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Topic: PBS member requesting a book for a non-member....

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Subject: PBS member requesting a book for a non-member....
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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Okay…I have a new question, though interestingly my question concerns the same book I declined sending out last week due to some RC’s that made me reluctant to deal with a particular requestor. 

Here’s the deal: Today I received a request for this particular book and I agreed to mail it out (it did have an RC, but not one that overly concerned me – basically asked me to smell the book for smoke odor. As I am the original owner of the book and I don’t smoke, I felt pretty confident it would pass this RC). Anyway…when I printed out the label, on the second page I noticed that the part that goes to the recipient of the book read as follows:

"Your friend __ has requested the book(s) above for you from another member at PaperBackSwap. This book was requested by __ and was mailed to you by [yours truly].   Please contact [the PBS member that actually requested the book] when you receive this so the book can be marked in our system as received. If you are not a member of PaperBackSwap, ask __ about the great features on this site. Join us today and become a member of the best online book club in America!"

As I understand this, I would be mailing this book to a PBS member, who would then be responsible for getting the book to the non-member (who really wants the book), but I am at the mercy of the non-member to communicate back to the requestor, and then the requestor to mark the book received before I ever get my credit for the book. Was this a form message or did the requestor type this up? 

Regardless, finding this arrangement much too risky (and on the heels of the discourse last week over this same book) I cancelled the order like a hot potato, but I would like to know if this scenario is likely to play out again. Or is this a very odd situation?

Someone please tell me I did the smart thing. I’d love to hear that this is a highly irregular arrangement, but I guess it would be good to know if this is more common than I’d like to think.

~ Becki B.

 
 
 


Last Edited on: 9/22/08 11:41 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I don't think it's irregular at all.  I order books for other people as gifts, and I don't even add RCs, because it's usually something they want and can't find, and used is just fine with them.  I don't know about everyone else, but I stay in touch with those people and check frequently to see if their book has arrived yet.  And I make it clear to them how this works in advance; that I have to mark it received, so I need to know as soon as they get it.  I suppose if it's a surprise, there could be delays there, but I've sent these as well, and didn't have any problems.

Oh - and yes, it's a form message.  On the receiver (the member doing the ordering) end, they're just requesting a book, and having it sent to someone else.



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 11:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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When you order a book you may have noticed that you get the option to "send to another address" or some such thing. This is probably what is being done, a pbs member has requested the book and chosen to send it to someone else. I wouldn't worry too much about it, some people do it all the time. I even did it on accident once.
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I wouldn't have questioned it either.  I have ordered books to be shipped to my mom.  She knows to contact me when it arrives and let me know the general condition. 

I wouldn't have cancelled the order.



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 11:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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You could always use PBS printable postage if you're worried about the credit.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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I don't think it is an uncommon thing at all. Especially now with the storms down south I'd guess we have members displaced from their homes that have to use the alternate address option just to get a book. If I wanted to send a book to a friend, I would definitely use the alternate address feature rather than pay a credit AND postage to get it there. I have only seen one instance of this feature gone bad show up on the boards since I joined. If you are not comfortable with it, I guess you should cancel. Keep in mind that this person may try to reorder and it will come right back to you as long as you are first in FIFO.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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I appreciate the comments and different perspectives.  It still seems unnecessarily risky to me -- and the fact the the requestor is only identified by his/her single initial - which, I think means I don't even get to know what member requested it of me makes me feel like I am the only one assuming risk in this situation.

I'm happy to hear that there are evidently only a few reported problems with folks who have done this, but I think I need to think on it a bit longer in order to get comfortable with it.

Thanks for the help.

~ Becki B.



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 12:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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You can also purchase PBS DC as well. It's only 27 cents, then you add the postage (Media Mail plus 18 cents for the electronic DC). When the book is scanned by the post office, you'll get your credit.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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One thing to consider is that practically everyone knows somebody who doesn't have access to this site.  They may be elderly and find using a computer & getting online intimidating, or they could be unable to afford a computer & internet access.  I think that for many people who order books for someone else, it's an act of kindness for them in most cases, because they know someone who loves to read and could really benefit from having some sort of access to a used bookswap, but for whatever reason, they can't be online to get access to PBS.  Just something to think about...

