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Topic: Copies available and other stats

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Subject: Copies available and other stats
Date Posted: 4/27/2009 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2009
Posts: 16
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I'm new to PBS.  For the most part, I think this site is great.  There are just a few things that would make it so much easier to use, and that seem so simple, I can't imagine why they aren't included.

First, why is it so hard to see how many copies of a posted book are available?  As far as I can tell the only way to see this is to add the book to my reminder list (which only proves that this metric is readily available and not some insider secret, so why not just put it out there on the details page?  See, you could put it right were the "Members Wishing" line is on unposted books.  Every time I want to satisfy my curiosity I have to add it to the reminder list, and check the reminder list, and then delete it from the reminer list.  Every time.

Second, am I alone in thinking that it would be really cool to be able to see the total transactions for any given book?  This applies to wish list and bookshelf alike.  I know that you can see 'wishes fulfilled in the last week' but that is a really small sample size and not very useful to anyone.  How about also showing the number of wishes fulfilled in the last 3, 6, and 12 months as well?  The same thing applies to books on my shelf.  Sometimes there are 5 copies available, sometimes 50, sometimes 200.  Wouldn't it be great to know how many times the book in question had been orderd in the last week?  month?  6 months?  etc?  That way I would know if this particular book is turning over rapidly (and more likely to get to my posting) or if it is stagnant and likely to sit out there indefinately?  Not that I can really do anything about it, but it would be nice to know.

Also, I can see that my book is one of x copies available, but is there any way of keeping track of where I am in that line?  If a couple months go by, how do I know if I am next, or if I am still in the back of the line?

I don't want to come off as overly critical.  These are minor inconvienences and, as stated above, I love PBS so far.  The web site is easy to use and offers an impressive amount of content.  Still, the more information the better, right?  Maybe I'm just obsessive about micromanaging my shelf...  what do you think?

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 4/27/09 3:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 4/27/2009 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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First, why is it so hard to see how many copies of a posted book are available?  As far as I can tell the only way to see this is to add the book to my reminder list (which only proves that this metric is readily available and not some insider secret, so why not just put it out there on the details page? 

My (guess) answer to both - so that people will still post books that have lots of copies in the system. Yes, you can find out how many copies, but if were pushed in your face, maybe you'd feel discouraged from posting.

BTW, I've had books go where there were 300+ copies in the system after just a few months.

Second, am I alone in thinking that it would be really cool to be able to see the total transactions for any given book?

I'd answer with the same guess - if you see a book moves slowly, you'd be less inclined to post it. Maybe. One thing that is cool that you can see is how many times one particular copy of a book has been swapped - in your transaction archive, the 'footprint' tells you everywhere the book's been.

Also, I can see that my book is one of x copies available, but is there any way of keeping track of where I am in that line? 

Nope, none.

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 166
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I think it's annoying to that you have to add to your reminder list before you can see.  As for loving the site, not so much for me.  I loved it at first, but now it's frusterating.  I would like to see how many transactions have happened over the past year, it might help us understand what tends to move and what doesn't.  I think it would be interesting to see that.

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2009
Posts: 16
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I considered the "we don't want to discourage posting" theory but the more I think about it, the more I think it doesn't hold water.  People are going to get discouraged anyway when they see a couple hundred people ahead of them... at least this way they know upfront.  And by sharing the information on how many times that book had been orderd in the past 6 months would only serve to encourage people (if the news was good) and, well, if the news was bad do we really need 401 copies?  Maybe it would motivate people to make a special cataogory like "unpostables" to move their stagnant books in 2-for-1 deals.  "Get a free stagnant book from this list with any one credit purchase" or something like that.

Plus, I spend a lot of time at used bookstores (as I assume many here do).  If it were really easy to see that those Kurt Vongutt books I always see in the dollar bin are in high demand with low number of copies posted I might be inclined to pick a couple up when I am low on credits.

I just can't see a defensible argument for limiting the information available.  It seems like the more information that is made available to swappers, the better the site will function.  Sure some people may be discouraged that their copies of Bridges of Madison County and I'm OK You're OK are never, ever going to go anywhere... so what at least they know it now.  And it doesn't cost anything to post them anyway.  And it really doesn't cost the site anything if they decide not to post them and send them off to Goodwill instead.

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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Those are good questions, but all I can say is you're asking the wrong people! Try sending a note to the PBS powers that be and see if they answer you. They may have a good reason for it that we can't fathom.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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I've been a member here for a little under a year, and I only have a few books that have not been taken that I originally posted. Yes, they will get taken eventually, probably, but the ones that have a bunch of copies in the system, I take to one of the local used bookstores. If they don't take it, I'll wait on it. Until storage becomes a problem, I'll hang on to them.

Also, I've had some of the more highly posted books go in boxes. The boxer membership is $8 for an entire year and most definitely worth it if you have a particular genre on your shelf that you also enjoy reading. More highly posted books are definitely more likely to go in box deals.

And if you have internet capabilities on your cell phone, there is a PBS mobile site where you can see if a book is wishlisted or not when you're at a UBS or FOL sale and you see something that you think may be wishlisted.  Honestly, though, unless a book is less than a dollar, I don't buy bookks just to post for credits. I would rather find books I want to read and then post them for a credit, so I get more out of them. Just my opinion, though! :)

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I think that the reason we don't have the info you have asked about is that some of it is "coming" it just takes time to get a large site like this programmed and running smoothly.  Some of the info is probably an ongoing type of thing that would be hard to quanitfy in a period of time that wouldn't make it obsolete until the info on the book in question is changing again.  Sort of like someone counting down how many seconds you have left to do something.  There were over 11,000 books mailed today (at last count).  there were 30,000+ members (and counting) on the site today.  There were 526,446+ unique titles available on PBS today. There were 852 books posted in the last hour.  There are 3,376,783 books currently available.  And all this changes hour to hour.  That's a lot of info to have to cope with.  Make your requests and suggestions to the PBS team at the Contact Us link to let them know about them.  That's how really good ideas make it to the "done" list!

Ruth