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Topic: Book Swapping?

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Subject: Book Swapping?
Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2011
Posts: 5
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Hi All!


I am brand new here and am an avid book lover like the rest of you. I have a few questions regarding swapping:

- Is this all based on an "honor" system? Meaning I send you my book and I hope the recipient sends me mine or I send them a book and I hope they report it as received. I didn't see anywhere

on here where there is feedback and I have been burned before in the past on swapping sites so that's why I'm a little leary. Has any "book lifting" that has gone on?

- How long do you usually have to wait on books that are on your WL? I just listed four books today and all of them have been requested within hours but all of the books on my wish list have at least 10 previous

requests before my own.  I feel a bit overwhelmed with all of my books being taken so quickly and I have to pay for shipping.

Any thoughts and recommendations would be much appreciated! Thank you for your time. 

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2005
Posts: 1,592
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You don't really swap books......you send a book and get a credit that you use to order a book that you want.

Go to the Help Center link and you will find a lot of useful information.

Welcome to the site and enjoy!!

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2011
Posts: 5
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Thank you, I have already spent about an hour browsing the help section, but I didn't see anything about the specific questions I asked. So, if I am understanding correctly

it is up to the reciever to mark the book as received? What if they don't mark it as received but it has been?

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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Start here.

There are a couple of ways to mail books:

1. Mail with stamps or Post Office postage. When the receiver gets the book, they mark it received and you get your credit at that time.

2. Mail with a purchase of Delivery Confirmation from PBS. You get a credit when the book is scanned either en route or at delivery.

3. Mail with a purchase of postage AND Delivery Confirmation from PBS. You get a credit when you mark the book mailed.

PBS keeps track of accounts where too many books are not marked received. If there were to be someone who joined and then ordered books without marking them received, they would quickly be booted off the site. Naturally, it is not unknown for a book to legitimately get lost in the mail for whatever reason, but if there are too many on any account, then PBS investigates.

I find PBS to be a great site to trade books at ... most members are very honest and overall, there are very few problem trades. Not "zero" problem trades ... but very very few. I have mailed more than 1000 books out, and ordered about 850 since I joined a couple of years ago, and I can count problem transactions at under 10.

I mail almost all my books without PBS delivery confirmation, which means I rely on receiving members to mark their books received ... and I almost never have any problems. Out of the thousand I have mailed ... only one was never marked received. That's it, just one. However, for people who are nervous about receiving their credits, purchasing delivery comfirmation thru PBS offers the assurance that you will get your credit without relying on other members.

Last Edited on: 6/6/11 7:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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Regarding your other questions:

1. Waiting for wish list books .... the answer is, it depends. If you are wishing for popular books that are widely read, then those lines tend to move very quickly, even if there are hundreds of people in the line. If you are wishing for less posted books (non-fiction, textbooks, expensive books) ... then it may take longer. You should be able to gauge this slightly by going to your Wish List and seeing if there is inofrmation there about the "Last Posted Date" and any estimate of arrival for the books you are wishing for. (Although, those statistics are more reliable for books that are popular than for ones that only get posted a few times a year).

2. It is very common for a new member to send out more books at first, than they are ordering. Very common. And, yes, it might make you think that you are making an investment in something that might not work out. I know when I joined I mailed out quite a few Wish Listed books before I figured out exactly what was going on, and then I started checking for a Wish List before I posted too many of them at once. That way, I was able to gauge how many were going to be mailed out right away a little bit better. For most members, once you start seeing books coming to you .... it alleviates a lot of the concern about whether or not PBS is going to work out.


OK, I checked out your Wish List. It will be a while before you will see those cookbooks. Cookbooks are more expensive to purchase in the first place, people tend to keep them longer than fiction, and they are more expensive to mail out than paperbacks. All of those factors combine to make cookbooks the type of books where the Wish List lines will move pretty slowly. People DO post cookbooks .... but like I said, there is a combination of factors that make those lines move rather slowly.

The fiction books that you are wishing for ... I am not sure if you care whether or not you recieve a specific edition of the book ... the Laurell Hamilton/Kresly Cole lines will move pretty quickly, especially if you go and put other ISBNs on your Wsih List for the titles of the books you are interested in. (PBS works by ISBN, so if a book has been issued multiple times in paperback, for example, there may be multiple PBS book listings for that title, one for each ISBN. Some of the ISBNs of a title move faster than others.). To find other ISBNs for those book titles, you can go to your Wish List, and on the right hand side of any book that has more than one ISBN, you should see a button labeled " Expand Wish (x more)" where x is the amount of other ISBNs for that title. Your chances of getting those books quickly will be much better if you add some of the other ISBNs to your Wish List (as long as you don't care about exactly which edition you receive).

Last Edited on: 6/6/11 7:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/6/2011 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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Other thoughts:

1. You should have received a message from your Tour Guide, since you are new to PBS. People in the forums are always happy to help someone new out, but the tour guides are there specifically to help out newbies. So, that is a good resource for questions, especially at first.

2. Welcome to PBS!

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I was going to say the same exact this as Sara about your WL.  You will probably wait awhile for the cookbooks. People tend to keep those or decide they are too expensive to mail.  But the paranormal romances ought to move fairly quickly.  A lot of those are perpetually WL but the line moves constantly because they are so popular.  It also helps to completely fill your WL.

I would suggest that you post books to the TBR pile to see which ones are WL before you post all your books. Then you don't  get overwhelmed with requests and postage costs.  It's ok to wait to post more books until you receive some.

I personally think the DC is a waste of money. The fee quickly outweighs the cost of a lost book or credit.  Just the .19 on 20 books is 3.80.  Or $19 on 100 books.  You could buy a quite a few credits for that, a brand new tradesized paperback or 2-3 mass market paperbacks (new) or  several books at a thrift store or UBS. 

