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Topic: cost of mailing and credit amount

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Subject: cost of mailing and credit amount
Date Posted: 10/5/2011 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 49
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I just sent  a book which cost me $.75 and with the cost of mailing, I am only ahead by .35.    So I am not encouraged to list books for trade.  Better to just purchase the credits.  Your thoughts, please.



Date Posted: 10/5/2011 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Depending on your financial situation, the weight and cost of your books, yes, it might make sense for you to just purchase credits.



Date Posted: 10/5/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I don't consider what I spent to acquire the book if it's a book I read. The fee I paid to get the book was what it cost me to read it. 

Plus it's fun to trade books.  If everyone bought credits there'd be no books in the system.  Then there'd be no PBS. 

And what else are you going to do with them?  You won't get much of a tax write-off if you give them to a thrift store.  A UBS will probably give very little for them. Then there's the gas and time involved to lug them there.  You could sell them on Ebay or AMazon but then you pay fees to them and can't charge much unless they're rare. You'd probably only get .25-1.00 for them at a yard sale if even that.  People always want them for next to nothing at yard sales. Then there's the time involved to put up signs, advertise, and spend all day watching your stuff.

Last Edited on: 10/5/11 11:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/5/2011 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
Posts: 233
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The point is not, I think, to be "ahead" or make money off the system. It is to trade books you don't want for books you do. That book you DO want may cost $24.99 at the store. It's all in how you look at it.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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I see it as a "do unto others" kinda thing.  If I want to get nice books, I need to post them, too.

If everyone on the site was just in it for the monetary "profit" the books wouldn't be that good.   How do you expect someone else to post an expensive book to you if you whine of only a small profit of a few cents?  What about that person taking the hit posting the $12 (used book price) book to your WL? 

There are times when it makes sense to only buy credits.  I'm not saying that buying credits is bad.

Last Edited on: 10/5/11 2:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/5/2011 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,413
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It's for the love of the book, the trade, the hunt!!  The pleasure of the read, the sharing....the almighty dollar shouldn't factor in that much.  You could swap purchased credits for books, but think how much fun you'll miss.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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My take is that I'm trading a book for a book. Doesn't matter to me how many cents ahead or behind I am.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 3:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think if you are buying books just to post then it makes more sense to just buy credits.  From a financial standpoint. If they are books you own already because either you've read them already or your tastes have changed-then that's different.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Yeah, I never thought of PBS as a moneymaking proposition.  Read, post, mail.... Wishlists granted are like Christmas Eve, the book showing up is Christmas morning....  I may or may not even do a little happy dance when the mailman delivers a book (no, I will not post a video.  LOL)  Such a great program... Love seeing my books go to others who love books.  I don't even care if it costs me a little money.  It's all for the love of the books and readers. 

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,245
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It is completely possible to bring down the cost of using PBS such that credits cost less than $2.50 to obtain. Even if you purchase (cheap) books only for posting.

The trick is that you have to be able to get more than 1 credit per package mailed.

The most common way to get more then 1 credit per package mailed is to offer multi-credit deals on your books (so, mail some for "free").

Let's say you buy 10 books at a garage sale for 25 cents apiece.

If you just post them to your shelf and mail them out 1 by 1, then you have spent the cost of the books ($2.50) plus the cost of postage ($25.00) to get 10 credits. So, each credit obtained this way costs you $2.75.

if you post them to your shelf and then mail them out in a deal (lets say 5 books for 2 credits), then you have spent the cost of the books ($2.50), plus the cost of mailing 2 packages (5 paperbacks would probably be just under 2 pounds, but let's say it's 3 pounds just for the sake of argument) so your cost is 2 packages at $3.23 each ($6.46). So, your total cost is $8.96 for 4 credits, which works out to $2.24 per credit.

