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Topic: Purchasing credits seems counter productive

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Subject: Purchasing credits seems counter productive
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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I am new to PBS and uploaded about 15 books yesterday.  Most of these were very good books that I paid full price for on Amazon over the course of the past year.  Seven of them were immediately snatched up since I guess there were automatically requested from peoples wish list.

So after prepping the books for shipping I began to search through the PBS site only to find out that there aren't very many quality books available.  I immediately began to realize that the PBS is skewed such that the demand for popular books is much higher than the supply.  Theoretically this should not be the case if people are truly swapping books. 

Upon closer examination it became immediately clear why this is happening.  The selling of credits is killing the balance.  The credits are way too cheap.  I listed a lot of books in perfect condition that are on best sellers lists(that I paid ~$20 for) that people are getting for around $3 by buying credits.  If credits are going to be sold, they should be priced much higher in my opinion.  The pricing scheme as is stands now facilitates people making a small business out of buying credits and sniping valuable books to resell.

It is a bit dissapointing since I was hoping for a web site that facilitated book swapping in its purest form.  Ideally, when I am done reading a book I simply trade it for another book that I want to read.  Instead, I finish reading my valuable book and have it sniped up by someone that will resell it for profit.  Meanwhile I have to get on a list for the other books I want to read that is a mile long becuase of all the people buying cheap credits.

If everyone buys credits there will eventually be no more books in the system.  The only good books being introduced to the system are from the poor hapless newbies like myself who unknowingly list all their good books right after signing up. 

I hope that it turns out to be easier to aquire decent books than it appears on the surface.  We shall see.

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Very few people are reselling books from PBS. This discussion comes up often.

If you are concerned that your valuable books are being "sniped" by resellers, then do not post them if it makes you uncomfortable.

In my experience, it all evens out. I've posted brand new hardcovers and then have gotten brand new hardcovers. I'm not reselling these hardcovers, and I genuinely doubt the hardcovers I swapped are being sold.



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 12:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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new books are going to be that way, a long wish list...but you would probably be surprised at how many copies are floating through the system.  I've moved up on one heavily WL'd book from over 200 to #60 at last look.

If I had to buy a credit and pay more than $3.45 (or the cost of a used book) I wouldn't buy any (I don't now anyway).  granted the cost is based on a PAPERBACK and if you are listing hardbacks (which is permissible) then no the cost of a used book would not be the same.

There are other sites (well at least 1) where you can list a hardback for more than 1 credit, the default is 2 credits but you can list it (or any book for that matter) for more credits.  PBS works on a 1 credit per book whether it be HB or PB.

to assume that someone is requesting your book to resell is just that, an assumption.  very rarely are you going to find someone that is here to resell a book.  It just isn't profitable in most cases.

I am wondering how you determined that there aren't many "quality" books here on PBS.  There are lots of quality books here so I'm really not sure how you determined that.  most of the books I send out are "like new".  not all but most because my husband and I take very good care of our books.  the ones I've gotten from swapping may not be "like new" but they are usually still very good condition

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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My husband sometimes gets bummed about the wait for his books.. which a mostly travel or hardback military books.  He will grumble and say "That wishlist just DOESN"T work"... but then he gets little boy glee when we DOES get one of the books. 

All I can say is to hang in there and keep some credits handy for when your Wishlist books become available to you.  Yes, some do seem to take FOREVER.  Like the poster above said... some folks have done the math on the profit margin for resellilng books from paperbackswap.  The bottom line is that they would have to work like a dog to make a livable profit.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 188
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Consider the "other side" if you raise the price of the credits to cover the "valuable" books then people will be over paying for  20 year old paperbacks.

When I send a book to a requester it is no longer my business what they do with that book. As stated above it all evens out in the end.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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to assume that someone is requesting your book to resell is just that, an assumption.  very rarely are you going to find someone that is here to resell a book.  It just isn't profitable in most cases.

Also, the books the OP is assuming were resold, were on WL, so the member had to wait for the book.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Dan, in the long haul, everything works out. Because the system works on FIFO (first in, first out), newer members often can end up lower on a wishlist waiting line. People can add upcoming books to their lists, and for very popular ones the line can be rather long. But you'll also notice that many of those lines move rather quickly. Authors of popular bestsellers tend to move through the system rather quickly. You'll find that the more "obscure" and less-popular books will sit for a long time on your WL, because they won't be posted very often.

For now, look for upcoming releases that you're interested in and put them on your wish list (WL) right now. Also add any of those long-line ones. Look for the paperback version of some books that aren't released yet. You'll find that they move a lot more quickly than the hardbacks, mainly for the reason you've stated (expensive to buy, credits are cheap), but also because some can cost more than the cost of a credit to ship.

