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Topic: Slooooow Member Response

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Subject: Slooooow Member Response
Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2008
Posts: 3
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Why does it take someone a WEEK to reply to a book request?  I'm new to PBS, have shipped one, requested a few (thanks to free credits!) and am being mailed one (yay!).  But, one that I requested last Sunday still hasn't had any activity by the member I requested it from.  So, why not shorten the response time to 48 or 72 hours instead of a week?  There are multiple copies (e.g. 8 or 9) of this book available and I'm sure other members are way more on the ball than the member that was on the top of the list.  It's just annoying and kind of turning me off to PBS. 

Is there a way to force the system to move on to the next member who has the book available?  If I cancel the request (tempting at this point), if I re-request it, will I be stuck with the same slow poke?

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,287
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Welcome to PBS - home you find some great books!  These forums are full of very friendly folks.  Lots of different opinions but that is what is great!  You get to hear different views than your own. 

Before you cancel the request please think about the following:

Not everyone is at their computer 24/7.  Life can get very busy.  Yes, we all love PBS but I can tell you that the computer is not on at my home all the time.  Maybe they travel for business and are not always able to access their account. 

Not everyone has a computer - some folks access PBS at their local libraries.  And, if they are working folks, that might mean only getting the the library one night a week or a Saturday.

Some people are dealing with personal issues (sickness, financial problems, etc) so that their immediate concern is that.

Some people are new (like yourself) and don't fully understand the rules & regulations

I say, give the person a chance to get your order together.  If by a week there is no reply then politely PM them to see if they are still interested in completing the swap. 

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2008
Posts: 16
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This was discussed recently here http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=138677

Basically, yes. Don't cancel as you'll get the same person and give them an extra 5 days to not respond. Once the current one times out, the next person in line gets 5 days to respond.

Fortunately and unfortunately, PBS is a really good way to learn patience.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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The system has that response time for a reason. Many people are not on line everyday so a 2-3 day limit would probably remove a lot of members from the site and 5 days really isn't that long to wait. Some people also only go to the PO once a week. If your order comes to them right after they went, they will leave it set for a few days before accepting in order to get the mail date far enough out to reach their next PO day.  I know I will also leave an order sit if I have a bunch of Wish List books posted waiting on acceptable, I want to have all the orders ready to go out at the same time.

There is no way to skip over the first person in line. If you cancel and re-order, you will go right back to the same person and they will have a whole new 5 days to accept. You can try to ask for any non-Wish Listed books in the Book Bazaar and see if someone has it and is willing to mail it to you ASAP.

PBS will require patience. The members have 5 full days to accept the request, 2-5 full days to mail, and Media Mail can take a month to get to you. If you need a book right away, PBS may not be the best source for it. That said, most of my books are here with 2 weeks of ordering, many within a week.

Don't worry soon you will have ordered so many books you won't care how fast they get to you, you'll have plenty to read on hand.


Date Posted: 10/24/2008 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I understand your frustration!  I have a book on its way to me that took the sender 5 days to accept.  it was mailed within a few days of that and maybe they didn't check in or the notification went into their spam box, we have no way of knowing.  But it isn't like I don't have 400 books here waiting for me to read them!

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I have also read that some people wait until the last day so they will have alittle more time to send the book. Maybe they only get paid on a certain day, so they can only post books at that time. So if they wait until the last day, they could be paid during the mail out period that PBS allows and not be breaking any rules.  I know there are alot of people here on a fixed income so it makes sense for some to do it this way.


Date Posted: 10/24/2008 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/7/2007
Posts: 5,334
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I ordered one & couldnt understand why it was taking so long only to find that their account had been put on vacation hold right about the same time I ordered it, so apparently they had gone on vacation & not checked thinking it was on hold so there should be no activity. Things happen. I know sometimes Im so excited to get a certain book though & it sure seems like forever!!

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
Posts: 1,046
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This is an oft-asked question. For me, i can say that i can't always anticipate having the money on a certain day to mail out. Sometimes i can automatically accept a request and have it sent out the next day, often, i have to wait out nearly the entire 5 days to accept, and then mail it within the next 5 days.

