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Date Posted: 8/17/2012 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2012
Posts: 1,493
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I am a newbie here at PBS, and I wonder if my experience so far is the norm. I've been a member for just under two months, and so far I have mailed 15 books and received 1 book - although I have requested 5. Here is what I have seen so far:

Book request #1 - mailed out and received promptly. I was very pleased.

Book request #2 - poster couldn't find the book. Transaction was canceled.

Book request #3-5 - I requested 1 book, then clicked on where it said "order more from member" and requested 2 more. The request was 8/11. On 8/17 all of the books showed up on my transaction list with a red X next them, and one of the books reappeared as "waiting for member" with a request date of 8/17 and they have until 8/22 to mail.


I also joined the Box-of-Books club. I had a request for 2 of my books, and the requestor told me to look at her bookshelf, and let her know if there were books I was looking for since she has a lot not posted. I didn't find anything on her shelf that I was interested in, but PMed her back telling her what authors I was looking for. It's been over a week, and I still haven't heard back from her.


I'm still learning about all this, but it seems to me that people don't actually have the books they post, or they don't want to send them or something. They just don't seem to follow through with their communications or transactions. I know that I have every book I have posted on a separate shelf in my home ready to go. I check the PBS site before I go to work and when I get home every day. If there is a request, I accept it immediately, print the wrapper with postage, wrap it up and send it out with the very next mail service. In other words, my books are mailed the same day or the next day (excluding Sunday) at the latest.


Am I the only one out there who does this? Is it normal to only receive 20% of the books that you request while you send out 100% of the books requested from you?


So far, I have to say I'm disappointed in PBS. frown

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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As far as people cancelling, it happens. I think your first few transactions were just unlucky. This is a great place to trade books, you just have to have some patience with people. You'll get your books eventually.

Box of Books is a totally different animal. I used it for a while, but it wasn't for me. If you're only looking for specific types of books to trade for, you'll have to turn down a lot of requests. That's normal for BoB though. It's all dependent on whether the person requesting from you has anything you want. If not, it's fine to just politely decline.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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So sorry you have had frustrating experiences so far.  Just want to say, PBS works best for members with a lot of patience.  That is the single best secret ingredient for enjoying this site to its full potential.

I've received over 1200 books from other members, so I'm a happy camper and love, love, love this site.

Your experience has not been "normal" in my experience. Yes, there are transactions that time out, and cancel due to lack of response, and members that don't come on every day and so do not respond to messages in a week, and members who cannot find a book they posted and thus have to cancel.  These are all normal situations.  Although it isn't normal that one member, such as yourself, has had to deal with all of these "problem" swaps in only a couple of months of membership.

Honestly, try to give PBS a bit more time...  and you will experience a greater number of satisfactory, and even GREAT swaps.  I promise!

Nothing happens quickly at PBS.  So as long as you are willing to wait, you will be rewarded.  Most members are thrilled to receive extra books added to an order, so do not be discouraged from your previous experience.  Also, check out the Book Bazaar discussion forum, and perhaps the Games forum -- they are ways to get more books you want more quickly.  And members participating in those forums are more likely to be among the more active PBS members.

(I notice that you only have 3 books on your WishList.  Adding more books to your WishList will also increase your chances of getting great books that you want, although again, it is a process that rewards patience, as WL books come up randomly, and not always as quickly as we'd like.  However, a great many of the books I've gotten from PBS are WL books, so I highly recommend utilizing this feature because it WORKS!)




Last Edited on: 8/17/12 2:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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No, it's not the norm..  I have a house full of books to testify to that fact, LOL.   

I agree with Lisa, I think your first couple transactions were just unlucky and unfortunate.  Transaction #1 was great.  Transaction #2 and #3 were unfortunate.  Although I don't think I understand why one of the books from request #3 is back again, unless it was wish listed and rolled over to the next person. (?)

Just hang in there, it WILL get better.smiley

As far as the Box O Books, I tried it briefly but I didn't really like it, so I stopped doing it.   It became too difficult to find anyone who had any books on their shelves that I wanted.  It would be one thing if I was willing to read just about any genre, but my tastes in what I read are pretty narrow and specific to one genre only.  So Box O Books was not for me.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 556
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I agree, the vast majority of my exchanges here have been pleasant and unremarkable. I haven't done Box of Books so I will let others speak to what is common there.

One thing that may be causing your 'bad luck' is that as a newbie you're probably requesting items that are available, not items that are wishlisted. If it's something that has a lot of copies in the system, the person that listed the copy that's next requested may have listed it months or even years ago, and may not be checking their PBS account as much right now - maybe they're away from their computer, maybe they've given up on PBS, what have you - and you have to wait until their response times out to get a reply. The good thing is that you're helping everyone by helping weed out inactive accounts, but it is frustrating to wait.