Don't get discouraged right away. This site is very exciting at first, and then the impatience sets in, in a BIG way. But soon you'll find that you have a giant shelf full of TBR (to-be-read) books and can wait contentedly for the others.

To stretch your opening credits a bit while you're waiting, check out the book bazaar forum. Many people offer deals (2-for-1, 3-for 2, etc.), and you can get a lot of books that way for a starter to fill-in while you're waiting for high-demand books.

Welcome to PBS! Don't hesitate to become active on the forums. Create a profile so people can find you and search your bookshelf, and become active in the forums. Find others who have the same taste in books that you do and add them to your buddy lists. You'll find yourself venturing into other books you might never have considered!

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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There will always be a higher demand for the new popular books than there is supply, because there is just less of them around - they've not been printed for that long.  The great thing is that those long WL lines typically move very fast for those types of books. I was quite high, I think over 450, when I got in line for HP7 and received it in about 3 months. Also, what is one man's trash is another's treasure, just because the books in the system look like they are not worth anything to you, doesn't mean soemone else isn't looking for them.

Reselling would just not be worth while here. You have to spend a $3.45 credit to get the book. All the ones worth anything have long WL lines so you would only be getting a book here and there to sell. If someone was attempting to use PBS to sell, they would not be making much of a profit and the site has closed accounts of members caught systematically selling books they've gotten here.

The longer you are here, the more adapted to the site you will be. You will learn to WL books before they are published and you will be receiving so many books to read, you won't care when you get the next one off of your WL. Some genres are just really popular and the wait will always be there.

The site does limit the # of credits purchased from them in a month to 30. If they see a problem, I am sure they will reduce it since that limit was only put in place recently. As for people selling credits, the site can't really dictate how much people ask for. Most people won't sell a credit for less than what it cost them to earn it here and those credits were most likely earned by sending a book so there is a book in the system for that credit.

If they didn't allow for members to sell credits to each other, then those of us that have shipped a lot of books would be sitting here with a hoard of credits and the newer members would be short and either have to pass up on books or purchase them at full price. Its a win-win-win allowing us to sell to each other, members with too many can recoup some $$ for postage, members without any can get a deal, and the site stays active by putting credits into the members' hands that are going to spend them. 

There is no way for the site to dictate that a book must return tho the system for swapping. Its membership would reduce significantly if they tried. I keep a good portion of the books I get from the system, but I  post in at least twice that in WL books so it would be counter productive to the site if I were to quit trading because I couldn't keep any of the books.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Dan, I've gotten many "quality" books here, including very popular ones as well as very obscure books that I thought no one would ever post because they were so arcane.  I've also posted both types to the system, so I disagree entirely with your assessment that there are not many quality books here.  I'm continuously posting books to the system, many of which are on people's WishLists and they are just as high a "quality" as anything you might've posted.  (In fact, many of the books I initially posted when a newbie, I thought would be great to post because they were popular had hundreds of copies already in the system because they were so popular, and it took a while for them to be requested.)  It's a bit presumptuous of you to assume that the books you posted that were snatched up were all "good quality" and that the books posted by other members are "not good quality" except for their initial postings when they "didn't know any better."  And I know of MANY members who go book shopping for the sole purpose of scouting out and finding WishList books just to post them in the system here.

Also remember, that a good portion of books posted here are automatically "snatched" up when they are posted just as your books were by members that had them on their wish list.  Those books "count" as part of the books available, even though they never made it as far as posting to the main library for ordering.  If you want one of those popular books, just get in line by putting it on your WishList and when it is your turn, the "quality" book you want will be yours.  There are other swapping booksites where the book goes to whoever can snatch it up first, and unless you are monitoring the site 24/7, you have NO CHANCE of getting the "quality" book you want.  Here, all who want it have the opportunity to get it, once their turn comes around.

I know many members who can't keep a credit balance to their account because there are just so many books here that they want.  I personally can't order all the books I want because I wouldn't have enough credits as well.  I'm glad there is an option to buy credits, just in case, and I wouldn't want them to be priced higher.  If I wanted to pay that much, I'd just go out and buy all my books and not bother to swap them at all.

And I'd've missed out on interacting with this wonderful community of people.  I personally think you should rethink and/or reassess your opinion of PBS.  But it is YOUR opinion, and of course, you are entitled to believe what you want.  I think you'll find many here who disagree with your assessments.  Count me as one of the dissenters.



