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Topic: Let me make sure I got this straight....newbie....

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Subject: Let me make sure I got this straight....newbie....
Date Posted: 4/26/2011 11:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2011
Posts: 4
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I just joined.   I want to be sure I have a clear understanding of how to do this. 

I post books I have available.  I get a couple of credits after posting x amount of books. I use those credits towards other swaps.  When ordering other swaps, I pay nothing? I pay on the back end when someone orders from me (shipping)?

Questions -

ALL swaps are free, minus shipping, which the shipper pays, not the person requesting the book?  Or, does this vary?

I can't post ANY books with markings?  If they're only being read by others, what difference does that make?  If that's the rule, I'm fine with it, just wanted to clarify. I have a couple with minimal markings, but otherwise in perfect condition. What a shame.

How does everyone ship and/or print labels?  Are you shipping via media mail?  Are you including your return address on it?  Are you shipping with a delivery confirmation? -- if so, who pays for that? Is that at your discretion or at the request of the party ordering the book from you? 

Media mail requires a trip to the post office, and with the price of gas these days....  but media mail is supposed to be cheaper.

Sending via regular postal mail I can just leave at my own mailbox for the mailman, right?  How should I be wrapping it? Box, Paper, etc.?   What's the consensus?

And how does the "wish list" work?  Do I receive notice when it is available, in pecking order of my reservation?

And, what is a PBS account?

Any other tips or feedback others can share with a newbie?

As of now, I have my stuff on vacation hold until I figure this out, so as to avoid delays.  Oh, and is there a "shipping time" etiquette?

Date Posted: 4/27/2011 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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Do you have a tour guide?  Have you check out the thread  Tips for New Members?

(Asking if the books are free is a hidden can of worms.  Books cost a credit.  A credit is from one book and the postage.  Free, kinda.  The first two per street address after posting ten books are actually free.)

Date Posted: 4/27/2011 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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ALL swaps are free, minus shipping, which the shipper pays, not the person requesting the book?  Or, does this vary? Kind of, you request a book using a credit. After the initial 2 startup credits, you earn them by sending books or you ccan buy them in the Kiosk or from other members.

I can't post ANY books with markings?  If they're only being read by others, what difference does that make?  If that's the rule, I'm fine with it, just wanted to clarify. I have a couple with minimal markings, but otherwise in perfect condition. What a shame. There is a textbook exception to highlighting/underlining/writing in the books. Under the exception, you would have to PM the receiver, explain the damage, and wait for their acceptance of the condition before sending it.  A signature or note in the front or on the flyleaf is OK to send without a PM first, but any markings on text pages cannot be sent without prior approval.

How does everyone ship and/or print labels?  Are you shipping via media mail?  Are you including your return address on it?  Are you shipping with a delivery confirmation? -- if so, who pays for that? Is that at your discretion or at the request of the party ordering the book from you?  The site will chose media or FC for shipping books depending on what is cheaper. You have the option to send with DC, it is the sender's choice and that's who pays for it.  The site has an option to print the label with postage on it, or just the electronic DC for a fee and it works out cheaper than buying it retail if you prefer to use it. I usually use PBS-DC because it comes with Credit Assurance and sometimes use the full postage for heavier packages so I don't have to go to the PO.

Media mail requires a trip to the post office, and with the price of gas these days....  but media mail is supposed to be cheaper. Media Mail does not have to go to the post office unless the package is over 13oz and you use only stamps. Anything smaller with stamps or with online postage (like PBS postage) can go into a bluebox or your mailbox if your carrier takes packages.

Sending via regular postal mail I can just leave at my own mailbox for the mailman, right?  How should I be wrapping it? Box, Paper, etc.?   What's the consensus? If your mailman takes packages and the package is not over 13oz and bearing only stamps, yes you can leave it in your mailbox. Box, paper, bubble mailers, whatever you want to use as long as it is wrapped tight and sturdy. Tape on all edges and corners if you are using paper. I recycle bubble mailers for most of my bigger stuff, boxes for 3 or more books and the PBS paper wrapper with good taping for single MMP. I always put a plastic layer of protection over the books underneath the wrapping.

And how does the "wish list" work?  Do I receive notice when it is available, in pecking order of my reservation? Yes, you will receive notice when a copy is posted and it is your turn. If you set them to auto-request, after 1 hr the offer would go to a request for you. If you do not use the auto-request feature, you would have 48 hours to accept an offer or the book will be removed from your WL. The WL functions off of the wish date, whoever has the earliest wish date gets the offer first. 

And, what is a PBS account? I think you are talking about PBS money? That can be used to purchase postage

Any other tips or feedback others can share with a newbie? Read through the forums, read through the first sections of the Help Center for getting and sending books. There is so much great information available and becoming familiar with the posting condition guidelines and the deadlines will save you tons of headaches. When in doubt, check the Help Center. If you can't find the answer the Forums or Live Help is always a great place to ask.

