Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Lots of credits and only occasional request fulfillments.......

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Lots of credits and only occasional request fulfillments.......
Date Posted: 1/20/2015 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 21
Back To Top

What is the best use of PBS?

I've had multiple transactions (both ways) but am really considering the best use of PBS. I've got 80+ credits and have almost the limit on my Wish List. I do receive occasional fulfillments, but I'm really wondering if I've accumulated more credits that I will realistically use. For many of my WL books, I could buy a used copy for one cent from Amazon for $4 with shipping compared to getting a credit for about a $3 transaction.

Does anyone have any advice on the best use of the system? 



Date Posted: 1/20/2015 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
Back To Top

You just have to decide how many credits you're comfortable keeping on hand. While I think PBS will be here for a long time, I have seen other sites shut down and take their credits/points with them. Also, are you comfortable buying credits from the site or the Bazaar when you need them? I've done that a few times, and felt the prices were well worth the WL book. 

That's why I just list WL'd books once in a while, and even then I've trimmed my physical library down to what I consider 'keepers'. Most of my personal library I built up from here came back here. So I just keep a few credits for WL'd books coming in, am prepared to buy credits when needed, and then decide on a case by case basis if I wait for a book here or buy one online.

You can always let the credits ride for a while until you decide. And you could sell them at the Bazaar if the going rate works for you, then use the money to buy WL'd books. 

The best use of PBS will be different for everyone. You just have to weight the options for yourself.

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,037
Back To Top

I think it really depends on what you want to get out of it.

In some ways, I think PBS is perfect for heavy readers of fiction, as that's what moves the fastest, for a whole litany of reasons.

I've found, for me, the best way to get the books I wanted out of PBS was to join games with people who pretty much have the same reading interests as me. I read a lot of paranormal fiction/sci-fi/horror/romance and between the games I'm in, I would say I average receiving about 6-10 new release books a month. (I also purchase, new, 2-4 books a month to add to the games, as well). But, of course, the trick to playing in games is that you have to be willing to read the books quickly and send most of those same books back out again, or you will quickly get a reputation as someone who takes "good" books out of games but doesn't put them back in.

Since I'm a fast reader and most books aren't keepers for me anyway, the game system works for me here.

And, there are all different types of games, for different genres of books (historical fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, etc), and for different amounts of books. You don't have to get as many as I do ...

The books eventually trickle out to other members after they make the rounds in the games, so it works out for the rest of the site as well. I've just in the past couple of weeks mailed out about 85 wish listed books to non-game players.


I think a lot of people do go thru the same issues that you have, I know that I stopped mailing out as many books and let my bookshelf kind of dwindle down (I used to keep it at around 400, now it's down around 150, I think) when I started accumulating too many credits. That was before I started getting most of my books thru games.

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
Back To Top

You might also try putting some of your wishlisted books that are lower on your priority list onto your Reminder list.  That will free up some space to add other books that may circulate more quickly to your wishlist.  That's what I do and I check my Reminder list every few weeks to see if anything has come up.  I have a lot of credits and I use them for gifts too.  You can have the book sent to an alternate address.  You can also sell some of the credits in the Book Bazaar.  Some people pay with Amazon gift cards, that way you could get some of those lesser expensive Amazon books on your list.

Last Edited on: 1/20/15 2:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/20/2015 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Personally I would not mail out anymore books.  I only keep about 5-10 credits on hand specifically because I have a slow moving wish list.  You can put your bookshelf on hold and autorequest your wish list if you don't want to delete your posted books.  I just donated mine and post WL books as I use credits.

I had over 30 credits and finally sold off a chunk.  I didn't fully recoup my postage expense but I decided getting something for them was better than having that money sit here for a long time.  I used the money to buy some my WL books.

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Have you tried looking up other editions of some of your WL books?

Like for instance, do you need that specific edition of The Count of Monte Cristo?  Because there are other editions available to order with no wait list.

