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Topic: questions by the new guy-updated

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Subject: questions by the new guy-updated
Date Posted: 1/2/2009 9:56 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2008
Posts: 3
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 So after my first day of posting books, I got 18 requests. Seems to be quite a lot, since I have to pay to ship them all out. I was not expecting that magnitude so quickly. So I put in a vaction hold for now, but is this normal? I thought this was a sharing site, not a horde coming at you.


Also, if someone requests a book and after I ship it, then can claim it's not in acceptable condition. So I can lose my book, and the credit I am due for sending a book? I would do better just to throw the books out, that way I'd save myself a trip to the post office. I lost out the same way on eBay a while ago, and I am not looking forward to dealing with kniving people again.


Is there anything I should be wary of that anyone wants to let me know of, becuase right now, this does not seem like a good deal for honest people who want to trade books. It seems like a place for people who want  to request things and then freely complain later.

Oh, and how do you contact someone who requested a book? It would save everyone some trouble to be able to talk about a specific book's condition regarding their "conditions for acceptance".

 UPDATED 1.29.09

After the initial blitz of my personal library,  I put my account on hold to hold back the flood temporarily.

Well, all but 2 books were recieved and all looks good. So I took my account off hold yesterday and recieved...

27 more requests.

Unfortunatley, the books I want are quite uncommon.

oh well.

c'est la vie

And the next day, 9 more requests on hold.

my only real complaint at this point is having to pay for all the shipping at once. This is going to be $60 that is, at this point, kinda hard to spare.

Last Edited on: 1/29/09 10:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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Before you post any book you should make sure there is no writing/highlighing on the text and stains or water damage to the pages.  These are the biggest issues people will have and request their credit back.  As long as the book is in good condition most people won't have problems and mark it as a problem.  Most people are good honest people and a majority do not visit the forums, so what you read here will be a small majority of the members on PBS

Having 18 is a lot but if you have a lot of books in a genre that is hard to get, it isn't too surprising.

remember that you can mail these media mail and if the book is under 7 oz, send it first class because that will be cheaper.  Unless it is over 1 pound you won't spend more than $2.23 to send the book.

you shouldn't need to contact anyone about a book and its conditions because as I stated above, as long as it is in good condtion, doesn't have highlighting/writing, stains or water damage you are good to go.  you can have small tears on the cover (less than 1") but not on the inside pages.  There can be names written in the front, that is ok and doesn't go against the no writing rule.

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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oh and you can't contact them until you accept the book and then there will be a PM button which will allow you to contact them.  I advise not doing this because if your book follows the rules you shouldn't need to contact anyone

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,899
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Wow thats a lot of requests!  It actually is normal to get a lot of requests when you first join but it won't always be like that. Its just like that because you posted a lot of  books that  weren't in the system beforehand.  Now that all those have been requested the rest of your books will be in the FIFO line so they will get requested when all the ones ahead of yours have been requested.  The best advice I can give is to read through the book posting guidelines and make sure that what you are posting meets those guidelines.   

If someone says your book was not acceptable it is really up to you to determine if you're going to give their credit back.  If you read the guidelines and you know your book met the guidelines then you shouldn't have too many marked received with a problem.  I've sent out almost 200 books and haven't had a received w/a problem yet. 

People are allowed to put requestor conditions on their books.  If they have none then they should be willing to take the book as long as it meets guidelines.  The thing you should be wary of are the people who try to say your book was a problem when they had no requestor conditions stating they didn't want a certain type of book.  For example, someone who marks a hardcover recieved w/a problem because it had no dust jacket when they had no conditions stating the book had to be with dust jacket (because hardcovers are postable w/out the dust jackets). 

It may seem like there are a lot of complaints if you just go by what is here in the forums but keep in mind no one ever posts saying "I got a perfect book today" and there are probably hundreds of positive transactions for every bad one here.  Welcome to PBS and happy swapping!

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,422
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Welcome to PBS Matt!

Looking at your WL (wishlist) you seem to have very diverse and ecclectic tastes.  I can only imagine how many books you posted were on someone else's WL.  But don't worry, after this initial flurry, things will die down as others have said.  The nice thing is you'll have a good cushion of credits so that you can order books you want to read. 

As for book conditions, I have followed the PBS guidelines to the letter, if there was something that was in a gray area, I didn't post it.  I've sent out a LOT of books and have never had a problem.  As for personalized RC (requestor conditions), when they are not specific to what the requestor wants, I just reject them.  That way I have no problems down the line. 

