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Topic: Non ISBN orphans

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Subject: Non ISBN orphans
Date Posted: 5/29/2010 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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I have come to realize that books without ISBN's are "second class citizens" on PBS. You can post a book without an ISBN and IF you type it all correctly, the general search will find it, but as the Help Files say, it will not trigger either a wish list or similar to wish list alert.

In part, I understand the path that PBS has taken - books are matched NOT by title/author but rather by number (computers deal with numbers better than letters!). That begs the question, though. Books are still books (notwithstanding someone MAY want a PARTICULAR iteration of a book because the dust cover matches the others they have). The opposite is also true - someone may want a book NO MATTER WHAT THE FORMAT just so all the words are there. (That is why Reader's Digest Condensed books are on the fringe of the definition of "book" - all the words are not there).

So....I wonder if it would be possible to somehow notify those who have a particular title on their wish list that a copy without an ISBN is available. I know it is not NOW possible to do it - I'm looking to the future.

It would be impossible to send all the people wishing a title a PM or email (that would be close to spam), but perhaps the system could be set up so someone could post a non ISBN to a special spot on the site and the system would begin to notify each person who had the title on their wish list that this copy is available. Each in order would be contacted until someone accepted the offer. (Still close to spam, but not a giant dump that could cause chaos).

There are a great many books out there with no ISBNs that someone wants to earn a credit for and just as many who may have it on their wish list who would be happy to get it

Just a thought....

wayne
 

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've found whever I've posted a non-ISBN copy of a WL book it's snapped up pretty quickly without much effort on my part.  I'll usually just list it in my signature or in the WL thread in the genre forum. 

The only time they don't move is when there's lot of copies of various editions and had a couple WL versions for large print or audio. 

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,399
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I go and put a Tag on the WL version with the short number.  Then when I ship, I take down the tag.  Has worked very well for me.

I also posted an old (1950s) book with a short ISBN.  I was amazed on how quickly it was ordered.  One factor is that it is very important to put in those genre bars at the bottom of the posting.  Those make the book show up in the banners of newly posted books.  Without them, books do become orphans.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 3:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Short ISBN's do appear under author and/or title searches . . . I know this because I've ordered some!

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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What is the short number, anyway?  I am looking at a WL that has a 5 digit isbn. Just what is that? LCCN?

I have a book by the same title and author, but the WL does not include the CR date, ISBN or LCCN and it certainly does not have a 5 digit number of some kind.  So, the questions are, is my book the book that the member wants and can I offer my book to the member?

I am very frustrated and confused.  

I am relatively new to PBS and finding this system frustrating. Between all the books that I have shipped that are, mysteriously, getting lost in the mail (yeah, right) and books that are suppose to be on their way to me that aren't reaching me, I am not sure what to make of PBS and its members. I have been in the mail-order business for over a decade and I have had more PBS packages get "lost" in the mail in the past month as I have ever had with the thousands (tens of thousands) of packages that I have shipped in the past 10 years. It isn't making sense. And now this short isbn thing is sorta driving me over the edge. 

This shouldn't be rocket science. I have a book: I ship a book: I order a book: I get a book.  But that is not what is happening and I am losing money, books and credits. 

Edited to include: Denise, I just ran across your explanation of short isbn's on aother thread. So, that answers that question. thank you. But, I still can't figure out if my book is the one that tlhe member is wanting.  I guess I will simply list the book and hope that the member finds it if they want it.  (shrug) 



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 10:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Maria, I'm a little confused...you say you are new to PBS but it says you have been a member since 01/02/2006? 

If you are having a large number of books, outgoing and incoming going lost you need to report this to your post office as there is something wrong there.  It is not fair to blame everything on PBS and its members.

No, you cannot post your book to a 5 digit number...those numbers are assigned by PBS to books that do not have an ISBN and are not to be reused.  If you post to that you could get a RWAP.  If you have a book without an ISBN you have to post it using the Post Without ISBN on the posting page.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,584
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Maria, the short number that you're seeing is a number that PBS assigns to a book that does not have an ISBN when it's posted.

My suggestion is to post the book without ISBN, this will generate a short number that PBS will use to catalog the book. 

Also, the suggestions of tagging the book, and posting it in the book bazzar or genre forums is a good one.  

As for books getting lost in the mail, while it is possible that people may be trying to cheat the system, it is also possible for things to get lost in the mail.  Your recourse is to use either DC (Delivery Confirmation) or the printable postage.  

Yes, it may cost you a bit more to send the books out, but as a very happy Printable Postage user, I will say that the peace of mind of a guaranteed credit, and the savings I make in not having to run to the post office for mailing, make up for the increased cost of postage.



