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Topic: How can you tell how many copies of a book are in the system?

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Subject: How can you tell how many copies of a book are in the system?
Date Posted: 1/29/2009 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 2
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I found the top 50 list of books with the most copies on the system but is there a way to see beyond that?  I read 3 to 4 books a week and have limited space to store them.  I would prefer to not sit on books for over a year waiting for my book to make it to the top of the list if there are already hundreds of copies of it on the site.  This would also be helpful to know when buying books I don't plan to read but want to post for credit.   I buy most of my books at a thrift shop by my house, thier full price is usually .99 or 1.99 and they have a sale bin where the books go if they have sat on the shelf for 3 weeks priced at 10 for $1.49.  After my last trip I was pleased to find that 6 of the sale bin books I bought were on other peoples wish lists (and in VERY GOOD condition), this was a complete surprise.  I would like to be armed with a notion of what would likely be requested from me within a short time of posting it.



Date Posted: 1/29/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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HI Colleen, here's what the Help Center says about it:

If you want to know how many copies of a book are currently available in the system you can do a search for that book and put it onto your Reminder List. Move your cursor over the ! next to the book's title on your Reminder List and you will see how many copies are currently available in the system.

If you plan to use this information to guide you in posting books, you should know:

  • If you Post the book quickly after checking the Reminder List, yours will most likely be the next one in line.

  • However, knowing what 'FIFO number' your book is in the system would not be very helpful in predicting how quickly it will be requested.
    • You would need other information about the dynamics of that particular book on the site.
      For example, if you have an obscure book that is the only copy in the system, it could take months to be requested. If another book you have is #33 in the system, but the book is requested very often, it could be requested in just a few days.

      If you knew only these FIFO numbers, you might misinterpret them and take #33 off your shelf and donate it, while keeping #1 on your shelf, when you really should do the opposite. this information would not be terribly helpful, and could easily be misinterpreted to mean that a low number would 'move quickly' and a higher number would linger on your shelf, which is often not at all the case.
  • We are working on a 'popularity index' which will better indicate how likely a book is to be ordered within a certain timeframe. It is on our long list of ToDos. We hope to have it available to the membership soon!

On a personal note, I've had plenty of books on my shelf that had a large number in the system and they were requested either by members who took advantage of my "sales" (ie: 3 for 1 etc) or by Boxers (see Box of Books). The more books you have on your shelf, the more likelyhood of someone requesting them!

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 203
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Hi Colleen,

One thing to keep in mind is that the number of copies in the system can have very little to do with how fast a book will be ordered.  I have posted books with over 300 copies in the system and had them ordered I believe through FIFO in a couple months and have had books on my shelf since I joined that are the only one in the system.  It all depends on how popular a book is and, unless it is on the top 50, there is no way to find out how frequently a book is ordered.  Next to the star rating for every book, it shows the number of people who have reviewed it.  From that you can get a very rough idea of how popular a book is.  My personal opinion is just post everything and see what happens.  If you have a lot of books you just want to get rid of, you could offer a 2 for 1 deal in the book bazar.


As for buying books to post, there is an option to search the club wishlists under the search tab at the top of the browser.  If you use that from time to time, I think you will get a good idea of what kinds of books will move quickly.

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2006
Posts: 125
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What is FIFO?

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,468
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First In First Out

Date Posted: 1/30/2009 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2006
Posts: 125
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Thank you!