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If she cancelled the order than the book is no longer on her shelf.  It has to be reposted.  The only time it stays on your shelf is if you decline for RCS. 

I've mailed out a few to alternate address' and never had a problem.  If you're worried about a credit use PBS postage for this one book.



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 1:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,667
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There are also swap games played here where members order "surprise" books for each other. So the books aren't always necessarily going to a non-PBS member.

I order books for my son all the time that I use the alternate address feature on - I just substitute his name for mine, but the address is the same. But since he likes to get mail, it's more fun for him if I do it that way. But I'm the one who logs the books received.

The real risk in using "send to another address" isn't actually on the sender - it's on the receiver. Because "send to another address" removes the option to mark a book "received with a problem."

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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There's a swap going on right now where they'll probably be several books ordered and sent to someone else.  It's a swap involving books from peoples WL or RL. 

I had to do it once when I accidentally damaged a book for a game.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,310
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I've noticed that most of my alternate address orders are for children's books -- I figure it's because it's fun for the child to get the package, or maybe it's a grandparent ordering it for a youngster.  I like to put lots of fun stamps on those.

I think it's fine that you cancelled, though, Becky.  It's important to stay in your own comfort zone.  You will have to repost the book, though, as it will have been removed from your bookshelf.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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The real risk in using "send to another address" isn't actually on the sender - it's on the receiver. Because "send to another address" removes the option to mark a book "received with a problem."

There is a real risk if the requestor isn't one who cares enough to follow up on the friend's book, for what ever reason. We did have a discussion thread where a member had a book sent to a friend who got sick, and she didn't want to bother the friend or family by asking about the book. Not exactly fair to the sender.

And I almost had a book go 'lost' simply because the member who ordered it for a friend had 'lost contatct' with the friend and hadn't bothered to see if her friend had gotten the book or not. It took her a few days to contact the friend and find out, so I did get my credit. But I do wonder if it would have gone lost if I hadn't PM'd to check.

I am uncomfortable with the idea of sending to a non-member. If the book does go lost, the requesting member has no control over what the other person does or does not report about the book. Then suddenly, as a sender, I'm finding I'm not dealing with the person I sent the book to. And if a non-member doesn't report books received, will PBS count it against the member? How do they deal with someone who's not even a member of the site if things go wrong.

I've ordered quite a few books for my grandmother, and had them all sent to my house. I don't want to put her in the middle of a transaction in case getting a book slips her mind, or she gets a bad book and is disapointed. It just feels better to me as a sender and receiver to just deal with members. I'm not sure I'd want to send out any more to those who aren't part of the site. If it was stated up-front, that it's to soldiers overseas' or I was asked if I minded, I think I'd be less hesitant to take a chance on a third party. But I don't like not being informed and only finding out after the fact, that the person I'm paying to ship to isn't someone I can ever get a hold of.

 



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 2:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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I have ordered books for my nephew and for friends, all live in other states. I appreciate the willingness of the sender to mail to an alternate address, and would never let a "mailed to a friend" book go lost because I'd lost touch with the friend or didn't want to contact her. How hard is it to just mark it received? I do give it time to get there, and to hear a report on condition, but if that info wasn't available, I wouldn't withhold a credit from someone who, IMO, was doing me a favor (and saving me the $3 it would cost me to remail it if I had it sent here!).

 

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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Well, again....different perspectives are helpful, but I still don't see how this is not a risk to the sender .  It seems to me the sender is the ONLY one taking a risk (but I may not be seeing something obvious since I haven't done it yet).