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 12:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 664
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I have gotten some books in excellent shape that were posted by long time members. I can't see how anyone can really make money from reselling books from here because most used books don't sell for a large $$ (except maybe textbooks but those probably don't get posted much). If I have a book that I feel is worth more than say $5.00, I will check to see if I can sell it on half.com or ebay. Selling used books at yard sales, you might get $1.00 for a hardback. Selling used books online, people also have to pay shipping...which makes the price go up quickly. Why would I buy a credit/book for $3.45 and then sell the book for $5.00? I haven't made any money from that at all. The book would have to be worth a lot more to be making money from here.

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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I guess it all depends on what you consider a 'quality' book. I have a vague hunch the books you are posting, i wouldn't be interested in AT ALL. I'm looking for something entertaining to read, not expensive books. Give me some paperback fantasy novels, i'm a happy girl. There are plenty of those here, and it's 95% of what i order.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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The cost to buy a credit is pretty much the cost you pay to mail a book to earn a credit. Its not really any cheaper for most to buy credits because the cost is actually a little more than the average cost of postage for a paper back book. Hard backs cost about $.80 more to mail. Ive recieved 620+ books here the count is actually probably more like 1000. I get at least one wish list order a week and just had an order for one that had been on my list for no more than a week when it was posted.

You have been a member for 24 hours give it a little time and you will see its a really great source of used books and a great way to get rid of books cluttering your house.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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I know it may seem discouraging when the books you want aren't posted in the system right now.  Congratulations, you have excellent taste in books, the ones you want to read are in high demand!  That's what the wishlist is for.  The wishlist is THE KEY to this site, IMO.  Add those books to your wishlist and you'll get them, most sooner rather than later.

As for the re-selling issue, as many have said, most are not reselling books here, and if they are, they make so little that it is really silly.  Those that are reselling usually make that apparent with overly picky requestor conditions - and you  have the choice not to send to those people.  Most members here just love to read and want the books for that purpose. 

I understand what you are saying about wanting a "pure" bookswapping site with no credits for sale...but wait until a book you REALLY REALLY REALLY want to read becomes available and you're stuck with no credits before you decide how you feel about this issue.

Welcome to PBS!

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I immediately began to realize that the PBS is skewed such that the demand for popular books is much higher than the supply. 

Of course the demand for popular books is higher than the supply. This isn't a bookstore that can order more based on the number of 'orders' in the system. Since a lot of people want the popular books, (which is why they're popular) and the books posted are books people no longer want, then there will always be a backup on certain books.

Its the same when trying to find a popular book at a used book store, or a thrift shop. If they're really popular they won't show up for a while. If they're so good they're keepers, they may not show up for ages, if at all.

It is a bit dissapointing since I was hoping for a web site that facilitated book swapping in its purest form.

You have to remember, this isn't a lending library. No book is ever guarenteed to be posted to the system, nor is it ever guarenteed that a popular book gotten from a Wish List order will ever come back to the system, even though there could be hundreds of people in line waiting for a copy. People are free to keep what ever book they get and to post anything they no longer want that meets standards. And the books they no longer want may or may not be one anyone else ever wants.

If you don't think you're getting 'value' for your book, then it's easy to just not post it. You're not obligated to in any way, so there shouldn't be any guilt in not doing so. If you want to do something else with it, what ever that would be, go for it!

 

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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Dan - as an aside, I don't think you'll get your wishlisted books for various dotNet 3.5 technologies. The nature of those books is that if people use the technology, they want to keep the book as a reference. My guess is that you'll start to see those about the same time everyone's moving to 4.0 (including you).

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.

I have gotten plenty of good books (novels) here, though. And some wishlists really move.

Subject: Yes, I ssumed too much
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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I understand that I made some assumptions.  I was pretty much exaggerating what I saw as a 'worst case scenario'.  For example, I listed the hardback book Mobs, Messiahs, and Prophets.  I think I pad close to $20 for the book and its still in perfect condition.  Someone could easily get it and resell it on Amazon for $10 or so.

While $6 doesn't sound lke much its over 150% margin.  I was worried people were buying $10,000 worth of credits and loading up the wish lists on all popular books thus creating a steady stream of books coming in that they could resell on Amazon for around $10.  I'm glad to hear that there's at least a limit on the number of credit you can purchase.

Also, to clarify, I did not mean that my books were valuable and other peoples books were not.  By 'valuable' I meant that they were popular books that are in good condition and in high demand. 

It is simply my initial impression that this site could be better if it were not for credit purchasing.  Well, I should clarify again... selling credits between members should be allowed, but not purchasing credits from PBS.  If you buy a credit from another member, at least that credit represents a physical book that was injected into the system. 