Overall, the people I have dealt with here are wonderful and kind and I have gotten some great deals.  I strongly suggest that if you have questions, you ask your Tour Guide (If you got to your Personal Message tab your tour Guide contact information is at the top of the tab) via PM (Personal Message) or post here.

Again Welcome!  We are so glad to have you.


Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,208
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As the others have said, your requests will dry up pretty quickly, so don't worry. (Heck right now I WISH I had 18 requests!!!) Basically, you listed your books into the system, and you must have had a bunch people were waiting for. Now that your books are all listed, they'll work their way (sometimes slowly) through the system.

What makes you worry so much that people will complain? As long as your books meet the PBS guidelines, you're fine.

Try to think of it this way - once your 18 books are received, you get to go "shopping" for 18 books you WANT! How exciting is that? You can't get that from throwing those books away, can you??? :-) Welcome, soon you will be as addicted as the rest of us (I hope!)

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Hi Matt!  Welcome!

I'm just going to highlight what others have said once again-      Read the posting guidelines carefully and follow them!

If you do that- you're not going to have many problems.  But I am always amazed how many new people come in and start sending out books without doing that or spending some time in the help docs to really understand how PBS works.  Then they get into a mess because they sent out a bunch of unpostables and end up frustrated and unhappy.

Luckily you were already thinking ahead since you posted and you're going to be fine.  Almost everybody gets that initial flurry and then it settles down.  Heck, you're going to be laughing at yourself at some point wishing it would happen again!

Enjoy PBS- and don't start the pm thing before mailing if you meet posting guidelines- it's a problem creator!


Date Posted: 1/2/2009 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,050
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Welcme Matt!

I recently posted ~50 books to my shelf at once, and ended up with several requests immediately.  Very often someone is eagerly awaiting the day that a certain title is posted, and when you posted all these books at once, you probably had a lot of books that people wanted that weren't previously iin our system.

Thus, in a nutshell, the requests will slow down, but I've found that whenever I post a large quantity of books at a time, invariably a few of them get requested immediately.

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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It has been said several times already, but just to reiterate, you get to choose wheather the credit is sent back when someone marks your book as "received with a problem". They do not automatically get the credit back just for marking it that way. As long as your books meet the condition guidelines for the website there should not be a problem.
Date Posted: 1/2/2009 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 770
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I received 3 perfect books today, one looks like it's never even been opened!    While problem swaps do happen, Matt, they aren't at all the norm.

As others have said, a surge of requests in the beginning is normal for many of us.  It will die down as your books are now in the FIFO line.   I haven't looked at your shelf yet to see what kinds of interests you have, but some books are more heavily wished for than others, and there are some (like my John Grisham books or the DaVinci Code)  that will seem like they'll never be requested. 

For me, orders always come in spurts.  I have 5 to mail out today.  My biggest problem on this site is that credits burn a hole in my "pocket".  It's incredibly addicting, and you will always have something to read.  I used to giggle about how people would complain that they had 100+ books in their TBR pile, or needed more room on their wishlist because 200 books was not enough spaces.  Now I see why!

Stick with it.  I'm suere you will grow to love this site like so many of us do.  Welcome!

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think I earned around 100 credits the first month I joined.  I had been saving audio books for a few years and most were WL.  Then I had a lot of WL books as well.  Plus when you first start posting on the boards, a lot of people will check out your shelf to help the newbie out.  You can also sell credits in the book bazaar to cover postage. 

If you're following the posting guidelines you shouldn't have any need to PM people about a book's condition or have any complaints.  I've sent over 300 books and I haven't had a complaint yet because I follow the posting guidelines.  If anyone wants a book above and beyond the posting guidelines they need to have special conditons. You'd have to agree to those before you can accept the request.  So if you post a hardcover without a dust jacket and the request comes in and it doesn't say the book has to have a dust jacket-then send the book out. If they complain you don't have to give them a credit back.  Just refer them to the rules that say that hardbacks don't require dust jackets and if they want one they need to add RCS for one.  It won't go against you. PBS can tell if the requestor had RCS turned on or not after a request.  They only time they step in and return credits to people is if someone has a whole lot of complaints within a very short time frame.  Otherwise they pretty much stay out of disputes unless they turn really ugly. 

