PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Public Profiles’

A Post from the Founder – A St. Patrick’s Day secret

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

One of our programmers, Len, shared a St. Patrick’s Day secret about me this morning in the Club Members’ Thoughts discussion forum:  

Richard P., the PBS Founder, can look at a patch of clover and immediately spot the four-leafed ones. I’ve known one other person who could do that, and it wasn’t Chuck Norris.

I’m thinking of spilling a box of toothpicks next time RP’s around to see if he counts them instantly. If so, we’ll know he buys his underpants at K-Mart 🙂

Have you ever known someone with this kind of 4-leaf  clover radar? How do you think they do it?

Since I’ve been “outed”, I thought I would share a little about my talent!  Ever since I was a little kid, I have had this fairly unique ability to look down at a patch of clovers and almost immediately pick out a four leaf clover.  Many times I can find several at one time in the same patch.  My brother John has the same ability – so it must run in the family! 

Often times I will simply be walking along a path and glance down – and reach for a four leaf clover.  When friends are nearby, they are always amazed.  

This group of 4 leaf clovers was from last year.   I was out with my girlfriend’s kids and they challenged me to find one as we walked along a path.  Within seconds I had found not one – but over 20!  One thing that you rarely ever see in life is a 5 leaf clover.  I have only found about a dozen in my life.  In the top left of this group, there is a 5 leaf clover.  I decided to make this one into a collage of sorts and gave it to my girlfriend – thus the “Mom” in the middle. 

So on this St. Patrick’s Day, I want to wish you the very best of luck and that you find your own 4 leaf clover – Or I can find one for you!


Dear Librarian,

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Dear Librarian- I’m a new member and I am anxious about my privacy.  Do you share or sell our personal information?  How can I check to see what information other members can see about me? – Jittery in Jonesboro

Dear Jonesy,

We do not sell or share member information with anyone (if you are getting spam, don’t blame us!).  Other members do need access to a working mailing address (which includes a full, real last name) to which to send the books you request, of course, but otherwise your personal information is hidden from others.  You can tightly control your privacy, in your Privacy Controls which are accessible from your Account Settings.  The default settings are pretty private – nothing shows on the site but your first name and last initial, and your PBS nickname if you have chosen one – but in your Privacy Controls you can choose how you want your “identity” to appear on the site, and control every other bit of information shown to the membership.  You can even hide your booklists (Wish List and Bookshelf) from other members – although that would be counterproductive in most cases, Jones, since you want people to see your Bookshelf so they can order from you, and hiding your Wish List means that you won’t get any Wish List books posted directly to you by buddies on the site (this happens pretty often).

So if you’re smart about what you post in forums and in your profile (it’s never wise to share TOO much personal info on the Internet), you shouldn’t have anything to worry about!  We have a great group of members and you are bound to make some good friends here.

Dear Librarian-  Why don’t you have the “posting position” of each book on the site, like you do with the Wish List, so we can see where our posted books are in line to get requests?  It would help us decide to donate some books instead of keep them listed – a book that has 60 available copies for example, I would donate instead of post here.  – Curious in Cooperstown

Dear Coop,

Good question!  We do plan to make this information available at some point – but not just as the position in line.   The raw information would not really help members make decisions about when their books might be requested.  Some books move very fast here!  So that book that has 60 copies in the system?  Those 60 copies could be swapped in a month, if it is a popular book.   Not only that, but FIFO does not govern every swap here – if you are a Boxer (= if you are subscribed to Box-O-Books) or if you offer “deals” in the Book Bazaar (2 books for 1 credit, 3 books for 2 credits, etc), your #60 book may be included as part of a Box-O-Books swap, or added in to a deal you are offering, and thus get requested “early”.

We are working on a way to show members the dynamics of a book in the system, to give the raw number some meaning so it is useful and not prone to being misinterpreted.  This programming is pretty tricky; in the meantime, you can’t know where your book is in line to get requests – so that leaves a nice opening for a surprise here and there!

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NEWS: Newsletter – February 2009

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Yes, that’s MILLIONS! We kept hearing from members about how much money they had saved on books since joining PBS.  So we got to thinking: how much?  When we added it all up (estimating $4.00 – $4.50 for a used paperback, CD or DVD if you bought them instead of swapping for them), the three clubs together (PBS, SwapaCD and SwapaDVD) have saved members over 10 million dollars! You can watch the savings grow in real time on the Pulse of PBS page, accessible from the menu under Community at the top of the site.

New Advanced Search. Now you can exclude terms, search for exact phrases, and more.  The new Advanced Search will help you find the books you are looking for!  It is accessible under Search at the top of any page on the site.

Personal Messages in Your Email. Yes, we heard the pleas of those who didn’t want to log in to read a two-word PM.  Now the text of the PMs will be in the email notification sent to you.  You still have to log in to reply, but this will be a timesaver, we think!

