PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Transactions’

Give Refund button. Newsletter – February 2008

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

If you send a book that is received with a problem, and you need to give the credit back to the requestor, this is much easier to do now!  Just click the “Give Refund” button, and the credit will be given back.  No need to Buddy the requestor.  You can access the button on any completed (with a problem, or without a problem) transaction in your Transaction Archive, by clicking the Request Details link for any book you sent that was marked received.  The credit refund will match the number of credits the requestor “paid” for the book, and the refund button will disappear once you have used it.

The Transaction Archive: Newsletter – June 2007

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Now you can see all of your past swaps in one place! You can sort by incoming/outgoing, type of swap (completed successfully, lost, canceled, Problem), title, author, date requested and date received. You can mark Lost or Canceled books received there, and in doing so give credit to the senders of those books (doing this is mandatory for a Lost book that arrives; it is optional for a Canceled book that arrives). Remember, the Transaction Archive contains only PAST swaps. Your ACTIVE transactions are in My Account–click My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site, and scroll down if necessary to see the different tabs: Books I’ve Requested, Requested From Me, Books to Mail, En Route to Me, Books I’ve Mailed. Clicking the tabs in My Account will reveal the books in each category of your active swaps. You can read more about how to use the Transaction Archive in the Help Center. You can also read more about how to find things in the new site layout in the Help Center, under the heading “PBS 2.0–What’s New”.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – June 2007

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Dear R&R–I am bothered by your denouncement of the bookstore owner who had to burn his books. He did it to send a message–didn’t you get that?!? People in America don’t read anymore, and he tried to give his books away, and nobody wanted them! You shouldn’t blame him for trying to get the message out. And there are plenty of good causes to which those books could be donated. Why should PBS get them? –Inquiring in Indiana

Dear Inky,

The Stop the Fires – Save the Books petition is not intended to denounce Mr. Wayne! We do understand the message that he was trying to get across: that reading has declined in America to the point where he could not even GIVE books away. We sympathize with his frustration at not being able to find a home for these books. The PBS petition is meant to let him know that there ARE still readers in America–and many of them are at PBS! We are pleased to know that other groups are interested also; we trust the bookstore owners to make the decision about who should get the books. We know that PBS members would put the books to good use, but of course we will be happy also if the books go to another group–as long as they don’t get burned!

Dear R&R, I received two books, but can’t find them in my Transaction Archive when I went to mark them received! I requested the books, and then they just disappeared from my account. Where did they go? –Perplexed in Petaluma

Dear Lexie,

When you receive a book, the first place you should look to mark it received is on the En Route to Me tab in My Account. The Transaction Archive holds only PAST transactions–not those that are still active. To get to your En Route to Me tab, click My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site, and scroll down if necessary to see the En Route to Me tab. If you have books to mail or books newly requested from you, the Books to Mail tab or Requested from Me tab will show by default; the En Route to Me tab will be to the right. Click that tab and you should see your books, which you can mark received as usual.

Dear R&R–I looked at the new Transaction Archive, and I see that some books I sent (and thought I got credit for!) were canceled! I also see that books I marked received were canceled! Didn’t these books get marked received correctly? Did I get credits for the books I sent? Did the senders get credits for those books I received?? I am really confused. How did this happen? –Panicked in Palo Alto

Dear Pan,

The Transaction Archive is very useful, and a huge improvement over the previous site design, but you do need to familiarize yourself with how to use it properly. Remember that ACTIVE transactions will not appear in the Transaction Archive. ACTIVE transactions are on the tabs in My Account: click My Account and scroll down if necessary to see the different tabs (Requested From Me, Books to Mail, Books I’ve Requested, En Route to Me, Wish List Holds). Clicking each tab will show you the active transactions in that category. (If you do not have any active transactions in that category, no corresponding tab will appear on My Account.)

The Transaction Archive (TA) shows ALL PAST TRANSACTIONS, which include canceled, lost, problem and successfully completed transactions. That means that one title may be appear in more than one transaction. For example, if one sender declined to send you a book, that transaction will appear in your TA as “Canceled” (red X on icon to left of transaction). And then when the request was passed along to a new sender who sent the book, and then you marked it received, that second transaction **for the same title** will also appear in your TA, but as “Completed Successfully” (green checkmark on icon to left of transaction). You can see more information about the status of a book by putting your cursor over the icon to the left of it and seeing the text that pops up.

