PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Requestor Conditions’

Dear Librarian,

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Dear Librarian- Why doesn’t the site “remember me” when I go to log in?  I click that box on the Login page to “remember me” but every time I come back I have to fill in my login information.  Why doesn’t this work? — Forgotten in Fairmont

Dear Monty,

Login information is remembered by your browser, using a “cookie” (a little bit of information stored on your computer).  Your login information will be remembered by your browser indefinitely as long as you log in here at least once every two weeks and don’t clear cookies in your browser during that time.

The following actions will cause your login information to be deleted:

– clicking the Logout link in the upper right corner of the page
– deleting the cookies from your computer (this may be done manually or by an automated cleanup program setting or by your reboot)
– waiting more than two weeks since your previous login

Additionally, you will not have access to the previously remembered login information if any of the following are true:

– you use a different computer
– you login to Windows using a different user name
– you switch to a different browser (e.g. from IE7 to Firefox)

Most members who have experienced the problem of being “forgotten” by the login page are either clicking the Logout link, or have found that they have some software installed that cleans up their browser cookies for them.

Dear Librarian- I saw that there is a “textbook exception” that allows textbooks to be posted if they have underlining or highlighting or writing in them.  How do you define a textbook?  What if I have a novel that was used in a class?  – Hesitant in Hattiesburg

Dear Hattie,

The “textbook exception”  has three parts, really.  Each one is very important, and together they help the textbook exception work well in the club.  First, the textbook exception allows textbooks to be posted with writing/highlighting/underlining (no non-textbooks may be posted with such markings). Second, the textbook exception includes the stipulation that the sender write a Personal Message to the requestor describing the book’s condition and third (and most important!), the sender must receive a Personal Message in reply from the requestor, agreeing to the described condition, BEFORE sending the book. If the requestor does not respond, or declines the book in its condition, the sender must NOT send the book – the sender must let the system cancel, or cancel it by clicking “cancel order”.

This requirement of a PM exchange with the requestor accepting the book means that it is not possible for a sender who is following the rules to send a “surprise” highlighted/written in book to a requestor.   For that reason, it does not matter what the sender considers a textbook – if it has markings that will allow it to be posted only if it is a textbook, then the sender is bound by the textbook exception rules to describe it in a PM, and must receive a reply PM consenting to its condition, before sending it. In this way, matters will naturally sort themselves out: the math textbook that a requestor would expect to have writing in it will be accepted when it is described, while the novel that is read for a class will probably NOT be accepted when it is described.  The sender needs to decline if the requestor refuses the book in its condition.  At some point (after enough refusals from requestors), the member who is trying to send a novel as a textbook will realize that since it is not generally perceived as a textbook, it will probably not be possible to send out a marked-up version of that book here.

Hope that helps clarify this issue! You can read the textbook exception in the Help Center, of course, in the Help doc “Book Condition Criteria”.


  • new feature on the Book Details page
  • projects coming out of beta-testing
  • new stuff in the PBS Store!

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.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – October 2008

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

It’s that time again. The time of year when the weather can get wet – rainy or snowy – along the route your books will take to their new homes.  Help them get there safe and dry by using an inner layer of plastic in the package.  A clean plastic grocery bag, the wrapping from a roll of paper towels – it’s all good.  Tape it well around the book (don’t tape directly TO the book!) and put the external wrapping around that.  You can also use some clear packing tape over the name/address on the label so it doesn’t smear if it gets rained on.  Nothing’s sadder than getting a wet book – except knowing how easily it could have been avoided!

Read before you click! If you get a request with Requestor Conditions on it, remember to read it carefully before clicking to decline.  We get some anguished messages from members whose requests were declined because the sender misinterpreted them.  Declining means you will not be able to send that book to that requestor – she will not be able to re-request it from you.  So please be sure that you really do not want to send the book to her before you click “My Book Does Not Meet Conditions”.   You can read more in How to Use Requestor Conditions in the Help Center.

DEAR LIBRARIAN: Newsletter – September 2008

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian–I have been offered a book from my wishlist. The member who posted it sent me a message saying the book was listed as a paperback but her copy is hardcover, and do I still want it?  The book on my Wish List is paperback!  I don’t want the hardcover–I want a paperback because they’re lighter and easier for me to hold.  Now I don’t know what to do. Do I cancel the request — which will take the book off my wishlist (and lose my place in the wish list queue!)?  How can I cancel that request for the erroneously listed book without taking the book I DO want off my wishlist?–Stymied in Saratoga

Dear Sara,

The sender made a mistake here, posting the book she has with a listing that does NOT match her book.  Book listings must match the book’s ISBN, title, author and booktype.