Maps upgrade. Now if you have your city/state hidden on your profile, your city/state will be hidden on your Maps too.  And anyone who has set his or her location or profile to “private” will also have an “anonymous dot” on all maps.

Exclude Genres. Want to see (for example) only children’s books on your Homepage sliding book displays?  Want to see no children’s books there?  You can choose to exclude genres (as many as you like) from your Homepage sliding book displays – this is available in your Account Settings now.

DEAR LIBRARIAN, Newsletter – October 2008

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian–How do I find a particular member’s bookshelf so I can look at her books?–Searching in Sweetwater

Dear Sweets,

There are a number of ways, depending on how you “know” the member.  If you know the member’s nickname (if she has a nickname) you can simply enter that in the Member Directory to find her profile.  Her book list is linked from her profile.  Searching for her name in the Member Directory may not take you to the right profile – so many names are common here.  The nickname is unique, so it is a good way to search for a member here.

If you know the member only from a forum post, you can simply click on the Books button on any post she has made.

If you have exchanged Personal Messages, you can click her highlighted name in any PM you have shared and it will take you to her profile (if she has made one) or directly to her bookshelf (if she has not made a profile here).

If she is on your Buddy List, you can click the link to her books from your Buddy List available in My Account.
Dear Librarian–I ordered a book and the first sender didn’t respond.  Now I am waiting for the second sender.  Can’t we do something about these unresponsive members?  –Waiting in Wisconsin

Dear Connie,

Yes!  We’ve tightened the “unresponsive member” mechanism a little bit and added a twist – now if senders miss a few requests, their accounts are placed “under review”.  This prevents more requests from being submitted to them – and holds off any Wish List offers – until they return and remove the review from their account.  We know that members don’t mean to be inconsiderate – they get busy, or their computers crash, or they have to go out of town unexpectedly and don’t think to place the Vacation Hold on their accounts.

This new “under review” status means that requestors aren’t inconvenienced AND the unresponsive sender isn’t penalized by missing requests and wish list offers while she is away from her account.  She can remove the review herself, so it isn’t such a great inconvenience to her either, and that meant we could make it so that a smaller number of missed requests will trigger the Review.  Too many episodes of being under review can culminate in a suspension (which the member cannot remove herself – we have to do this), but most of these missed requests are totally accidental, and we don’t want to suspend members too lightly.  This way, everyone is helped, and everyone is less inconvenienced.  We think this will really help keep swaps moving around the club!

Dear Librarian–What is the difference between the Book Browser and the Advanced Search?  I get the same results when I use either one to search–Seeing Double in Denver

Dear Denny,

Not much, actually.  The search engine is basically the same.  There are a couple of additional search parameters in the Book Browser (for example you can search by book ratings, which you can’t do in the Advanced Search), and the layout is more convenient in the Browser (you don’t have to go “back” to the previous page to refine or change your search terms like you do with the Advanced Search).

It’s a bit of redundancy.  We do know that many people use and like the Advanced Search and we didn’t want to snatch it away from them, although the Book Browser is a little easier to use.  You can find both under Search at the top of the site.

Who’s Your Buddy? Newsletter – February 2008

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Now you know! The Buddy List is now reciprocal–which means that in order to be added to someone’s Buddy List, you must accept his or her invitation to be Buddies.  If you accept, you both go onto each other’s Buddy Lists.  We made this change in order to allow the programming of various things that have been requested over and over by members: blast PMs, for one (see below), and expanded privacy options (see below), as well as other upcoming features.   There is a one-time “conversion” step for your current Buddy List, which is explained in the Help doc Buddy List Upgrade in the Help Center.  Unfortunately, there was no way to keep any tags that you had applied to individual Buddies, so anyone you invite will not be tagged when they accept and go onto your Buddy List.  (Your taglists are preserved, though, so you can reapply tags once the inviting/accepting is done.)  Click the link “Buddy List invitations” at the top of your Buddy List to see who’s invited you!  Read more about the Buddy List upgrade in the Help Doc Buddy List Upgrade under What’s New in the Help Center.

Have a blast. Blast PMs = the ability to send the same message in a PM to multiple members at once.   You can do this from the Buddy List now. Limiting it to Buddies only means we shouldn’t have people spamming other members they don’t know.  This feature was requested of us over and over again, and we are sure many of you will find it useful.  Read more about how to send Blast PMs from the Buddy List in the Help Doc Buddy List Upgrade under What’s New in the Help Center.

