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Topic: Help a Newb out Please?

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Subject: Help a Newb out Please?
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2009
Posts: 284
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I sent a book out on the 7th and I am starting to worry that it got lost in the mail. It is only going from AL to LA so I think over a week should have been enough time. I would hate for the requestee to have to wait another two weeks to tell me they didn't get it. Any advice? I love the thought of being able to swap my read books with people, but this is not a very auspicious start to using the site. :(

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 8:10 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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Be patient!  Media mail is very inconsistent. Sometimes it is lightening fast, and other times it moves at a snail's pace. 

Media mail is a "space available" class of mail (hence the very cheap price).  If there is space, it will be shipped.  If not, it will languish until the next shipment.

PBS allows almost four weeks for media mail to be delivered because of this fact.  Just be patient. 

It is also possible that it has been received and the recipient just hasn't had time to mark it as such. 

Welcome to PBS! 

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Yeah, the distance between two places has makes no difference in terms of media mail.  I've had books go from virginia to california in 2 days but virginia to new york in 3 weeks!  Don't worry, people are generally used to this and your recipient should not make a fuss. 

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,415
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Last Edited on: 6/5/11 12:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Welcome to PBS- you are experiencing something known as "Classic New Member Phenomenon".  This impatience is common to many new members- you find PBS, get excited, and are ready to be reading those new books right now!  Unfortunately, this is just not how things work!  Media mail is really handy for us PBSers but it requires patience. 

It's funny because right before I saw your post I was on the mainpage and saw one of those "quotes" from members that they put up.  This one said something about how the person had been a member less than a week and had mailed out 14 books and had 4 in hand.  My thought, you've got to be kidding me!  Not about the mailing out 14, but having 4 books in hand already, I don't think so!  I was just thinking of messaging the site to say that's kind of setting people up with unreal expectations when I saw your post.

In a few weeks you're going to have a rhythm going of books moving in and out of your house, and you won't be sitting by the mailbox waiting for deliveries.  You'll build up a nice TBR pile and not be so anxious for deliveries on either end. 

So my advice is relax, enjoy the experience- you're books will get there with very, very few exceptions. 

Have fun trading!


Date Posted: 1/17/2009 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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Books don't always go from Point A to Point B.  They take the scenic route.  I'm tracking a book on it's way to me now.  It's coming from Baton Rouge.  It was scanned in Memphis and then in Dallas.  I'm in Texas City (near Galveston).  For a 280 mile trip, it's traveling approximately 1116 miles.  Gotta love it!

Last Edited on: 1/17/09 9:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 9/15/10 12:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/18/2009 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2009
Posts: 284
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Thanks for all the feedback and welcomes! Funnily enough the second book I sent out has been delivered and the first is still not marked as received. Oh well. If they don't get the book I will panic then.

Thanks for the insight!

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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It happens. Please don't start PMing people asking about why they haven't marked a book as received. Even if you use DC it can show as being scanned as delivered a week or more before actually making it to the right person. 

I live in MD. I had a book take close to a month to go to CT-which is a days drive. That same day I mailed a book for another swap site to France and it arrived within a couple of days. 

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2009
Posts: 284
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Well I really didn't intend to PM asking anyone anything yet. I was more wondering what other people's experience was.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,464
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From The Help Center:

You can expect your book to arrive about a week after it is marked mailed.

  • MediaMail transit times are variable
    • USPS says to allow 2 weeks, but PBS allows nearly 4. 
    • Some books cross the country in 2 days!  Some take two weeks to go 100 miles.  MediaMail is inexpensive, not predictable.
  • The average transit time for all books at PBS (including those coming from military addresses outside the US and HI, AK, PR and GU) is 9 days
    • But most books will arrive much sooner than that.
  • If the information on the request says that the book is coming from outside the continental US, your book may take longer to arrive. 
    • You can tell where your book is coming from by looking at the right side of the "en route" request.
  • If you are concerned about a book that hasn't arrived yet:
    • You can contact the requestor using the button on the en Route transaction to send a Personal Message.