Re books 3-5, It sounds like maybe two of the books you requested timed out, and the other one rolled over? I'm not an expert in how all that works.

PBS is definitely a place where it benefits you to have patience, IMO. When I first started bookswapping (back in the day on another site) I would micromanage my inventory and check everything constantly and get aggravated when people didn't respond and mail as quickly as I did. Eventually I have figured out that it's much more sane for me to just do my part as expected and let the rest of it take care of itself. Sometimes books are lost, sometimes people flake, sometimes people are rude or make a mistake or just don't think. If I absolutely must have a book right away, I get it by other means.



Date Posted: 8/17/2012 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,037
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I also do not think that's the norm. Although it happens.

I've mailed and received more than a thousand books. About 99% of transactions go just fine.

 I check the PBS site before I go to work and when I get home every day. If there is a request, I accept it immediately, print the wrapper with postage, wrap it up and send it out with the very next mail service. In other words, my books are mailed the same day or the next day (excluding Sunday) at the latest.

I did this too when I first started. One thing that I realized over time is that, while there are some members here who handle book transactions like this, most of the members here take more time. I've since cut back my own mailing to once a week, only (I have to take them to the post office, and making multiple trips per week was just too much).

Once you have a pile of to-be-read books built up a little bit, these kinds of delays won't seem like such a big deal.

The nice thing is ... you have built yourself up a nice little pile of credits, which some members find hard to do at first (when the books they have to post when they join already have a lot of copies in the system).   So, my advice is, give it a longer chance, I think you will find after a few months that it will all work out.

As far as BOB goes, I was also interested in it when I first joined the site. But I realized that I have different reading taste than many other members, and it was going to be hard to find books that I was interested in trading for. I think BOB works well if you are either really into mysteries, or really into certain types of romances. But I don't actually come across many bookshelves that have multiple books that are to my taste, AND have books that I haven't already read. It's rare. So, I decided that I woudl stick to regular book ordering and forgo the BOB.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,037
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The other thing that sometimes happens is that PBS seems to be a little bit seasonal, too. There are seasons where trading seems to pick up (Jan/Feb after the winter holidays are over; Sept/Oct when people stop doing so many summer activities) and slower times (beginning of summer, Nov/Dec during the holidays, etc).

So, we are still at the end of summer where people are doing outdoor summer stuff instead of reading a lot .... in the fall lwhen school starts and daylight savings time ends, etc ... trading usuallu picks up a bit.

Not to say that trading stops during the slower months ... it definitely doesn't .... but right now we are still in summer vacation season, where peopel have left and gone on vacation, etc ... and so sometimes book orders slip, get canceled, etc.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS LJ.  Another factor to PBS success, is a healthy wishlist.  Yours has only 3 items at this time.  frown

Unless you only order books currently available, it works much better to have a number of wishlisted books working through the system.  This makes it more likely that you will be offered books on a more regular basis.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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What someone recommended to me when I first joined was to hope into the Club Members thoughts forum, and check those members shelves for anything you might want to read.  They are active members who will see requests quickly and hopefully respond quickly.  

The more wish list books you put on your list, the more chance of gaining requests.

I also find the book bazaar a better way to get a load of books rather than box of books. Might want to check that forum out too, lots of deals for two books for one credit or even better :)

And this time of year people are mad crazy with school, work, summer and life. I;d say it should soon settle down to normal.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,549
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Welcome to PBS LJ.  Give it a little more time,  I think you've had a run of bad luck because those stats are ususual. 

I also used to print and send right away when I 1st started, but now I always choose the more time option.  Sometimes I send them out right away, but sometimes it may take the full 5 days as I am not able to go to the post office.  I don't know about BOB though, never participated in that.   But IMHO about 95% of my transactions are great!

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,316
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I would also suggest giving it a bit more time.  I've been a member for almost 2 years & have had way more good luck than bad.  Yes, I've had a few bad experiences but the good ones far exceed the bad. Don't give up hope on PBS just yet! smiley

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Add me to the list of used to mail everything right away camp.  Now I frequently take the full 5 days to mail and sometimes even go into the 2 day grace period.  I've moved 3 times since I joined and have had to cancel book requests either because I couldn't find the book that I had posted 2 years before or it got damaged during a move.  It happens. 

If you have books to read while waiting it makes it much easier.