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also: don't feel guilty about turning down RCS.  I turn down any that sound overly picky or vague.  If there's a mini novella of conditons, I turn it down.  If you have so many issues and requirements for a book that it takes multiple paragraphs to explain them then you need to buy new.  I also don't PM.  Either my book meets the RCS or not.  Now I"m not saying turn down all RCS.  I accept ones that are clear and not asking for basically and mint condition book.  I just wanted to point out that you can turn them down for seeming too vague or picky. When I first joined I posted a 15yr old paperback with a long WL. THe 1st person in line had an RC for "only like new-mint conditon books".  NO way was I sending that to her and I'd be surpised if she ever got that book. It's a 15yr old OOP paperback. It's not going to be like new or mint.  It was postable though. 

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2008
Posts: 232
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Matt, I understand how overwhelming 18 requests must have been.  I've only been a member since the end of October and have mailed out 97 books!

I am downsizing my massive library and when i first joined here, I posted more than 100 books.  I received (like you) a ton of requests.  After things died down, I entered another 100 books or so.  Again, the requests flew in!  So, now I know this and when I next enter more of my books, I will do so in smaller increments!

My DH didn't understand the point of my joining this site.  He was pretty shocked, actually, " You pay to send people your books?!"  However, I look at it as an investment.  I now have all those credits and can order any book I want (if it is listed), or shop the Book Bazaar and pick up books deals such as 2 books for 1 credit, 3 books for 1 credit and so on.

Of course, its not really helping me with the whole downsizing thing! :)

As far as getting taken advantage of, I haven't had any problems.  It behooves you, though, to be careful and follow the posting guidelines carefully.  Yeah, I'm sure there are a few scammers on this site - just like you would find anywhere else.  But, I haven't run into that yet and if you're following posting guidelines, you shouldn't have a problem. 

Hope some of this helps!



Date Posted: 1/2/2009 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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As others have said, it's very normal to get a lot of requests at first and that WILL die down some. And as long as the books you sent meet the basic PBS posting guidelines and the requestor didn't have any special conditions, you should be fine. This is a used book site and very few people expect "like new" books--but there are some no-nos that are listed in the posting guidelines every time you post a book--no water damage, no stains, missing cover, etc.While no one expect "new" books, also no one wants moldy, water-logged books that have been sitting in your basement for five years or a book that you spilled spaghetti sauce or a cup of coffee on, either!

Getting taken advantage of? Nah. While some folks seem to have more problems than others, I can honestly say that PBS has been wonderful in the 3+ years I've been here. I've sent out about 1190 books and and received about the same, and I can count the number of problematic transactions on one hand. I wish you the same good fortune! Welcome to PBS!


Date Posted: 1/2/2009 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2008
Posts: 9,884
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Last Edited on: 1/1/12 6:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 1/2/2009 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,106
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Welcome to PBS, Matt!  You've gotten some great advice here, and nothing I can really say without repeating.  But I have figured out one way to slow down the hordes of requestors when I'm posting books to my shelf!

  I post to my TBR (To Be Read) list first!  This is a list that allows you to keep track of books that you  have yet to read, and whether or not those books  are wishlisted in the system.    

       This way I can automatically see if the book I've just posted to my list is a WL book or not, because on the right hand side of your screen, it will show a red or green W that tells you if a book is Wish Listed.  I had to put my shelf on hold for a few months due to budget constraints, and when I was ready to post again, I was able to go to my TBR and post books from there knowing they'd be accepted right away.   This way I was able to only post 6 or 8 instead of the 20+ I had that were wishlisted and not be over run with orders.

   I hope you are able to check out the help documents and wander thorough the forums. You see a lot of negative posts and rants and complaints, but I've been here almost 3 years and not had a problem at all.  My motto is simple. " If I wouldn't want to receive it in this condition, why would I send it out?"    Works for me and I've always had good transactions, with no problems. 

  Good luck, and I hope you become just as addicted as the rest of us!!

Date Posted: 1/2/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Hi, Matt!  Welcome!  I have to agree that being faced with 100 requests like that must be daunting.  You  must be a trusting person to have listed so many books at the beginning!  Your trust will be worthwhile if it's like my own.  As for worrying about someone who might be fudging on the condition of a book you sent  - well, you have to be sure you checked it before sending it.  Then  you have to be sure to package the book the best you can to prevent random damage to it in transit.  That means making sure the packaging is snug as tight as possible to the book so nothing is loose to get caught in USPS sorting equipment.  It might also mean you should look into making the book's packaging as water resistant as possible.  You can prewrap in some sort of free source plastic (there's so much out there you don't even register it in your consciousness).  The plastic can do 3 things - it can prevent water damage from sitting in a wet mailbox or mailcart, it can prevent major damage to a book from the USPS equipment because the plastic will sometimes allow the book to slide through even when the paper wrapping is torn, and it can prevent the book from damage anywhere in the ourney where the book might get a torn outer wrapper.  I've experienced all three of these "miracles".  Also be sure to securely wrap the book with the right tape - the clear packing tape (can be gotten cheaply at Dollar Stores, etc.).  Use the tape on all edges and ends of the book wrapper and be sure to tape across where paper folds could allow the book to get "hung up" on something.

