PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Textbooks’

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!

PBS News – Widget for your Blog, Save on Textbooks, Newsletter

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Show your true colors. Check out the new PaperBackSwap widget, that you can customize and display on your blog.  You can adjust not only the color but also the size and shape; you can choose which list to display and whether or not to show title/author along with the cover image…it’s very snazzy!

School Daze. Yes, it’s almost that time again!  It’s not too late to try to save some $$ on textbooks.   If you know what books your children will need for the next year, get them here. And don’t forget to post your books from last year, to pass along to others.  Be sure to check the Book Condition Criteria to be sure your books meet the minimum requirements – if there’s writing/underlining/highlighting in the books you’ll need consent from the requestor before mailing.  (Remember, writing/underlining/highlighting are not permitted in non-textbooks.)  For those who have started school already, it’s not too early to get a jump on the spring semester!

Easy on the Eyes. The member homepage is getting a makeover … drop by this week to see the sleek new look and layout, and the new features we think you’ll enjoy.

Timed-release Newsletter: Sending this NewsWire puts a strain on our servers, which can slow down the site.  For that reason the Newsletter will go out slowly over several days.  So if you hear that someone else hasn’t gotten her Newsletter and you have, just reassure her that hers is on the way.  We hope this takes the load off the servers so that the site will continue to run smoothly even while a Newsletter is going out.

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!