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Topic: Fewer Books Available lately

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Philip (wingate) - ,
Subject: Fewer Books Available lately
Date Posted: 12/12/2012 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2010
Posts: 61
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I think PaperbackSwap is awesome, of course.  Yet, I've noticed a slight decline (about 100k) in books available over the past few months.  Is this natural volatility?  Is it similar to patterns of the past?  Just curious about how participation is changing (or not).

 

Date Posted: 12/12/2012 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,335
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The holidays are probably always a bit slower due to people traveling or not posting as much so they don't have to deal with lines at the PO.  A lot of items posted are wishlisted so those will not ever be calculated in the books available number.

Date Posted: 12/12/2012 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,447
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On the flip side of that equation...in January and February, we usually see a greater number of books (particularly WL books) getting posted after the holidays are over.

Date Posted: 12/12/2012 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Thanks for pointing that out, Philip. 

I am not sure if the "number of available books" changes when members put their accounts on vacation hold. The end of the year does tend to be slow as people are busy with the holidays and want to avoid long lines at the PO. 

However, I think these are seasonal variations superimposed onto larger trends. 

E-readers are becoming more popular, and I think that will have an increasingly significant impact on book trading.  Even I, one of the most ardent lovers of paper books, accepted an offer for a hand-me-down Kindle. 

There seems to be fewer books traded over the last year. From April 2011 to January 2012, there were 1.9 million books traded. From January 2012 to today, there were 1.7 million. 

Credits seem to be cheaper in the Book Bazaar. I've seen more in the $2 to $2.10 range.

I am not sure if there are more semi-professional swappers running multi-credit deals, or people are recouping whatever they can? However, at this price I will no longer buy used books just to post. 

I sort of view the new "Member Appreciation Books" (MAB) as an attempt to remove credits from circulation. 

These observations are not making me panic, but I am evaluating my strategy of only ordering WL books as they become available. 

Wondering what everyone else sees? 

 

Date Posted: 12/13/2012 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2007
Posts: 5,522
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Since the cost of mailing keeps going up, I've re-evaluated what and how many books I post.  I have more credits than I need so, for the most part, I now only post wishlisted books.  Also, I'm really trying to reduce the size of my TBR, so I've had my account on hold for much of the year in order to limit the number of books I receive.  So I've really slowed down how much trading I do here at PBS.

ETA:  I was curious as to how much book-swapping I've done this year, so I checked my transaction record.  So far this year, I have 58 transactions, with another 3 books to mail out tomorrow.  Last year I was involved in 108 transactions and the previous year I had 127 transactions.



Last Edited on: 12/13/12 4:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2012 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2010
Posts: 67
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A few months ago, I tried to garner interest to see if others would agree to each add a new audio book to the listing. I pretty much got "no" answers from those that responded. My rationale was if we each added a book, the would be an abundance of selections. So, I have begun adding CDs to my shelf but don't always list them on PBS. As for listing books, in the last 30 days, I mailed 32 books and received 48 (mostly books for my grandkids). This year I mailed 400. Since I use this site a lot, I want to always have new choices so I try to do my part.
Date Posted: 12/15/2012 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I've had about 100 transactions this year, split pretty evenly between mailing and ordering.

It's funny, I've always thought the rise of the e-reader would cause a glut of books to be posted (but maybe not very desirable ones), and fewer requests. My shelf requests have slowed to the point of almost zero, for example, while my WL offer rate has stayed pretty steady since I joined (averaging 3/mos, give or take).

Philip (wingate) - ,
Date Posted: 12/15/2012 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2010
Posts: 61
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Thanks for your thoughts, all.   I figured that the participation may be slightly declining as the postage costs increase and e-readers become common. I just traded with someone who is clearing her shelf since she doesn't want to pay the mailing costs any more.  Yet, I'l keep trading here.  It's a great service.

Date Posted: 12/15/2012 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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How do you see a breakdown of your transactions by year? 

I definately trade less than I used to trade.  For me it's a combo of too many books on hand, higher postage, lack of space and having a Kindle.  While I love my Kindle, I still read a lot of print books. But because of space issues, I try to get a book on Kindle first.  I just can't afford to mail out as many books and at this point I only request books that my library doesn't have in some format. 

I've also mostly stopped posting books with more than a few copies in the system. I don't have the space to store them and since I only get a couple of WL offers a month, I don't need a lot of credits.  (My WL offers have really declined since I started WL more for non-fiction and less fiction) 

Date Posted: 12/15/2012 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,293
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I haven't verified this but I am reasonably sure that when someone puts their bookshelf on hold their books are not reflected in the available total. When you order from somene's bookshelf the number of books is listed. When you visit the bookshelf of someone's bookshelf that is on hold no number is displayed. I think the system ignores books that aren't availble to request.

Around October I noticed that the number of available books was dropping noticably. And around the same time I noticed an increase in shelves on hold. Seems likely the two are connected. 

Date Posted: 12/16/2012 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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I have over 300 books on my shelf, but it's been on hold for most of the last few months because I have too many credits already.

Date Posted: 12/16/2012 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2010
Posts: 67
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I had too many credits so I decided to be creative in their use. I searched the online reading lists of schools in my area. I then looked for copies owned by PBS members. Once I received the books, I donated them to the school. The schools appreciated the donation and I made good use of my credits. Hope it inspires others to help a favored school.

Last Edited on: 12/16/12 7:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/16/2012 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I just donated a bunch of credits to the latest school donation drive.  I have so many books and an excellent library system.  For the last year I've only been using 1 or 2 credits a month here because that's all the WL offers I've been getting (non-fictionb appears to move much slower than fiction on the WL).  I figured if I donated a bunch it would encourage me to read and post some WL books. 