New Privacy Controls. Now you can decide to share more…or less…with other members, using the Privacy Controls link at the top of the Settings page in My Account.  You can choose who can see your lists, personal info, online status, and more.  Each of these can be set to Public (everyone can see), Private (no one can see), All Buddies (everyone on your Buddy List can see, but no one else) and Full Buddies (only those designated Full Buddies on your Buddy List can see).  The system defaults before you make selections are the same as the system defaults were before.   Read more about the new privacy options in the Help Doc New Privacy Controls under What’s New in the Help Center.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – August 2007

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Dear R&R–I joined PBS and I love it! I posted 9 books and ordered 3 right away. But no one wants my books, so now I have no more credits. I think my books are probably pretty common, and there are lots of folks who posted copies “ahead of me”. Is there anything I can do to get my books moving? I see so many books I want to request! –Bummed in Baton Rouge

Dear Batty,

You’re right: if you posted books that are numerous in the system, your books are waiting in line for requests. That doesn’t mean no one wants them! Even very numerous books are swapped frequently. But your books may have to wait a while for requests if you depend only on FIFO. Luckily, you don’t have to do this! Yes, most books at PBS are swapped according to the dates they entered the system, but members can also order directly from you if they like. To do that, they have to be able to find you. if you increase the visibility of yourself, and your bookshelf, on the site, you will get things moving.

So: first and foremost, make a public profile. Having one means that you are searchable in the Member Directory. Members with public profiles get roughly twice the number of requests that members without public profiles do. You don’t have to put a lot of personal info in there: just choose a nickname, and you’re off and running! Then you can participate more on the site–post in the Discussion Forums (we have many to choose from); members who see your posts can click your Booklist button and order directly from you. Post more books–anyone who requests one of your books in Books Posted Today can browse your bookshelf and send you a multiple-book request. Consider making a deal–visit the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum to read about how to do this.

All of the information above is in the Help document How to get your books requested! that is in the Help Center. Instructions on making a public profile are included there too.

Don’t worry, Bats. You’ll find new homes for your books–you may just have to give them a little push!

Dear R&R–My credit balance says NEGATIVE 2? How is this possible? Give my credits back and correct this system error immediately! –Steamed in Santa Fe

Dear Santa,

This was not a system error. The most likely reason why you would have negative credits would be if you told the system you received more books than you had credits to spend. This happens if you: order a book that is declared Lost in the Mail and get your credit back, then spend it on another book before the “lost” book arrives. You need to mark the Lost book received so the sender gets credit–and the credit is taken from you when you do that. If you don’t have credits when you mark a lost book received, PBS will “lend” them to you so that the sender gets credit–and your balance will be negative for that reason. When you get another credit from a book you sent being marked received, you will automatically “pay us back” and be back to even.

Or, and this is also a common cause of this situation, you went into your Transaction Archive and marked books received that you didn’t actually get. Because members sometimes send books without marking them mailed, the canceled transactions in the Transaction Archive have the “Was Book Received?” button on them. That button should be clicked ONLY if you got THAT copy from THAT sender. If you confused a canceled or lost transaction for a book with a transaction for a book of the same title that you received, and marked more than one transaction for the same title received, you were telling the system that you got more than one copy of that book. If you do this, you need to contact the sender first, to explain what happened so he or she can return the credit for the book that was never sent/received. If you don’t hear from the sender after a week, you can contact us.

Look before you click! You can read the Help docs How to Mark a Book Received, How to Use the Transaction Archive, Why are there canceled/lost books in my Transaction Archive that I know were sent/received?, Why is my account balance NEGATIVE? and I accidentally marked a book received! for much more information about this.

Oh, and Santa? Is it too early to remind you about that iPhone for Christmas? 🙂

Dear R&R–Why do I have to contact the sender if I mark a book received by mistake? Why can’t you do this for me? –Santa again

Hi, Santa!

Well, you understand what it’s like to be one person trying to help millions. We don’t have millions of members at PBS (yet), but we are really outnumbered. We can’t manage member transactions on a routine basis–but of course we will help if it is necessary–e.g., if the sender doesn’t answer your PM in this situation. Most of the time this can be taken care of between the members, and we don’t need to get involved. So we ask the members who make mistakes to try to correct them first themselves, before contacting us. It really makes a difference if we aren’t asked to address every issue personally–that means we can get to all those new features that our members want so much. Ho ho ho.

Dear R&R–I really love this site, and wish you allowed us to swap videos here. How about it? –Swapaddict in St Petersburg

Dear Addy,

A video swap site? Now that’s a big project! I wonder if we will find the time to put something like this together…hmmm….

COMING SOON: The Decatur Book Festival over Labor Day weekend in Decatur, Georgia…also, the currently absolutely most-requested feature at PBS may become a reality…Shhh, the Founders are working…

PBS accounts must now have full last names. Newsletter – November 2006

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

You can still use first initial only for your account if you choose, but the Terms of Use require a full last name. If you have been using a nickname or last initial instead of your last name, please take a moment and add your full last name to your account information, in your Account Settings (log in, click My Account on the right, and choose Account Settings from the dropdown menu). Any accounts without full last names will be suspended as we discover them, until the last name is provided. Your last initial only will show on posts in the Discussion Forums—that will not change! This is not optional. Please make this adjustment as soon as possible, if it is necessary.