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Topic: Purchasing credits seems counter productive

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Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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It just seems like you are focusing on brand new, expensive books rather than seeing the fact that we all are ordering older books on a daily basis as well. You never know what will be requested on any given day.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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Cath - Thanks for the information.  I didn't realize they had some type of economics driven system for selling credits.  Once again, my assumptions getting the best of me.  I will read that article here shortly.

My wish List was created in about 5 minutes last night.  Sure, I would like a few computer reference books, but I have many other non-reference books that I will be adding as soon as I find some time.  I just wanted to feel it out before I put too many book on my wish list that are lower on my priority list.

I too do most of my programming reading online.  However, sometimes I get tired of staring at the screen and like to have a real book to read while I lay in bed.  Also, my real job is a civil engineer and I mess with web programming for fun; thus I'm not often knee deep in visual studio with virtual references abound.  But I do agree that there is nore information online than one would ever need to be profficient at any type of programming.

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Dan--

Welcome to PBS.  New members frequently have well-intentioned but inaccurate theories about the system, and I hope you'll explore the forums and the Help Center, and get some experience before making a final decision about this community.

<<Instead, I finish reading my valuable book and have it sniped up by someone that will resell it for profit. >>

Getting books from PBS for resale is strictly prohibited, per the Terms of Service.  If you have proof and evidence that someone is "sniping" your "valuable" books for resale, you should report them to the site owners using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of any PBS page.  The site owners also have limitations on the number of credits one can purchase.

Having to wait for a good book is common even at libraries, which are "pure" book swappers, but still have folks on waiting lists for popular titles.  There are plenty of "quality" books available for swapping and, as others have pointed out, wish lists can move rapidly. 

<<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.>>

Um, I've been here over a year, so I'm far from a "hapless newbie", and I post plenty of "good" books in excellent condition (I'm a librarian).  There are plenty of members putting up good books worth more than $3.45 -- I just put up a hardcover this week I'd purchased for over $20 myself, and have received equally valuable books through the system.  I've had over 800 transactions and have never sold a book, nor will I.

Please try participating in the service, Dan, and experience how it works before determining we're all a bunch of thieving lowlifes out to take advantage of you :-)

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,178
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What you don't realize is what you're assuming can't really happen. Unlike other sites, we have no idea what condition our books come in here. Yes, we have to HOPE/assume they comply with PBS standards. But people aren't snapping up a brand new $20 book in the hopes of going off to re-sell it somewhere else as brand new and thinking they'll get close to $20. Why? Because that's a huge "if" risk level. What if the book they receive is pretty gently worn by being passed around? So, I don't really think that's much of a worry. I think what's just happening is that those new books ARE being snapped up, but by people waiting to READ them.

If you can't find books to order, I suggest leapfrogging. It can be darn addictive. Look up a book you want, and then along the bottom, check out the row of "other books like this" and start jumping around from there. It could be hours before you come to a dead end.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 664
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I have requested and received books that are not "popular". I've also sent out some books that are not popular but somewhere in PBS land there is another person who wants that book. Those credits are equal to the credits I got for posting a book that has a wishlist of 99 people.

 

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Oh for sure pretty much everyone posts the new books when they are done. Some people keep them but for the most part once members realize that by posting them and sending them out they get credits for more books they start purging their shelves of "keepers." I dont keep anything but reference books once Ive read them. Ive posted 3 wishlist books in the last week and Im reading another one right now that I will post when Im done.

It just seems unbalanced at first because you see the lines but not how fast they move. Honestly for a popular say paranormal romance (generally huge wishlists for those) it will take me six months from the time I put it on my list to the time its posted and thats usually going through 300+ people cause I hardly ever get in line for them early. The ones you may have to wait forever for are obscure or out of print titles. Since they are out of print there arent that many in circulation. Newer books that are still being printed go really fast I promise.

