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Topic: Credit prices, posting books, concern on the site....

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Subject: Credit prices, posting books, concern on the site....
Date Posted: 9/15/2011 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,359
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It costs $2.41 to ship a normal book media mail, slightly less if it's a light weight first class book. More if it's big.  Involves packing, time, and going to the PO as well.

Looking in the Book Bazaar I see someone selling 10 credits for $24.   Another person selling 40 credits at $2.40 each.  Oh, and a third at $2.40 or $2.35 depending on how many you buy.  Then there are the "Expensive" ones at $2.50.

That's just the first page of the BB.

I'm looking for someone to tell me why I should post books instead of just buying credits.  And to convince me this site isn't going to follow others I've seen that have ended up with people not posting books because there were too many credits floating around. Those sites all died and it took a long time til I was comfortable having a credit stash here (since I have series on my WL I like having a stash for if someone posts them all).  I'm getting less comfortable with a stash, having lost them before.

Date Posted: 9/15/2011 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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The credits have been that price now for well over a year and it hasn't effected the site yet.

They've come up with ways to limit the number of credits being transferred into the site to be sold and have the donation programs to help remove some of the excess in the system unlike the othersites that just kept increasing the glut of credits.

Many people now use the multiples thread for offering their wishlist books and use deals to get their cost per book down so they find that selling at those pricing breaks even or makes them a few nickels.

But yes, if you averaging over $2.50 per book to send, then it is cheaper to just buy credits. If the bottom line cost is the only reason you swap your books here, then its your choice if you want to just buy and not post, there are members who do just that.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I think your concerns are legitimate, but I am still holding on to my credits and only using them when WL books come in through FIFO. Check out my post here:

I notice that you always offer a 3/2 deal. Credits may be cheaper than purchase price if you ship in multiples.

Posting (and mailing) books performs a decluttering function. I also think it's sort of fun.

Presumably the vast majority of  the cheap credits were earned through sending books/cds/dvds out. They didn't flood the market through inflation.

And to borrow an argument from others, the vast majority of members don't read the forums, so they don't don't know there are below-Kiosk-price credits. People are still posting and requesting books.

But then again, I've been called a "doom sayer" and "this is just nuts!"

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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Obviously I can't speak for everyone on PBS but I will speak for myself. Personally, I love to swap books, not credits. True, it would probably be cheaper for me to buy credits from other members and to get my books that way, but I like swapping books. I love posting books I've read or books from friends or family or yard sales and sharing them with others. I get super excited when I come home to discover a PBS book in my mailbox and I like the idea that some else gets that same thrill when I send them a book.

My father and stepmother have a ton of books in their house. They have books that they haven't touched in ages, haven't read in years. I keep begging them to let me have some, not for the credits, but so the books can finally get off the shelves and go out to people who would enjoy them more now than my family is. They won't give me any and it drives me crazy.

That's how I feel about book posting and credit pricing. I'm here to share books, not credits.

Last Edited on: 9/16/11 9:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/16/2011 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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I do buy credits now and then in the Book Bazaar.

But the purpose for me being on PBS is to get rid of books.  It has less to do with a financial trade off than it is sharing books with others.  If I have a wishlisted book, I am going to post it.  And it doesn't matter to me how many credits I have at the time.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 2:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,316
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I have bought & sold credits in the Book Bazaar before.  When I start running low on credits but I don't have any WL books to post & no one is ordering books from my shelf, I will buy more credits so I can still order books or have credits if a WL book is offered to me.

I sold credits once mostly because I needed a little money in my Paypal account for something away from this site.  I had enough credits built up that selling a few didn't hurt anything.

I mailed 3 books today, roughly costing me around $7, give or take a few cents.  I just threw postage on them myself, probably costing me more than it should have had I gotten them weighed with the exact postage.  And yes, that does add up after awhile but I know that my books are going to be enjoyed by other members on here.  I get a little excited to have a book of mine requested.  It motivates me to keep reading so I can post more & that is helping me to keep from "hoarding" my books. I have ordered way more books than I've mailed out so far since joining a year ago, but I am starting to get through some of them & I am now being able to put some back on here to share with others.

I think in general I am probably breaking even when I mail a book & receive a book.  It's costing about the same amount for someone to send me a book as it is for me to send out a book.  It's not about the financial payoff (or expense) to me.  It's about finding new authors or new genres to read. I'm always finding more & more books I want to read & this site is to thank!

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 5:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,384
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No one can convince you or tell you what to do.  For me, I'm not on the site for purely financial reasons.  I enjoy trading books.  Even at $2.40ish per credit, that is still incredibly less expensive than the 1/2 off or 40% off cover that most used book stores charge.  Yes, you can pick up books at thrift stores for $1 or so, but how often do you find new releases or wishlist books for that price?

