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Topic: The Old Cost/Credit thing again

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Subject: The Old Cost/Credit thing again
Date Posted: 8/10/2010 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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Forgive me for being anal, but in my former life I spent a lot of time
using Excel and Access to churn out databases to keep my bosses out of
the way of the rest of us.

When I joined PBS, I started a spread sheet to keep track of stuff. Mostly
it was a list of posted books with their shelf locations so I could
find them when they were requested. It grew ("beware of creeping elegance!").

Now I have all kinds of data about posted/sent/received along with costs
(down to the cost of tape/package). Problem is I still don't know how much
a credit is worth!  There is enough data to make my numbers statistically
sound, but...

When I send a book out I add the cost of postage, PBS charges and materials
to the database. So if I total all those I can get a cost per credit earned
by dividing the total by the total number of credits. That is $2.97.

But, since I often send out free books on deals, I can divide the total
cost by the actual number of books sent and get another cost. That is $1.98 per
book sent.

BUT, this is about receiving books too. So if I divide the total cost by
the number of books received (requested plus free from deals) I come up
with $4.88 per book received. Hmmmm.

Yet another BUT, I currently have quiet a store of books to read and have
not ordered any recently (I scored a great deal - 16/1). Sooooo if I add
the total number of books received PLUS the credits available and divide
that into the total cost, I come up with $2.97 (which is the same as the
Cost Per Credit above).

Since the average price of a Credit in the Bazaar seems to be about $2.50 and
$3.45 in the Kiosk, I think I'm getting a good deal financially.

Am I...are you?

wayne

PS - The whold PBS thing is a GREAT deal no matter what the cost, so I
guess the whold $ thing is just
 

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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The way I do it (all in my head, I haven't created any Excel spreadsheets yet) is I consider each individual credit. If I send out 3 WL books at once and get 3 credits. Then those 3 credits cost roughly a $1 each. If I run out of credits and have to buy a credit, it's whatever I pay for that credit. I figure I'm getting a deal considering even if I buy a book at a UBS, I'll be paying twice as much or more than the credit cost me.

The only flaw in this is that I don't factor in how much the book I sent out originally cost me. Luckily I get a lot of books for free from family and friends so maybe I don't need to bother with that part!

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Hi Wayne,

I also keep a spreadsheet about costs, but probably not anything as sophisticated as yours. I might need your help with Excel and Access at some point!

I usually keep track of cost per credit earned. If you have a pile of credits, the cost of book received is going to be high because there is "potential" stored in the unused credits. So I try to calculate cost of credit earned and assume that each book I request costs one credit, however much it turns out to be in dollars and cents.

I am not sure cost per book sent is a meaning statistic. After all, if you really wanted to, you can just donate them or throw them out at no cost to you.

You haven't mentioned if you count the original cost of the book (which you paid) in your calculations.



And ... to throw a wrench into the whole thing ...

Have you gotten to the point where you re-post books you've obtained through PBS using credits?

If so, do you count it as a credit earned when you send out a re-post? Since you "paid" one credit for the book, and now you get one credit back, doesn't that cancel out to zero?

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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Including the anount I paid for the book would mean that I would also have to include the original cost of the book I received. ("For every Credit there is a Debit and for every Debit there is a Credit..." - a rule of bookkeeping). In that sense I just assume it is a wash over the total number of books sent and received.

Have you gotten to the point where you re-post books you've obtained through PBS using credits?

If so, do you count it as a credit earned when you send out a re-post? Since you "paid" one credit for the book, and now you get one credit back, doesn't that cancel out to zero?

It does cancel out to zero, so it doesn't matter if I calculate re-posts or not. Since the total credits spent and the total credits earned both change, the totals stay the same - that is why the cost per credit and the cost of books received plus available credits are either the same or very similar.

wayne

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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I........hate numbers. So I don't do anything like that at all. I just consider a book as the currency itself and use the 1 book = 1 credit. That's as complicated as I want to get. I don't do deals, and I send quite a few heavier hardcovers--but I have gotten quite a few of those in return too, so I figure it all evens out in the end.

PBS says I've saved $6,795.00 since joining...which was...holy cow, exactly 5 years ago today. I highly doubt that...but I have saved a lot, and I also like the whole idea of recycling books. I almost never buy new anymore--only for a few series on my Keeper shelf.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 8/10/2010 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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I think of the cost of a credit as the typical cost to mail most books . . $2.38.  I know a credit costs more to by in the kiosk, and the postage is less per book if there are deals, but usually it is "mail a book, get a credit", so $2.38