And yes selling credits is one of the ways the owners support the cost of running the site. Others are printed postage and delivery confirmation and the paid subscription programs here like box of books.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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...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.    I think this generalization is EXTREMELY wrong.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 10,467
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Dan,

 

When I first joined PBS and was searching for books to request I was discouraged - most of the books I wanted were wishlist books.  However, believe it or not the wishlist system really does work.  It can take time, but eventually you will be amazed at what someone will post.  After being here for a year I have received 132 books, and I'd estimate that 90% of those were wishlist books.

 

I have actually had better luck posting and receiving more obscure non-fiction or literary fiction titles.  (By better luck I mean faster requests when posting and shorter waits for wishlisted books when receiving).  For example, any time I post a science-themed technical book or one of my husband's many car-related books it is snapped up immediately.   The wishlists for  popular fiction authors is often hundreds of members long, but with many of the more obscure books that have been on my wishlist there are only one or two other wishers so I get the book quickly.  To illustrate my point, here are a few of the wishlisted books I have received from PBS that I never thought anyone would post:

 

Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever :: Susan Warren

Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human :: Elizabeth Hess

Woman's Inhumanity to Woman :: Phyllis Chesler

Count Down : The Race for Beautiful Solutions at the International Mathematical Olympiad :: Steve Olson

 

I still buy a lot of new hardcovers that I don't want to wait for.  This weekend I bought Traffic and the Dark Side, two books that I became interested in because of cover stories in the NY Times Book Review.  When I am done reading them I will post them, even though I bought them new.  It alll works out in the end though, because in return I have received $40 cookbooks in like-new condition from other PBS members!

 

I am rambling, but what I am trying to say is that there are PBS members who enjoy all types of books.  At first glance it may seem like most people like James Patterson, Harlequin romances, and John Grisham.  If that is true it is just a reflection of what is generally popular reading material, but don't be deceived into thinking there are not other PBS'ers who may share your tastes also.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2008
Posts: 204
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"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 have mixed feelings on that statement. First of all, there is some truth to it. This happened to me on another site which shall remain nameless (It is notorious for its influx of unwanted flea market-type items). That's why I made the switch to PBS which has a higher quality selection. But that's our fault for not scanning a site's inventory, prior to signing up, and ensuring that it meets our needs.

The first problem is how to define "good" books. Do you mean recent releases? I read that you mentioned best sellers. I see vast numbers of books on here that were best sellers at one time. If you mean current best sellers, you just have to practice patience. Eventually, they too will become common on swap sites once their hype dies down. I've been a PBS member for about 7, 8 months and the "good" books are starting to come to my mailbox...the wish lists are moving along. It was well worth the wait.

Perhaps, people's expectations are a little high at the beginning of joining these sites. Everyone has to pay their dues.

Plus...don't put all your eggs in one basket. There are other sites who claim that their wacky point system encourages the listing of current releases. I use those too; but even those sites have their drawbacks.

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Elizabeth you have had so much better luck with oscure titles than I have. I finally got my very first WLed book six months ago. It was on my list for two years.

Oh and the members are varied. I know several SAHMs are members and maybe use the forums more but there are people from every generation and walk of life here. One of my good friends from the site is a stay at home DAD ;) There are also a lot of disabled members. Its easier to order from here than it is to go to the store or library.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2008
Posts: 204
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what's a SAHM?

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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With the number of members selling credits at a lower price than PBS, I don't think there are very many members out there frequently buying credits from PBS.  I try to contribute to the site by buying things like PBS postage or the Box-O-Books service, since I've never had the impression from reading this forum or the Book Bazaar that members in general often buy credits from PBS.  Many members run specials and advertise in the Book Bazaar, mostly to keep the credits coming in so they can order more books.

And Dan, beef up your Wish List with everything you want as soon as you can so you'll be in line for the books that you really want & have trouble finding.  You can put up to 200 books on there, and change it as often as you like.  You can drop titles that you find elsewhere, and keep adding to it until you reach 200; the system won't let you add more, but you can always drop something low priority to make room for something else.



