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Topic: Please explain the new .49 swap fee?

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Subject: Please explain the new .49 swap fee?
Date Posted: 4/18/2016 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2009
Posts: 12
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I'm so confused with this new .49 swap fee.  It's been over a year since I've received a request from the site and about a year since I've requested a book.  When I came back to the site today I had 2 unused credits that I was going to use to get new books.


I requested one book and notice that I was able to request the book but had a .49 charge.  I wasn't sure where I was supposed to pay this (am I to pay it immediately? after I receive the book?  and the end of the month?).  So after clicking around for a few minutes I didn't see any option to pay the .49, I then came to the forum and see I couldn't post a question without a membership.  So I found the option for an annual membership of $12 and it is supposed to include:  30 free swaps, .49/swap AFTER first 30 swaps, posting in forums, etc.  So I thought okay, I'll just purchase this it it will take care of my .49 and any future books up to 30. 


So then I request a second book, using up my last credit of 2.  No problem.


But now I want a third book, and see that I can't get that one unless I buy Book Credits!!!???  Well what did I buy with the $12?   Wasn't that supposed to include 30 swaps?  I don't get it.  So you mean I now have to by $3.50 in credits to get more books?


Please explain to me.  I'm sooo confused with this new system?


Date Posted: 4/18/2016 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,381
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the swap fee and book credits are 2 separate things. the help tab at the top of this screen has all the info you need.

Date Posted: 4/18/2016 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2009
Posts: 12
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I looked in Help before I posted here, but it is still very much confusing.  For example:

    • If you are enrolled in Standard Membership, you use only Book Credits to request books (you never need to pay Swap Fees)
    • If you are enrolled in Limited Membership, you can submit 30 requests per year using only Book Credits  (and no Swap Fees)
    • If you are an A la Carte Member, you will need to pay a 49-cent Swap Fee (or use a "Free Swap") for each request.
  • Book Credits may be purchased in the Kiosk.


Apparently, my $12 is a Limited Membership which "appears" to mean I can submit 30 requests using only Book Credits (and no Swap fees)?  What does this mean exactly.  I'm not dense.  This is REALLY confusing.   What it looks like is I can submit 30 requests for books BEFORE having to pay .49.  Compare this to the A la Carte Member, where you pay a .49 swap fee for ALL swaps..  


What's the point of the Limited membership, if you're still paying the .49 swap fee the same as an Ala Carte Member? 


It needs to be rewritten as such:

Limited Membership:  You pay .49 per swap but you can post in the forums.

Ala Carte Member:  You pay .49 per swap but you can't post in the forums.

That seems to be the only difference.  Adding the "30 requests" info just confuses things.  Because it sounds like I can make up to 30 swaps or requests for books.


The confusion for me is the meaning of Swap Fee and Book Credit.  What is the difference?  If I get 30 free swaps, why would I need Book credits?  and if I have to buy Book Credits, what is the benefit of have 30 free Swaps.  Sounds like you benefit more with the Ala Carte membership, because at least you know you're only paying .49 per swap. 

Last Edited on: 4/18/16 3:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/18/2016 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,050
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As a Limited Member, you bought 30 free swaps, i.e., for the first 30 books you request, there is no 49 cent swap fee. You still need a book credit for each book you order.

Or, you can think of it this way. Each book request at the Site requires 2 things: 1 swap fee and 1 book credit. Standard Membership includes unlimited swap fees. Limited membership includes 30 swap fees. A La Carte (ALC) membership is a pay-as-you-go plan, where you can buy PBS money as needed to cover the 49 cent swap fee, which comes out of your PBS money.


Date Posted: 4/18/2016 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2009
Posts: 12
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Okay, well maybe I just never fully knew how it worked.  I've been a member since 2009 and have always used my credits to get books.  Never had to pay a fee.  But at the same time, I got lots of requests for books back then, so I would always have credits for free books. 

This .49 is just confusing to me.  I've never had to purchase Book Credits.  Just always had them free I suppose.  And the Swap Fee is just really throwing me for a loop.  Is it the Book Credits that is new?  or the Swap Fee that is new?  Also, never had to pay to post in the forum.  But just paid $12 to ask this question, and still looks like I owe the .49?  sad    But I requested 2 books in the last hour because I had 2 credits remaining.   Why do I now owe only one .49 and not (2) .49?  I had 2 free credits.


Last Edited on: 4/18/16 3:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/18/2016 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,166
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This is an easy way to understand the new fees:

Old way:

Books cost one credit. You obtain credits (either mail a book or buy a credit) to order books.

New way:

Books cost one credit PLUS one Swap Fee. You need credits AND swap fees to request books.

There are several price tiers to buy SWAP FEES. (You get credits the same way as always, mail a book or buy a credit).

1. (A-la-carte) No annual fee, just pay 49 cents per swap fee, for every swap.
2. $12 Limited Membership (annual fee) - comes with 30 Swap Fees included. You pay 49 cents per swap after you use the 30 free swaps.
3. $20 Standard Membership (annual fee) - comes with unlimited Swap Fees.

This allows members to control how much they spend on swap fees ... a-la-carte is cheapest if you request less than 24 books per year. Limited is best if you request between 25 and 46 books per year, and standard is cheapest if you request more than 47 books per year.

Also, the other beggest difference is that a-la-carte members cannot post in the forums, so if that is an activity that you want, then choose either limited or standard membership.

