Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Gold Key Membership

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Gold Key Membership
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2010
Posts: 94
Back To Top

I was just reading the description for the Gold Key membership and something is bothering me... 

"Directed Delivery - When multiple copies of a book you order are available, we’ll determine the most expedient route to you. We take into account several factors to get your book to you as quickly as possible, putting special emphasis on the closest geographical location for “Greener swapping”!"

Isn't that going to screw up everyone's FIFO?

I will not be singing up for Gold Key because none of those features are anything I need, but I'm concerned about how this is going to indirectly affect my FIFO.  I have books on my shelf that have been there since I joined and I hate to think that someone would get to mail their copy before mine because they're a state closer?  That's really going to screw over the people in Alaska and Hawaii, too.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
Back To Top

There is a long discussion of this on the "Club Members Thoughts" Forum -- check it out.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,585
Back To Top
It's a valid concern, but it really shouldn't affect anyone's bookshelf

For the members at APO addresses, or in Alaska or Hawaii, this will try to find other members in those areas who have the book they're looking for.

also, keep in mind that this feature is not going to be in use by all members, the percentage of members using it, compared to the percentage of members not using it means that you will be getting lots of requests.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
Back To Top

Yeah, that does sound like it would mess up the FIFO system. Personally, I don't need my PBS books to be super speedy. I'm content to wait for them to arrive at their own pace... unless it's the next book in a series in which the last book ended on a cliffhanger, which just happened to me this past week. Then it's a very different matter!

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2010
Posts: 94
Back To Top

Thanks for the heads up about the other post.  I'm reading through it, but I still don't like it.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
Back To Top

I don't like it either. The thought of a membership fee came up some years back (maybe around the time I first joined?) and I'd rather pay a straight-up membership fee rather than this Gold Key thing. It strikes me as being a low-grade extortion.

Just my opinion, of course.


Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,585
Back To Top
How is it extortion when it's a voluntary service?
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
Back To Top

When someone offers "better service" for a fee, that's an extortion in my books. Legal, and yes voluntary.

I don't think anyone should have to pay for better service from a site that seems to be doing it right to begin with.

Just my opinion, as I said. I don't have to like it or sign up for it - but I won't be getting the better service? Time will tell.




Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,585
Back To Top
It's not better service, it's just extra features.

the extra features are all things that members have been asking for. It will not effect the way the site runs for any of the users. Books will still get requested and shipped.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
Back To Top


But one still hast to pay for "extra features"? They should be for everyone, and free.

The Little Socialist/Gail



Last Edited on: 8/25/11 7:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
Back To Top

I think of it somewhat like cable.

I can have basic cable for a small fee (I can have PBS for free)

I can have enhanced cable for a bit more (I can have more options if I pay a tiny bit more on PBS)

I can have everything on cable if I want to pay.  How is that extortion??  It's paying one price for one set of services (or on PBS nothing) and a bit more for more services.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
Back To Top

I think PBS did what was fair.  Not all members can afford a membership fee.  So they provided a new membership tier with added features for a small fee, which supports the site.

Ya never know, the feature can be gifted, maybe someone will gift you with the service?  Why should PBS offer the upgrade to everyone, where do you think the money comes from to support the site?

The  worse case scenarios described would only exist if EVERYONE had the upgrade.  Since that won't happen, it isn't going to have a large impact.


Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2011
Posts: 122
Back To Top
I don't really see how it is extortion, either. Idon't personalky think that those services are better, either. Different, but not necessarily better. To expand on the cable analogy, some people don't like HBO shows, anf they don't pay for HBO. Some people want HBO shows, so they pay for them. If the person not paying for HBO suddenly wants to watch True Blood, it would be silly for them to say it is unfair for them not to be able to watch it for free. If, however, they had always had nickelodeon and suddenly now they didn't and had to pay extra for it, that would be a valid complaint. If PBS suddenly downgraded your services and made you pay to get what you currently get, it would be a valid complaint. But to add services and ask you to pay for the new, extra services is not unreasonable.
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
Back To Top

"extortion in my books"  


 In my book that is an extream and inaccurate statement but alas, it is your book we are talking about!  :)


 I really like how Cozette explained it. I don't even have cable, never mind any movie packages. PBS is not an American right, not something people can not live without. It is a GIFT. The site needs to support itself and this is how it is choosing to do so. The site is very large and webspace is not free, neither are the programmers and those who run the site day to day. Many members asked for these things.