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 4:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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SAHM= Stay at home mom

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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hmmm, I'm neither a SAHM or over 50.....so not sure I agree with that statement.

Dan, I listed 2 big computer books like you have on your WL, an ASP 3.0 and a PHP book.  They actually sat on my shelf for awhile before someone requested them and luckily it was the same person (because as you know those are big heavy books!).  And as I'm sure you know they tend to run $40 each.  I didn't think that the person was requesting them to sell (at least I hope not) but once he had the books they were his to do with as he pleased. 

On the flip side, I received 3 out of print (OOP) books that looked brand new from someone that happened to peruse my wish list and offered me a deal.  Now granted they weren't $40 books, but hey, I was further back in the WL line so was thrilled to receive the books and in such excellant condition.

Last thing, with the FIFO system, it is unlikely that people were snapping up your books (well it is possible for those that look through the books posted that day) but most likely someone was wanting those books and had them on their WL and who knows for how long.  So you may have just made someone's day

Amy
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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I think this generalization is EXTREMELY wrong.

How so? Again - do not take offense, It's only what I've observed.

Amy
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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hmmm, I'm neither a SAHM or over 50.....so not sure I agree with that statement.

Neither am I. I only said it looked like it was a large demographic that makes up this website. Not everyone.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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I think this generalization is EXTREMELY wrong.

How so? Again - do not take offense, It's only what I've observed.

It may be that we hang out in different areas, but I see more members in their 20s and 30s than over 50. I also see many more career women and than I do SAHM, many who are single and/or no children. I think I have actually seen more people in the forums with computer oriented careers, than I have SAHMs. Just saying that generalization seems really off to me on what I see around the posts that I read. Maybe the non-posting members are really heavy in numbers in the over 50 and SAHMs, but I just don't see an extremely large representation of them around the forums.

Amy
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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It may be that we hang out in different areas

That's probably it. I don't hang out on the forums all that much, at least yet.

I find myself browsing member's bookshelfs and profiles more often than not and I see a lot of 50+ women on here. That's not a bad thing, it's just I doubt that most women at that age are interested in computer programming language books and probably will not have any to post.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I always get a bit of a chuckle at the folks who make all these assumptions about PBS and the members here without benefit of actually experiencing the site or knowing many of the thousands of members. Wow! I have to commend you, though--it really takes guts to come across with these totally unfounded assumptions in a public forum after a whole two days of membership!

I've been a member here for 3 years now and have traded 1,100+ books in each direction. I've also (gasp!) bought a few credits along the way in addition to using the credits I've earned by trading. I have sent AND received books that were well-loved 30+-year-old paperbacks and also brand new hardcover books. I've sent AND received books that are rather obscure reference books, out of print classics as well as uber-popular paranormals and mysteries and general fiction. I've sent AND received books that weighed as little as 4 ounces and as much as 4 pounds. And even after 3 years of membership, I'm still enough of a poor, hapless newbie to list brand new hardcover books with hundreds of people wishing for them, and still only expect one credit in return. Imagine that.

What makes a book valuable to me isn't so much what I might have paid for it, but how much I want to read it. Sometimes I'm much more overjoyed to get a 30-year-old paperback that I could probably pick up at a garage sale for a quarter (but that has thus far eluded me) than I am to get a $20 new hardcover that I can walk into any bookstore and pick up anytime if I were so inclined.

And as to the members...well, I'm female all right but am neither a SAHM nor over 50 (yet! LOL) and I've talked to people here of both sexes ranging in age from 18 to 70+, from doctors, teachers, lawyers, computer programmers, gas station clerks, librarians, farmers, retail workers, and yes--even a few SAHMs. The membership here is as diverse as the type of books you can find.

Anyway, welcome to PBS. I would suggest that you give the place a chance before you go passing judgment on how it works or on what the scope of the membership is with the limited information you have gleaned in your short membership time. I hope you come to love and enjoy PBS as much as I do!