When a sender makes this mistake with a Wish Listed book, she puts the wishing member in a difficult position: of having to say “no I don’t want this book” in a Personal Message while ALSO having to click “Yes I want this book” on the request so she isn’t kicked off the Wish list by the system.

If you get a message like this for a book you have Wish Listed, you can tell the member something like this:

“Thanks for telling me you posted the book incorrectly. I do NOT want the hardcover. I will have to click to accept the offer though so I don’t get removed from the Wish list line that I have been waiting in to get the paperback. Please click “I cannot mail” on this request when you get it from me, and that will remove the book from the system, and then you can repost it with the correct booktype on the listing. The Help doc “Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems” in the Help Center can help with getting this book posted correctly, so that someone who wants the paperback can request it. Thanks again!”

It’s not okay to post a book incorrectly so it matches a Wish Listed item.  This is unfair and members shouldn’t do this.  Sometimes the ISBN/title/author will match the listing, but the booktype won’t, but ALL FOUR need to match.  Reading “Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems” in the Help Center makes this situation (and how to solve it and post the book correctly) very clear.

We hope you get your paperback version soon, Sara!  And that this sender finds a member who wants the hardcover she has to offer!

Dear Librarian– I logged in today, and OMG all my “Read” tags are gone!  I tagged every book I have read “Read” so I didn’t have to load up my BIR List, or go to the Book Details page to see the notation that the book is already on that list.  I have dial-up and it’s inconvenient to have to go to the Book Details page to see that notation!  Why did my tags go away?  They weren’t hurting anyone!  How am I going to keep from ordering a book I have already read??? –Wailing in Waukeegan

Dear Kiki,

We are sorry that the membership pounced upon these tags and clicked the R on them to mark them as inappropriate.  They weren’t technically inappropriate–just redundant.   And of course if you were using “Read” without your initials or some other personalizing bit, who knows how many other people have also used this Tag, and it might be confusing to you and others to see this Tag there on books you have not read.

But dry your tears, Kiki, we have great news for you!  You now can see the notations of what lists a book is on right from the search results in the Book Browser.  Yes, the “On My:” (Bookshelf, Transaction Archive, Books I’ve Read, etc) notation appears right there, so you don’t have to click to load up the book details page to see it.

You can also use Book Notes for this kind of thing–just mousing over the note on the search result will show you what you wrote there.  And no one else will see it!  So no confusion.  And no need to re-tag all those books!

You can read the Help doc Book Tags in the Help Center to understand better what Tags are actually inappropriate and deserve that report.  Personal tags are merely redundant, and they will be “drowned out” naturally in time, by club-useful tags.  The Help doc explains these different categories.

Dear Librarian–Oh no!  You removed all the “Brand New Giftable” and “Book is from a nonsmoking home” Book Tags!  I have been using them and so have others, to get gifts and to be sure we request books only from nonsmoking homes.  Now how are people going to know that my books are from a nonsmoking home?  How am I supposed to tell them that some of my books are brand new and giftable?  And how am I going to be able to order books from a nonsmoking home? –Agitated in Alabama

Dear Allie,

The reason why those tags were removed (and will continue to be removed) is that they are confusing to members!  They are false advertising, actually.  Too many members don’t understand that a book listing represents all copies of that book in the system. Say there are 20 copies of a book in the system.  Any Book Tag you see could have been applied by ANY of the members who posted that book, or by anyone just passing by.  The Tagger could have the copy of the book that is #13 out of 20 to be requested, or #2 or #9, or that book could have already been swapped and the Tagger never took the Tag off (yes, people, you KNOW who you are).  So when you go shopping for books from a nonsmoking home, or a giftable book, by clicking that Tag and browsing the list of books that come up, any time you click Order This Book on the book, your request will go to the next copy–the one that is #1 in the list, and there is no way of knowing if that copy was the one that was Tagged by that member.

