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Topic: A painfully detailed explanation of how FIFO works.

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Subject: A painfully detailed explanation of how FIFO works.
Date Posted: 4/29/2010 12:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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It seems there are some who cannot understand why their books aren't flying off their shelves.

When I joined PBS in June 2007, I posted over 1,500 books and over the years, have added less than 200 titles to those. I currently have 1,200+ books on my shelf and I'm thankful they aren't all being requested in one swell foop. The postage would kill me. But there are weeks when I receive orders for 10+ books, but that's extremely rare. Orders are more frequent now that my copies are nearing the front of the line.

For those who don't know why they aren't getting book orders, here is how the PBS FIFO system works.

Let's say Member A joined PBS in November 2007 and immediately posted a copy of Beverly Barton's Dangerous Deception. The book was published in November 2006 and initially, it was wish-listed and copies were requested as soon as posted. But soon, all the WL requests were granted. So when Member A posted her book, it was the only copy available in the system, but there were no wishers.

In the months that followed, other members posted copies of this book and soon, there were several copies available in the system.

When someone places an anonymous order for the book, the request will be sent to Member A first. If she cannot ship the book, it will be sent to the Member B (the next person to post a copy), then to Member C, and so on. This is known as FIFO (first in, first out).

I'm using this title as an example because there are currently 45 copies in the system. If you have a copy and post it on your bookshelf, there are 45 copies in line in front of you, waiting to be shipped.

There are some books (i.e., John Grisham and Danielle Steele titles) for which 1,000+ copies have been posted to PBS bookshelves.


You get to take "cuts" in line if someone requests the book off your shelf specifically. You can make this happen by

a) offering obscenely fabulous deals in the Book Bazaar

b) joining Box-O-Books. I swapped 200-300 books in a year using BoBs. And I was much more likely to request a book that was way down on my priority list if I didn't have to use a credit to get it. I'm no longer a BoB swapper because the books remaining on my own shopping list are much harder to come by and I don't want to ship books in exchange for books I don't really want. There are other threads concerning the pros and cons of BoB swapping.

c) don't just post your WL titles! Post them first in the WL thread in the appropriate genre forum (like this one) and request that other members order multiple titles to reduce postage costs. Encourage them to browse your shelf when they order your books.

In addition to getting friends to order your books, POST MORE TITLES! The more you post, the more likely someone will order something. And personally, when I place an order, I always check to see if the user has other books I want.


Date Posted: 4/29/2010 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Great explanation, Colleen!

When I get a question about this via LH, I'll send them to this thread. :)

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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TY, D.G. It seems we old-timers frequently use the term "FIFO system" expecting that "everyone" knows what that's all about. PBS is nothing less than a godsend for avid readers, but it can be frustrating when your credit account is at 0 and wishes are being granted for you. '-D