I have found that I can mail books out in deals for a total cost of about $1.25 per credit. (because I buy a lot of books for less than 25 cents, plus when I offer deals, I usually get very large orders to fulfill). At the beginning of this year, I posted several hundred more books (than I have now), I had a really good deal going, and I ended up getting about 100 credits for just about $1 each ... I've been living off that cushion all year.

Last Edited on: 10/5/11 4:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/5/2011 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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I look at it as if you need to purchase credits, you're not posting and sending out enough books!  I say this laughingly, but it's kind of true.  I have a load of credits and it's because I've mailed out more books that I've gotten.  I don't just mail them out when I need credits, I'm constantly mailing out batches of books.

Of course, if you need credits, sometimes it is cheaper to buy them, especially at the reduced rates in the book bazaar.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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I figure I've gotten so many of my wish list books, that when I see a book at a thrift store or FOL sale that I know is WL here, I will post it.  Golden rule and all that I guess.

Date Posted: 10/5/2011 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 5,770
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Some of the WL books people have been kind enough to post me , cost between $ 10.00 - 12.00. So that alone I've saved. with only the cost of a credit.

And I've also gotten books here that are out of print.

When I'm low on credits I offer deals ( like now in the B.B)  but sometimes that dont work. you have to have takers...lol

Last Edited on: 10/5/11 7:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/5/2011 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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From the local UBS, I can't get the books there for what it costs me to mail out a book that got me the credit I used for the book I requested - if that makes sense the way I wrote it.

Also, factoring in the fun, it's a pretty good deal, I think. I'm not running a used book store where I have overhead and utilities to pay for so making a 'profit' isn't part of why I'm here.

Or course, discovering new-to-me authors via the forums can sometimes be a very bad thing.


Date Posted: 10/5/2011 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,641
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One thing to consider is that just the shipping on Half.com and Amazon.com for books is $3.99.  So, even if you buy a used book for $0.01, it still costs you $4.00.   My experience is that even large novels (like the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series) cost about $3.01 to ship, so you are ahead $0.99.. 

Another plus for PBS is that I have obtained many books via credits that would have cost me $10-50 + $3.99 shipping on Half or Amazon.

Of course, if you count in the cost of your book, then shipping out a book you paid $7.99 (paperback) or $24.99 (hardback) leaves you in the red.  The question is - are you trying to make a profit?  Whether you spent $24.99 for a new book, or $0.10 for a used book, did you get your money's worth by reading it? If so, then you are still ahead. 

Think of it this way, you buy a book and read it, you enjoy it but it is not a keeper. Why not share it and get a credit for a book that will cost you a lot less then the price you might pay for a new book.  If you diagree with this, then it is sort of like saying, I only eat cheap, fast food, because if I buy good but expensive food, then it, like the cheap food, goes right though me, so it doesn't pay to buy good expensive food.

The only problem being that cheap food is often not good for you. So it ends up costing you more healthwise.

Date Posted: 10/6/2011 2:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Another way to look at it is that if you don't post your books, the site has fewer books to choose from.  IN an extreme case this would affect everybody.  We need to have books posted so that we have something to choose.  I've got loads of books on my WL right now.  I'm hoping that some kind soul will have the $$ for postage to send them to me.  And if you want to cut your postage down either offer a deal or list your WL'd books in the WL multiples thread in the books bazaar as long as they are completely postable.


Date Posted: 10/6/2011 3:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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I think part of this is the love of books, the sheer altruistic delight that you are sending a book to someone else who will really love it, etc. etc.

I also love bringing in "good karma" items to my home---a few people will say stuff like  "I can't wait for you to get this, you're really gonna love it!"   I think that is a sentiment that only a true book lover can appreciate.  :)

We live in a world where everyone is over-concerrned wtih score-keeping, it's so refreshing to participate on a swap like PBS where there's not too much of that.  I mean, most of us have sent out booksa few times that cost us more in mailing than purchasing a credit would cost........but the *feeling* of being part of a community of people who love sending and receiving BOOKS more than compensates, IMHO.