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Topic: Is it always this hard?

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Subject: Is it always this hard?
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2009
Posts: 19
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I'm a new member of PBS and I am still trying to figure out the ropes. I have encountered some frustrations and really, I am just wondering if this is normal, or if I am just having bad luck. 

1. I posted my 10 first books and with my bonus credits, I immediately found a book I wanted and ordered it.  The request was accepted by member quickly and marked mailed within 2 days.  Within a few days, I would anxiously check my mailbox each day, and nothing.  Meanwhile, 3 different members requested books from me on 3 separate days.  I accepted and mailed all 3 books on different days.  All 3 of those books have been marked as received by the other members, yet I have still not received my book! Do people mark books mailed when they don't really mail them?

2. With my second credit, I found another book I wanted to order.  There are over 100 copies of this book in the system, yet I cannot get anyone to accept my request.  I began requesting this book over 2 weeks ago.  Either the member does not respond within 5 days, or responds no and then the request goes to the next person.  I am on the 5th member, according to my transaction history, and it still has not been accepted.

Is it always this hard to get books?  I feel like I followed the rules exactly as I understood them, and sent out 3 books that were in great condition and I wrapped them well and sent them quickly.  In return, all I have gotten is frustration.  Is this the way it always is?

Thanks for reading my vent and for answering.  I am so excited to swap, maybe I am just impatient?

Lauren

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 447
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Thanks for joining!  The more members, the more books.  The more books, the more joy!  As for  your questions:

1.  Media mail is unpredictable.  PBS Delivery Confimation helps with this, as you can track the book's path.  Unfortunately, you can only control that on the books you send.  Hopefully your book will come soon.  If not, you get your credits back.  Also, as for going to the post office on 3 different days, one thing I like to do is wait a couple days to see if another request comes in, or mark "I can mail later" to give the system 5 days to let another request come in before I have to go to the post office.  You can make your trips less than once every week this way.

2.  Just be patient.  At least you are weeding out some "inactive" members and getting bad books out of the system for other people.

Also, if the 3 books you mailed out have been marked mailed, you should have 3 more credits.  Get to ordering!  I was very impatient when I first started here, but now I order a book and try to forget about it until I get it.  Otherwise I just get annoyed at the postal system, lol.   PBS really does work well, it just is not always fast.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2009
Posts: 19
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Thanks Robin!  That makes me feel better!

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 9/15/10 12:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2009
Posts: 19
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This is sooooo ironic!  My book request as per #2 of my original post was just accepted!  You girls were right, I guess patience is a viture after all!

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2008
Posts: 232
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I feel your pain. I have 35 credits and have requested a total of 5 books. Of those:

1. the member never sent it, no one else had it, so it got sent to my wait list. So, zero.

2.the member said they sent, never arrived, it was marked lost. Then a few weeks later, the book arrived, clearly mailed  more than a week after it was marked lost, so the member marked it mailed originally when it was not. Since that member's book was the only copy in the system, I'd given it up as a lost case, so by the time I received it, I had given up and already bought the book.

3. I received three books.

 

So far, I have to say that I too feel that this process has been pretty hard.   I have stopped posting books because I don't feel like I've gotten a good return at this point. I hope it starts to get better.



Last Edited on: 2/5/09 11:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
Posts: 6,066
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re: going to the post office.....Don't!  I hate going to the post office, so I use paypal shipping.  You can pre-pay your shipping and put the book directly into your mailbox.  It costs 18 cents more than the postage rate but delivery confirmation is included.  I love it!

You definitely have to be patient with media mail, and with books being accepted and shipped, but if you stick with it, you'll find that the problem transactions are pretty rare.  I've been a member for two years and have received over 450 books.   I believe I could count the problem transactions on one hand. 

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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You do have to be patient because there is a certain amount of momentum the process has to build up.  Before you know it, you will have such a large TBR pile built up that you won't be even thinking about waiting by the mailbox.  It just feels that way at the beginning.  Pretty soon they'll be somewhat of a rhythm to books moving out and into your house.  You have to take a certain zen approach to the whole media mail thing.  It's totally unpredictable. 

The bottom line is PBS is a great thing, but it's not an instant gratification thing. 

Sara

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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"but they have two days to mail them after they're marked."

Cindy, I've never heard of this, where did you find this info?

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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Hi Lauren,

You had a run of bad luck.  While the things that happen to you DO happen to everyone, its a bummer they all happened to you on your first few orders :  (

Hang in there.... things should being looking up for you soon :  )

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Welcome Lauren!  Sounds like a run of bad luck, b/c it really isn't usually that difficult.

A book can be delayed for several reasons, but you won't know until it's received.  I check postmarks, and usually the book was posted on or near the day stated.  Once in a while one is mailed days or weeks later.  NOTE: that when you log books in as received, there is a place to note the postmark date, so PBS is aware of late mailers and can deal with chronic abusers.  The other reason for delays is that Media Mail service can take anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks, or longer under a few conditions.