I haven't even bothered to fill my WL back up. I paid for the Gold Key but I only have about 230 on my WL now. I went through and deleted anything that my library has.  I'm debating if I want to fill it back up to 300. 

Date Posted: 12/17/2012 7:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 688
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I find credits selling in the bazaar for $2 so frustrating.  I do lots of thrift stores and yard sale and see some great books for a quarter but I can't justify losing money to mail out a book.  Some ways I've been able to stay involved and pass on great finds:

Wishlist multiples has been wonderful

I offer deals of at least 2 credits.  They get more and it covers the cost of shipping. I just list the books in the deal so I don't get orders for individual books.

 

For reciving books, I watch the WL muliples and unpostable WL.  I 've gotten several books I've really enjoyed from those.

Date Posted: 12/17/2012 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I just donated a bunch of credits to the latest school donation drive.  I have so many books and an excellent library system.  For the last year I've only been using 1 or 2 credits a month here because that's all the WL offers I've been getting (non-fictionb appears to move much slower than fiction on the WL).  I figured if I donated a bunch it would encourage me to read and post some WL books. 

I just did precisely the same thing. I have so many books, and we're really desperately trying to get rid of piles of them. Both my SO and I are writers and need a significant amount of books for research, reference, etc., so having random, unread novels sitting about is just not feasible. My reading time has also diminished of late, so I'm kind of derperate to slow the flow of books coming into our (small) home. It's almost at the point where when I do get a WL book offered to me, my first reaction is often, "oh, dear. Not another one." (This is a sign of addiction isn't it, that I still can't stop ordering books completely.)

Date Posted: 12/17/2012 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,269
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I used to always check and see how many books had been posted every day at 5PM local time and it was usually 10,000+. A few days ago I checked after not checking for serveral months and found that approx. 6,000 books had been posted that day. Granted, this is the holiday season when many including me put their accounts on hold to avoid going to the post office.

Available books are below the 5 million mark now, when it used to be above that.

I think that ereaders are definitely making inroads on membership/participation here. Me? I love the feel of a book in my hands, and don't forsee myself ever going to an ereader.

Date Posted: 12/17/2012 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also the economy has been bad for a long time now.  PBS is probably one of those things that people cut back on and read what they have or get from the library. That's what I've been primarily doing.  I only get books from PBS that my library doesn't have and I am willing to wait however long the WL takes.  I don't even buy very many new books anymore.  I only buy 4 or 5 new books a year now as opposed to the 10+ a month that I used to buy.

Date Posted: 12/17/2012 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,129
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Also the economy has been bad for a long time now.

This is it for me, I've been employed for only part time hours for around 3 years now, and I have no spare money for postage at all.  I'm sitting on a couple of hundred books that are wishlisted because I can't bear to get rid of them, but can't afford to send them out, even with the wishlist multiples thread.  So I'm sure there are a lot of people who have fewer extra dollars to spend on postage every paycheck.

Hopefully as the economy gets better that will change.

I know a lot of members have been here for a long time and have a backlog of books and credits, but remember that new people are joining all the time, ones who still wait with baited breath for each ordered book to arrive!  So there should still be a lot of trading going on.

Diane

Date Posted: 12/18/2012 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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I've been relatively inactive for the last 9 months or so and I think it's just that I'm all swapped out. I'm a longtime member and have several thousand transactions under my belt, but have just lost the desire I once had to acquire books. I live in an area with a wonderful library system and I find myself using it a lot more in the past couple of years.

Part of that is that I've moved twice in the 7+ years I've been with PBS and am moving again at the end of January...the prospect of moving boxes and boxes of heavy books and bookshelves has definitely lost its appeal! My TBR now is much much smaller than the thousands...and then several hundreds it used to be...now I have only about 200 unread books in the apartment, and about that many "Keepers." I do have a Kindle and use that some, and also listen to quite a few audio books, but even there I borrow from the library rather than buy or borrow from friends.

I have about 200 credits at the moment, even after donating a bunch to the schools and military programs. I still have about 150 books on my wishlist but the great majority are on hold, except those that I really want or that I can't get from my library without doing an inter-library loan or something. I probably will start trading more again once this next move (and hopefully last one for a good long while!) is done and I'm settled, but for now I'm in dormant mode and just come here for the friendship and conversation. :-)

Cheryl

Date Posted: 12/18/2012 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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 but have just lost the desire I once had to acquire books.

 

I could use a little of this.....it sure would be a lot cheaper! LOLsmiley

Date Posted: 12/18/2012 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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I have been swapping since 2005 and have cut way way way back.  The cost of mailing goes up and I am not sure it is really worth the hassle anymore.   It takes me so long to get a wishlist book I often dont even remember why I was interested in a book by the time it comes up.... I don't know, I guess just losing interest and slowly migrating to ereaders too.

 

Hey Spuddie, we used to chat back in the day when we were both swapping alot~!    Good to see you!



Last Edited on: 12/18/12 3:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/19/2012 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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::waves at Sheryl::

 

Date Posted: 12/19/2012 5:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,626
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This is my 4th holiday season as a member here.  I always saw a huge downswing in requests from Thanksgiving til New Year's until this year, I have been busy busy  busy mailing out books the past 3 weeks!

Date Posted: 12/20/2012 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2011
Posts: 634
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I have received more offers for wish list books in the past moth; about 6 in total compared to the past 3 months where I got 1 book offered to me.   I enjoy the holiday season on PBS :)