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 10:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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Maria, I sense two problems.

One is lost books. I might suggest you use PBS-DC (yes, it costs extra). That way you will not only get your credit when the book is first scanned, but it will also "encourage" others to mark them as received when they get them. After a bit of time you will have a little more evidence to decide as to where to place the blame (not that placing blame will solve the problem but it will let you know where to start working on the problem).

The second is the "short numbers". They are not Library of Congress numbers, they are numbers assigned to a book that you have in your collection - the number actually belongs to you and no one else. (Actually PBS gives you the number when you enter the info about the book and will not reassign it). Whereas an ISBN refers to a population of books (every hardcover of a particular title has the same ISBN), the short number refers to your book only.

If someone searches for an ISBN number in PBS's search, your book will not show up.
If someone searches for a Title, yours will show up (assuming you typed it in correctly). The only drawback to the system is the short numbers will not trigger a wish list alert.

wc

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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Christy:   Yes, I originally signed up with PBS in 06 when I first heard about the site, but I have used it very little until I decided to clean out my library last month to make room for a new room mate. Just because someone is a member of a group, organziation or site does not mean that constant activity is a directive.   And, as I stated. I have been shipping mail ordered materials for over 10 years and this is the first time that I have ever had so many packages, apparently, not show up at their destinations in a reasonable amount of time.  On average, I have one package in 1000 get lost in the mail. In just the past month, since starting to use PBS more, I am looking at 10% of my outgoing/incoming PBS packages quickly approaching the lost status.  Of the other 300 other packages that I shipped for my business in that same time frame, every one that should have arrived by now, has.  So, no, it is not the USPS. I don't see them discriminating against PBS packages, even if they are shipped media mail.

It is frustrating to me that I am going to have to break down and pay the extra nineteen cents per package for DC just to try to protect myself. This isn't a business expense, so I can not write off the extra cost. 

But, that does bring up another question, which I know is moving away from the thread topic, but because I use my own online postage service, I do not use one offered by PBS.  How does that affect the DC information. Will PBS accept the DC information from Endicia account as easily as it does its own service?  Maybe I should start a new thread for this question. 
 

 

 

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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Just one more thought about short isbn's...

If it is, as Chrisy says, we can not/should not post a book to a 5 digit WL listing, why are those books even ending up on the WL list to begin with?

Per the definitions that I have read on this thread, and others in this forum, 5 digit, or short, isbn's are generated by PBS as an internal marker. Therefore, there is no book that will ever match a PBS short isbn listing. Accordingly, even if I am holding the exact same copy of the 5 digit book on a PBS WL, it can not be listed for the book on the WL. So, how can, or why does, a 5 digit isbn books be allowed on the WL?

I am  not trying to be difficult; I am just trying to understand the system and the numbers are not adding up (NPI). 



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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People WL those versions not realizing that they may never get posted to PBS again.  When I first joined-I had no idea those were PBS generated ISBNS and not likely to be reposted.  So I added them to my WL until I learned otherwise. But even then I still add them by mistake every now and then because I didn't notice when I was WL various versions of a book.  Also sometimes with books that have been out of print for a long time-the only versions out there are non-ISBN versions.  ISBNS didn't become mainstream until in the 90's.  I still come across books from early 90's that have no ISBN on them at all.  So I think some people WL different versions of these books in hopes that someone will see that it's WL and post it. 

 

That is a high number of lost books and suggests a problem with your post office.  In over 1,000 transactiosn here I've only had 4 enroute to me go lost and 1 that I've sent. The senders of 2 used DC-one was never scanned and I suspect never mailed, 1 was scanned as delivered but I've never seen the book, 1 just went lost and the 4th was found in their spouses trunk a week before it went lost and showed up 2 wks after I got hte PM. I don't know what happened to the one I sent that went lost.  The requestor did PM me to say that she hadn't received it and she would mark it received if it showed up. 

 

Anyone with a high number of books going lost to them would raise a red flag with PBS and likely have their account suspended and any credits confiscated until they investigated.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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If you use DC from another source than PBS you will not get your instant credit.

Search the help docs for

When will I get my Quick Credit?
Can I get Quick/Guaranteed credit if I buy Delivery Confirmation elsewhere (not through PBS)?
A book I sent is lost in the mail!

from the help docs

If you have a high proportion of outgoing loss (books you marked mailed that were never received) on your account, this bears looking into:

The most common causes of a high outgoing loss rate are: late mailing, inadequate Wrapping, and non-sending.