It's just a book, so try and be Zen. Either they accept it, or it passes on. Either way, you will eventually get your book. I probably annoy a lot of people who want their book right this second, but such is life. You'll be that much happier when you finally open your mailbox and it's THERE! =)

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I've learned to treat each book as getting a surprise in the mail, even if I have 10 or more books on their way to me! I know at first it can be frustrating for the wait time, but I think as time goes on, people learn to relax with it.

When I was a new member, I know that I would accept, print the labels, and mail within a day or so. Now, I wait a little bit longer to accept (especially if I have a bunch of books on wishlist holds from my shelf), and wind up mailing twice a week if I can get someone from my family to go during the week. I can only mail on Saturdays as I don't get home before the Post Office closes and our PO doesn't have an automatic machine.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Just to respond to the following assumption...

"I ordered one & couldnt understand why it was taking so long only to find that their account had been put on vacation hold right about the same time I ordered it, so apparently they had gone on vacation & not checked thinking it was on hold so there should be no activity."

Just because an account is on vacation hold does not mean that the person is actually gone and not checking their account.  For instance...I am trying to read books from my TBR pile that are wishlisted...as soon as I finish them I post the book to my bookshelf, take my account off Vacation Hold long enough for the request to be made for that book and then immediately put my account back on Vacation Hold, hoping that I can do this before a book is offered to me (I would like to get this pile downsized before I get anymore books).  But, as soon as the request comes in I wait as close to the end of that 5 day allowed time to accept the request so that I can get all these books mailed out at the same time.

So, just another thought on Vacation Hold and why there is a need for the 5 day acceptance time.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/1/2008
Posts: 3,522
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I am actually one of those people who can only mail out on pay days.  So if an order comes in at an off time I will wait it out until the mailing date hits my pay day.  I know that frustrates the heck out of some people, but it is the only way  I can mail anything out at all.  I am not able to do more than one mail run every couple of weeks (I get paid every two weeks) So I let them pile up and do the bulk mailing all at once.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 755
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Last Edited on: 1/17/09 9:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/24/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Terri, I'm sorry that you feel so negative about how things are done around here and the thoughts that are expressed in the forums.  I truely don't think that when someone says this has been discussed before that they are telling the person that posts to "shut up"... I mean we've discussed the length of mailing before but, look we are discussing it all over again.

Me thinks you are stretching things a bit...even if it takes someone 12 days (accept & mail time combined, along with 2 day grace period to mark it mailed) to get a book sent and the USPS says usually up to 21 days to get to its destination (though it rarely takes that long) that only totals 33 days, that is 57 days shy of your 3 months.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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Most people like to get books within a couple of weeks of ordering them----Some think 3 months is fine.  The 3 month people are winning.


With all due respect, Terri, I think most books are received within a few weeks of ordering them. But there are circumstances that require longer periods of time to respond to requests and to mail requests. I think PBS is a place where all who want to swap books that meet the guidelines should be welomce--even if they take the whole 5 days to accept and then another week to mail (because they pick the fartherest date out).

I don't think making PBS more restrtictive on mailing times would serve to put more books in the system and benefit all of us.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2008
Posts: 3
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Wow, thanks for all the feedback.  I found the member's name (under PM) and discovered that they signed up 2 years ago and haven't sent or received anything.  This isn't looking too promising.  :-/

It's not an issue of needing the book *right now.*  It's just I'd like to know if I need to get the book from another source (e.g. amazon's used books, ebay, whatever) or if the book will, in fact, be coming from the PBS member... eventually.  The books I want are no longer in print and I've picked those titles for very specific reasons. 

I'd rather have a shorter acceptance time (72 hrs) but give the sender a few extra days to send it, even though I sense that PBS will never, ever change this policy.   I hate to make myself unpopular being so new, but in my opinion, it's really not unreasonable to expect that a member check her e-mail a couple of times a week. 

I feel better having gotten that little vent off my chest.  Thanks for listening ;-)

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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Like some others have said, many of us wait a few days to accept the request and then select "I can mail later" to accommodate personal timetables. During the summer, for example, I could go to the post office anytime. But now that school is back in session and I'm teaching, I can't always get to the Post Office. So even if I get a request on a Sunday, I might not accept it until right away knowing that I won't get to the post office until the followng Wednesday or Saturday.

Welcome and enjoy the process of getting all these great new (to you) books. I've really enjoyed getting to try out lots of new authors without having to invest $7-$13 for a paperback that I'll read once. It's much nicer to pay just $2-$3 in postage to pass on the books I've enjoyed and get new ones in exchange.


Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,348
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Hey Shari -- at least by waiting the 5 days, you're doing other members a favor: If the member doesn't respond, the book will be removed from her bookshelf.  If she doesn't respond to the next request, her account will be placed on hold.  She'd just have to click to remove the hold -- it's not a punishment. -- but it'll mean that if the account is abandoned, no one else will have to wait out those five days.  I always figure I'm doing my good deed for the day week by waiting it out.

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2008
Posts: 3
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Patouie,  that's a positive way to look at it.  I'm doing my public service for PBS.  :)

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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Shari, I think there is one other possibility for the member. I think, and someone else may correct me on this, that a member can elect to not have the books sent and received show up publicly. So it might be that the member is actually sending and receiving books but just doesn't have it available for others to view, or as others have said, that the member truly isn't active any longer.

Also if the person isn't active any longer, your request will just automatically pass on to the next member who has the book--you won't have to do a thing. I just mentioned that in case you were thinking of trying to get it somewhere else (like amazon used books or something).


Hang in there. One of the very first books I requested went through three or four members before the request was accepted. I think pretty soon you'll have more books than you know what to do with <g>

Date Posted: 10/24/2008 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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I have seen it go both ways.  One book was finally accepted after timing out and going to at least two people. 

Another book was accepted within 5 minutes of my reqeuesting it, so I assume the person just happened to be on the site at the same time I was. 

I have only been on a month, but I have already requested about 10 books and sent out about 15.  I would guess that most of the requests have had about a 24 hour turnaround.  So don't worry too much about it, you just happened to find a slow person for one of your books. 

Date Posted: 10/26/2008 12:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Yes you can choose to not show how many books you've sent and received.  If it just has a dash than that person has selected to make that info private. 

Also on hold doesn't mean they aren't going to respond. I do what Christy does.  I have a lot of books in Mt TBR which is topping 400 now.  A lot of them are WL books.  Sometimes I put my account on hold to stop the WL offers from coming.  I think I'm going back on hold now. I had 4 WL offers this week.  I'm down to 10 credits-I like to do the games so I think I'll go back on hold until I get some of these WL books read.  I don't have a big shelf and the books I have posted are pretty common on PBS-so not likely to get ordered anytime soon.  When I read a WL book, I'll post it and then go back on hold.  While the WL offer is pending, I'll check out their WL.  If I have another of their WL books in MT TBR-I might hold off on accepting for a few days so I can read that other book and post it to them as well to save on postage.  Sometimes I'll order a book that goes with a series I'm reading where some are WL that I have already.  So I'll order that book even though I'm on hold. 

It's also possible that if it's  a WL book-they didn't notice it when on WL hold.  One time I took my shelf off hold just long enough to post a WL book. When I checked on it later, I had 2 books on WL hold.  A book that was on my shelf had become WL while I was on hold.  If I had only taken my shelf off hold to order a book, I might not have noticed that book being WL hold. 

Date Posted: 10/26/2008 4:16 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 150
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"You are better off just to not say anything about how anything works or how it could be improved.  You will be told that "This kind of stuff has been beaten like a dead horse and PBS says they are not going to change it, so just shut up."

Most people like to get books within a couple of weeks of ordering them----Some think 3 months is fine.  The 3 month people are winning."


 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Sorry but I found this hysterical. I think this is the first bit of sarcasm I have come across in the forums here! It doesn't appear to be very popular to suggest change around here so I have to agree with the sentiment behind the sarcasm.


To the OP, don't worry about being popular. Just say what you have to say. Your opinion is no less valid just because you are new. And it is a fact that the oldies of ANY site (or place in existence) ALWAYS complain about change. THAT never changes. So yeah, anyone who has been here for a while and learned to accept and deal with the system as is, usually feels like everyone else should too. If the world ran on that system it wouldn't necessarily be any better or worse though now would it? I personally like change, as long as it is for a better system. And I wish the wait time was shorter too.

I understand that some people can't send stuff out until payday. But it isn't just the person waiting for the book who is waiting. So is every other person that has a copy who COULD send it out and get a credit! If you can't accept the request within 48 hours, I think it should move on to the next person. You could still keep your place in line, so that the next time the book is requested you are first, and maybe then you will be able to send it out. If you are the one who can't send it, then you are the one who should wait. Seems resonable to me. In the meantime, TWO people who would have had to wait on you didn't have to.

