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Topic: Question: What Do YOU Think is a Reasonable Wish List Wait?

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Subject: Question: What Do YOU Think is a Reasonable Wish List Wait?
Date Posted: 11/5/2013 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2012
Posts: 46
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I'm sure many different people have many different ideas about this, but let's find out. At the moment I'm assuming, for me personally, that about one year on my wish list is kind of a reasonable wait for a book, after which I have to re-evaluate the listing and whether it's worth it to me. And I never join lines that are longer than 10 people. I don't have a serious rationale for those choices other than a hunch that I'll never see a book with forty or more other folks already lined up for it. 

What do you think? How do you run YOUR wish lists? How do YOU decide whether a waiting list is too long or a book has been on your wish list too long? Does it depend on the kind of book involved? I could see that genre fiction might (I have no idea) possibly circulate more quickly and make a 50-person waiting list less daunting. What do YOU think?


zeke68 -
Date Posted: 11/5/2013 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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I have no set rules for managing my WL.  If I want a book, I put it on there, no matter where I am in line.  I had one where I was #1200 or so when I put it on there.  I've slowly worked my way up to around 275.  It's probably been on my list 3 years or so.

I only remove WL books when I've received them from another source or when I'm low on WL spots and purge the ones that don't really look all that interesting to me anymore.  I rarely take one off because "it's been too long" because I might be one of the next few to get it.

Even now, I have about 10 empty spots on my WL.

Date Posted: 11/5/2013 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2013
Posts: 65
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I do basically the same thing as zeke. But I wouldn't WL if more than 24.  I've been all full for a while and will trim based on books with longest lines. Any book I desparately want, that has a long line, I'll probably just end up buying it. I'm not really into buying a gold extension. Sure, I could use it but it's not worth the fee, in my opinion.

Date Posted: 11/5/2013 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,630
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If I want to read a book, I put it on my WL.  I've had stuff on there for 3 years or more.  It's a good reminder when I'm browsing ebook or used book sites what I want to read.  I don't care how many people are on the WL either.

I just went and looked.  My oldest book on there is from 2008 so that's almost 5 years.  I have a bunch from 2009 on there too.  Someday I'll get to read them!

Last Edited on: 11/5/13 7:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/5/2013 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,037
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Well, your suspicion that some genre lines move pretty fast is accurate. And the bestsellers in any genre will also go pretty fast. It takes about a month after the publish date to really get the lines going ... but you can be several hundred deep in the lines and still get the books within a year of pub date.

So, I just get in lines for books I want, and see how long it's taking. I do reach points where I will just buy the book ... sometimes I really get a hankering to read a particular book, so I might buy it, sometimes, I've acquired some or most of a series thru the site, so I might buy the 1 or 2 I am missing so that I can read the whole series ...

I don't have any hard and fast rules, though, like "no lines longer than 10 people". It all depends on what kinds of books you read and how popular they are in general, and on PBS.

The one thing that I DO do, however, is check my favorite authors early and often for new releases so I can get in those lines as fast as possible.  I often score positions in the 1-10 range, even on books that eventually go up to a couple hundred wishers. (I check here, but more imporantly, I check other sites that list pre-released books so I can see what's coming. It happens often that I am the first person to pull a new book listing into the system by searching for it, thereby making myself the #1 wisher.).

The last thing that I do is, I only put books and genres on my WL that I think are being traded regularly. There are entire genres of books that I never Wish List here because I suspect they are just wasted spots and I will never see any books. For example, I have a large cookbook collection, and art book collection, and gardening book collection, but you won't find any books from those genres on my Wish List. I buy some, and I find quite a few things I want at Used Book Stores. But wishing them here is a waste of time, IMO, when I could be using those spots for things that I will also read, and that ARE traded here more regularly.