And a little light on my particular situation:   I WAS able to trace who the requestor was and also who the recipient of my book was to be and lo and behold....it was the very person I had declined sending the book to last week when I felt uncomfortable with her RC's (and the way she worded it).  The same person who pm'd me and engaged me in a discussion about why I declined.

So I feel especially leary of this "service" now.  I was told in the automated message that the recipient was a non-member, which wasn't true; and I was being asked to send a book to someone who's RC's left me uncomfortable the first time around, only to be told by this new requestor that the only RC was that it didn't smell like smoke. 

Hmm....looks like I need to put two people on my personal "do not deal with" list.   And looks like following my gut instinct (to cancel the transaction) was the right thing to do as far as I am concerned.

Feeling a little used, but wiser...

~ Becki B.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 3:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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knowing what you know now, I don't blame you for cancelling.  that is just weird and sneaky and I'm surprised they were able to order it again when you declined due to RC's.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I think they got around the re-ordering issue by getting a second member to order the book for them and then changed the address to ship to the first requestor. Yes that is sneaky.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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Yeah, I consider it sneaky too.  And after reading some other posts here, I visited the Games forum and I see that yes, indeed, the book requested was for a game/swap (and also one that was requested for a "needy child" in the same request that I declined).  It didn't sound right then, and now  I really don't know what to think, except that the gamers do seem to be enjoying themselves - and it's probably, in the end, harmless (and maybe even seen as profitable) because it gets/keeps books moving here on PBS.  It's just too bad my time was wasted. <shrug>

Still learning,

~ Becki B.

 

 



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 5:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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Its too bad that this person has now caused you to have to repost your book at the end of the FIFO line. At least it should be a short one since this person is going through so much to get your copy of the book. Through the alternative address method might have been the safest way to send a book to this member since she'd have no way of marking it RWP.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I have, on occassion, used the "send to another address" feature to mail books to myself at another address (because I was going to be in a different city next week and still wanted my wishlist books, etc.).  The message appeared even though I was a member requesting a book for myself.

I don't really see a problem with the feature.  Most of the time, those who do request books for other people keep in touch with the person they requested the book for, and mark the book received in a timely manner.  To me, it seems to be just as risky as mailing to someone who abandons their account the next day without closing it -- then the book could be incorrectly turned over to "lost in the mail" and the sender wouldn't get the credit.



Last Edited on: 9/22/08 9:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/22/2008 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,796
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One of the main reasons I joined PBS was to send books to a friend of mine that is ill.   It is part of what the system allows and I don't understand why it would be a problem to anyone.   I've done it dozens of times without a problem.   It's a great feature and one of the ones I enjoy using the most.  It is SO much fun to surprise someone with a book!

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2006
Posts: 141
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I've had mutlitple books sent to my college student son, and it's always worked perfecitly!!

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2006
Posts: 1,755
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I am a fulltime RVer and many times have my own books sent to an alternate address where I know I will be soon. I also send books to my mom in CA who is unable to get to a used book store and really enjoys the books she gets. I even have a person on here who has a mother with the same taste in books that lets me know when she has some my mom would like. I also order books for my kids and grandkids (especially the one away from home at college for the first time). Everyone of these people think it is fun to supply me with the info I need and sometimes info I don't need. I have never had anyone refuse a request for a book I ordered and if someone did cancel because they didn't want to send to one of my relatives I would be sure to put them on my do not deal with list - I don't have a list like that but I suppose I could make one :)

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 10,280
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Okay....I am seeing some good reasons why this service may be useful for some and I'm coming around to not simply discounting it altogether, although I remain just a bit wary - especially based on the many comments left here today and my personal experience over the weekend and then again today. 

Admittedly, before this discussion, I would have wondered about a request to send a book to someone's mom or to someone's kiddo at college, but I can now certainly appreciate the pleasure one would derive from that.  I would probably consider such requests on a case-by-case basis -- I think.  I hope it's clear from what I wrote earlier, though, that this is not similar in any respect to the situation I was dealing with.

Thanks, everyone, for your insight.

~ Becki B.

 

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