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Topic: Hardbacks...please explain

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Subject: Hardbacks...please explain
Date Posted: 1/25/2011 11:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2010
Posts: 51
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Let me preface this by saying...I am still new to PBS. I am asking for friendly and helpful input!

Yesterday I mailed out my first hardcover. It was small, and I didn't think it would be that much more than most books. It was $3.38 which is a great deal more than any of the other books I have ever sent. The highest I have ever paid was $2.97. I was really surprised because the hardback was so small.

Today, I filled a bulk order of three rather large sized (not mass market paperback) but paperback books to be sent to the same person for $3.35. Wow. I was shocked.

I like sharing and swapping, however I swapped three books for the price to ship one book...to me, the hardbacks don't really make sense to swap unless you don't care about postage costs. What would be the advantage of sending hardbacks other than you just want to share with others?

You can normally just buy credits for $2.50...why spend almost a dollar more. I don't know. I am just not understanding. The difference in price to ship just seems like it would really add up.

Be kind..I am just asking! Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/25/2011 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I figure that I can get as many hard-back books as I want, so sending a few won't kill me. If mailing them is too pricey for you, there are places that you can donate them. Or a used book store will give you credit toward other books...

ETA: I am amassing a lovely anthology collection in HB. These books are massive, and massively expensive. If it weren't for the nice people here on PBS that were willing to post them and ship them to me, I would never be able to afford this collection. I am very grateful for every one I get. heart

Last Edited on: 1/25/11 11:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2011 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2010
Posts: 51
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You are probably exactly right. I would enjoy a hardback myself, and I have put one on my wishlist. I think your response helps put it into perspective. I wouldn't want to send one every single day, but it is great to give and then later receive? I get it.

Date Posted: 1/25/2011 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The mailing rates you noticed Nancy, are one reason some PBS members much prefer to send multiple books.  I mailed two packages of books today, $3.38 each for a total of 5 books (inc. 1 hardcover).  So 5 credits for approx. $6.76. . . that's $1.35 per credit.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 3:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,130
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To me the price difference is not that big. Most hardcover fiction ends up at $2.77  (the 2 lb. rate). Even if I send one out a week (which I don't, I send out considerably less hardcovers than that) ... the 40 cents difference is insignificant, IMO. Even the occasional $3.16 is OK with me. I can afford the $1 extra per month it might cost me to send out one or two hardcovers.

Plus, I request some hardcovers, so I feel that it is only fair to also mail some out. I have mailed out some very heavy, huge gardening books when I went out to buy new editions ... I also like the idea of making someone's day by being willing to send out those very heavy tomes. Not every day, but occasionally.

Now, if it cost that much to mail out each and every book, I would have to rethink it ....

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 6:13 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 694
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Hi Nancy,

A very reasonable question.

The people here on PBS are so generous. i see people give credits sometimes saying no need to repay when someone asked to borrow a credit.

I keep mostly children's books on my shelf since I know I can afford the postage for them.

I don't read many hardbacks so I don't send many. I have sent a few and although the cost is not worth it since I could buy credits for less, it gave me a good feeling to make a fellow member happy, just as I have been blessed by the generosity of other members.

Each person must do what their budget allows.  That's the beauty of it. You only post what you choose to.

Sending multiples is a great way to send some of the heavier books.  I wait untill I have a bunch of the trade size paperbacks and offer a 4 for 2 deal. It makes it very reasonable per book.  The wishlist multiples thread  is a great way to send wish list books, especially if money is tight.


Last Edited on: 1/26/11 6:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 7:02 AM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2005
Posts: 146
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Did you use printed postage? It's possible the weight shown for the book was incorrect. I offen mail hardcovers and very really have any that cost more than $2.77 in postage.

Actually $3.38 doens't seem as medial mail rate at all. Media mail prices go in increments per pound so as far as I can remember a book over 3 pounds will cost $3.16 to mail and a one over 4 poinds will be $3.55. Are you sure the book went media mail rate and not first class?

Last Edited on: 1/26/11 7:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Yeah I was thinking that sounded like a First Class Rate.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2010
Posts: 51
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$3.55 sounds more like it. I do only use PBS postage.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,130
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Many people have found that the book weights in the database may not be accurate all the time. Sometimes they are just wrong, sometimes they are for a different edition of the same book (with the same ISBN). If you have a trade size book sharing the ISBN with a paperback, the weight can only be correct for one of the books.

Mnay people who use PBS postage also invest in a cheap postal scale, to double check all the packages they send.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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I'm also thinking that the weight was incorrect for the PBS postage.     Small hardbacks don't usually weigh much more than a trade paperback.  Some even come in under a pound.   So it sounds totally wrong that you paid $3.55 in postage - which would be for a 4+ lb. book.    And that's a really heavy book!  Most hardbacks come in at 1-2 lbs.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,394
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Yep, if it was PBS postage, the weight may have been incorrect.  It is definitely worth spending a little bit to pick up a postage scale as it will pay for itself after catching some wrong weights.

