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Topic: HAS PBS jumped the shark?

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Subject: HAS PBS jumped the shark?
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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I was just reading the statistics for number of books traded over the years at PBS.

From May 2008 to May 2009 there were 2,280,357 traded.

From May 2009 to today there were only 474.480. ( a huge reduction in a 2 year period!)

Meanwhile, since 2004, postage has risen from 1.42  to 2.41 average to mail a book.

Here is the page for the stats:


   Kinda of disconcerting...what do you all think?


Date Posted: 6/26/2011 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,125
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I think that is a mistaken year on that page. I imagine that is the number since 5/11 to the present.

If you look at books mailed (all time) you will see it is over 11 million. If you add up the books they list as being mailed for each individual year you will see that they are missing several million books in those year-to-year break outs.

Sorry, I don't have a calculator or I would figure it out exactly.

I actually check that page out fairly regularly, and the books mailed per week has ranged (every sinlge time I've checked) from 45,000 to 55,000. For the past two years, anyway.

I know that I receive Wish List offers and order books regularly, without noticing anything that would suggest the people I order from are acting any differently than they always have. (For example, I don't get book orders rolled over any more frequently than they always have, leading me to believe that abandoned accounts are not increasing. Also, when I offer Wish List books I rarely get roll overs. And so forth. I average mailing and ordering about 1 book per day, and have since I joined).

Last Edited on: 6/26/11 12:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 1:29 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I think you mean "has PBS peaked?", as "jumped the shark" implies a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The origin of the idiom is an episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz literally jumped a shark on water skis. This was so ridiculously over the top that it turned enough fans off to affect the show's ultimate demise. PBS, on the other hand, has had no such moment. It's quite possible that, as with all things, we are currently in a mild lull between surges in new membership, or at least in a post-surge phase. Whenever a commodity is advertised in new areas or new ways, it attracts a wave of new business, but only for a limited amount of time as the demographic targeted has been made aware, and those who have decided to become patrons have already done so. Typically, a company will then decide to either revamp advertising in existing markets, or begin branching out into new efforts to bring awareness to as-of-yet untapped markets. However, it's very possible that PBS is comfortable with membership numbers, new and old, at the moment. I don't see much sign of a genuine decline, as if a demise is inevitable. I just see slow and steady growth and maintenance, and that's a-okay with me :)

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 3:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,350
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The total hasn't been updated for a while.  A member sent in feedback, and the PBS Team said they plan to fix it.

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
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Must say I never checked the stats and haven't noticed any major shifts since I joined almost 3 years ago; I'm actually doing a bit better, request-wise, this year with very few roll-overs.

When the economy went wonky in 2008'ish that might have been one reason for a spike, people didn't have the extra cash for new books, as things settled down people maybe bought more new books and there were fewer requests. Who knows? There are seasonal spikes, too, I'm sure. I don't check stuff like that - as long as I'm gettin' requests on a steady basis I'm a happy camper and all is rosy.

I actually mail more books than I request as I'm still buying a lot of my books new, I usually request when I discover a new-to-me author and look for their backlist, or start a new series by an author and want to fill in the numbers. So maybe I'm more atypical.


Date Posted: 6/26/2011 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,392
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I don't think I've been affected adversely if the stats are correct:

I've mailed out 33 books in the past 14 days - 48 in the past 30 days (was on vacation for 10 of those days)

I've received 11 books in the past 14 days and 26 in the past 30, many of them WL books.

I've not noticed any decline in the number of books requested from me, nor have I particularly noticed a decline in  requested WL books not being posted.


Subject: Helpful comments.
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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Yes, James L.  "peaked" would have been a better word.

And thanks, Patty P, for the info on the lag in updated figure. That would explain a lot, since what I saw on the page was a pretty dramatic decline over that amount of time.

Lastly, good to hear that postings and mailings are not fading, this is such a superior site to other swap places, at least in my experience.


Happy reading, all!!!!

mistie -
Date Posted: 6/26/2011 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,024
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Meanwhile, since 2004, postage has risen from 1.42  to 2.41 average to mail a book.

The average price for a MMP has also increased in that time, from $6.99 (?) to $9.99.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2008
Posts: 8,829
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Aren't ereaders impacting the volume of "physical" books traded?

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 2:13 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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I'm not sure it has yet Valerie.

I have a Kindle and yes I read on it a LOT.  But like most who read ereaders I'm not buying books there, or very few.  I am reading free books and most of these are books I probably would never have ordered on here. 

I still both BUY and order paperback and hardback books. Most of the people I know with ereaders aren't ready to give up their paper books completely and still trade on here often.  Just my experience.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,058
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I'm not using my Kindle much cause I don't like using it at the beach or by the pool.

I didn't join till end of April 09 and didn't have much trade action the first year, but it's really jumped up since JAN of this year. I'd actually like to slow down a little and not spend so much on postage! Since I have 100+ books in my TBR now and 20+ credits, I don't need more books, but more time to read!