Last Edited on: 4/18/16 3:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 4/18/2016 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,777
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it is VERY confusing- I took standard and am still confused. 

Date Posted: 4/18/2016 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,381
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if you bought a limited membership you have the swaps part of a transaction covered. you can buy some credits in the bazaar board here for around 2 to 2.15 dollars from other members who have an excess of credits.

Date Posted: 4/18/2016 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
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Or if you ever buy a credit from the Kiosk, it comes with a Swap Fee.

Adrienne, if you went with the Standard Membership, then you don't have to worry about the changes. Everything works the same for you. You only need credits to swap, just like before.


Date Posted: 4/19/2016 2:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,089
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Credits - Swap credits are the traditional currency of the site. You mail a book out, you get a credit. With how things used to work, you would then just need that credit to request a book. Swap credits are still in use with the new system; if you get an offer, you have the option of buying a credit via the request page if you don't have one available. The membership tiers (a la cart, Limited, and Standard) do not come with any credits.

Sway Fees - We we also now have Swap Fees. This is the $.49 to place a request. Effectively, this fee applies to all members, however (and it's a big however), Free Swaps can be used instead of the $.49. The membership tiers come with different numbers of Swap Fees (a la cart = 0/pay as you go, Limited = 30, and Standard = unlimited). Like credits, there is a button on the request page to buy PBS Money if you do not have enough to cover the Swap Fee. If you happen to be ordering multiple titles from 1 person at 1 time it only uses 1 Swap Fee.

PBS Cash - PBS Cash is the money that we can add to our accounts to pay for various things on the site. It is essentially a giftcard in that you can purchase things directly with Paypal/credit card, or you can buy PBS Cash and use that as needed. The banking a little extra in PBS Cash is that there is a transaction fee (as credit card companies and Paypal both charge transaction fees to the vendor) for any purchase with those 2, so if you go ahead and add more than you need in the immediate, then you don't have to pay the transaction fee each time since you'd be using PBS Cash. Swap Fees are automatically deducted from your PBS Cash if you don't have some available but have no Free Swaps to cover the request.

Printable Postage / additional Free Swap - There is another way to get Free Swaps when you send a book. If you use the Printable Postage (it provides on-site tracking and insurance for your credit in case something goes amiss at the PO), you get 1 Swap Fee for each time you use the Printable Postage. Printable Postage costs $.55, so if you happen to need a credit immediately anyway, it's a pretty good deal.

Your situation - If you purchased your membership before requesting the books, and it sounds like you did, you should not have been charged an extra $.49 from your PBS Cash, just the 2 Swap Fees from your credit log. To check this:

  • look at the top of the page
  • on the right-hand side, between "Credits" and "Money", it should say something akin to "Swap Registry" or "Free Swaps"
  • click that option
  • this should open a page that shows you how many Free Swaps you have remaining, and where and when you've used any

Membership Tiers - In addition to Swap Fees and (as you know) posting in the forum privelages, the memberships have a few other perks. 1st, a la cart members cannot PM unless it it they have a current (or have had a recent) swap with the person they want to talk to. Personally, I hate this, but that's really neither here nor there at the moment.

  • Standard - 500 WL - can request multiple copies of an available book at the same time - 1 free Printable Postage per month
    • extra features - can see how many copies of a book are available in the system, Post a Book system will tell you if a book you are posting is on a friend's WL, can display your Reminder List on your profile (helpful if you use it as an extended WL for any reason)
  • Limited - 200 WL - can request multiple copies of an available book at the same time - 1 free Printable Postage per 3 months
  • A La Cart - 100 WL - can request 1 copy of an available book at one time (must wait until received if multiple copies are needed)

Upgrading - If you happen to get a lot of WL offers and want to upgrade from Limited to Standard, you can by paying the difference. Also, if it might help in the future, some very kind members are offering to buy membership in exchange for credits (if a PBSer happens to have more credits than available funding at the moment). Here is a link to the thread - Want to receive a gift membership in return for credits? - See 1st Post!

Last Edited on: 4/19/16 2:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/19/2016 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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Look in the upper right hand corner of your screen where it says Free Swaps, does it have a number? As long as that hasn't went to zero you will still have some free swaps to use up and will not pay the 0.49. It sounds like you are an inactive enough member that you Limited Membership should have you covered for the year and you just need to make sure you have credits.

Date Posted: 4/20/2016 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,767
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D.Y.M., it sounds like you are confused about credits and swap fees. Last February, PBS went from a free website to use to a paid website. They gave us three options to pay the fees, the standard membership, the limited membership or a pay as you go. The memberships provide more than the pay as you go method.

Everyone needs a credit to request a book. But there are options to pay the swap fee. Those with standard membership have unlimited swap fees. Those with the limited membership have 30 swap fees and each transaction will deduct from those 30. Those who pay as they go will need to pay 49 cents to request a book with their credit.


Date Posted: 4/20/2016 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,488
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It sounds to me like you ordered the first book prior to purchasing a membership, which is why you incurred the $.49 swap fee. I think you would need to cancel that book (if it's not too late) and reorder to avoid the $.49 swap fee. 

The paid membership gets you three things: free swap fees (30 per year for limited membership), the ability to post in the forums, and the ability to send private messages. A la carte members can only send a private message to someone when they have a book order with that person.

I forgot to add that you can buy book credits from individual members in the Book Bazaar forum for a lot less than the kiosk.

Last Edited on: 4/20/16 11:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1