Dear Librarian- I was excited to try the free trial of PBS-DC, and I printed out the wrapper with the DC barcode on it, and added postage (remembering to include 19 extra cents for the USPS electronic-DC fee). So far, so good. But then I took the book to my PO and they tried to scan it and couldn’t! They told me the number was invalid and they wanted me to buy DC from them for 80 cents!! I think your free trial thingy is broken. What do I do?? –Flummoxed in Fairview
We’re sorry you had this experience! The free trial thingy isn’t broken, but sometimes things don’t go perfectly when you get to the PO. If they have trouble scanning the barcode this could be because their scanner is not powerful enough (this might be true especially if it is a “pen” style scanner), or because of the way it was printed (if you printed using “scale to fit” in the printer settings, this can space the bars in the barcode out just enough to cause problems with the scan, or if you used colored paper that can cause poor contrast of the black ink of the barcode; or if you put a lot of tape over the barcode, especially if more than one layer or there are wrinkles or bubbles in it, that can inhibit the scan). But those are really uncommon problems.
Since your PO used the word “invalid” we think the problem may be that the USPS system has not synchronized to include the barcode yet – the DC barcodes are generated by USPS, and there is a short lag time before all the USPS computers will recognize the barcode that was generated centrally. If you printed the wrapper and took the package to the PO very quickly, it’s possible that the barcode generated by the central USPS computer didn’t have time to be registered in the system where your local PO could access it. If this happens: Don’t purchase DC from the PO – this will not earn quick credit and will cost you 80 cents! Don’t let the clerk cover up the printed PBS-DC barcode. Just send the package as is. It will probably be scanned en route. If you check the DC barcode now by entering it on the usps.com site, you will see that it is recognized by USPS and is not invalid.
We’re sorry you had this bump in the road but PBS-DC really works very well! We hope that you give it another try.
Dear Librarian– I’m in a quandary. I really wanted a particular book and I put every version of it on my Wish List. I was offered the book 4 days ago and I was thrilled! Yesterday it was marked mailed to me – hallelujah! But then today I was offered ANOTHER version. What do I do? I don’t want TWO copies of this book. But I’m scared the first one won’t arrive, and if I pass up the second, I won’t get ANY copy of the book. I AM FREAKING OUT. –Distressed in Duluth
Ah, yes, the dilemma that can happen to any PBS member who uses the Wish List! When it rains it pours: you’re offered a second version of a book before the first version has come in the mail. Should you trust that the US Mail will bear version #1 safely to your mailbox, and decline the offer of version #2? Or should you grab version #2, knowing that if you end up with both you’ll have to mark both received?
It’s an individual decision. Remember that less than 1% of packages get “lost” by USPS, so the odds are good that you’ll get version #1. Of course, if you believe in Murphy’s Law, then you may think that the ONLY book that will get lost or misdelivered in your account will be this one you want so much, and that will make you accept the second version so you’re sure to end up with at least one copy of the book!
You have to follow your heart here, and consider this: Would it be worse to get NO copies (by declining #2 and having the bad luck of #1 not arriving), and have to go back into line on the Wish List again? Some members who have a lot to read and aren’t very anxious to get a specific book would choose that tactic, and take the small risk of getting no copies of the book. Or would it be worse in your mind to end up with 2 copies? Since it’s a Wish Listed book you could just repost the extra and send it out – if you really want the book you would go that route. We can’t make that decision for you but we’re sure you can choose, based on which “worst case scenario” would be easier for you to bear. The good news is that this situation, because it requires some coincidences to occur, won’t happen too often.
I just discovered PBS and I love it! I have been keeping a Wish List of books at Amazon. Is there a way to import that list easily into my Wish List here? –Exploring the site in Exeter
Dear Dora the Explora:
Welcome to PBS! We’re glad you asked about this. Yes, there is an easy way to import lists, or single books, from pages outside the PBS site, into your PBS lists. You can use the PBS Book List Import Bookmark. This is a bookmark you can add to your browser (Internet or Firefox), and when you are on a site (like your Amazon Wish List or basically any other place you see a book or list of books) you can click the bookmark and like magic you will be allowed to import any ISBNs that are on that page, into the PBS list of your choosing.
It goes like this:
You: Gee, I would like to put my Amazon Wish List books on my PBS Wish List. I have downloaded the PBS Book List Import Bookmark and now I go to the Amazon Wish List page and click the bookmark in my browser bookmark toolbar.
PBS: SHAZAM! Here is a list of all of the books we found on the page you were on. Check the boxes next to each book to tell us which ones you would like to import, and then choose the list (Bookshelf, TBR, Books I’ve Read, Wish List, Reminder List) you would like them to go on.
You (checking all boxes, choosing Wish List, clicking Continue): I would like ALL of them to go onto my Wish List at PBS.
PBS (puts books onto list): Your wish is my command!
You: Wow that is nifty!
Remember that if any of the books is available here it can’t be put on your Wish List here; available books can’t go onto a Wish List. They can go on your Reminder List, though – or you can just order them here, and grant some of your own Amazon wishes!
You can read about using the Book List Import Bookmark here in the Help Center – and you can get the bookmark from Member Tools at the bottom of any page on the site. The bookmark works for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and yes, even if we do say so ourselves, it is very nifty.