A credit sold by PBS is no different than money printed by the Treasury Dept... only instead of inflation you get a really long wait list (since the price if fixed at 1 credit).

Overall I think I will enjoy the PBS.  I just see a really great site here and got my hopes up a little high.  Though, I'm sure it will turn out a lot better than I am expecting.

 



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 2:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 664
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Looking at your wish list, chances are those books may not get posted any time soon. Just because book info is shown does not mean that any one has ever posted that book. Technical books are the type that I resell on Ebay or half.com if I decide I no longer need them but they are still current.

 



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 2:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 664
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oops



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 664
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ignore this post...see below



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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Dan - as an aside, I don't think you'll get your wishlisted books for various dotNet 3.5 technologies. The nature of those books is that if people use the technology, they want to keep the book as a reference. My guess is that you'll start to see those about the same time everyone's moving to 4.0 (including you).

Yea, I didn't expect to see those anytime soon.  I plan on adding some asp.net 2.0 books as well, which will suit me fine.

Of course the demand for popular books is higher than the supply. This isn't a bookstore that can order more based on the number of 'orders' in the system. Since a lot of people want the popular books, (which is why they're popular) and the books posted are books people no longer want, then there will always be a backup on certain books.

In theory, if credits were only generated by people shipping books that were requested, then by definition the supply and demand for popular books would be equal (aside from the 2 free credits you get by listing your first 10 books).  However, by being able to purchase credits, you are creating more demand for a popular book and no popular book had to be shipped to generate that credit.  Unpopular books don't generate credits becuase no one will request them.



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 2:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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Dan, i think you assume we're all here to get the NYTimes Bestseller list or something. And we're not. I think everyone would like to read a few popular books, but that doesn't mean anyone is on here hoarding all of them either. There are people who repost every single book they read, popular or not.

As for unpopular books don't generate a lot of credits... are you the literary police? Do you just stamp books with the DO NOT BOTHER stamp or what? There are a variety of tastes here and some of the things you wouldn't think would go because of your personal preference have a following, i promise, Even toddler board books get swapped here; there is a market for anything you can put out there. A lot of 'less popular' books go pretty quickly if you offer a deal on books, which thereby limits 'excess books that no one wants' on the site, and limits the use of credits if you're in a crunch.

Just because someone buys a credit doesn't mean they're sniping all the good books. LOL

I don't think you've been here long enough for your sweeping generalizations to stick.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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Also keep in mind Dan, that PBS is a free site and so I am guessing that part of the reason that they sell credits is also so that PBS generates some money to maintain this site....

 

Amy
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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Dan - a lot of the books on your wishlist are probably not in the system because it seems the main demographic that is using this website are SAHMs and women over 50. This is not meant to offend, it's just what I've noticed in general.

If I were you, I would do my best to promote this website to the best of your abilities so that more people join, and therefore, a more diverse system of books would be available.

Something to think about?

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,135
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Dan -- your conclusion that "A credit sold by PBS is no different than money printed by the Treasury Dept... only instead of inflation you get a really long wait list (since the price if fixed at 1 credit)." is not quite correct. When PBS sells a credit, it has to be backed by a real book (of course this may not be a book you actually want, nevertheless, there is a real book in the system for every existing credit.)

Somewhere there's some information about the "PBS Economy". You might find it by searching the discussion forums or the help center using those keywords.

I'm not sure you'll get many ASP.Net 2.0 books either. I'm not giving mine up since that's still current technology, though the truth is I rely on the Visual Studio help files and web searches a lot more than books any more.

The vast majority of the books posted and swapped here are fiction published in the past 20 years. I have some software reference books (mostly about management rather than specific technologies) on my wish list, but I don't expect to get them here. They're mostly there to remind me to buy them someday. If I do get them, I'll probably keep them for a pretty long time before I repost them. When I get recent fiction on the other hand, I tend to repost it pretty quickly.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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As for unpopular books don't generate a lot of credits... are you the literary police? Do you just stamp books with the DO NOT BOTHER stamp or what? There are a variety of tastes here and some of the things you wouldn't think would go because of your personal preference have a following, i promise, Even toddler board books get swapped here; there is a market for anything you can put out there. A lot of 'less popular' books go pretty quickly if you offer a deal on books, which thereby limits 'excess books that no one wants' on the site, and limits the use of credits if you're in a crunch.

Actually quite the opposite.  I try to make no judgement on what books are popular and which are not.  I am simply stating that if it wasnt popular then it would not be requested.  By definition, if a book is requested than there is demand for it right?  That's all I'm saying. 

If there were no options for purchasing credits, then in order for me to generate a credit, I would have to list books that there was at least some demand for.



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 3:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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