If you are sending a book to or from outside the continental US, it is a good idea to send a Personal Message to the requestor at the time you mark the book mailed, to let her know the package might take longer than usual in transit


Date Posted: 1/18/2009 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,386
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I have definitely experienced the inconsistent delivery times - I am still wating for the second book in a series to arrive which I ordered before ordering books 4 and 5 which have already arrived.  I think it's just impossible to predict how media mail will work.  (And I live in the DC area, so I'm expecting all mail will be slow for the next few days around here.)

Date Posted: 1/20/2009 5:55 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome Rezenka!

Yuppers, inconsistancy is typical for Media Mail.  I've been using Delivery Confirmation, and the extra cost is worth my peace of mind.  Now if I have questions I can track the book by using the "details" button on my "books sent" tab.



Date Posted: 1/21/2009 1:58 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 1,358
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If you really want to know where a book is, puchase the delivery confirmation for $.43. This way you can track your books on your PBS account page. If you buy this service at the post office, it is much more expensive than purchasing it at PBS. This give you much peace of mind about knowing exactly where your sent books are.

Posting the postage and delivery confirmation directly from the PBS site saves me tons of time as I do not have to go into the Post Office, but can mail the package from a blue box. I love this!!!!!!

I live in Portland, Oregon and all my books go to Federal Way, Washington before being sent to another state. Kind of fun to watch where the books are and how long each journey takes.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 4:49 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I ordered three books on the same day.  One from California, another from Kansas and the third from Michigan.  I live in MIchigan.  You know where this tale is going don't you?  The postage dates said they were mailed on the same day.  California arrived in three days and Kansas the next day.  The MIchigan book was on the brink of being reported lost when it arrived. 

I could have walked through the ice and snow to the swappers house and back with plenty of time to stop in many, many book stores on the way!  We actually live less than 100 miles apart.

So far I've only had one book on it's way to me go lost.  I still have my eye out for it even though I've ordered it from someone else and have it on my bookshelf.  Just because I checked on the books that are currently being sent to me.  One is sitting on a shelf in Indianapolis and has been for almost a week.  Another was sent from Georgia after that and it looks like it'll be in my mailbox today.  A another has been making a journey from New Jersey for over a week.  Most likely got stuck in traffic in Philadelphia.  That might be here today too.  I love dc! 

Oh, I just checked on the books I've mailed - they're languishing in the post office right here and have been for almost a week!!!  Bah!!!

Last Edited on: 1/21/09 4:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2009
Posts: 284
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Thanks for talking me down off the ledge so to speak. I guess it is bothering me since the "missing" arrival is of course the first book I mailed out. I am of the mind that when you say you do something you do it, so for this to be just HANGING out there it makes me crazy. I guess this is just lesson learned. I just feel bad that it may or may not get ot the person. Then again all mail is like that to a certain extent.


Thanks again folks. I guess I will ponder for a couple more weeks and wait and see.



Date Posted: 1/21/2009 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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A book I mailed on December 3 just arrived at its destination yesterday, with no sign of where it had been in the meantime. That's Media Mail for you. The vast majority just take a week or two, though.

Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2009
Posts: 284
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OK, so what are the chances that the first book I sent out is completely lost? The poor person that requested it has sent me a PM asking if I did indeed mail it, and I can only tell them that I did, but this is leaving me feeling really crudy about it not having arrived as of yet. Thoughts?

Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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it is possible that it is lost or sitting in a post office somewhere.  it happens but it is always possible that the book will show up after it goes "lost" and then the member can mark it received from the transaction archive.

I had a box of 4 or so book almost go lost and they were just going from Arkansas to Texas.  bizarre!

Date Posted: 1/26/2009 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Just wait it out Ruzneka.  It's hard I know, but that is all you can do.   Yes, it might be lost but if it is there is nothing you can do about it.  Let it go lost and let the system handle it.  Sometimes books arrive even after having gone lost.   I've only had one book go lost in the over 300 I've sent.   It just happens but honestly NOT that often.