I've sent over 2,000 books between 3 trading sites and the PBS games. I've only had 1 go lost and I figure what I saved on DC was probably 10 x's the value of that book. 

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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PBS does work on the honor system, but if a member's account shows a pattern of dishonesty they can lose their account so there isn't a wide pattern of books not being reported as received.

To add to the movement on your WL, most paperback paranormal will move quickly, most of the the hardcover will have very little movement. Most of those are very limited publishing (like the Kresley Cole hardcovers) and people who buy the paranormal in hard cover instead of paperback are getting them to keep.  Do a lot of searching and expanding on your Wish List, the more you have on there, the more action you will see.

Date Posted: 6/6/2011 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Leah!

Yes, PBS works on the honor system...and for the most part works very will.  As to your questions regarding honesty and book availability, I have found that genre can also play a role.  As already mentioned, cookbooks are popular to request but tend to move slowly. 

Biographies and some other books commonly used in classes (ie textbooks) may arrive with postability issues.  Such as handwritten notes and/or highlighting, if you wish to offer any of these for swap you will want to read and follow the special 'Textbook' rules (cookbooks also have their own postability guidelines).  Popular fiction authors will move faster on your wishlist than hard to find or out of print books (and paperback moves faster than hardcover).

After being a PBS member for awhile, I found myself stressing over watching for the books I mailed to be received.  So I now use PBS e-DC and purchase counter postage.  The barcode is scanned as part of the purchase, and later that night when the USPS and PBS systems update, my credit is transferred!  No more wonder if the book arrived, if the member forgot to log it in, no more stress for me!!  As already mentioned, there are several options...one should be perfect for you!


Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 6/7/2011 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I use PBS Preprinted Postage all the time, which gives me an Instant Credit for the books I send out, no waiting or worrying about other member marking as Received.  As a bonus, I get a wrapper label with postage already added that has a Delivery Confirmation also already added, and I can just mail the book from my office's mailroom.

So, I don't mind paying the small extra fee to get the ease of use and peace of mind that comes from using PBS postage services.  I'm a huge fan!  I even use for my non-PBS book mailings!!!!

ETA: I also like the good feeling I get knowing that I'm helping in a small way to help support the site!

Last Edited on: 6/7/11 3:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Just joining
Date Posted: 6/7/2011 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,442
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Welcome Leah!

I have been a member since 2005 and have books on my Wishlist from back then...still waiting!  HOWEVER I have receive a ton of other Wishlisted books...usually 4-5 a month

I use the prepaid postage all the time. Yes, it cost a little more, but for me, it is worth the convience of just tossing them in the blue box and not having to go into the  post office at all..or very rarely!

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2011
Posts: 5
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I really appreciate everyone's imput and helping me out! I just posted a ton more books so hopefully I can get some credits to get some of my WL. I will take everyones advice and expand my WL to include all copies of the book, not just hardback books so they will move along more quickly. It's so nice to hear this is a mostly drama and problem free community.

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've been using the printed postage more lately for convenience.  You can't put heavier books in the blue box with stamps.  On the smaller ones, I just use stamps.

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2011
Posts: 5
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Just curious, is the postage you buy on here more expensive than the kind you could by through paypal or endicia? We get a 5% discount at my place of work and I noticed 

that PBS charges $0.27 extra for their DC fee for tokens to be automatically credited. 

Date Posted: 6/8/2011 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Yes, postage here is more expensive. However, you do get your credits faster, and "insured" in case the book goes lost. It also goes to support the site.  Below is the Help Doc excerpt about the differences between PBS Postage  and PBS DC

Welcome to PBS; hope you like it here.


  • With PBS DC, the postage is NOT printed on the wrapper--you need to add the postage yourself.
  • With Printed Postage, the postage IS printed on the wrapper.
  • With PBS DC, you get your credit for sending a book as Quick Credit--when the DC barcode is scanned by USPS and the information is transmitted to the PBS site.
  • With Printed Postage, you get your credit instantly, as soon as you mark the book mailed.
  • With PBS DC, you pay 27 cents (to PBS, from your PBS Money) + 19 cents (in postage on the package) = 46 cents over postage cost.
  • With PBS Printed Postage, you pay 43 cents (includes Instant credit fee paid to PBS plus the fee paid to Endicia, the online postage provider)  from your PBS Money  + 19 cents (to USPS, from your PBS Money) + postage (from your PBS Money) = 62 cents over postage cost
  • With PBS DC you must mail packages over 13 ounces by handing them to a postal employee.  This is a USPS National Security regulation.
  • With PBS Printed Postage, you can mail packages over 13 ounces from dropboxes and your outgoing mailbox--the printed postage is trackable, so the USPS regulation does not apply.
  • With both features:
    • you need to have PBS Money in your PBS Money account
    • you can track your shipment from your My Account page
    • you get Guaranteed Credit (if your book is lost in the mail or damaged, you still get credit for sending the book).
    • you still need to mark your book mailed before the deadline to prevent the transaction from cancelling.
    • Both PBS DC and PBS Printed Postage are optional features.  You do not need to use them to send a book.
Date Posted: 6/8/2011 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Yes -- it's a bit more expensive but some people are willing to pay the fee because (1) it supports the site, and (2) it gives them credit assurance.

(Note: the cost for PBS printed postage, which includes DC, is 62 cents over the postage cost -- 43 cents to PBS and 19 cents to the PO for DC. The cost for PBS DC only is 46 cents over the postage cost -- 27 cents to PBS and 19 cents to the PO. Printed postage gives you "instant credit" as soon as you mark mailed; PBS DC gives you "quick credit" which occurs with the first postal scan.)

Welcome to PBS!

ETA: Oops -- Sophia was faster.

Last Edited on: 6/8/11 10:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1