  • If you are mailing late, you can easily correct this. 
  • If your wrapping is inadequate, the books could be getting lost en route, and you should read the Help items about wrapping books in All Help documents about bookwrapping.
  • If there is some other issue affecting your sending, this needs to be identified and addressed.

If a high loss rate persists on any account after we have discussed this with a member, this will jeopardize membership.  Books need to get where they are going on PBS, and the USPS rate of package loss is really low--a high outgoing (or incoming) loss rate can almost never be blamed solely on USPS.  If a sender wraps well, uses the correct address and amount of postage and mails promptly, more than 99% of her packages will arrive at their destinations.

You are receiving a high rate inbound and outbound.  I would defintely speak with your post office. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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I don't care about instant credits. I care about my books/postage/credits being stolen. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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In response to Mary L.

I sill can not get past the logic, or lack thereof, that I can send 300 package in one month for my business and not a one gets lost by the USPS, but of the 30 which I have sent/has been (supposably) sent to me through PBs in that same time frame, 3 are quickly coming up to the lost date.

And, am I reading you correctly in that because of forces that I can not control, PBS will suspend my account and take my credits from me? 

I think it is time to seriously reconsider if this is the place for me. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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DC - from PBS or otherwise won't get your mail delivered any faster or better. It will, however, tell you where the "screwup" is - you can assume that 9 time out of 10 the last scan tells you where the problem is. Also any DC will tell you that (if) it was indeed delivered so you can PM the requester and gently prod them to mark the book received.

I have a problem with saying that a lost book is the post office's problem...fault... If it is then why, if THEY lose a lot of my books (they havent thank heavens) does it jeopardize membership??? 

 

wc

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 202
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I have sent and received about 200 books without a single loss. Whenever this issue comes up as a topic that seems to be the norm--less than 1% loss. If you're losing at a 10% rate you need to find out why.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2009
Posts: 196
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Just one more thought about short isbn's...

If it is, as Chrisy says, we can not/should not post a book to a 5 digit WL listing, why are those books even ending up on the WL list to begin with?

Per the definitions that I have read on this thread, and others in this forum, 5 digit, or short, isbn's are generated by PBS as an internal marker. Therefore, there is no book that will ever match a PBS short isbn listing. Accordingly, even if I am holding the exact same copy of the 5 digit book on a PBS WL, it can not be listed for the book on the WL. So, how can, or why does, a 5 digit isbn books be allowed on the WL?

I believe they are left so when you get a short ISBN book and read it, you can repost it on the same short ISBN number.

I don't like the way short ISBNs are handled, but I love PBS despite this fault.  I think a lot of people don't understand or just don't follow the short ISBN rules.   I saw a short ISBN book the other day with 4 books available to order.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think you would have to have a higher loss rate than that for them to suspend your account.  I'm just saying that it's unlikely that someone trying to scam PBS by not marking books received would last long because they'd see a pattern.  You mentioned being annoyed at having to pay extra for DC to protect yourself which implies a high number of books you've sent going lost. Since you seem to think this is a problem with PBS itself that implies a concern over dishonest members.  I'm just saying that anyone who was trying to be dishonest by not marking bokos received wouldnt' last long.  Are there some dishonest PBSers?  Probably.  But I think if you are having such a high loss rate it's more likely a local post office concern.  With the huge membership of PBS the chances of you running into that many scammers in a short time frame is really low. 

In your other business are you sending books out media mail or something else that uses 1st class or anotehr higher rate of media mail?  Media Mail is low priority for the post office and therefore more likely to go "lost". And the lost date is just a date PBS picked within a timeframe that they think books should arrive in on an average basis.  As far as the post office is concerned-they have no such delivery date requirements for media mail. 



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 3:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I do wish they'd purge some of those non-IBSN listings that are currently not being used. But I can see why they don't. The person who originally ordered that book might want to repost it from their TBR pile and reuse that ISBN. And if the book has wishers then they'd have to contact those people and let them know that they are removing a book from their WL.  The bulk of those people wishing for the 5 digit PBS ISBN's are probably people who never come to the message boards to learn that they aren't likely to be reused.  I didn't know until I read it on the message boards.  And like I said earlier-I still occassionally notice one on my WL because I wasn't payiing attention to ISBN #'s when I was adding books to my WL. 



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 3:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Therefore, there is no book that will ever match a PBS short isbn listing.

Short ISBN listings will show up under author and title searches. I think most people, when looking for a book, will do a site search on name or title first, rather than ISBN. So the books are still in the database for requestors to find. People who really want a book will do a bit more digging, and if they have a ISBN picked out, then that may be the only one they want.