As of now, I have my stuff on vacation hold until I figure this out, so as to avoid delays.  Oh, and is there a "shipping time" etiquette? There isn't so much a shipping time etiquette as a shipping time requirement. When you get a request for one of your books, you will have to select the option to mail in 2 days, or mail later which allows you to select up to 5 days later. For the 2 day option, you have 2 days to mail the book and 3 more days to get the book marked mailed. With the mail later option, you have up to 5 days to mail depending on what you select and 2 more days to get it marked as mailed. If you miss any of those deadlines the system cancels the transaction and you may not get the credit for a book sent.

Welcome to PBS! I hope you have a great time here.laugh



Last Edited on: 4/27/11 12:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/27/2011 3:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,723
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And, just so you know where the help docs are ... they are available in the "Help Center" link at the top. There are extensive directions on how the site works. If you read the ones particularly about how to order books, and how to mail books, and the "book condition criteria" for swapability at PBS ... that should give you a good idea of the basics!

The Tour Guides are a great resource, they are available particularly to help new members (and to answer questions about the site for anybody) .... but particularly useful for new members, I would think.

The two most imprtant things to know about wrapping books for the mail is: 1. whatever you use to wrap, make it tight around the book, and 2. use lots of packing tape, particularly at the seams of the wrapper and the edges of the package. Loose wrappings tend to be punctured by mail sorting machines, or if the book is able to move around the insie of the package, it can rip the package open from the inside as it gets tossed around, and if you leave edges or seams untaped, they can easily get caught in the sorting machines, and the wrapper ripped right off.

I buy packing tape at the dollar store, and it is much cheaper than anywhere else you can buy it.

As far as books with markings .... there can't be writing on the text pages ... but writing on the inside of the cover is OK for example. Or if someone writes their name on the inside of the book (as long as they write it anywhere except a text page), or if a bookstore marks the book with a sticker or stamp ... these are all OK to post here.

Read the "book condition guidelines" to find out what conditions are postable/unpostable here. The two things that seem to cause the most issues are water (or liquid) damage to books (NONE is allowed here) and spine damage (some degree of spine damage is inevitable in used books, and PBS says that it is OK when a book tends to open at a particular page ... but the spine can't be cracked in half into separate pieces held together only by the paper. 

And best tip ... always post a book using the ISBN. There are issues when people do something like search for a book title and then post the book from the PBS listing page without making sure that the ISBN on the listing matches their book. You must always post a book using the ISBN that is actually on your book (not by the title, or by what the cover looks like).

Anyway, welcome to PBS!

Date Posted: 4/27/2011 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If you have Wish List books that have underlining, highlighting or writing you can just offer them in teh Book Bazaar for a credit.  Just list the issues in the post.  Then you don't have to deal with PMing. And things like inscriptons, a name on the flylea or bookstore stamp are postable without getting prior approval.



Last Edited on: 4/27/11 10:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 4/27/2011 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Everyone has given you GREAT advice so far!

Just wanted to chime in to tell you how to contact a Tour Guide, if you wanted some assistance from a live person.

At the top of your Personal Messages page (click on My Account at the top of any page, then click on Personal Messages link in the dropdown menu) and at the top left side under the tabs, you will see the name of the Tour Guide who has been assigned to help you out, with a convenient PM button near their name.

Or, if you just want to contact ANY Tour Guide that is currently online and available to answer questions, just click on Help Center at the top of any page, then click on Live Help link from the dropdown menu and that will bring up a list of Tour Guides online and willing to answer questions (with, of course, handy PM button to reach them).  Pick one and send off your question and they will try to respond via PM as soon as they get your message and can type out an answer.

(Note: Live Help is "live" in that a living, breathing person will respond and not "live" in that it is an interactive instant communication -- you can check out the Live Chat rooms for that!)

Welcome to PBS -- hope you have LOTS of happy swapping!



Last Edited on: 4/27/11 3:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Hi Patty
Date Posted: 4/28/2011 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,469
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Welcome to PBS; you are doing great for a newbie! You found the forums and you have a profile pic (cute). Now prepare to get addicted to the swaps. Once you get started it will start to make sense. My hubby asked me "what do you get when you mail a book?" I said , "A credit."  ,, him- "What are they good for?" , me - "MORE BOOKS!!" LOL  It is as easy as it looks and this is a great place to ask any question.

Date Posted: 4/29/2011 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Welcome to PBS Patty!

Date Posted: 4/30/2011 4:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
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Welcome :)

Just how I package my books (normally just normal sized paperbacks and NOT hardbacks): I buy brown paper rolls from the dollar store (some have nice patterns on them) and I use that as well as dollar store packaging tape to wrap the book. Three long strips of tape to completely cover the label and fold it down over the sides of the package, then wrap the book once more around the middle completely, so if there is a tear, it can't escape.

Over-taping is preferable to losing a book.

And if you send out any hardbacks, make sure the book can't slide around in the packaging. I got one a few days ago send in a thin mailer (not bubble) and it moved around so much there were three holes in the package, one of which was big enough for the book to slip out of.