Cindy R says:  "but they have two days to mail them after they're marked."  Last I saw, that rule only applied under a couple of conditions, but IMO is become abused more and more often.  A growing number of PBS members are accepting the book request, printing the label, and immediately marking it as mailed (they make alot of whiney excuses), but often are not doing the deed for several days or more.  It really ruins the intent of the PBS guideline and botches the system.  Like Hawaii, some locations take all or most of the full 4 weeks to receive media mail, and if you fib by several days or a week before mailing the book, it times-out before arriving.  Creating unnecessary work for the PBS system in listing the book lost, reposting to wish list (or even automatically re-ordering from another member), etc. 

I've had this happen, as a member marked the book mailed then handed it to someone else to mail.  Their car was stolen before the book got mailed, they waited to see if it turned up when the car was recovered, but it was missing.  There was no way to cancel the transaction because that option button goes away when you mark a book mailed; so we had to wait the full month for it to time-out of the system before I could re-order or get my credit returned. 

Real life happens, but fibbing only complicates these things.  Is it so freaking difficult is it to actually mark the book as mailed AFTER you really mailed it? 

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 4
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Lauren,

Look at the bright side -- you got requests for books!  I posted my first 15 or so books a year and a half ago and have never received a request until yesterday!  I used my original automatic credits and after waiting for requests for several months I had written this process off as a useless idea until yesterday.  Now that I've had a request and will get a couple of credits maybe I'll get lucky and receive some more requests.  :-)

Bill

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Karen wrote: The member said they sent, never arrived, it was marked lost. Then a few weeks later, the book arrived, clearly mailed  more than a week after it was marked lost, so the member marked it mailed originally when it was not. Since that member's book was the only copy in the system, I'd given it up as a lost case, so by the time I received it, I had given up and already bought the book.

Was there any way to say when it was actually mailed - like a dated postage strip from the PO?   If it was mailed in the week before it went lost, then you don't have to mark it Received.  This is the one instance in which you are not required to mark a book Received.  From the Help Docs:

If the book was declared lost in the mail and you requested a second copy because you thought the first one was really lost:

  • If the postmark was from the week before the book was declared lost, and you got no notification from the sender that the book would be/was mailed late: you do not have to mark this book received (this is the ONE case in which you don't have to mark a received book received: if a very late mailer without notice caused you to reorder the book and end up with two copies).  
  • OR: You can mark it received to note the late postmark, and ask for your credit back in your Personal Message to the sender.

I realize that you didn't request a second copy, you bought one - but I would think it's the same concept.  You ended up with two copies of the book.



Last Edited on: 2/5/09 1:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/5/2009 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Just be advised that with Paypal printed postage, while it's cheaper-it does not guarantee your credit.  Only buying the postage through PBS guarantees your credit.

Just be patient.  Most transactions go smoothly.  Just because your books arrived quickly doesn't mean the ones coming to you will. I've had books go from MD to foreign countries (through another booksite) in a week while other books have taken 3 wks to get to CT.  MD to CT is a days drive.  You just never know.  Sometimes books take little vactions and get sent in the wrong direction.  Sometimes you mail then and 2 days later they are marked received and you go "wow" that was fast.

When requests are timing out just keep in mind that you are helping PBS weed out the inactive members. When requests time out it puts a little red flag on their account and PBS will freeze accounts they think are inactive.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 329
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Knock on wood... I haven't had any problems with any of my transactions since joining.  I have sent and recieved with no problem.  I can also say that with all the books I've gotten so far they have been in great or good condition.  I'm thanking my lucky stars.  Hang in there and I'm sure it will all work out in the long run.  I'm really glad for this site and the money I have saved.

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,377
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I feel your pain because I have a WL book that I posted last week and it is slowly cycling through members who have not showed up to claim it.  But I figure eventually it will hit an active member's WL who will be excited to have it.  Maybe I'll read it again while I'm waiting....

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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I agree with the run of bad luck. I've been here almost 2 years and I've had very very few problems. It's been a wonderfully easy process ... too easy because my Mt. TBR pile is massive and even though I always have credits I can never hang on to them. :)  

That's not to say there aren't glitches. I've had a few books go lost - but not many. I have a wishlist book that has been going through members and while that is irritating I figure someone will sooner or later accept it and I'll be done with that one.  It's such a small fish in a big sea of things I could be upset about.

So hang in there, it should get better. I love this place.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2008
Posts: 232
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Was there any way to say when it was actually mailed - like a dated postage strip from the PO?   If it was mailed in the week before it went lost, then you don't have to mark it Received.  This is the one instance in which you are not required to mark a book Received.  From the Help Docs:

If the book was declared lost in the mail and you requested a second copy because you thought the first one was really lost:

  • If the postmark was from the week before the book was declared lost, and you got no notification from the sender that the book would be/was mailed late: you do not have to mark this book received (this is the ONE case in which you don't have to mark a received book received: if a very late mailer without notice caused you to reorder the book and end up with two copies).  
  • OR: You can mark it received to note the late postmark, and ask for your credit back in your Personal Message to the sender.