Last Edited on: 11/5/13 8:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/5/2013 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,327
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I have a few books that I put on my WL in 2008 and they really haven't moved much, but I'm not full so it doesn't matter.  Sometimes I'll take a book off if I really feel I won't enjoy it, or sometimes they are books for DH and he's decided he doesn't like that particular author's style anymore.  Sometimes they're for grandchildren and they'll be there long enough that the child has outgrown them and they'll go off.  Guess, I have no particular reason for keeping or deleting a WLed book.  Pat

Date Posted: 11/5/2013 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,903
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I have one that is now .... 1 out of 112  and I have one that is ....1 out of 93.   I don't remember where they were when I started, but they are worth it. cheeky

Date Posted: 11/6/2013 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 693
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For someone that has alot of friends or Gold Key membership. They might have someone notice they have a couple books that are on that persons wishlist and send it to them as a kindness or to save postage.  So even if you're far down the line you might end up getting the book. I know I've done that myself a few times.

Date Posted: 11/6/2013 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,871
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One year would only be reasonable for a popular Best seller..........many of us have WL books that are 20-30 years old and thus hard to find so it could take years for someone to post them.  A lot of the best sellers will have 1000 or more wishers when you first add them to your list, but since many people buy them, lots end up in the system the first year after release.

I have never maxed out my WL as I have over 300 TBR books, even the first year when I bought the gold membership. Didn't feel I benefited much though I was willing to pay.   So I didn't renew when my membership was up.

Last Edited on: 11/6/13 7:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Karen B. - ,
Subject: I'm in no hurry
Date Posted: 11/6/2013 7:42 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2007
Posts: 32
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It takes as long as it takes. I check and delete occasionally, particularly if I've found a book at a used book sale, for example. (And when I do, I read it quickly and list it so the next person can enjoy it!)  But since my "real life" book pile is so high, I've got a few hard-to-find books that have been listed since I first joined PBS. They tend to be out-of-print or foreign titles.

Ms K. (MsK) -
Date Posted: 11/6/2013 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2005
Posts: 126
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I have a book on my wishlist that I put there in 2006 and I'm number 2. It is by one of my favorite authors and I think it is a small press book, too. There's not a big chance of my getting it, but I'm willing to let it sit there. I've also got a half dozen from 2007, too.

For many years, I lived in small towns without good bookstores, used or otherwise, and PBS was the only way I could get books. It was also an easy way for me to re-home my books to someone who wanted them.

I have to admit that PBS has taught me patience and I'm so glad of that. If a book is on my wishlist, I will get it...... eventually, and I can wait for it. The length of time on the wishlist isn't a problem for me. Now the only reason I remove a book from my wishlist is that I no longer want the book "for keeps." I now live in a town with an awesome public library. The problem now is that I now have due dates on my books, so they need to be read sooner than the other books on my TBR mountain.


Date Posted: 11/6/2013 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I have a huge TBR pile, so my WL'd Books aren't very critical. Basically, when I decide I want it NOW, then I buy it.

I also go through the list every once in a while and remove anything I no longer care about, or that I've gotten from other sources.

So other than keeping it updated, I don't think about those books all that often.


Date Posted: 11/6/2013 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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As with most things (except family surprise) it's all relative.

There are a group of books I mentally think of as a set (although they aren't the same genre, author or anything), simply because they are hard to find (unlisted on Amazon, etc), but which I really want.  These books I put on my WL and will keep there until I get them, die, the world ends, or PBS goes defunct.  I probably wouldn't have added them if they had a really long WL, but as they also tended towards obscurity this wasn't a problem.

There are some books (most of them already fulfilled), that were outside my standard genres.  Some are just non-genre authors I like some are for friends etc.  I've notice that these books move, so to put it into perspective there is a book on it's way that I placed on my WL a little over a year and a half ago, and I was wisher #127, it is currently in the capable hands of USPS on its way to me.  So the long line doesn't bother me.

There are a host of books I'm interested in, but no-one else has them WL'd (I'd be wisher #1), I haven't even clogged up my WL with these, I periodically do group searches for them.

Then there is everything else, I put them on the WL and watch, I've removed myself from some (the most notable are the Firefox appalachian knowledge guides), because given my wish position and the fact that the line wouldn't move at all over a period of a year, I was never going to get the books.  Others may move, but slowly, but if you want a specific copy of a book and have to wait a few years, what of it.