 I personally am THRILLED that I can get some books closer to me as while as this sight being more Green is a value morally to me.

 Also, even if you are not a gold key member, if you have friends who are when they post a wishlist book they will get a list of friends who want it, you could on that list for them and they could send it to you and that would benifit you.

 I am not worried about things changing all that much.  -shrug-

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,125
Back To Top

If PBS needs more income to stay up and running, then I'm willing to help where I can.  If that means paying $13.00 a year for extra services, then I'm more than willing to do my part to help.  Just think, they could start charging a membership fee for every member, with no extra services just to stay up and running.  If I can do this to help everyone enjoy the site, I'm happy to help.

Btw, extortion is a criminal offense, unlawfully gaining something through coercion.  The term doesn't apply here.

Last Edited on: 8/25/11 9:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/25/2011 9:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,360
Back To Top

I suspect PBS folks would be glad to provide everything for free if someone else would just pay their staff and their hosting fees.

Alas, they have to do that.

I'd rather have this than a broad membership fee.  The club is better with more people, and a lot of people will quit (and even more will likely never join) if there is a fee.

The basic site is one of the best ones I've seen.  I think this is a reasonable way to raise money.

Now, if they'd only address the continually falling price of credits I'd cease any concerns about the future of the site.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
Back To Top

I'm not sure I need any of the services offered but I do like the idea of contributing to the site.  This thing doesn't run for free.   I've spent more on stuff that doesn't provide me with nearly as much enjoyment.

Date Posted: 8/25/2011 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,555
Back To Top

Here, Here Donna; well said!! My enjoyment here is manifest as well.

Date Posted: 8/26/2011 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
Back To Top

The club is better with more people, and a lot of people will quit (and even more will likely never join) if there is a fee.

This is my sentiment on the subject.  I was the member of another swap site (that shall remain nameless) that made the decison to charge a "per swap" fee as it's way of covering site costs.  I wasn't the only member to flee the site, and from what I can tell from friends who stayed, swapping numbers dropped like a rock.  Lo and behold, six months later, the fees have been rescinded.  And although swaps have picked up again, the numbers are still lower than they could be, and the damage has been done. 

If by contributing to the site I can keep that from happening to PBS, I'll gladly do it.  Besides, those extra 100 WL spots alone are worth the price to me!

Date Posted: 8/26/2011 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
Back To Top

I find that this whole thing with the icons is incredibly amusing. It's almost like it's become some sort of weird status symbol to have tons of them. I find it sort of sad in a way that PBS feels they need to make their features some sort of popularity contest. I think we should be able to partake in the features without making it "who does what, who participates in what and who does more." 

I'm sure I'm in the minority but this last one, getting a key icon because we spend another $13 for features -- that by the way, don't even fit everyone's criteria -- is ridicules. BOB is the only one that I felt is useful because it identifies who to swap with -- the rest are status symbols, pure and simple. Popularity icons.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do as far as purchasing the gold membership -- I don't think I will do it. I don't have 200 books on my WL (although I have before), I don't need my books faster, I can search WL just as easily right now and I'm more interested in getting the book from the person who has had it sit in FIFO longest, not the person that will get it to me faster.

I don't like the fact that now we're "divided" and not all members are created equal anymore -- I'm not interested in being in the "paid" tier. Some have more than others because they bought it. I guess this is their answer to having a paid site.

Nothing I can do but I don't like it.




Date Posted: 8/26/2011 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
Back To Top

If PBS needs more income to stay up and running, then I'm willing to help where I can.  If that means paying $13.00 a year for extra services, then I'm more than willing to do my part to help.

And see? This is what everyone needs to stop saying. There are those of us who love and support PBS but probably aren't going to pay for this service. I certainly don't want to be made to feel as if I'm dead weight and the "popular" ones are carrying us dead beats.

I'm sure you didn't mean it that way but maybe you're not seeing how this (these type of statements) is coming across. I've lost a lot of interest in PBS tonight -- no way do I want to feel as if I'm not pulling my weight because I don't want to garner a passal full of icons spewing out by my name.

I also don't want to be guilted into paying $13 because I don't want to feel like a dead beat in the eyes of my fellow PBSers either. I'll see how it plays out but if the holier than thou attitude continues, I'm thinking a lot of people will feel uncomfortable and maybe leave.



Date Posted: 8/26/2011 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
Back To Top

I won't say Gold Key (GK) membership is extortion, but I don't think the cable television analogy is valid either.