 

The postage strip clearly indicated that it was mailed well after it was declared lost (or nearly 6 weeks after the sender said he sent it).  I marked it received because I did not reorder it (since there were no other copies in the system) so I figured the exception did not apply and I 'ate' the loss. Which does not make me happy especially since in good faith I have dutifully sent out about 40 books on time.  

 

Sigh. I don't know, Right now I have another  book with only one copy in the system sent to me about to go lost too. I won't make the mistake of buying it just in case, but... I've sent out about 40 books and had a bad track record at getting books in return, between this and the fact that so far the books I want are all wait listed... I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get 40 books in return for my good faith and MONEY. KWIM?

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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Lauren,   Sometimes PBS is hard, but most of the time it is a delight.  Today I received a wished-for hardback book.  It was very well wrapped and in excellent condition.  Not only that, but it showed up in my mailbox 3 days after the postmarked date on the package.   So sometimes, the process works even better than expected.  If you stick with PBS, you will find that the majority of your transactions will be good ones. - Valerie

 

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Look at the bright side -- you got requests for books!  I posted my first 15 or so books a year and a half ago and have never received a request until yesterday!  I used my original automatic credits and after waiting for requests for several months I had written this process off as a useless idea until yesterday.  Now that I've had a request and will get a couple of credits maybe I'll get lucky and receive some more requests.  :-)

Bill

I looked at your shelf Bill, and the reason I see your books not being ordered quickly is that they are books that have massive distribution and everyone buys them right away, resulting 100s and 100s of copies getting posted into the PBS system. There are almost 3M books in available in the system, but less tham 0.5M unique titles; that's alot of duplicates! I admire your perseverance on waiting for them to get requested.

Karen you were correct marking that book as received, the exception only applies if you received another copy. Hang in there, after you've been on the WL lines for a little while, they will start flying at ya. You will also pick up on new releases sooner and get into the lines faster.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I myself wouldn't have marked the book received. I think it's the same idea whether you requested another copy through PBS, or you bought one. The point is, the member mailed it so incredibly late that you no longer had any expectation or hope of receiving the book from them, and you therefore got another copy from someone else, even if it was outside PBS. Rewarding someone with a credit for that sort of behavior seems to be completely against the whole idea behind the rule in the first place.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,446
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To comply with the rules Tiffany, you MUST mark it received unless you've gotten another copy via PBS by the time the first copy arrives.  Yes, it sucks that you need to give that first sender credit, but it's in the rules we all agreed to when we signed up on the site.  By filling out the survey when you mark it as received and adding a note about the absurdly late mailing, it'll go on the sender's record.  Too much of that and their PBS account will be in jeopardy.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I guess we read the rule differently Sarah. I'm all for following the rules, but there's a LOT of room for interpretation on this one:

If the book was declared lost in the mail and you requested a second copy because you thought the first one was really lost:

  • If the postmark was from the week before the book was declared lost, and you got no notification from the sender that the book would be/was mailed late: you do not have to mark this book received (this is the ONE case in which you don't have to mark a received book received: if a very late mailer without notice caused you to reorder the book and end up with two copies).  
  • OR: You can mark it received to note the late postmark, and ask for your credit back in your Personal Message to the sender.

I view it the same way Lynne does, that it's the same concept whether you got another copy through PBS or other sources. When such a long time goes by that you lose all expectation of getting a copy from the first sender, and you then get another copy, only to have the first one show up (mailed really late), you don't have to mark it received. Therefore, by MY interpretation of the rule, I would NOT mark it received. Though, I'd likely send a message to PBS and check with them to be sure, were the situation to ever come up. If they told me otherwise, only then would I mark it received.

What's the source of your information, outside of just the rule itself, since that would only be your interpretation?

Date Posted: 2/8/2009 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I know people get discouraged when they get a bad run like this right after joining.   I currently have a book I sent with PBS postage and DC not showing up as being received by the PO of the requestor.  She lives near the Canadian border so I thought maybe it has to do with weather problems and I PM"d her to ask.  She says the mail is coming okay.  But the book I sent hasn't been "sighted" (scanned) anywhere.  I'm worried about it.  I don't know what could have happened to it.  It's so strange.  But this is why I do the PBS postage and DC - hoping that it will be scanned somewhere.  Most of the time it is.  This one seems to have disappeared.

Bill,

try asking friends and family if they have any old books they don't want and it they are PBS postable then do that.  Adding books that aren't so common in the system is the way to get the ball rolling while you wait on the common ones in your shelf to move.  Alternately, you can buy some credits and order them then read them and repost them which will also help.

Ruth