Remember though that I differentiate between books I want to read and books I want to own.  The library and friends are the best source for the first (with some exceptions such as that first group of books I mentioned), PBS & discount stores are the best source for the second.

Date Posted: 11/6/2013 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,316
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I've had some books on my WL ever since I joined in 2010.  I figure that I can only read so much at a time anyway so eventually the books may get offered to me.  Recently I've been finding some of my WL books at the library though so that's starting to dwindle down my WL.  As for the long waits where there are lots of wishers, sometimes those books are offered a lot quicker than the shorter lines.  Some of those are more popular books & they get posted more often. I have so many books as it is that it's no biggie for me to wait.

Date Posted: 11/6/2013 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I have no set rules.  I tend to just buy anything that I must have now, which at this point isn't much since I have a huge TBR.  I tend to let them sit there until I get them.  I pretty much use the PBS WL for books that I can't buy cheaply somewhere and can't get at my library making my WL very slow moving.  I just periodically go through and look and just remove anything I am no longer interested in reading.  I have decided not to renew my Gold Key membership another time. So any book that's been on my WL a long time that I can get fairly cheeply somewhere is going to be removed when the time comes.  Yesterday I removed 5 long time WL books because not even Amazon had a single used copy.  I have a huge TBR and just decided I didn't need them enough for them to keep sucking up valuable WL space.

But I don't mind waiting a couple of years for some since I have plenty to read. If I had a very small TBR then I would probably buy more.  But it's easy to wait when you have hundreds of books on hand to read. 


eta: I never WL the super popular mega sellers with the super long WL lines. Those are the books that'll be easy to find cheap at thrift stores and garage sales in a short time and also the ones my library will have a ton of copies of anyway)

Last Edited on: 11/6/13 3:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/6/2013 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2010
Posts: 3,023
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I have no set rules.
If I want to pare off wish list items if I've maxed out the list, it's pretty easy.

If there's room on the list I'll WL all of the non Large Print, non Audio book versions.
I LOVE the "other versions" button.
But other times I want a really specific version of a book.
Here's one example from my Wish List.

Peter Pan: The Complete and Unabridged Text :: J.M. Barrie
ISBN-13: 9780670841806 - ISBN-10: 0670841803 - Book Type: Hardcover
Wish Date: 7/11/2012 - Your position: 1 of 6 - Last Posted: 01/07/2013 - Estimate: N/A
If that didn't post well, it's an illustrated hardcover edition of Peter Pan.
There are a hundred other copies, but I like THIS one.
Sure, I've been waiting over a year, that's ok, I'm not in a hurry.
I've even rented this particular version from the library before, that's partly how I know I want this one.
This is a great one to keep on the WL, because as is noted, it posts once in a while.
I might hesitate to enter a modest queue like this, but I'm #1.
Date Posted: 11/6/2013 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,630
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Even those hard to find small press books get posted.  I put a book on my WL for my mother.  We'd looked at buying a copy but it was a small press short run book and the cheapest used copy I could find was around $100.

The WL line was short and I was just thrilled that the book got posted within 6 months.  I sent the sender of the book a huge thank you because I never truly thought it would ever be posted.

Date Posted: 11/6/2013 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,510
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I will wait as long as it takes, just got one I wished for in 2008.  I collect series until I have all the books on my TBR. This is particularly hard to do with series that are not finished, or those with multiple sequals, but I'm willing to wait since there are so many sets I'm accumulating. Then I read them in order and post all together. In turn, I know I'm holding up quite a few WL books from being posted until I have my full sets. Sometimes most of the series is no longer even  WL by the time I have all of it.

Last Edited on: 11/7/13 12:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/7/2013 7:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2008
Posts: 42
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I have 3 items on my wishlist since 2009, and ~30 since 2010.  I want the books, but thus far haven't felt the need to buy them.  This year I received a book put on my wishlist in 2009.  I do delete books from my wishlist when I buy them or otherwise pick them up, or if it is full and there is something else I want more, but for the most part, 1 year seems too low.  I have my kids review the list every 6 months or so for their picks (sometimes they've gotten the book from the library or just lost interest).