I don't send many hardbacks but consider it a wash as I send several paperbacks that qualify for first class. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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It all balances out at the end if you also requests hardbacks.

In general I prefer paperbacks because they are lighter to carry but I'd request hardbacks if they are the only edition or if the paperback hasn't come out yet. Also, some paperbacks are as heavy as some paperbacks. I'm reading a paperbook now that must be 2 lbs. at least. :)

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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Invest in a digital scale.  I got mine at Target for about $12.  The book weights are not always correct in the PBS system.  Weigh your packages before you print your postage, and adjust the weight as necessary.  You can look up media mail postal rates here:

As you can see in this link, your package would have had to weigh between 3 and 4 pounds to cost $3.55.  Never trust what's in the PBS system- ALWAYS weigh your packages yourself, or have the PO do it.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I didn't read all the posts so I'm probably repeating what someoen else said-but here's my opinion anyway. 

I actually prefer paperbacks to hardcover. But I do put hardcovers on my WL and will pick them up at thrift stores or even new if I have a good Borders coupon.   I figure if I use that credit to order books from someone in a deal-then that slightly more expensive credit to send 1 book got me 3 or 4 in it's place. 

Or if you can ship multiples books out to someoen which saves postage, it helps offset that book here and there that costs a little more to send. If you combie those 2 orders you mentioned in your OP: those 4 credits cost you $1.68/credit. Which is a good deal as most used books stores adn many thrift stores cost more than that for 1 book. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also the packaging you use can really bump the weight up.  Packing a hardcover in a box with stuffing around it will probably weigh more than popping it into a bubble mailer. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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You ask why people bother to send out hardbacks. In my case, I'm not here to make sure each book costs as little as possible. I'm here because many of the books I'm interested in aren't available locally at all. And if I try to get rid of my books locally, some of them would end up in the trash can because the market for them might not be very large. When I post them here, some are requested within a day or two. They go to people who want them. That's important to me.

It's the same when I order books. I'm not worried about whether a credit cost me $1.50 or $3 or what - some of the books I request would have to be ordered from overseas, so the cost of a credit is negligible.

Have I saved money using PBS? Maybe, but really, probably not. Probably without it I would have sold all my books to Half Price Books eventually, and the books I've received I mostly wouldn't have at all. But honestly, I'd rather pay to send my books off than to get a nickel or a quarter each re-selling them.

I'm grateful for those who don't count the cost of every single credit, and mail out heavy books.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
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Did your PBS wrapper accidently say First Class? If the weight was wrong, or borderline, that could have happened.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Definitely check that the weight is accurate before printing a label.  I went to mail a trade paperback last week, it weighed about 9 oz. The information that came up listed it as weighing 5 POUNDS! I think the PBS system retains whatever weight the last person typed in there...and it's possible it was with a box o books or a multiple book order or something. Even the hardcover version of the same book only weighed 1 lb according to the Amazon information, so I have no idea how else such an inaccurate amount was in the weight box.

Personally, I don't mind paying a little more to send a nice hardback--mostly because I also *get* plenty of nice hardbacks, and someone has to pay to send that to me, so it all evens out in the end, to my way of thinking.


Date Posted: 1/26/2011 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,984
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Pretty much I ditto what's been said.  I often will hold on to my nice wish list hardbacks and post them in the multiples thread, which cuts the cost down a lot.  And a scale is definately something you might want to look into.  With media mail the exact amount doesn't matter so much so if you have an old kitchen scale around that will work.  Since media is a pound rate, if your scale is off a couple ounces it usually won't make too much of a difference (unless it's close to the pound mark). 

And I don't mind sending heavy books every once in a while because I've gotten many nice and heavy books in return here.  It's my way of earning good book karma. laugh

mistie -
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,024
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AS others have posted - for many members here, its not all about the cost.

Personally, I will occasionally pick up a wishlisted book at my local FOL for 50c, even if I am not interested in it.  I will list it and send it out, assuming average postage of $2.38, I have now "paid" $2.88 for that credit. I realise I could buy a credit in the bazaar for $2.50ish. But, posting that wished book makes me feel "warm & fuzzy" - I consider it a RAOK for a stranger, I'm happy to get WL books into the PBS system - IMHO, it strengthens the site - which is good for ll of us. Who knows, maybe there is another member out there who will do the same & I'll end up with a book I am wishing.  

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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Here's how I look at it.  If it costs me over $3.77 or thereabouts to send a hardback, that is still about 20 bucks cheaper than buying a new one from the bookstore.  I greatly appreciate the folks that are willing to buy a hardback new and then post it on this site.  So the least I can do, is keep those books in circulation.