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top

Janie, as Mary points out, you have some popular books on your Wish List that have other editions potentially available -- i.e. Barbara Kingslover.  There are multiple paperback and hardcover editions of some of these titles, and having each edition on your Wish List would increase your chances for getting a copy. 

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,453
Back To Top

I don't really worry about "recouping" my postage- when I list several WL books to the same member or have multiple orders from my bookshelf going to the same address, the mailing cost per book goes way down, so it evens out. I do this as a hobby, as well as for the ability to get books my library doesn't carry. I play in a lot of games too, and like Sara, I usually have new releases flying in and out all the time. You get your credit back after playing too, so it's basically a book trade.  I just mailed out around 22 wishlisted books today (and those weren't even for games.)

When I get too many credits, I donate some to the school charity program, and then I sell some off in the Book Bazaar. I've been selling them for Amazon e-gift cards lately, which I've used for getting e-books and I also used them for my daughter's textbook rentals for college, which was nice. 

I've noticed a trend in the forums lately where some of the long term members have started saying that they simply won't mail out books anymore. More and more are simply donating their books to FOL or goodwill. This makes me sad, because if everyone makes a Wishlist, but no one mails out in return, the site will eventually disappear. That would be a shame.

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2012
Posts: 7
Back To Top
I'm the opposite. I have over 80 books posted, and about 80 I'm wishing for and only have 1 credit left. I'm trying to read as fast as I can since 2 books on my bookshelf could be fulfilled for somebody if I could just read faster.
Date Posted: 1/20/2015 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
Back To Top

The school donation program now accepts credits year round. 

I love that I can move my credits over to the CD or DVD side. There is a fee on that end. 

Date Posted: 1/20/2015 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I just donated 6 credits last week.  I'll probably post some WL books soon but I haven't had a WL offer since September so not much motivation to post anything.

I personally cannot afford to mail out a lot of books and just have the credits sit here or to sell them for less than what postage costs me.  I've mailed out almost 1,000 books (not including freebies, games & box of books).   I wasn't mailing out enough books or keeping  full enough WL to justify the Gold Key anymore.  I haven't had a WL offer since September.

You don't have to feel guilty if you just don't want to mail out any more books until you get some WL books yourself. 

Last Edited on: 1/20/15 8:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/20/2015 11:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,478
Back To Top

You could put all of your WL books on auto request (if you haven't yet done so) and place your account on vacation hold for a bit. That way, you wouldn't be mailing out books until some of your WL books come through. Just a thought.



Date Posted: 1/20/2015 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
Back To Top

Last year I sold credits for a gold key gift membership.

Subject: Bazaar????
Date Posted: 1/21/2015 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 21
Back To Top

You all have given me some great thoughts and advice.

Can someone point me to this Bazaar some of you mentioned? I've yet to find it.




Date Posted: 1/21/2015 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 41
Back To Top

Here's the link to the Book Bazaar. It's in chit chat and right under the "USPS Regulations."

Subject: Thanks, Catheline!
Date Posted: 1/21/2015 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 21
Back To Top
mistie -
Date Posted: 1/22/2015 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,024
Back To Top

The OP speaks about having 80+ credits, and relatively few WL fulfilments. I'd like to point her towards the 591,547 unique titles currently available to order :-)

But, as for the questions "what is the best use of PBS" - there are so many different answers for that. It's all a personal choice. For me, if I had that many credits,  my bookshelf books would all get donated, and I wouldn't be mailing out any more books until I had my credits way reduced.

Subject: Thanks, Mistie. To clarify regarding my WL..........
Date Posted: 1/22/2015 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 21
Back To Top

I'm pretty picky about what books I want! Not just any of the 591,547 titles will do! :)

I guess my best bet is just to be patient.


Date Posted: 1/22/2015 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
Back To Top

I don't think I can add to the great advice and info already given.  I just wanted to toss out my personal experience...I've been the person w/ the 80+ credit stash and one day (2 or 3 years ago) I realized I just do not need more.  In that time I sold a few, gave a few and transferred over to the CD and DVD site.  Just this past week or so I was down only a few credits so I have posted some WL books and will now have 10 credits. My WL also moves slowly, mostly because I have so much to read that it's very small compared to most people.  