Date Posted: 11/7/2013 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 556
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Interesting to read everyone's thoughts and strategies. For me, one year would be really long for a genre paperback, and really short for most of the out of print nonfiction I'm looking for. So it depends. PBS is not usually my first stop when looking for a book. When I first become aware of a book that I might be interested in reading, I first check my local library. If it's a new and/or popular book they usually have it, either in paper or digital form, even if I have to get on the wait list and wait a bit. A lot of my PBS wishlist is of books I've already read that were from the library, and I'd like to get a copy to keep. I know that some of those books will never be posted or I'll never get to number 1 on the list, but some will and it's not an urgent need, so I just put them on my wishlist and leave them there.

If we're talking about older books, like the history books I use for research, then I can often get ahold of copies via my library or with interlibrary loan. If there's a copy available on PBS, even better, or often they can be found used online. A lot of those get relisted here afterwards; some get put in my 'permanent collection'.

I have gotten in the habit of checking the PBS Market every few months and picking up some items on my wishlist that are available there. It helps clear space in the wishlist and the books are usually reasonably priced. I do the same thing with my favorite online bookseller, Powell's - I go through my wishlists there and pick up whatever they're got used; they offer free shipping for orders over 50 bucks so I can get quite a load of used books once in a while.

Oh, I also wanted to say, as far as number of wishers goes, I've been number 200-something for a popular romance new release and gotten it in less than a month, and I'm in the first five for academic books and craft books that I never expect to actually get. Cookbooks, craft and gardening books, reference books that are still in date - those kinds of things almost never get posted (and the fact that they tend to be heavy and expensive to ship doesn't help). Popular fiction and the big names in literary fiction get posted a lot.

Last Edited on: 11/7/13 12:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/7/2013 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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I am in no hurry to get my wish listed books. I have books wishlisted since 2009, I may get them here or if I spot them at the used bookstore I may buy them.

As others have said the number of wishers doesn't really tell you how fast you will get it. A "hot" book with a long wish list will move fast. Things people are likely to keep or unusual books with a short wish list will take a long time.

Date Posted: 11/8/2013 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I pay no attention to the number of wishers...if I want it, I want it. But I also get many WL books offered to me before reaching #1 through  Gold Key friends, which is always a pleasant surprise. Like others, I have put obscure books on my WL thinking that I would never get them, but I have gotten them sooner or later. For me though, my Gold Key friends are my greatest resource. You get to know who enjoys the same books that you do and we post directly to each others WL.

Date Posted: 11/8/2013 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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Like Sally I pay no attention to the number of wishers.

I have several Bibles on my wish list.  I doubt if any of them will ever get sent, but who knows?

There aren't clogging up my wish list as I still have plenty of room.

If I decide I really want a book NOW, I delete from my wish list and either order it or put it on my Kindle.

I have gotten so many craft books, most brand new, that I put on my wish list on a whim.  Never thought I'd get any of them.

I don't manage my wish list.  I just put books on there and let it go.

Edited to add:  I have gotten very few books from my gold key membership.

Last Edited on: 11/8/13 3:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2013 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2010
Posts: 1
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I have recently received a few wish list books that have been on my list since 2011.  They were books I really wanted to read, so I left them on there.  Once in a while, I will go through my list an re-evaluate whether I want to keep a book on the list.  A year is a fair wait time but, if it's something I really want, I am willing to wait longer.

Date Posted: 11/18/2013 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2010
Posts: 80
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I put anything I might be interested in reading on my WL.  It's not full and I get a wish granted every week or.  Generally my wish list requests then get reposted as soon as I'm done with them.  The books I really want read right away and keep I buy either in a bookstore or from Amazon.  Most of the books I swap on here are older ones anyway so I don't care how long I wait to get them.  Every once in a while I check the list and delete any that I can't remember why I added in the first place but that doesn't happen often.