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Topic: Ideas for PBS to make postage less expensive

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Subject: Ideas for PBS to make postage less expensive
Date Posted: 2/23/2016 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 8,287
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Hi everyone - 

There's been a lot of conversation about the cost of postage exceeding the value of a credit. I think most people send out books largely out of a feeling of community - but eventually that will stop working.

I have a couple ideas that PBS could implement to make postage work better but I'd also love to hear your ideas.


1) Let people have a separate list for wishlisted books - you can peruse those when you are going to receive a book from that person

2) Automate the WL multiples - you post a set of books to a tool and it searches your friends to find the person who wants the most 

What else??

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/24/2016 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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1) Let people have a separate list for wishlisted books - you can peruse those when you are going to receive a book from that person

You mean like this? Anyone can make a book list for multiple orders. Feel free to subscribe to mine if we have similar tastes.


2) Automate the WL multiples - you post a set of books to a tool and it searches your friends to find the person who wants the most 

I want this too. I'd love to be able to select say 10 books and then have the system find me the person who has the most of them on auto-request with enough credits available.

Date Posted: 2/24/2016 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,291
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I will consider it 'costly' to mail when it approaches $8.....about the lowest amount charged in a typical bookstore for a MMPB.  Since I used to buy ALL my books at frequent date night trips to the brick and mortar stores, getting one book for under $4 is a huge savings to me. Of course, I now volunteer at our FOL used bookstore where PB are $1 and HC are $2.  I occasionally even buy books there that others have Wishlisted just to cheer folks up here!   ( and yes, I have lots of credits so not doing it just to maintain a balance)

Date Posted: 2/26/2016 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 8,287
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Cathy -

1) Yes, exactly like WishList Multiples except that you create the list and it's shared when people order non WLs books from you. 

2) Great example. 

Jeanne - 

I think the issue is more the devaluation of the credit, which you can buy them for $2.20 in the Baazar, and the option to buy books on Amazon/etc for <$4 with shippping. It means that sending a single book is actually a loss of money. In contrast, sending 2 makes total sense. 

I wish PBS was putting more energy into helping us do that more often. I use WL multiples and that's a good option but very clunky. I'd love to see something more efficient.


1) I wanted to order a series all at once. Even though all were available in FIFO, I had to order from 3 people. Make a tool to let me order multiples from the same person.

2) I have wishlisted books that I want to send out. Help me find the person who will take the most.

3) I have 2 heavy hard-covers. It's cheaper to donate them than to send them. Help me figure out how to change that math.


Last Edited on: 2/29/16 8:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/26/2016 1:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,095
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I'm still trying to figure out why/how people are selling so cheaply... I've been guilty of this under-selling too, but I'm usually taking a loss on those credits and it's usually when I need shipping money quickly.

Last Edited on: 2/26/16 1:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/27/2016 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 8,287
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Renee -

Here's my thought.

PBS sells them for $3.75 + .50. Half of that is about $2.10, 50% of the official cost. Since you are sending money to a stranger, you'd want a discount. So the price actually seems not crazy. And I'm sure there are TONS of extra credits sitting out there, which also deflates the value.

The low price means that sending a single book actually costs you money - so people are doing it to be a part of the community. That's all well and good but I wish PBS would help find ways to make it economical as well. 

Date Posted: 2/28/2016 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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I think I'd rather they just figure out why the forum value of a credit is so low, and fix that. 

The system doesn't need more complications.  They need more ways to pull credits out of the system until the value of a credit in the forum is back up above postage.

One way would be to allow folks to mark some # of credits as "saleable" and then when the system sells a credit, take it from a member with credits for sale and give them PBS money (say, $3, intead of the $3.75 they take in). Instead of creating a new credit for the person who bought it.  Removes a lot of the hassle of selling credits as well.

Date Posted: 2/28/2016 11:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,576
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I haven't done this for a very long time, but back in the day you could transfer credits from the dvd and cd sites to PBS and earn a credit somewhere in the process (for dvd credits, I think). Honestly, I closed my accounts at the dvd and cd sites a long time ago and don't remember the ratio of credits earned when transferring. Back then, there wasn't a limit on the credits you could transfer or sell per month. These days, I'm pretty sure that there is a limit.

IMHO, that's when the price of selling credits here went to hell and back. People were dumping credits and it made sense - finacially - to them. The value of selling them hasn't ever really recovered.

I once sold them at $2.50 and had many takers. By the time I shut down my accounts at the DVD and CD sites, I sold them at $2.00 and maybe once for a little less than that.

Back then, between all three sites, I had many, many credits. These days, I'm comfortable with less than 30.

Date Posted: 3/1/2016 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,237
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Even just dealing with books only and not transferring credits from the other sites to sell, basically, the trick to obtaining credits that are cheap is by offering multiples deals on your books.

Last time I had a huge deal, was a couple of years ago, and I don't remember the exact numbers, but I mailed out several hundred books (all in deals) and I ended up with roughly 100 credits that cost me about $1 each for the postage.

Mailing books out 1 book for 1 credit is the most expensive way to obtain credits, short of just buying them directly from PBS.


I would love a more systematic way of hooking up with people who may want multiples packages to save on postage. I would also love a better way of finding people who may have multiples that I am interested in without having to read a whole bookshelf.

Subject: Credits
Date Posted: 3/22/2016 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/12/2006
Posts: 22
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Buying a book credit costs more than mailing out a book so I have never bought a book credit (plus I don't have a credit card).  I can mail a book for $2.72 (one pound or less, media mail).  If the book's a hardcover and goes over one pound, it's about 50 cents more.

Date Posted: 3/23/2016 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,918
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I think the price went so low because cds cost less to mail and people earned credits at swapacd but transferred them here to sell.  I wish they wouldn't allow that.  I do sell on occassion for $2.50 but it costs me $2.72 minimum to mail, so I am losing money.. and the last few times I tried to sell at $2.50, I had no takers.  Right now I am so frustrated by that I am sorry I renewed my membership, especially when I see credits being sold for $2.00.  I've tried listing in the wl multiples thread with little luck, and having sales on my bookshelf, usually 5 for 2 credits, with little success.   So I do wish pbs would do something, like set the minimum price for selling at $2.72, which is still a great discount from kiosk price.  Also with charging $20 for membership we should be able to trade some free swaps for additional waived printing fees.  Still don't understand what the free swaps are.... since we get unlimited anyway...

Date Posted: 3/23/2016 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2010
Posts: 18
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I agree with Adrienne.  Once the membership fee was imposed I think it changed alot of things on our end.  I am moving overseas in a year and am trying to unload my books.  It was more economical for me to upgrade my membership to save $0.55 on fees when shipping, however I am now sitting with 53 credits and 82 swaps.  I have mailed out 30+ books in 4 days.  I am not searching for new books since I am leaving.  I think we should be able to trade in swaps and credits from PBS Money.

Date Posted: 3/23/2016 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,237
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Now at PBS, all book orders for all members cost a credit plus a Swap Fee.

Standard Members pay the swap fee on every book order too, except that PBS gives us unlimited "Free Swaps" as part of our membership package. That's all that free swaps are ... just the Swap Fee included in our membership.