Cheryl

Amy
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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or on what the scope of the membership is 

That was me.

I regret posting that, because I knew it would get remarks like this. Sheesh.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2006
Posts: 229
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One thing to keep in mind that just because a book doesn't have a long wishlist of members waiting for it, doesn't mean that it will never be requested.  When I first joined the club, I caught up on older novels by one of my favorite authors that I hadn't read yet and moved onto another favorite author when I finished the first.  Some of those old books are still on my PBS bookshelf, but some have already been swapped to other members here, despite the fact that they are a number of years old.  Admittedly, I now read a lot of "hot" WL books, too, but post them here as soon as I'm done reading them unless they are unpostable.  (And even then sometimes I'll offer them in a 2-for-1 deal.) 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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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.

And you can't do that now, because...? You can always check out the club wishlist and see what'll move, or put all your books on the TBR list and you'll see what's in demand from your unread books.

It's almost always cheaper to get credits from the Bazaar, or from mailing out books. I don't think people buying PBS credits think they're doing it the cheap way. Also, there is the limit of how many you can buy through the month from PBS. You're not going to stock up big at that rate. And to do resale, I just don't see it happening enough to worry about. As someone else pointed out, if someone gets a WL'd book, they've waited their turn, fair and square. They deserve it and should be able to do with it what they want.

And what would you do about people finally getting a WL'd book offer, only to find they're out of credits? Not everyone has friends they can borrow credits from, nor will their always be someone selling credits. And if you could only get them from members, what's to stop members from jacking up the price?

All I can see happening if PBS stopped selling credits would be for people to hang on to their credits longer, in case that WL'd book came in. I know it'd cut down on a lot of my 'impulse' ordering, when I splurge on books I may or may not really like because I knew it'd be harder to come across the credits. I think it would just slow things down. As it is now, if I'm in a slump, then I don't have to feel like I have to save my credits, for 'just-in-case'. I can spend them and help keep the circulation going.

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,134
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Well Dan, as you can see from the numerous vehement posts you've inspired, there are a lot of devoted PBS members out there!  I'm glad it sounds like you'll give the site a chance, I'm sure that you'll enjoy it once you start finding some books you'll want to order. 

I also have received some pretty obscure books from here, and the credits even out because some of the books I've gotten are $30 hardcovers in great new condition, and others I've gotten are 20 year old well worn paperbacks that I've been happy to receive because they've filled in a spot in a series I'm reading.  I keep many of the books I trade for here, but I also have a great used book source where I buy books to put back into the system, and many of those are recently published and in like-new condition. 

So if you stick around a while and explore the site, you'll find more and more books that you just have to have, and hopefully you'll become a PBS fan as well!

 

Date Posted: 8/12/2008 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
Posts: 5,638
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Last Edited on: 2/21/10 8:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Sorry
Date Posted: 8/12/2008 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2008
Posts: 6
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I apologize for making it sound like I was not satisfied with PBS.  I am really looking forward to being an active member.  In fact, I already have 8 books wrapped up and ready to ship.

My tone, I think, comes accross as being more cynical than I actually am.  I tend to let emotion give way to logic.  In other words, instead of saying "wow PBS is a really cool site and I'm so happy I found it and I plan on having a long-term love affair with PBS"... I tend to be more like, "This is a neat site.  If it were my site I would try to improve it by doing this this and this.  But I still plan on using and enjoying the site."

I don't think I made assumptions about things I thought to be factual.  My concerns were more like "what ifs".   

I just thought that perhaps if credits worked more on a 1:1 relationship, then it could lead to a scenario where it only took you a few days to find any book you wanted, instead of potentially a year.  Perhaps one day it will be that way.  For now I will continue to list the books I no longer want, and load up my wish list. 

Thanks for all of the reponses.  This is obviously a very active forum.

 



Last Edited on: 8/12/08 6:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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