You also have to keep in mind that PBS is not the place to get books if you need them in a hurry.  Someone can take almost 2 weeks to mail and still be within the PBS limits: 5 days to accept,  choose the latest possible mail by date, then use the 2 day grace period.  Not everyone has the time (or energy) to mail everyday. A lot of members don't even have daily internet access. They can only access at work, a friend or loved ones computer, the library or when they can get to a place with free wifi.  People have unplanned issues: computer dies, kids get sick, car accident, spouse/kid says they mailed books but didn't, forgetting to put your account on vacation when on vacation, power outages etc..,,

The first book I received on PBS was the complete wrong book and I freaked out thinking I had just wasted a bunch of postage money. But I stuck with it and would rate 98% of my transactions as great. 

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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As for box of books: I read a lot of romances and mysteries and I still decided that BOB wasn't for me.  Some people love it but I had a hard time finding more than 1 or 2 books on peoples shelves that I couldnt' get at the thrift store for .25, the library for free or didn't already own/read. 


Date Posted: 8/17/2012 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2012
Posts: 1,493
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Wow. Y'all are great. I'm so glad I posted my concerns, because now I feel better. Here's what I've learned from you:


   1. I have rookie-itis and need to chill.

   2. I need to learn to be patient (I've been working on that my whole life, not gonna happen any time soon)

   3. Stuff happens.

   4. re-read numbers 1-3 - often.

It was funny to read how many of you used to mail immediately when you first started out too, then you learned better ;)  Shannon, Lisa H. and thekoose, I think you're right. I just had a few unlucky transactions. Laura S., that is correct. I have only been requesting books that are posted. I figured, why request something not available? Now I see why it would be good to use the WL.

Sara P, I do have a stack of to-be-read books waiting for me. It doesn't stop me from coveting MORE and RIGHT NOW!! LOL I'm like a child when it comes to books. Gimme, gimme, gimme.. NOW! 

Sianeka, 1200 books???? I just about fell out of my chair! I want to come live with you and roll around naked in your books. cheeky    Thanks for the advice, Xengab. I'm going to try that next. Ameber and Mary, thank you for the advice and encouragement.

Denise, thank you for the warm welcome but you just creeped me out. How did you know I have 3 books on my WL?  Even I didn't know that. And now that we're on the subject, how did they get there? I only put the Stephen King pop-up book on there.

I have a lot to learn, and with helpful swappers like all of you in these forums, I think I'll settle in and really enjoy it here.




Date Posted: 8/17/2012 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 279
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This is a fun site for people who love to read. I have been on here for a couple of years and I still have all my rookie enthusiasm. First thing I do when I go online everyday is check my email to see if I have a book request from PBS. It is still a thrill to see that message!

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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how did they get there?

LJ, it sounds like when you ordered the three books from the same person, and that person couldn't fill the order, only one of the orders was passed on to another member.  The other two books must not have had other copies in the system so they were automatically added to your wish list.

You can see other members' wishlists by clicking on the Wish List button under their name.


Date Posted: 8/17/2012 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2012
Posts: 1,493
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It is a thrill, isn't Gayle? I do the same thing every morning. I feel like a kid a Christmas, then I get to feel like Santa Claus! 

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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  1. I have rookie-itis and need to chill. 

Naw, it's "new member enthusiasm" which is not a bad thing. I was pretty much the same way, but I have to echo what everyone else said.

I mainly post WL books and try to time it so everything is done so I can mail on Saturday, the only day I can mail. As you post more books to your shelf, build up your WL, things will go more smoothly and you'll get a rhythm of your own.

And being patient is a good thing.

Belated welcome - and check back in here in a few months and let us know how things are going for you. You'll have fun here.


Last Edited on: 8/17/12 5:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I don't really think your transaction experience is that unusual - out of requests from three people who had books posted, one responded perfectly, one responded but made an error, and one person is not active (and one book with available copies rolled over to the next poster). And you have contacted one B-o-Ber who didn't really share your tastes.

That's not great luck, but it's not terrible, either. You got, or will get, two of the five books your requested; the other three were no longer available at PBS but hadn't been removed from the system. And you still may get them later, now that they're on your wish list. None of these experiences were "problem swaps" in the sense that you gave a credit for them and have lost anything - it's just a disappointment.

I looked at my own recent history (which is much more active than usual) to see how it's been turning out for me. I've requested 16 books in the last month, and here's what's happened:

Three books rolled over to the next poster, or weren't accepted by the first poster; one later rolled over a second time. On one of these, the eventual sender waited until almost the last minute to mark the book mailed, then didn't really mail until two or three days later, according to my best reading of the DC trail.