Also, people can list them in other ways so people can find them. So I don't see it as a huge problem, although I do think that if they can somehow work around the ISBN numbers to send out notices of multiple editions to those who want them, they should include it. It may just be a programming chore they need to get done.

In your other business are you sending books out media mail or something else that uses 1st class or anotehr higher rate of media mail?

Good question. Most places don't send books out media mail much. Even the books I order new don't come that way. Just those who send out used books.

Media mail gets there when it gets there. Some will get there, very late. I usually make sure I use First Class when it's not much more, and saves that problem.

I have a problem with saying that a lost book is the post office's problem...fault... If it is then why, if THEY lose a lot of my books (they havent thank heavens) does it jeopardize membership??? 

I haven't heard of it actually doing so.

In one case, I had a book box of nine go lost to me. Not a deal or BOB box, but a box with nine books. When they went lost I got all nine credits back. Never heard a peep from PBS. I've had a total of 37 go lost to me over the five years, and 1 from me (out of 834) go lost. Again, not a peep, nor a warning. So I wouldn't worry about it until the site says you should be concerned on lost numbers.

I think mainly it's to help keep track of bottlenecks they can look into. If one person is losing a lot of books in or out, and they're all coming from and going from various places, then it may be something local to that area that's causing the problem. Especially since we've had all kinds of nasty weather, they can see where the slower stuff may get hung up for weeks. Snow storms and mud slides, flood and valcanos' will do that to mail.



Last Edited on: 5/31/10 3:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/31/2010 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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There are some places (Wisconsin comes to mind) that have a problem with Media Mail.  There may be other geographical pockets with the same kind of problem of vendors illegally sending out merchandise with Media Mail rates.  I can't figure out why otherwise so many books would go missing.  From one person or to one person.

The short ISBN books are tracked by their original short ISBN.  That little footprint beside the book is a record of the trips that book has made within PBS membership.  That is the main reason one shouldn't reuse those ISBN's.  Otherwise I see no problem with them except that most don't know about them or their use.  Since they will show up under an author or title search they won't be overlooked.  And really I'm not sure that all that many members rely on the "same as" ISBN alert very much.  I never do.  I prefer not to get them.  YMMV

Ruth
 

Date Posted: 6/1/2010 6:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,327
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A lot of good info here.  One thing I can add -- when I'm editing books, sometimes it's really hard to find an image or a description anywhere.  Once in a while, I'll find a great image, or a terrific description that someone typed out from the back of their book, on an unposted short ISBN listing.  I can borrow it for another book.  So while I used to want the site to purge the old short ISBNs, now I'm grateful for them.  They are an archive of good info.

And of course, as mentioned above, if I've received a short ISBN book, I can repost it later using the same number.

Date Posted: 6/2/2010 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,725
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Other reasons I think they don't purge the short ISBNs:

1. It would mess up the Transaction Archive.

2. It would mess up the TBR tab if you have placed a short ISBN book on it that you have received. (most people probably have that set to auto add books to it when you mark them received).

Date Posted: 6/2/2010 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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Maria - it looks to me that it may not be a case of all these books being lost yet, but that you are expecting them to travel at the same rate as the other mail you send and that will often NOT be the case. You end up stating that these books are about to reach their lost date in the system, that they really are not lost by PBS's definition yet.

Media Mail can and will often take the full time to travel, that's the nature of that class of mail. If you have a high volume going from and coming to you, it sounds like your mail might go through a high volume sorting facility. Media Mail only goes when there is space left after all other classes are mailed. If the facility has a high volume it could be days before Media Mail moves. We are coming of a holiday period where there may be a higher volume of mail than normal (graduations everywhere) so that could be the case.

I have shipped/received over 1000 books at this point and believe I have had half a dozen or less go lost. Your situation is certainly not the norm for PBS and its members.

As for the Wish Lists on the short ISBNs - that number exists because the book was posted to PBS and it is possible for it to be reposted so the Wishers could get that book eventually. The short ISBNs are messy, but with some tagging and advertising they do get requested.

Date Posted: 6/3/2010 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2006
Posts: 20
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Or, it could be because a member who said that they mailed a book on May 8th, in actuality, sent the book May 29th. 

Yes, I finally received the first of the books that are approaching their system action date... the same day of actual system action. I opened mail to find the book while at the same time opening my email to find that PBS had declaired the book lost.  And the date on the USPS generated postage was 21 days after the member said they had mailed the book.

And, if that wasn't enough, the book has coffee/soda staining and that caused page waving that was not disclosed.