When you mark a book received, it will give the sender credit. If you are unsure if you have done this for a book you received, simply sort the TA by “Requested by Me” – “All” – “title” – “Descending”. Then scroll down to look at all the transactions for that specific title. If one of them has a green checkmark beside it, you marked that copy received. You can see who sent it to you by looking at the name of the sender on the right side of the transaction. If none of them has a green checkmark, you never marked any copy of this title received. Again, you can tell the different senders apart by looking at the names to the right of each transaction.

To see if a book you sent was marked received, do exactly the same thing as above, except choose “Requested From me” at the top of the TA (everything else the same as above), and re-sort before scrolling down to see the transactions for the title(s) you want to check on.

You can also read the Help information on the Transaction Archive in the Help Center, accessible from the toolbar at the top of any page on the site. The Transaction Archive can be understood and used without reading the Help information, but if you need guidance, the Help information is available.

Dear R&R–I can’t understand why you think the new Search is better than the one we had before! I can’t find any of the books I am looking for. For instance, I wanted to find books in the genre Science, subgenre Education, but putting “Science Education” into the search field in the toolbar got me all kinds of unrelated books! What’s up with that?! Also, it seems you are missing a lot of authors in your database–I put Jodi Picoult into the search field and it said there were no books by her at PBS! And when I wanted to find a biography of Truman by David somebody, I put “Truman” into the Search field and I got a bunch of mysteries! Then I wanted to look up books on beekeeping (I am interested in taking up this hobby) but putting “Bees” in the search field gave me novels and Winnie-the-Pooh! This is crazy! How can I find the books I want? –Frustrated in Fort Wayne, IN

Dear Russ,

Yes, the Search is very different, and it may take some getting used to. But really, it is much more powerful than the previous Search. Let me give you some help with these searches:

  • Genre/subgenre search: Putting genre/subgenre terms into the Keyword Search will find you all books in those genres, as well as any books with Science or Education in the title or description. That’s why you saw other books in your search result.The Genre/Subgenre search is best done using the Browse by Genre tab in the Search area. Click Search in the toolbar at the top of the site, and choose the Browse by Genre tab. Choose your genre/subgenre and click Go. You can refine your search from there if you like by selecting a further subgenre at the top of the page, or Recent Additions only, or WishList books only, or Unposted Books only, or choosing a letter to view only titles that begin with that letter. You can also widen your search by clicking All Books from the top of the page. You can also “jump” to another genre/subgenre right from the top of the page.
  • The default Search is for Only Posted books. Jodi Picoult is a very popular author–her books are ALL on Wish Lists at this time. Which means that none of them appear as Posted (Posted books are available books that have not yet been requested). So when you put “Jodi Picoult” into the search field, you got no Posted results. Just click to widen the search to All Books (or click the link “Don’t see the book you are looking for?” on the upper right of any search results page) and you will see the titles in the database for this author.
  • To avoid a “Search Avalanche”: The added power of the new Search means that you can get overwhelmed with results! (You don’t have to know the exact title of a book though, like you did with the previous Search.) The Search will get you books that have your search terms in the title, genre, author field, or description. To avoid getting “buried” with results (and having the books you want “buried” somewhere in the results too), put MORE terms into the search field. A one-word search is almost always too broad (an exception would be if you are searching for an author with an unusual first or last name). You can put in all the basic information you know about the book you are looking for right into the search field in the toolbar, to narrow your search from the start. You can then further focus your results (if necessary) by clicking the Advanced Search link at the top of the search results page (your previous search terms will auto-fill in the appropriate fields on the Advanced Search) and choosing additional constraints: publication date, booktype, genre, Large Print, etc. You can also choose how the results will be displayed (by relevance to the search terms, alphabetically by title or author, etc) from the bottom of the Advanced Search. In the example you give, Russ, “Truman Biography” would have turned up biographies on President Truman. “Truman Biography David” would turn up just one–that great Truman biography by author David McCullough.
  • To Search by subject: again, with this Search, MORE (in the Search field) is usually better! “Bees” is pretty broad, and will get you all books that have that word in the title or description. “Beekeeping”, or better “Beekeeping how-to” turns up no Posted books with the intial (default) search, but clicking on the search results page to widen the search to All Books gives some excellent results. You can put any of those Beekeeping books on your Wish List (or even click to Buy it New if you can’t wait to get started!).