MY best use of PBS the last couple of years has been chatting with friends in the Games forum. Along the way I got some WL items here and on the sister sites; I've been very happy with that "usage" of the site. So, it really is all about what you want to make of the experience. :-) 

Date Posted: 1/23/2015 12:49 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,359
Back To Top

I consider this the most expensive place I acquire books, since I have to pay shipping for each credit.  Therefore, I'm looking for ones I have a fairly high belief I want that specific book. (Not just "a mystery"). (The thrift stores around here have them for 50cents-$1 a piece and walls of them)

Also, the "If everyone stops shipping it'll stop" -- well, it's a SWAP site.  I have 80 credits because I've sent stuff out. That represents quite a bit of postage cost.    It also represents a lot of books I've put into the system.  I don't see it unreasonable to want the swap part to happen before I put more money in.  If the swap site is well designed, I'll have motivation to put more in because I'll want what's there--if I don't, either I'm picky and just have to have patience, or I'm not going to be able to fix it by dumping in more shipping money.

I've been on swap sites who had their credits go down in value due to oversupply and close, taking a lot of money I'd spent in shipping with them.  The only reason I was willing to sit on the stack of credits here I have is because TPTB seemed to have thought of that.  I'm not so convinced of that anymore (after the cost of buying a bazaar credit fell below the cost of shipping a book), and I have little interest in spending more money until I see the other half of the swap start moving again.

If it's still healthy and active, then my WL will slowly get filled as those books are occasionally posted, and eventually I'll start posting again.   If the site isn't as healthy as TPTB sometimes claim, then at least I'm not sending myself farther in the hole.  If it isn't healthy, the membership can't fix it, it's a structural problem with the number of credits vs active members.  If it is, then some of us stopping putting books into the system until we get some books out won't have a long term impact, because we'll come back.


Date Posted: 1/24/2015 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
Back To Top

To be honest, I don't allow myself to have more than 10 credits at a time. If I start tipping over (which happens only very occasionally, usually after some kind of book/DVD purge) I sell them. Even if I take a loss, I figure it's better than the bad risk of having that much money insecurely tied up somewhere I can't either access or control.

I find I use PBS for the WL books that occasionally get posted to me, which get paid for primarily by the WL books I post. There's not a lot of action, but it's useful, cheap and low stress. That said, I live in a place where the second hand bookstores, while fabulous, tend to be expensive. I have no consistent local source for books that cost under a dollar, so PBS is probably the cheapest way  for me to acquire books - except for, of course, free ones. In my neighborhood, people often just put unwanted book out on their stoops, which is nice, but obviously unreliable.

I do think the site is slowing down and that e-books will eventually shut it down. But not for a while, I hope. Though, we are not privy to the PBS books, so I have no idea. Another reason I don't like to keep a lot of credits on hand.

Last Edited on: 1/24/15 12:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: caviglia, you have a great point there..........
Date Posted: 1/24/2015 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 21
Back To Top

....about keeping credits down in case the company falls apart. Something to think about.

As far as selling credits, any advice on how to do that effectively?


Date Posted: 1/24/2015 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I think PBS will be here for awhile still.  I think how a lot of people use it will change though. I know for me, I have stopped using it as my main source for fiction.  I do still have some fiction books on my WL because they aren't at my library and either not in ebook or way over priced for ebook. 

I'm sure there's a lot of people like me who still prefer some books in print format. I don't like craft books in ebook format.  I don't like cookbooks in ebook format.   Unfortunately, those books tend to move slower in the WL lines.

But when Frugalreader went down and all those people lost all the money they had built up in credits, it made me rethink having a lot of credits built up here. 

Date Posted: 1/24/2015 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Every once in a while I use some credits to get discounted books from the PBS market.  But only ones that are cheaper to get that way than elsewhere. 

Date Posted: 1/31/2015 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,069
Back To Top

I suggest you make your WL available to be posted directly to it.