PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Tips & Tricks’

Dear R&R: Newsletter – May 2006

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

I have belonged to the club for a while, and at first I got a lot of requests, but now they have slowed down How come nobody wants my books? I need credits! How can I get more requests to my bookshelf? Sincerely– Bookshelf Getting Dusty in Houston, TX

Dear Dusty—Don’t despair! There are many things you can do to get your books “moving” again.

The number of requests you get depends on how many books you have posted, how in-demand the books you have are, how many copies of those books are already in the system, AND how visible your bookshelf is to other members.

As our membership grows, each new member brings a new set of interests and 3 initial credits to spend. You may have just the books she/he is looking for! However, how can they find them, if they can’t find YOU? First and foremost, you should consider making a public profile. Did you know that having a public profile roughly DOUBLES the number of requests to your bookshelf? Having a public profile means you are searchable in the Member Directory and can easily be added to another member’s Buddy List–Buddies often keep an eye on each other’s bookshelves. To make a public profile, log into your account and click My Account on the right, then select Account Settings. Click the link for Public Profile at the top of the page. Don’t forget to click Update Profile when you are done to apply the changes to your account!

Another good idea is to get involved in the Discussion Forums. Members who see your posts can click the Book List button on your posts and look at what you have to swap. The more members who get to see your bookshelf, the more likely your books are to be ordered. Members can order directly from you by clicking the Order This Book button next to the title on your shelf (clicking the Order button from any other place in the site will send the request to the next member in the FIFO ‘line’ with a book; the only way to circumvent FIFO is to order using the Order button *on a member’s bookshelf*).

You can also try “advertising” your books in The Book Bazaar Discussion Forum. Start a topic describing the contents of your bookshelf: ‘Gothic Romances!’ for example, or ‘Mystery/Thrillers and How-To Books!’ In the messsage area in your post, you can ‘spotlight’ particular titles with descriptions and reviews. You can also start topics offering ‘2-for-1’ (2 books for 1 credit) deals if you like. Or try the Hidden Gems Forum, where members discuss favorite authors or titles. Members whose tastes match yours will click the link to your bookshelf on your post to browse your books. You can get to the Discussion Forums by clicking Discussion Forums on the left-hand menu of any page on the site; scroll down to see the different forums.

The very best advice we can give you is to POST MORE BOOKS. Whenever someone finds a title they want, they are given the opportunity to order more books from the same member. This means that if you post a title that catches someone’s eye (in the Books Posted Today, for example), that person might add one of your earlier-posted books to their order. Don’t have any extra books lying around? Do as many of our members do, and hit the yard sales! You can scoop up a pile of books to share—some of them may be on Wish Lists. Other sources: Friends of the Library sales, Salvation Army/Goodwill stores. As long as the books are in good condition, not water- (or other liquid-) damaged, not Advanced Reader Copies and not missing their front covers, they are welcome at PBS—maybe even yearned for!

So get busy, Dusty, and before you know it, the requests (and the credits) will come pouring in!—Sincerely, R&R.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – April 2006

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

Don’t forget to mark your Lost Books received when they arrive!
What happens when a book that was supposed to come to you doesn’t arrive by the system action date on the request? It becomes a Lost Book and goes into your list of Books Lost en Route to Me, which is accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Does this mean the book is really lost? Quite frequently, no. Most Lost books aren’t actually lost–they are simply delayed en route to you, and will eventually arrive. When a Lost book does arrive, it is very important to mark it received, so that the sender’s account shows that he or she sent the book. If you do receive a “Lost” book, make sure to mark it received. You can do this by logging into your account, clicking Completed Transactions on the right, then clicking the link at the top of the page “Books Lost en Route to Me.” Locate the book in this list and click the Was Book Received? button. After you have completed the process of marking the book received, the transaction will move to your Completed Transactions list.

How to Wrap a Book.
We know you want your books delivered in the same condition in which you sent them! We know you don’t want to have your books get separated from the wrapping en route. Here are some tips for keeping your books safe while they are in the arms of the USPS:

Using the PBS wrapper. If your book is small enough, you just need to use both printed sheets as the wrapper. See the photographs of how to do this at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/how_to_wrap.php. *PLEASE NOTE that these photographs predate the Media Mail postal rate increase; 4 first-class (letter) stamps no longer suffice to send a typical paperback. See the FAQs for current media mail rates; check your wrapper for the specific required postage for your package; when in doubt, take it to the post office.*

Many members use an inner layer of plastic, around the book, to protect it from wet weather or accidents en route. Plastic grocery bags, Ziploc bags, clean inverted bread wrappers, saran wrap all work great! Just don’t use the “press and seal” wrap, as that has a tendency to stick to and ruin books.

For larger or heavier books or multiple book shipments, you’ll need to make a sturdier package, using a padded mailer or manila envelope or even a cut-down paper grocery sack. You can cut out the address from the first page of the PBS wrapper and tape it to the outside of your package. Slip the second page into the package with the book. If you use an unpadded envelope of any kind, make sure the excess envelope material is taped down to avoid catching in the postal machines. The key to packing multiple-book shipments well is to prevent the books sliding around in the package en route. They will be jostled a lot on the way to the requestor! You don’t want them to tear through the packaging.

No matter what wrapping method you choose, TAPE is the most important component! Use plenty, especially over the corners. Tape down every seam with packing (not Scotch) tape. It’s always better to use too much tape than not enough.

Our USPS does a great job, but packages are jostled en route and good packaging will protect them for many reads to come.