And before anyone jumps on me about that idea I will mention that I can't send books WHENEVER either. I am a single mother and broke often enough. I only get payed once a dang month. But I prefer to be objective. I don't expect or want the site to benefit what is best for ME unless it also benefits everyone else. I don't think a week is a system fit for everyone.

However, while I do think a week is a bit long, I also realize it isn't such a big deal. The point is, the system isn't perfect, so vent!! There isn't anything wrong with venting and/or wishing for a better system (or better to your way of thinking anyway). Just keep things in perspective, overall you still are getting books you want at a great price. And sometimes there is a wait. There is never any harm in making a suggestion to the site either.


Happy book hunting!

Last Edited on: 10/26/08 4:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/30/2008 3:24 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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(Terri P.)  said: You are better off just to not say anything about how anything works or how it could be improved.  You will be told that "This kind of stuff has been beaten like a dead horse and PBS says they are not going to change it, so just shut up."

You know, I read an awful lot of the posts in the forums without ever responding, as I'm sure a lot of others do to. I'm just going to take a wild stab in the dark here (cuz I turned the light out to get ready for bed :)  But, I don't believe I've ever read anyone tell anyone to "shut up."

And if anyone is waiting 3 months for their books all the time, they REALLY need to get in touch with their PO, they really are doing a lousy job!

Finally, I might be that person you are waiting on. I didn't need to put my shelf on hold because I'm back from my weekend excursion in time, but I still need another day before my pain meds and strength are back up to snuff to go pull your book and double check it to make sure it hasn't been damaged since I posted it last year. But, I promise I'll get to it tomorrow, don't you worry :)

Ah, a bit of levity and laughter, yep, it sure does do a body good! hahahahhaaha

Date Posted: 10/30/2008 6:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
Posts: 8,426
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Last Edited on: 12/24/08 5:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/30/2008 8:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Shari, most likely the book you requested was from someone who has abandoned their account. It happens a lot, I think. People join PBS, post a dozen books, most of which already have hundreds of copies in the system, and they get discouraged when no one selects their books and just wander away, not bothering to remove the books from their shelves. Six months or a year later, when their book is actually chosen, they've moved on and either ignore the notification e-mail that a book is requested or don't get it because they've changed e-mail, have PBS mail going to spam folder or *whatever.* At any rate, they are no longer interested.

Now, some folks say that PBS has a policy in place to deal with these people by putting their accounts on hold or pulling their membership, but I don't see any evidence that that is the case--most of the time when I order a book that's already existing in the system, especially if it's a more popular series book that has more than 50 copies in the system, I'm having to wait through 2, 3, sometimes 4 or more people  to respond. No one is refusing the order, there is just no response at all.

I also don't find anywhere in the Help Docs an actual policy that spells out for members that in order to remain active, you must participate. I'm looking for something that says "if you fail to respond to x number of book requests, or fail to login for x amount of time, your account will be placed on hold, thus removing your books from circulation until you e-mail us and ask us to reactivate your account." (That is what I *wish* would happen, and have been wishing for for YEARS! LOL) The only thing I can find about inactive accounts says that "if your account appears inactive to the PBS computer, a book that is en route to you will be marked received by the system" but nowhere does it actually spell out that your bookshelf and wishlist would be put on hold for inactivity. Now, I didn't read through the entire Help Docs, so if there IS a passage like the one above, I will humbly admit I was wrong and be happy that PBS has finally addressed the issue of inactive accounts.

Anyway, I've learned that patience is the best way, and yes--think of those books timing out as a public service to your fellow members--the next time someone requests that book, they won't have the week-long wait for a response, at least not from that particular member, as timed-out book requests DO get the book removed from the bookshelf.

ETA--Nancy, you can't possibly believe that Richard has time to personally respond to every suggestion or feedback report! The form letter is a way of acknowledging that they received your suggestion, and I do think that if enough people send feedback with a given suggestion about a given issue, it is looked at and receives consideration. MANY things have changed at PBS over the 3 years I've been here, and a good many of them initiate with members' feedback, I think. At any rate, why would you say "Sorry" that you're agreeing with Terri? It's your opinion, be proud of it, not sorry!



Last Edited on: 10/30/08 8:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1