If you prefer to not go through motions of posting, wrapping, & mailing books, then yes, go ahead and buy the credits from someone who chooses to do so.  It certainly isn't going to kill the site because I'm guessing that the % of people that ONLY buy credits and never swap is very low.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 6:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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Like many have stated, I post and trade a lot of books, have a decent stash of credits (recently went on a shopping spree and requested 28 books in one day), and I'm here for the fun of trading books, reducing the TBR however it can be reduced. I've never had to buy credits, if I reach that point (have no WL or low-inventory books to post) I may step back and reassess why I'm here. For now, I really enjoy the PBS experience.

There can be an equal number of pro and con messages, but only you can make the decision whether to post books or buy credits. My shelf is currently on hold so I can catch up a bit on my reading but I have about 800 books on my shelf, always posting more, so I don't think there's a dearth of books being posted.


Date Posted: 9/16/2011 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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They were even cheaper than that for awhile and going for $2-$2.30 in the BB.  The 50credit limit seemed to have brought prices up a bit. Probably because the people transferring a lot of credits from the other 2 sites are slowed down. 

They've been going for under $2.60 in the BB for a few years now and the site is still going strong.

The majority of PBSers never even come to the message boards to know they can get credits that cheap and a lot of hte regular forum users are avid book mailers.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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Just had to share one story of PBS swapping because it's one of my favorite stories.

One of my earliest swaps was taking a very old How To Draw the Muppets book out of storage and posting it on the site. It was requested and I wrapped it up and sent it off. A few days later it had been marked recieved and I thought that was that. But then I read the PM attached to the swap. It was a parent saying that the book had arrived in the mail perfectly, right on their young child's birthday. The child had spent a good portion of their birthday drawing the Muppet characters with the help of the book and the parent thanked me for helping to make their child's birthday an awesome one.

And that is why I swap books :D

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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But the purpose for me being on PBS is to get rid of books. 


That's my main concern as well. I have soooo many books I've built up over the last 5 years, ever since I started my book blog. I want to read them and then get them into the hands of people who will enjoy them. Of course, every credit earned is another oppertunity to request a book that will replace that one, but I've been trying to be good about not doing that...   angel

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,040
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And to convince me this site isn't going to follow others I've seen that have ended up with people not posting books because there were too many credits floating around.

There are more than 5 million books posted. You might not be able to sell a credit stash quickly (to make a profit, anyway), but you could certainly order books with it and deplete it that way.

The number of books has grown from 3 million posted to 5 million posted since I've joined ... I have never seen it decrease in any significant way. (If you watch it it goes down 2 books, up a book, down a book, up 2 books, etc).

And the number of books traded per week has stayed somewhere between 40,000 - 50,000 every time I've looked (granted, I don't check super frequently) but it seems pretty steady to me.

I think the long term future is a little bleak for PBS, though, but in my mind, that is predominently going to be the effect of e-readers. More members here getting their brand new books via e-reader means less copies of  new published books to be posted. Long term. Every Christmas, more people post in the forums about their new e-reader they get for a gift.

Last Edited on: 9/16/11 11:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/16/2011 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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While I agree with Sara on the long-term picture, I don't see a problem, either, short term.  I've been here for over two years and credit prices have always been about break even.  I receive about twice as many books as I ship (I'm a keeper, re-reader at heart) so I've bought quite a few credits.  Some from the kiosk, some from others.  My new book purchases dropped radically after I joined here, largely because I became interested in so many older books.  New book purchases were the "must have keeper shelf" books and a fairly rare impulse buy that might or might not be traded here.  But I bought a Nook Touch three months ago, and my new purchases have disappeared almost entirely.  I picked up some at Borders closings, but otherwise all my impulse buys are e-books.

Last Edited on: 9/16/11 1:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/16/2011 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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From what I've seen, people buy credits from the Bazaar to spend them.

They spend them on books they want now, which gets books moving off of book shelves and credits flowing.

Which wouldn't happen if people had large numbers of credits but few books they wanted but can't sell the credits to someone who does want to order now. I've been here long enough that most of my WL books are in my TBR pile, and my WL is fairly short. I don't need a lot of credits, just as I don't need a lot of books, and if one of my WL'd books come in I can easily buy a few credits to get them. Credits sitting in my account for ages doesn't do anyone any good.

I think it's good for those who don't want to sit on a lot of credits when they don't have a large need, so that they feel more comfortable that if the site did go down they haven't lost a chunk of investment with it. It's good for those on a tight budget and don't want to have to pay the full Kiosk cost to get them cheaper from other members. It's good for the site because they don't have to set aside a book or the money of a kiosk sale because a credit that already exists and is 'gifted' between members is already backed by a book or money. And it's good for the senders because someone is going to be spending those credits they just bought, mostly sooner than later.

By letting everyone use the site in the way they find most advantageous, they're helping to keep people interested and the books moving. Better than having credits sit and do nothing for months at a time.