And when you use the Book Tags to tag your books this way, you are saying (even though you don’t mean to) that every single copy of the book available in the system is giftable, or from a nonsmoking home.  So…you could have been the cause of little Jimmy’s bout of wheezing last week.  Yes, indeed.  Jimmy’s mom ordered the book seeing your Tag and got the book from someone else.  Jimmy’s mom wasn’t using Requestor Conditions saying she didn’t want books from a smoking household.  Jimmy’s mom got a smoky book (not yours) and had to give Jimmy his inhaler and put the book into a big plastic bin with some kitty litter for a week.  It got the smoky smell out and Jimmy is just fine but Jimmy’s mom was pretty upset, and thinks someone lied to her with the tag on this book.  She doesn’t know who did it, but if she finds out…watch out.

So what do you do if you have allergies to smoke, to find books that are from a nonsmoking home, and to tell others that your books are in a nonsmoking home?  Here is what you can do:

  • Make Requestor Conditions in your account that say you don’t want books that are currently in a smoking household.  Remember to read about using Requestor Conditions properly, so you don’t just confuse senders by saying “I don’t want books exposed to smoke”.  That kind of thing will get you a lot of declines, since these are used books and who knows if the books have EVER been exposed to smoke.   If the sender isn’t sure, she or he will click to decline your request, and you can’t re-request the same copy after it’s already been declined for Requestor Conditions, so using Requestor Conditions carelessly could make you miss out on books that would be perfectly fine.
  • You can also double-check the Bookshelf Header when ordering a book, to see if the posting member has a Header saying his or her books are from a non-smoking household or that some books they are offering might be giftable.  It’s not the best use of the Header, but it’s a lot better than using Tags and misleading members about the condition of the book they are going to order.

Now when you make your Requestor Conditions–what?  You don’t know what we mean by the Bookshelf Header?  You want us to explain that RIGHT NOW?  Okay.  You can read about it in the Help Center, but we see you are too ecstatic for the fine-motor control necessary to click your mouse.   Just let go of our arm, please.

This is how to use the Bookshelf Header for this purpose: When you click Order This Book, you can then click “Order More from Member” on the next page (you don’t actually have to order more books after doing this).  The next page will show you the bookshelf, and the Bookshelf Header will be at the top of that page.  If a member wants you to know that his or her books are in a non-smoking home, the message will appear there.  Then you can feel absolutely sure that the book will be coming from a non-smoking home, and you may even want to add more books to the order.  Now–seriously, let go of our arm–remember that this is a new feature, so it may take a while for members to make their Headers, and not all members will use the Header to indicate smoking/nonsmoking home.  So if you DON’T see a message in the Header about that, don’t presume you’ve hit on a bookshelf located in a nightclub or tobacco factory.  Your Requestor Conditions will still make sure that books from a smoking home aren’t sent to you, even if the sender isn’t using a Bookshelf Header.

It’s important to continue to use Requestor Conditions, in case the first sender misses the request or doesn’t mail it in time or clicks “I cannot mail”.  If the request cancels, your request will be passed along.  The next sender will see your RCs though, so you’re covered.

And you can make your own header to tell people that your books are from a nonsmoking home, or which ones are brand new and giftable.  Yes–okay, okay, that’s nice you’re hugging us, we love you too–you can do that and anyone who clicks Order More from Member on a request for one of your books will see that message you wrote.  And anyone who clicks to see your books from your profile or a forum post or a personal message from you will see that message too.

That’s quite a good happy-dance, Allie!  Whoa, careful with those backflips!  We’re glad you’re so tickled.  Now…get thee to the Help Center and use the Help Docs Search to read all about these features and how to use them to work best for you!

Ever Wonder “Why Wasn’t My Request Accepted?” Newsletter – October 2005

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Well, wonder no more. Now members whose requests are not accepted are able to see why. Any time a request is turned down by a member, they must provide the reason why they are not able to keep their commitment to swapping the books they have posted to the site.

If your request was turned down due to Requestor Conditions and there is no other copy of the book available, you will be notified. Please keep in mind that if you maintain your conditions, there will be an active copy of the book in the system, so you will not be able to Wish List the book.

As a reminder, you should only post books that you are willing to trade. Also, you should only Wish List books that you are willing to request when they become available. Lastly, your Requestor Conditions should be within reason. Given these standards, we should rarely see book requests being turned down. A count of the number of requests turned down is kept for each member.