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Topic: new feature suggestion: wishing for ANY edition of a book

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Subject: new feature suggestion: wishing for ANY edition of a book
Date Posted: 2/21/2011 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2009
Posts: 18
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The idea is that someone who doesn't care which edition (ISBN) of a given book they want, marks this when entering it in the wish list.

To implement this would require rewriting the queing mechanism.  Instead of having separate queues for each ISBN, there would be a single queue servicing all the ISBNs for a given book.  I assume this is known info since PBS clearly offers you pointers to other editions that you didn't wish for.  Once an edition comes available, the head of the queue is examined - if they are waiting for ANY edition, they get the available book.  If they elected to wait for a specific edition, and the available book matches that ISBN, they get the book, otherwise, they remain head of queue, but the second in line gets checked, etc. 

Perhaps this is available already - if so, pls let me know.  If not, I think it would be a great idea.  Right now, it is rather hit or miss, like picking a check out line at a supermarket, instead of queueing at a bank.  For those of us who just want any copy of the book, this would clearly increase throughput and the success of PBS.

cheers

Evan

Date Posted: 2/21/2011 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,522
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But there are those who do not want  an audio on cassette  for example, just one out of all the options. I like things just the way they are even tho it may use up more space on my wish list. I am always offered similar books when they become available.  I prefer cassettes because I can rewind and relisten to parts that may get interrupted.

Date Posted: 2/21/2011 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,204
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You can send suggestions to the Team via the Contact Us link in the lower right under Company. They don't really read the forums so suggestions here probably won't get to the right people.

The Wish List expander really does this already. You want all the versions the system knows about, you add them all; you only want specific versions you just add those. No matter how you approach it, the first person in line for each ISBN will still be offered the book first, whether they wished for 1 version or all. Even having a wish for all button wouldn't let you jump in front of someone already in line for a book.  The only difference having an any version line would do is allow people to be wishing for more than 200 ISBNs at once.

Date Posted: 2/21/2011 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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To implement this would require rewriting the queing mechanism.  Instead of having separate queues for each ISBN, there would be a single queue servicing all the ISBNs for a given book.  I assume this is known info since PBS clearly offers you pointers to other editions that you didn't wish for.  Once an edition comes available, the head of the queue is examined - if they are waiting for ANY edition, they get the available book.  If they elected to wait for a specific edition, and the available book matches that ISBN, they get the book, otherwise, they remain head of queue, but the second in line gets checked, etc.

 

Couple of questions:

(what Fara was pointing out): I don't think the preference for most people is all versions or one specific version. Are you suggesting the first person in the title-queue be asked (analogous to having the book on WL hold) or this happens automatically behind the scenes (like checking if an account is on Vacation Hold)?

How do you suggest implementing the transition between ISBN-queues to title-queues? For example, someone who specifically wants a paperback of a newer release might have gotten in line early. If it transitions to a title-queue, do the now have to wait behind all the people who WL'ed the hardcover version which came out earlier and doesn't care about editions before he WL'ed the paperback version? Is this fair?

 

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Nah. Leave it as is. It's simple this way, and it works well without added confusion or having to make a new set of rules to cover the umpteen problems that might occur. Given that "all versions" would also mean audio versions (which are 2 credits, not one like bound copies) that in and of itself would cause lots of headaches. Then there's resolving what happens when you turn down one version of a book--do you lose your place in line?

Most of the time I'm only interested in one version of a book. I don't want hardcovers of light mysteries that will take me 3 hours to read. I don't want paperbacks of 1000 page epic fantasies for my Keeper shelf. Sometimes I don't care which edition I get, but I would have to want a book REALLY bad to wishlist more than 2 versions...if I want it that bad, I'll buy it. If you don't want to buy it but still want it that badly, you should then be willing to use up three or four or five WL spots to get it.

Cheryl 

Subject: -
Date Posted: 2/22/2011 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/22/2011
Posts: 1
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**Edited by PBS**



Last Edited on: 2/22/11 8:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/22/2011 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Is there a way to report a message as a non-message? The message above, from Sumit, is clearly not from a real member. But I don't see a way to flag it so that someone can take care of it.

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,988
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You would report it using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page. Just point them to this forum and the members name

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,204
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Yup - Contact Us in the lower right.

I have sent in Feedback on this one.

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Back to the idea in the original post: One problem I see with this is that the suggestions for alternate editions given by the system is often inaccurate. Sometimes it's not really inaccurate - just points to, say, a textbook, AND the study guide, AND the solutions manual, AND other ancillaries. Someone might want to list multiple editions without adding all of these.

And then, sometimes it's just plain inaccurate - listing different books by the same author, or books that aren't related in any way as far as I can tell.

So I think this idea - while it does have its merits - might end up causing more harm than good.

But it is annoying, when I really want an uncommon book and it comes in three or four editions, so I want to list them all!

Subject: new feature suggestion: wishing for ANY edition of a book
Date Posted: 2/23/2011 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2009
Posts: 18
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Thanks for the lots of interesting thoughts on this idea.  As most people pointed out, the main advantage is that there is less waste of WL spots, and an quicker expected success rate, if we could wish for a Title instead of an ISBN.  An individual could still wish for an ISBN, so it takes nothing away from someone waiting for a certain edition.  The main disadvantage is implementation complexity.  Here are the problems mentioned by a few people and my suggestions.

1. The Title may not map correctly to ISBN, i.e., some unrelated ISBN might be included.  I have no solution for this - without a lot more complexity, it seems that when this happens, too bad.