All this will become second nature to you as time goes on and you begin to receive your own WL books.  You'll have stories to tell, too!  It only seems like there's been a feeding frenzy - we've all been waiting for an infusion of new books!  We can read Dan Brown books for only so many times!  ;D   So just try putting fewer books up at a time if you know they are WL'd books.  Try to get that info from looking at the listing pages for the different books you have - it will show how many are waiting for it.  You can find out how many books of a title are already in the system by adding it to your Reminder List and then looking at that list.  It won't tell you where your book is in in the FIFO line.

And keep in touch on the forums.  We've been there - we can help!


Date Posted: 1/5/2009 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 9/15/10 12:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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It takes awhile to learn all the "in's and out's" of trading at PBS.  I think every newcomer goes through a similar situation (if they've got a pile of books that are wishlisted). 

I really wish that there was instruction somewhere about this part of the process....... in other words, put ALL of your books on your TBR list first before adding them to your bookshelf.  That way you can add up all the W's and Wa's and know that those are going to get requested immediately.  Then you can post them according to your financial situation - as many as you can afford to mail out at one time. 

I do not remember how many of my inital books were requested, but I know that it was a bunch.  And I've only had one person report a problem with a book (And I've mailed out almost 200).   And I've gotten almost 200 great books in the time I've been here...... have not yet received anything unpostable (knock wood!).

It's important that you familiarize yourself with the posting guidelines and then you should be okay.  And you will love it here if you are a voracious reader!  But patience is something you have to really learn when you first join PBS.  I'd say that within six months you will have more books than you can read!  

Subject: an update one month later
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2008
Posts: 3
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updated first post




Last Edited on: 1/29/09 10:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,386
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I do think the discussion forum can be a bit deceiving - people tend to come here with questions and problems to get advice from others who may have faced the same problems, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the thousands of books that get traded here with no problems at all.  I haven't had any RWAPs on my books since I joined the site in December (yes, I'm a relative newbie but like you I faced a flurry of requests from my shelf when I first joined) and I have been more than satisfied with all but one of the books I have received (and in that case I got my credit back from the sender with no problem).  So enjoy the fact that you will have a bank of credits to draw from - there are a lot of great books traded on this site!

Lisa N. (LDN) - ,
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 11,870
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Matt, I'm glad you stuck it out.  I've mailed nearly 200 books and never had anyone complain or mark it RWAP.  But, I strictly follow the PBS posting guidelines.  If the books you want are not very common it may take a while to get them, but eventually someone will post them in the system.  My husband's WL contains all very uncommon books and when I first suggested he let me post it here he was like "no one is going to have these books."  Well I posted it and he has actually got several of them.  It's slower than if you read the more popular stuff, but patience will win the day.  And, if you are getting all those requests, maybe the books you like aren't so uncommon as you think.  :)

Date Posted: 1/28/2009 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,208
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OMG, 27 requests! At once! HOLY COW, your email inbox must have been BUZZING. I am kinda jealous, as I'd love to get requests, as for whatever reason, it makes me so happy to bundle up books. I'm heading to the PO in about an hour to mail some out actually. But wow, you are hot stuff! :-)

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 1/28/2009 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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Do you have your wish listed items on auto-request? If you're putting your account on and off hold, make sure to set auto-request to Yes so the items will be offered to you even if you are on hold when they're posted.

Date Posted: 1/29/2009 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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c'est la vie

my only real complaint at this point is having to pay for all the shipping at once. This is going to be $60 that is, at this point, kinda hard to spare.\


First of all -- big SMOOCH for knowing how to spell c'est la vie and using it correctly !    :-)    Secondly -- when you accept some of those many orders (congrats!) you can choose "I can mail later" then select the date furthest away. This will allow you to spread out the cost somewhat.   You could also send a few people a PM asking if they would mind if you sent their book even later than that because you had so many requests. Just remember to print the label right away, and to mark it mailed before the deadline (even if you have made arrangements to mail it later) or it will roll over to another person's shelf and the requestor may end up with two copies.