And so far, there hasn't been a shortage of people posting the books they do have, either for credits to spend, to save or to sell. So I think it's really a nothing to worry about.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think I know one of the other sites you are talking about.  I do that site as well. They give partial pts for posting books and used to give partial pts for marking books received.  Giving away lots of "free" pts that aren't earned by sending books creates a an over abundance of credits compaired to books posted.  Now there's a huge problem of people who have a few hundred credits and don't wnat to mail out anymore books untilt hey get some of their WL books. Which really slows trading down.  Books that have a few hundred copies here are frequently WL there. I don't keep more than a handful of credits over there for that reason.  At this point, due to all those extra pts they give out, I've gotten more books than I've sent out there.  So if it goes under and I lose a few credits it's no big deal to me. 

I am a little leary of keeping a large stash of credits here now too, although I feel comfortable keeping a lot more credits here then there.  But I'm more concerned about e-readers and rising postage rates cutting down on trading. 

That said-if the price of credits went back up to what I used to get for them ($2.75-$3.00) then I might increase my book posting and sell credits. Not to make a profit but to at least recoup postage and mailing supplies. (yes I reuse mailers but there's still printer ink, label paper and tape).


Date Posted: 9/16/2011 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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E-readers may slow some trading, but there are many of us who are paper readers, Luddites, and stick-in-the-muds.

Without PBS, I'd be donating or passing on the books that I would part with.  If I lose my stash of credits, so be it.  I'd consider it a small cost compared to all the cool books I've gotten.  The books that have left here have gone to someone who has requested them versus someone who has taken something offered.  It's a gamble I'm willing to take.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,413
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Count me in with the paper-readers.  Books have been around a really long time, and I think in my lifetime they will not be outmoded.

I fear no credit failure. It's for the love of the written word that we are here.

Long live PBS!

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I have a eReader, but the books I buy for the eReader are not new releases and are heavily discounted.  I buy all my new releases in paperback because I can choose to swap them when I want.  


Date Posted: 9/16/2011 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2009
Posts: 8,077
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I have a eReader, but the books I buy for the eReader are not new releases and are heavily discounted.  yes

I am on PBS to get rid of stuff I don't want to read or have read and pick up stuff I do want to read cheap!

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I have a eReader, but the books I buy for the eReader are not new releases and are heavily discounted.  yes

I do not enjoy reading on an eReader.  Long live real books!

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/5/2005
Posts: 471
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I love being able to curl up with a book and haven't even bothered to get an eReader although I am sure hubby would love for me to as the clutter would be less noticeable. I buy books at yardsales, trade books here and am not really concerned about it going under.  Not everyone wants to go high tech with everything some of us love the old way of doing things.

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,540
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Thanks Erin for saying everything I  would have said and keep working on those parents. (There are some old books out there that need me to read them) It's all about the books !!

Date Posted: 9/16/2011 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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I have a eReader, but the books I buy for the eReader are not new releases and are heavily discounted. yes Heavily discounted, as in FREE. I think I've bought one 99cent book.

Date Posted: 9/17/2011 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Sara wrote:

There are more than 5 million books posted. You might not be able to sell a credit stash quickly (to make a profit, anyway), but you could certainly order books with it and deplete it that way.

The number of books has grown from 3 million posted to 5 million posted since I've joined ... I have never seen it decrease in any significant way. (If you watch it it goes down 2 books, up a book, down a book, up 2 books, etc).

I always get a kick out of the "number of books posted" because I think it's really misleading. Sure, there are 5 million books posted, but I have to wonder:

1) How many of them are actually *available*...i.e., posted to an active member's bookshelf who are willing to send them out?

2) And how many of those 5 million are those books that have hundreds and thousands of copies? They are not saying there's 5 million unique ISBNs. Just for the heck of it, I added up the copies listed on the "top 50 most posted books" those 50 ISBNs alone = almost 87,000 books...and that's only a single ISBN of the uber-posted books like The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Pelican Brief, etc...how many would it be if you added in the other versions of those top 50 books? And since the #50 most-posted book had over 1,100 copies posted in the system, you have to wonder how far down the top posted books list you go before you get to a more 'reasonable' number, say, 200 copies posted?

Don't get me wrong--I love PBS and I think it is working just fine! When I joined, there were only 64,000 (yes, sixty-four thousand!) books posted, and watched with glee as we had the contests to see when it would hit 100,000, 500,000, a million. More books is better, even if there are now some titles that are totally flooded in the system. When I joined, The Secret Life of Bees had a long wishlist and was snapped up when I posted it my first week here...now there are 1195 copies of the ISBN I posted in the system!

I have plenty of credits and mostly let the wishlist do my PBS shopping now, but I never hesitate to post books and even if I get low on credits will continue to do that rather than just buy credits--for me it's about trading and sharing books and about recycling. I have bought credits, but not since the first few months I was here. I am glad that the powers that be put a limit on the number of credits people can sell or exchange in a given month, otherwise I think there could be more of a detrimental effect of the credit-selling. I'm not worried about the future of PBS and will continue to enjoy it as I have for many years to come, I think.


Date Posted: 9/17/2011 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2006
Posts: 125
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According to the PBS stats page, there are 675,393 unique titles available at this moment.  Sure, it's not 5 million, but that's still a huge variety of books to choose from - bigger than any local library!