There is more information about how to make the PBS “turbo” Search work for you in the Help item “How to find books to request” (in the Help Center and also in the Need Help? tab at the upper right of the Search page, the Homepage, and My Account). But the best way to tame this search is to try it out; we are confident that those who were able to cope with the limitations and quirks of the old Search will be able to get the hang of the new Search with a little practice.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – December 2006

Friday, December 1st, 2006

Dear R&R—I made a Box-O-Books swap with another Boxer, and we both agreed to the swap. I sent off my books, but the other Boxer now says she doesn’t have some of the books I wanted (and that she agreed to send me)!!! I am so annoyed. Why did she say she could send them if she couldn’t?—Livid in Leominster

Dear Livvy,

We sympathize with your frustration. We know this happens for various reasons–a Boxer intends to send the books you asked for, but then after accepting finds that she does not have all of them. Maybe she lent one to a friend, and forgot to remove it from her bookshelf; maybe her little one spilled grape juice on another. Or she included it in another pending Box-O-Books swap, and forgot that she had done that. If you can’t find any books on her shelf that you want in place of the books she promised you, she should offer you credits for the missing books.

Boxers can use one of two easy strategies to keep track of the books included in their pending Box-O-Books offers:

  1. Use Book Journal. Some Boxers (especially those with lots of books and lots of swaps!) are creating a “space” called “BOB-requested books” and moving books there when they are requested in a Box-O-Books offer. Then if you get another request for a book, you can see if it is already involved in a pending swap at a glance, by checking that Book Journal space. If a book is requested for credit, the Book Journal “space” in which you have put it comes up on the request itself, so this is very easy. (We are considering adding the Book Journal “spaces” to the books requested in a Box-O-Books offer, but we have to work out the programming.) Click “Book Journal” in the left menu of any page on the site to check out this feature–you can try a seven-day free trial, to see if it works for you.
  2. Use the “Notes” feature on your Books I’ve Read list. Click the diamond beside any book title in that list to add a note: no one will see these notes but you. You can check your Books I’ve read list when a new Box-O-Books offer comes in, to see if you have noted it being requested in another pending swap. Books you post (or repost) are added to your Books I’ve Read list automatically when you post (or repost) them (you can uncheck the option for this at the time of posting, but they are included by default), so you do not have to add them to that list manually. You can find the Books I’ve Read list in the dropdown menu from Book Lists on the right side of your account page.

But the sure-fire way to avoid this kind of disappointment is for each Boxer to make sure that she or he has the books being requested in a Box-O-Books swap, and that they are in good condition BEFORE clicking to accept the swap. We recommend getting the requested books together and flipping through them to be sure all is well before clicking “accept” on the swap. Then package the books up and send them! If a sender has trouble with this on a regular basis (if she finds herself writing to several Boxers apologizing for not having the books she has promised), she should try Book Journal to see if it will help her keep things straight. It may make all the difference! If she is able to send out all the promised books, she won’t have to dole out her credits in future to Boxers she has “welched” on. We all know how precious credits are, especially when a Wish List book comes up!

Dear R&R—I sent the wrong book to a member and now I can’t find the transaction! Where do my past swaps go? –Befuddled in Boise

Dear Beef,

Your past swaps are archived in various places:

  1. Completed swaps (completed without a problem) are in your Completed Transactions list. Log into your account, click Transactions Archive on the right, and scroll down the list there. You can sort the list by incoming and outgoing books, and ascending/descending by date.
  2. Canceled swaps (that you, the other member, or the system canceled) are available in your Canceled Transactions List, from a link at the top of your Transactions Archive page (see above). Your problem swaps will be here too!
  3. “Problem” swaps (transactions marked “received but with a problem”, such as Wrong Book, Damaged Book, Damaged by USPS, or Requestor Conditions Violation) are also in your Canceled Transactions list. That doesn’t mean that the sender didn’t earn a credit when the book was marked “received, but with a problem”—that’s just where problem transactions are archived. Problem transactions won’t show up on the map of your completed transactions.
  4. “Lost in the Mail” –you can see all of your Lost in the Mail books (sent by you or to you) by logging into your account and clicking “Lost in Mail” in the right menu. Each incoming “lost” book will have a button on it “Was Book Received?” so that it can be marked received from there easily.

So if the requestor marked your book “received, but with a problem” and chose “Wrong Book” that transaction will be in your Canceled Transactions list, available from a link at the top of your Transactions Archive page. This information is also in the Help Center: search using the words “past swaps” (or just “swaps”) to find the item “Can I see my past swaps?”