Date Posted: 5/2/2011 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 6,435
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Just wanted to say welcome!  You've gotten great advice so far, and I want to add that the fact that you're so concientious and asking all these questions makes you a good member, IMO.  smiley  The requirements for the books that you can post are really not as confusing and onerous as they seem, once you get a few out and get the hang of it.  Occasionally I've had something I haven't had to deal with before and go look it up in the Help Center..it's really very easy to find what you need there, I think. 

There are ways to offer otherwise unpostable books as a freebie with an order of a postable book from your shelf.  I see a couple in this thread who have that in their signature.  It costs a smidge more for shipping, but sometimes can get your bookshelf moving a bit quicker. 

I ship media mail using the printable postage because I don't have the time usually to go to the post office.  It's easier for me, even if there's a small fee for it. 

Date Posted: 6/28/2013 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2011
Posts: 4
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Wow.  This is great feedback.  I had to put my account on vacation hold for personal reasons, but I'm back and ready to send my first book.

Two more questions!

1.  How do I change the return address to PBS on the shipping label?  I printed my label, but don't see the option anywhere to change this.  What is the consensus on using your own home return address when mailing books?

2.  Also, I'm reading that if books are over 13 ounces AND have your own postage, it has to go to the post office.  Is this an OR - or -  AND issue, meaning, if it's over 13 ounces and I print a postage label, can I still throw it in a mailbox?  Or is it just if its over 13 ounces with personal postage stamps on it?  Just wanted to clarify. 

 

Thanks

Date Posted: 6/28/2013 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If you use printed online postage you can mail a 13oz book from home or the blue box.  If you use stamps then it has to be handed to a postal clerk if over 13oz. 

I personally use my own return address. Most of hte books I receive use the senders address.  I've never had a problem with anyone contacting me outside of PBS after receiving my address from PBS.  This was very helpful when I forgot to put stamps on a book and it reappeared in my mail box a couple of days later with a note on it (no charge to return it to me although some po's might charge for that).  Anyway if there is an issue with deliverign the book and return it to sender, if you use PBS as a return address they won't send it on to you.  But you might get charged return postage if the PO mails it back to you so it's really up to you.  I think the percentage of books that don't arrive safely is pretty low.  It might not seem that way if you look at the message boards but people tend to only post about the problem swaps and not all the good ones. 

mistie -
Date Posted: 6/28/2013 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,017
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1/ There is no longer the option to have the PBS as your return address. This option "went away" a while back - maybe a year or so. There is no option then using your own address for the return address.

2/ If your package is under 13oz, you can just throw it in the blue box whatever postage you have on it. If the package is over 13oz, you can only use the blue box if you have traceable electronic postage on it.(and this includes postage from the APC centres at post offices) So, if it is over 13oz, you CANNOT throw it in the blue box with only stamps.

Hope thats clear, and welcome back :-)

Date Posted: 6/28/2013 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,723
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1. How do I change the return address to PBS on the shipping label? I printed my label, but don't see the option anywhere to change this. What is the consensus on using your own home return address when mailing books?

Well, I use my own address. I don't think that most people have a problem with this, but if you have any issues with needing to hide your address from public view, then you can opt to use PBS's address. I thought you can change it in Settings ... but darned if I can find it. Someone else will have to answer that.

2. Also, I'm reading that if books are over 13 ounces AND have your own postage, it has to go to the post office. Is this an OR - or - AND issue, meaning, if it's over 13 ounces and I print a postage label, can I still throw it in a mailbox? Or is it just if its over 13 ounces with personal postage stamps on it? Just wanted to clarify.

1. If your postage is stamps ONLY, then packages over 13 oz. must be handed in at the PO counter. Under 13 oz. with stamps is OK for bluebox.
2. If you printed online postage, then you can mail from any blue box, regardless of weight. Because online postage is trackable.
3. If you use APC "stamps", packages using those can also be blue boxed regardless of weight, as that is trackable postage as well.

Date Posted: 6/28/2013 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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You've received excellent advice, but I did want to chime in with one small clarification.  When you said "markings" did you mean specifically writing and underlining, or did you mean the remainder mark (black sharpie along the edge of a book) from some used book stores?  Remainder marks are perfectly fine to post.

 

Date Posted: 6/28/2013 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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Make sure to read through the Help Center a bit, there have been quite a few significant changes in the last couple of years.

Ms K. (MsK) -
Date Posted: 7/4/2013 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2005
Posts: 119
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If you are concerned about using your home address, then get a post office box for your swaps and other internet mail.

Check to see what the hours are at your post office or one that is convenient for you.  Also check to see if they have package pickup boxes for when the counter is closed. (they leave a key in your mailbox to the pickup box)

I like mine because if the weather is bad, the package (usually) doesn't get wet and if I am out of town, I don't have to put a hold on my mail.

If you have more questions, go to the post office forum here to find out more.

Date Posted: 7/9/2013 4:48 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
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Welcome back!



Last Edited on: 7/9/13 4:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2013 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 2,980
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Don't forget to save the padded envelopes that other members use to send books to you. This is not just recycling but also saves you money when you ship books.