2. If someone wants a book, they may not want the Audio book.  I think it is reasonable to offer only "wait for ANY edition EXCEPT audio", i.e., wait for any edition that costs one credit.  So Audio always needs to be waited on by ISBN.

3. What would happen if someone wanted to TRANSITION from waiting for ISBN to waiting for TItle?  To avoid unfair results, no transitions possible. If this new feature were offered, it should be made available for any new wishes.  You can delete your old ISBN WL entries and enter new Title WL entries, and it is first come, first served.  Again, if a book becomes available and two members are heads of ISBN and Title WL queues, the older queue entry gets offered the book first.

4. What would happen if someone at the head of the Title WL queue wants to decline an available edition, hoping to wait for another edition?  No dice - again, to simplify things, if you sign up for ANY edition, then you either take the next copy or you are removed from the queue.  That seems fair.

After reading everyone's comments, I wanted to reiterate why this feature would be useful to me.  Many of the books on my WL seem to have a bunch of ISBN related to older printings, British bindings, hard/soft, etc.  These are rare books - they rarely get offered on PBS.  I really have no choice but to wait for ALL of the ISBN, otherwise I might miss the one offered book per year.  This just isn't efficient - I end up wasting a lot of my 200 WL entries like this.  Someone remarked that they rarely wait for more than two ISBN - but how can they pick the correct two (say out of four) if the book almost never gets posted?  If isn't just a question of trying to game the 200 WL limit - if you don't pick all available ISBN, and the ISBN you happen not to pick is the one that gets posted, you just lost probably your only chance of ever getting that book on PBS.

cheers Evan

 

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 9:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,988
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but how can they pick the correct two (say out of four) if the book almost never gets posted?  If isn't just a question of trying to game the 200 WL limit - if you don't pick all available ISBN, and the ISBN you happen not to pick is the one that gets posted, you just lost probably your only chance of ever getting that book on PBS

I look on Amazon, and I can usually figure out which are the ISBNs for trade size vs. mass market paperback (which I think is more likely to be traded here, so its my preference when picking between ISBNs). Also, it can help you figure out which ISBNs are US based (more likely to be posted), and which are from other countries and imported (not likely to be posted except very rarely).

I've traded some WL books here that were released in other countries (ordering from bookcloseouts.com seems to net Canadian editions and even Austrailan editions of books fairly frequently) ... but they are not likely to be frequently posted.

I've got a few on my WL that I know are the British editions of the books, but those are ones that don't have a US edition, and it's more of a reminder for me to check every once in a while and see if a US edition gets released (or if I want to bite the bullet and order from overseas eventually).

 

Anyway, thoughts on your original post ... wish listing by title. Here is how I think it could work. The display of Wish Listed books on someones Wish List page would be by Title. (up to 200 "Titles"). When you WL a book by title, you have a selection box of some sort where you click on which ISBNs of the title you want to get in line for. So, on your WL it counts as 1 book wished, but behind the scenes, you are really in 3 WL lines (or however many ISBNs you selected). The Wish List lines work the same as they do now, it is just displayed combined on your Wish List page as one "title" instead of as 3 ISBNs. So, you could be 3 of 18 for one ISBN of the title, and 19 of 38 on the second ISBN of the title. The combined view would show you your place in line for each ISBN you have selected to wait in line for. If you decline a ISBN, instead of the whole title being removed from your WL, you woudl be removed from the line of that ISBN. And you could go re-wish it by clicking onit again, but you woudl be starting over in that ISBN line. Your place would remain the same for other ISBNs of that title.

This is not so much a reengineering of the whole site and how everything works, as it is a re-engineering of how Wish List books are displayed on the Wish List page, and how the Wish List books are counted.

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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Alternately - and, it seems to me, more simply - the PBS folks could just decide to count those multiple ISBNs (connected by title or whatever) as only one place on your Wishlist. No other changes would be needed, and the other problems would be avoided, as well. I think this would have the advantages of your systems, Evan and Sara, without the added complexity. Everyone could ask for just the versions that they wanted, there are no transition difficulties, and in general it seems simpler than switching to a general line. 

But they don't do that - they choose to limit us to 200 ISBNs. I understand the situation, Evan, because I'm in the same boat, wishing for books that are quite rarely posted. I just have to decide what's worth the credits to put on my wishlist. I've wondered whether there's anyplace online that I can go to find out how many copies of an ISBN are out there, so that I can wishlist the book that printed 20,000 rather than the one that printed 5,000, but I don't know whether this information is out there.

The good thing about wishing for books that are rarely posted is that they're often rarely wished for, as well. They're often not snapped up as soon as they're posted. If you are interested in a particular genre or two, you can get a daily email listing the books posted in that genre each day, and I regularly find treasures there (books I wouldn't have known to put on my wishlist). Most of my foreign-published books come from there, rather than through my wish list.

You also might consider making your wish list public, so that you are more likely to find someone with similar interests who might be able to help you to one of your books - if not one on your wish list, at least one similar. I don't know how likely that is, but it's a possibility.

Date Posted: 2/24/2011 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,522
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I understand your suggestion of "title "search versus ISBN search; but how about different books by the same title. Check results for "Going Home" for example and that is only one of many. I only know this because I have searched by title before and found different books than the one I was looking for. I am all for a better way. But I don't want to end up with Cliff Note

I remember now which book I was looking for that really suprised me.  "So Big" by Edna Ferber-- there are other books of the same title that has nothing to do with the book I wanted.



Last Edited on: 2/25/11 11:40 AM ET - Total times edited: 1