Presumably, my getting premium cable does not affect your receiving your less expensive basic cable or free over-the-air signal. In economics parlance, there are no (or relatively few) externalities with premium cable service.

However, this is not the case with Gold Key membership. The most attractive feature about it is the 100 extra WL slots. Having some people able to have more slots (without affecting their propensity to post more WL books) would degrade non-GK members' experience of the site. They would have to wait longer for WL books by virtue of the lines being longer. (I'm leaving the searching-your-friends'-WL function out of it.) We did computer simulations and plotted (average wait time for a WL book)  vs. (the maximum number of WL slots allowed) and found it to be an increasing function. 

I'm not even sure that GK members would be better off in terms of wait time for WL books.

Another is the Directed Delivery feature. Some have argued that it would balance out: sometimes you'll be moved up and sometimes you will be moved down in terms of the order of mailing to GK members.  This may or may not be true, so I'll leave it alone. However, having it in place means that some members who take the 5 days to accept and 5 days to mail are going to be ranked lower, punished, whatever you want to call it even though they are still following the rules.

I am just slightly skeptical about something which is (partially) justified on the basis of its not being used frequently. Nonetheless, I understand TPTB want to raise money and this might be the most effective way to do it. Certainly not the most egalitarian.

Regarding the other swap site Alisa mentioned, I think I know which one she is describing. I think there are other issues with members leaving other than the per-swap transaction fees.

Date Posted: 8/26/2011 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,388
Back To Top

Wow Susan, I'm really sorry that you're interpretting this as a star bellied sneeches scenario.  I don't think anyone has meant to guilt anyone over this or have a holier than thou attitude.  The simplest answer is that some people can benefit from this so they are choosing to participate.  A few others that don't really think they will benefit are still participating just to help the site because they want to.  And yet far more others either see no benefit or simply don't want to pay a fee which is totally fine.

I don't see the guilt trip there.  It's a personal choice that each member will make.  If you don't see any benefits, then you shouldn't feel guilty for not participating.  Maybe later you might want an opportunity to be in line for more wish list books and reevaluate the program (that really is pretty much the only reason I chose to do this).  Anyone can see that you support and use the site just by looking at your profile. 

There have been tons of heated discussions regarding if a fee were ever implemented across the board.  This is probably the best step to insure that the site will not have to start charging ALL members any time soon.

Date Posted: 8/26/2011 1:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,087
Back To Top

I don't get any holier than thou attitude from this discussion.

It's an option that PBS is offering. Like Boxing. If you choose to be a Boxer, you need to pay the yearly fee and then you and your Boxer friends can trade all the books you want without credits. The fee that is paid for Boxing supports the site.

The fact that some people can get a membership option that allows them to trade without credits does not take anything away from me.

If you want the GK, you pay the fee. If you decide the regular free membership offers the services that you want, then you don't.

Just because the fee does, in fact, support the site, and people who are buying it are happy that they have a way to support the site (in addition to being happy that they can add more spots to their WL, which as we all know is the real reason that people are buying the service), doesn't mean that they are saying that people who are not buying the service are freeloaders.

I don't think that people who are not GK will notice anything different, to be honest. I think that longer wait times for Wish List books are coming no matter what PBS does, thanks to the proliferation of e-readers, as more and more people receive at least some of their brand new books in electronic formats rather than in paper. That is just going to increase and increase, frankly. And, it may very well be the death of PBS eventually, too. I think that over the next 5 years, those of us waiting for newly published books in paper format will find that we wait longer and longer. And longer.

Last Edited on: 8/26/11 1:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/26/2011 1:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

I find that this whole thing with the icons is incredibly amusing. It's almost like it's become some sort of weird status symbol to have tons of them. I find it sort of sad in a way that PBS feels they need to make their features some sort of popularity contest.


Wow. If I had a weaker constitution, that just might have made me cry a little. I didn't pay for the service to gain a "status symbol" icon, or to be more popular. I bought it because I like the features offered. Icons somehow put people in an elite-super-popular category? Please. I'm not impressed by the icons of others, and I'm sure nobody gives a rip about mine.

Gold Key membership is nothing more than the same kind of  "premium service" that a person has the option of purchasing at countless websites. Somehow, I manage to not feel like a second-class citizen when people start up a conversation about Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus. Those are services I'd really like to have, but I also have no qualms about not using them either. Nor do I resent the people that do use them or feel they are elitists for having something I don't. Same applies here and anywhere else a person can choose paid extra services.