Someone else PMed me to let me know that there was writing in their book (for which I was very grateful!), and I had to turn that copy down, but the second poster is sending.

From another person I requested a deal: 3 for 2, but she didn't respond for days, and I was afraid she'd been offended or thought I was trying to break rules. Turned out she was having computer troubles and was happy to do the deal, but for some time I thought I wouldn't get it.

One book I received okay (although it had clearly been mailed almost two weeks late), but it contained writing, so I marked it received with a problem, sending as nice a note as I could figure out how to write. The sender was bewildered and didn't understand that writing isn't allowed, and thought I was trying to be unfair, but remained polite; we're still exchanging notes and I still hope to get my credit back on that one, after I educate a fairly new member on this process.

One book I received just fine, only to realize that it was identical to a book I already owned. I had thought I was getting a slightly different version. My mistake; I had in fact wanted a second copy, just not quite an identical one. But this book will work out fine for my purposes, maybe even better than what I thought I was requesting.

One book I requested though I didn't know that much about it; I sort of like it but will probably not keep it; I'll repost in a few weeks.

One poster is sending me two books (after she contacted me about writing in them and I okayed their condition), and started a little conversation about why I was interested in them (a sort of book that's rarely requested).

So, here's what's I have so far:

7 books received that I'm very pleased with

1 that I'm less pleased with through no fault of the sender's

7 books still in the mail, of which two have a DC trail and four come from people that I've corresponded with and I believe are likely to arrive okay, since the senders were responsive and seemed to understand the rules

1 book received in unsatisfactory condition; I'm likely to get my credit back eventually once she understands the rules

This is relatively typical of my experience. The most uncertain part of the whole business is making the request, especially when you're requesting books that are available in the system. When someone has actually agreed to send, your odds get much better. And your perspective changes: Once books actually start rolling in, it's easier to relax and know that although you won't get every book you want, you will in fact get lots of great books - you just won't know when!

I hope you enjoy your swapping!


(edited for clarity, twice)

Last Edited on: 8/17/12 9:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I only put the Stephen King pop-up book on there.

There's a Stephan King pop-up book??? Well damn, I need to add that to my WL right away. My collection won't be complete without that baby. Yes, you learn something new every day.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Lisa- http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Who-Loved-Gordon/dp/0689862725

mistie -
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,024
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Welcome, LJM.

From my experience, i think you have been a bit unlucky with your first requests. 

request 1 - I would say 95%(+) of my requests happen like this one

Request 2 -  it "shouldn't" happen, but it does. I hope that the member marked that they could not mail the book, & you weren't the one who cancelled the request. If there was more than one copy available, your request would have rolled over to the next person with that book in the FIFO que.

Request 3-5 - You probably came across an inactive member - someone who joined, posted books, then drifted away. It happens occasionally. f you order books that have copies that are available in the system, the member have up to five dys to reply, if they mark they cannot mail the book , or if they do not respond to the request, then your request is rolled over to the next member that has that book available - they then have another five days to reply. it appears two of the books you request only had one copy in the system, so when it timed out those two requests got cancelled. The third book has other copies available, so the requets has rolled over to the next member. I hope they respond quickly for you :-)

FWIW - when you requets a book and the person does not reply, the book is removed from their bookshelf by the PBS system.

While there are people who choose to only mail one a week or so, I have found there seem to be many moremembers who get the book in the mail a day or two after the request.

Don't be discouraged, keep browsing for books that are currently available & request them . I Sincerely expect your "luck" will improve.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also everytime you have one of those requests time out-it flags an account as possibly inactive.  Which can help weed out inactive members.  It also removes that copy from the system and moves everyone else up the FIFO line.

And fill up your WL.  Just because it's not available now doesn't mean it won't be soon.  Some books are posted regularly but are always WL.  So if you never get in line you may never get it here. 

Another thing I have learned: the more copies of a book in the system, the more likely it is to time out on at least 1 sender before someone accepts it and mails.  You'd think that people would be excited to finally have a book with hundreds of copies posted finally be requested: but often times inactives have collected at the top. People can lose interest if they only have heavily posted books and don't get any requests for a long time.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 8/17/2012 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I am still merrily picturing LJM rolling around naked in a pile of books! *big grin* 

Don't fear, with a little patience, you too can have so many books, they are EVERYWHERE!!!  Sounds like you believe us (and we wouldn't lie to you!) so you really will be off to a better start soon and will be getting some PBS books soon.  Good luck and Happy swapping.

Date Posted: 8/17/2012 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2012
Posts: 1,493
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Ahh... thanks Diane. I was wondering about that.