Dear R&R—I have a book that’s still readable, but its pages are kinda wrinkly. It’s on a ton of Wish Lists. Can I post it for swapping? –Hopeful in Hackensack

Dear Hope,

I am sorry: no, you can’t post this book. “Wrinkly” (not folded or dogeared) pages are a sign of water damage, and water-damaged books are prohibited on PBS. It is not that the books aren’t readable; it is that water-damaged books can carry mold spores, and these can spread and infect a library. If your book is on a Wish List, you can always advertise it in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum as a “damaged book”, with a description of the condition, and send it out for free (or as a “perk” with another book ordered for credit from your bookshelf) to another member.

Even though PBS is a used-bookswapping site, and not a “collectible” bookswapping site or a “giftable” bookswapping site, all books at PBS must meet certain standards, and none may have evidence of damage from liquid of any kind. The Help Center items “Book Condition” and “What can be swapped here?” under the heading “Posting Books” in the Help Center have guidelines for posting books. Each time a member posts a book, she or he must confirm, that the book has no damage from water (or other liquid) and is in “good condition, and not excessively worn”. We have decided to make the PBS criteria for “good condition” more visible during the posting process. Now you don’t have to check the Help Center to see if a book you are thinking of posting is in acceptable condition. When you post a book, and you are asked to confirm that the book is in good condition, the phrase “good condition” appears with a dashed line beneath it. The dashed underline means that it is a “keyphrase”, and information will pop up if you click it. In this case, the PBS description of “good condition” will pop up. Look for more dashed-underline “keywords” and “keyphrases” on PBS. We will apply them as needed, in various places on the site.

Hope, I am sure that you mean no harm when you want to post your wrinkly book; but “no water damage” means just that. Even if the book is readable, it can’t be posted to your PBS bookshelf.

Dear R&R—I am REALLY ANNOYED. I have a Wish List book offered to me, and I don’t have any credits, and I CAN’T GET TO THE REST OF MY ACCOUNT to mark some books mailed! WHY do you do this? It is really obnoxious! –Apoplectic in Ashtabula

Dear Poppy,

The force-reply wasn’t always a part of PBS. Before we put it in place, there was a real problem with members forgetting to respond to Wish List offers, or to requests submitted to their bookshelves, and this led to a lot of disappointment (and feedback to us, asking us to reinstate the offer or request). Wish List offers and book requests that have timed out can’t be reinstated—more disappointment. So we put the force-reply in place, and things have gone much more smoothly since then.

Since we instituted this feature, there have been many, many changes on the site, and we agree that the force-reply may need to be revised so that it doesn’t prevent important (even time-sensitive) account tasks such as marking outgoing books mailed. We are taking a look at this, and it may be possible in the future to allow limited access to your account (such as your active transactions) while an offer/request is pending. Be patient with us while we work out the programming.

We do recommend that those members who choose to make Wish Lists keep a small “cushion” of credits in their accounts (one or two) just for this situation—you can always purchase credits, of course, but if you don’t want to do that, this bit of forethought will solve your problem. You never know when a Wish List book will be offered to you!

If you have a time-sensitive task at hand (such as marking a book mailed) and you can’t get to your account, you should contact us as soon as possible, so that we can mark the book(s) mailed for you. We don’t want your transactions to cancel because of this situation! If they do, there will be no way to reinstate them, and canceled transactions don’t earn credits from the system.

Poppy, just tell us the title(s) of the books you are trying to mark mailed, and we will do this for you. In the meantime, we are working on a way to make the “force-reply” purely beneficial, and not obstructive, as it occasionally can be. I hope you can get your Wish List book before the offer “times out”!

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – September 2006

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Holy Cow, did you see those numbers at the top of the site? We are almost at three-quarters of a million books! Our goal of making it to 1,000,000 books before the end of the year gets closer every day!
Dear R&R—I just found out about the canceled transactions page and I was surprised to see books I sent out on the list! How come I didn’t know about these? Will I get credit for sending these books? — Startled in Sheboygan

Dear Star,

Never fear! There are many reasons why a canceled transaction might be on your Canceled Transaction list (which is available by clicking the link at the top of your Transactions Archive page). The only ones you wouldn’t be notified about are:
(1) those you canceled yourself
(2) Wish List offers (of books you posted) that were declined, and the book was passed to the next Wishing Member, to whom you sent it
Check your en route and completed transactions—you will see that the active or completed transactions for these books are there, and will earn you credit (or have already earned you credit)! Each transaction is an agreement between ONE sender and ONE requestor—if either cancels, the transaction goes onto both members’ canceled lists. Thus, a book can be involved in multiple transactions, even if you have only one copy of the book to send out. One active, completed transaction is all it takes to earn you credit for sending the book!

