is not on my bookshelf!  The request is staring me in the face on my account page, but when I go to my bookshelf the book isn’t listed there.  How did this happen?  Is there a book-posting poltergeist at PBS? –Chills Up My Spine in Chicago

Dear ChiChi,

Don’t worry!  The book was requested from you because it WAS on your bookshelf–until it was requested.  A book that is involved in a Wish List hold or an active request is removed from the bookshelf and displayed on your account page.  How did the book get onto your bookshelf?  It was posted there!   Maybe you posted this book long ago, and have forgotten that you have it, or have given it away since then.  Maybe you entered the ISBN incorrectly, and the wrong title got posted.  If you have posted a lot of books, it can be easy to forget one.

You can see when you posted this book on the request itself, when it is pending on your My Account page.  Sometimes it helps to “track it down” by looking at your Bookshelf and sorting the list there by Date (this = date posted).  You can see what books were posted at the same time as this one, if they are still on your bookshelf.  That may help you locate the book with those others in your house.  (Members who use Book Journal will also see the Space to which they assigned this book when they posted it, right on the pending request.)   That’s not to say there isn’t a book-posting poltergeist–but look for him or her in your house, not in the PBS system. 🙂

If you can’t find this book, you should click “I cannot mail”.  If you do that and find the book later, just repost it.

Dear Librarian–Do NOT tell me there isn’t a PBS Poltergeist.  My account keeps going on vacation, no matter WHAT I do!  Every time I look at my Bookshelf, there it is: the notice that I am on vacation.  I’m calling an exorcist, pronto! –NOT on vacation in New Hampshire

Dear Hamp,

The “Vacation Hold” you are seeing at the top of your Bookshelf is not a notice that your account is on vacation.  It is just a link to the page where you can schedule a vacation hold.  If your account is on vacation (or a vacation hold is scheduled), you will see a message telling you this in a pink box on your My Account page (at the top).   If you do see that notice and you didn’t mean to put your account on hold, just click the button in the message to Unhold your account.  Putting your account on vacation needs you to go to the vacation hold page, choose dates, and then click Apply Hold.  If you don’t do these things, you won’t be on hold.  You might want to send your exorcist over to ChiChi’s house in Chicago.  🙂

Dear Librarian–I got an email telling me a book I sent was received, but I didn’t get a credit.  What happened?  Bummed in Baton Rouge

Dear Batty,

Check your Credit Registry, linked from the top of your My Account page.  The credit should show there.  If you got an email telling you the book was received, and the credit isn’t shown as being deposited on the date/time of that email, check the email again.  If you used PBS-DC or Printed Postage, you may have already gotten your credit, and the email was just telling you that the book was received.  If that was the case, the email will say this, and you will find the credit listed farther down your Registry.  The Registry is a great way to keep track of your credit activity.

Dear Librarian–A book that I sent came back to me for insufficient postage!  I put on the amount of postage that the wrapper said to use!  Why was the postage amount incorrect on the wrapper?  –Puzzled in Peekskill

Dear Peek,

We’re sorry that this happened!  Sounds like the “estimated weight” of the book in our database was incorrect, and you didn’t adjust it on the Wrapper Settings page before you printed.  Our “required postage” amount is calculated based on what information our database has for the weight of the book.   We get our database from an outside source, and it has inaccuracies sometimes.

You can ensure that the correct postage prints out on the wrapper by adjusting the estimated weight (if necessary) on the Wrapper Settings page before you print, and you can submit a permanent change to the weight of any book using the Edit Book Data link at the bottom of any page on the site, to prevent problems for future senders of that book.

You can read more in the Help doc The *recommended postage* on my wrapper was wrong! in the Help Center.  You should also take a gander at the FAQs About Printable Postage and Sending Bulk (multiple-book) shipments, each of which has  information about customizing the Wrapper Settings page to get the correct postage and postal class for your shipment.

Check the weight on the Wrapper Settings page before you print, and you’ll never go “postage-due” again!

Mail, we get mail… Newsletter – January 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

even some we shouldn’t get.   If you use the PBS offices return address on your wrapper, and you send out books that are returned, they come back to us.   The most common cause of returned books lately seems to be the “13-ounce rule”: if you mail a package over 13 ounces using only stamps for postage, it needs to be handed to a PO employee (this is a USPS regulation).   A package over 13 ounces bearing postage stamps that is NOT handed to a PO employee is returned.  If it comes to us, we have to make a trip to our local PO to mail it.  We will notify you if this happens, and each account gets a “free” remailing from us; but if this continues to be a problem with a sender, we will charge a credit for the trouble of each PO trip to re-send your books.  Gas is nearly as expensive as gold these days.   You can easily avoid this problem by using PBS Printed Postage to mail your books–the 13-ounce rule doesn’t apply, since the postage is traceable to the sender  Plus, Printed Postage gets you Instant Credit when you mark the book mailed!  Can’t beat that.