*see the Help Center item “Can I see my past swaps?” at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_item.php?id=18

Dear R&R—I got a request for two books, but when I accepted it, one of them disappeared! What happened??? — Bewildered in Buffalo

Dear Buffy,

When you accepted the multiple-book request, did you check the box next to each book that you could send before clicking “I can mail”? If not, you canceled any book that didn’t have its box checked! When a multiple-book request comes up on your account page, the instructions are written there. When you click “I can mail” on the multiple-book request, a box pops up asking you to confirm that the number of boxes that you checked (and therefore, books you have agreed to send) is correct. Please read before you click! I am sorry that this happened. You will need to repost this book to your bookshelf again, to wait for another requestor. I hope this book is requested again soon. When you repost it, it may be offered to the previous requestor, if there were no other copies in the system when you canceled. So you may be able to send both books to her in one package after all!

*see the Help Center item “My request disappeared!” at

Dear R&R—How can I tell who’s requesting the book from me when I repost it? — Buffy again

Dear Buffy,

Simply click the PM (Personal Message) button on the active transaction for the book; the requestor’s name will come up in the To: field of the empty Personal Message. You can also download the address file to check the identity of the requestor, by clicking Print Wrapper and clicking Print Wrapper Now on the Wrapper Settings page. You don’t have to print it—just open the downloaded file to see the name and address there.

Dear R&R—When do you sleep? — Concerned in Kalamazoo

Dear Connie,

Thanks for asking. We don’t get a lot of sleep! With the return to school, our schedules are crazier than ever—and so, I am sure, are many of yours! We appreciate those members who have made the effort to find the answers to their questions in the new Help Center. We still get a lot of feedback, though! We may need to take some “R&R” (Rest and Relaxation) in the next month: we may try a feedback-free week (no feedback responses for a week) to see if we can reduce the daily numbers of feedback messages we receive. Please use the Help Center! Not all of your questions can be answered there, but many of them can. The Forums, the Help Center, and the Tour Guides are all excellent resources if you have a question about the site.

Speaking of Tour Guides — and all our volunteers — if any of you are feeling overburdened, please let us know. You can “take a break” any time, and return whenever you wish. We love our Volunteers, but we don’t want to wear you out! PBS should be fun — and we want you to have time to (you guessed it!) READ.

*You can get to the Help Center by clicking the gold button in the left menu of any page on the site.

Your List of Lists. Newsletter – May 2006

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Did you know that you have access to nine different kinds of lists from your account page? Here is a list of those lists, what they do, and where to find them:

(1) Active Transactions (books outgoing from you or incoming to you)
located on your Account page. Just log in and scroll down.

(2) Completed Transactions (books that have been received by you, or sent by you and received by others), accessible from the right-hand side of your account page. Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right.

(3) Books I have Read (books you have read), accessible from the
right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click Books I
have Read on the right.

(4) TBR Pile (= Books To Be Read; books you have received from PBS and have yet to read), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account page. You can repost books to your bookshelf directly from this list; the big red W by any book means that another member is currently wishing for this book—you might want to read it sooner, so that you can send it out!
Just log in and click TBR Pile on the right.

(5) Wish List (books you want to order that are not currently available
in the system), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account
page. Just log in and click Wish/Reminder List on the right.

(6) Reminder List (books you are considering ordering, whether
currently available or unavailable), accessible from the right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click Wish/Reminder List on the right, then click the Reminder List tab.

(7) My Bookshelf (books you are offering for swapping), accessible
from the right-hand side of your Account page. Just log in and click My
Bookshelf on the right.

(8) Books Lost en Route to Me (books that were not marked received by
the System Action Date for the transaction), available from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. You can, and should, mark “lost” books received from here, if they arrive (and they often do). Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right, then click the link at the top of the page, “Books Lost en Route to Me.”

(9) Canceled Transactions (all cancellations, coming to you or going
from you, associated with your account for the past 45 days), accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Just log in and click Completed Transactions on the right, then click the link at the top of the page, “Canceled Transactions.”