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Topic: Suggestions for PBS

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Subject: Suggestions for PBS
Date Posted: 5/14/2011 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 2
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Is there some place on the site/forums where you can enter suggestions for the PBS team?

The suggested weights of the books when printing postage are incorrect a majority of the time (as you've all realized), so I wanted to suggest a fix. if the system recognized when it was changed to approximately the same value by a lot of people and changed the weight to that number, a lot of them would be righted. Correct me if the site already has this feature, I just assume more would be right if it did.



Last Edited on: 5/14/11 11:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/14/2011 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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The forums are not regularly monitored by the PBS Team.

If you have a suggestion, please use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of each page, under the bold "Company" header.

Hope this helps.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 2
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Thanks. I figured they weren't, but I wasn't sure if the "Contact Us" was just for questions or not.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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As for the book weights-you can submit data edits to correct book weights. But publishers reuse ISBNs and so there might be books with the same ISBN, that look the same but weight different depending on the font used and extra stuff added to the book.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 5/14/2011 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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Do you really find that they're wrong a majority of the time? My experience is that they're almost always correct for the retail editions of popular fiction printed in the past 10 years or so (which is basically what I swap), and I weigh everything.

Of course they're incorrect if you're sending a book club edition. The DB has the info for the retail edition (same as you find at Amazon), but bookclub books are lighter.

Lori - ,
Date Posted: 5/14/2011 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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I have a professional postage scale (digital) which I use to weigh all of my PBS packages and, yes, the PBS pre-loaded weights are almost always wrong.  As a matter of fact, I can't remember a single time in 2 years that the pre-loaded weight has been right.  I always have to change it to the correct weight.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2009
Posts: 293
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Another reason the weights may be wrong is that the ordered book is part of a deal.  If you order one book and get two or three free, of course the weight of the package would be higher.  The system recognizes the weight for the one book (after you have changed the weight to reflect all the free ones). 

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 846
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I mail mostly hardcover and trade paperback and I'd guess that about half of the time, the PBS suggested postage is too much. Maybe one in ten times the postage is too little. The other 40% of the time, it's correct.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,926
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I have a scale and found it's about 50/50. I often do edit the book weight on the book data page. Lately I've run into a bunch when printing labels that pop up and say something to the effect that I've entered a weight of less than an ounce. Those have all been due to a misplaced decimal.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,222
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the PBS pre-loaded weights are almost always wrong

Are you finding them wrong by a lot (enough to make the postage off) or a small amount? A small amount that won't change the postage amount isn't worth a data edit and could be accounted for by the edition having (or not having) some extra advertising pages like a preview of the next story or something. That would mean that the number in the system isn't wrong, its just wrong for your edition. 

You may also be seeing the 0.6 PBS may add to account for wrapping materials. Sometimes I see the postage amount changed to account for that, sometimes I've seen the weight field is increased.

Date Posted: 5/14/2011 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I also have a digital postage scale and find that the postage weights are off about 50% of the time, sometimes dramatically, like 2-1/2 lbs. for a book that actually weighs 1/2 lb.  (Those I submit edits for). And the weights are invariably over rather than under, which I guess is a good thing for those people without scales. Just out of curiousity I weigh books when they arrive and I would guess that 80% of those I receive, without counter postage from the PO, have too much postage on them. Personally, I would not use the PBS postage without a scale because you are already paying for the convenience without also paying too much for postage as shown in the system. Plus as Melanie points out, the packaging can dramatically change the cost (box versus tyvek envelope for example). If a member mails serveral books a month I would think that an inexpensive  scale would quickly pay for itself just in correct postage amounts rather than overpaying.

Date Posted: 5/15/2011 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I find that the weights are off about 1/3 of the time, and sometimes by a LOT as Sally says...I think the weight adjusts to whatever the last person puts in there, and I'm thinking they are often wrong because a given book is part of a deal, as there is no way a mass market paperback ever weighed 2 lbs 8 oz--and most likely even the trade or hardcover version of the same book didn't either. Does it even help to submit a data edit if someone comes along and changes the weight after it's been fixed, and the default goes to whatever that person put in?


Date Posted: 5/15/2011 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,222
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I think the weight adjusts to whatever the last person puts in there

No it doesn't do that. It wouldn't make any sense because people are adjusting for all kinds of one time things like deals and packaging. The weights are either determined by the weight field in the book details or by the page count if that is blank. The only way to change it is a data edit.

A lot of the bad data comes from other data bases having bad info, lazy people who don't have the info and don't want to get it so they just put in garbage when they are setting up a book instead of leaving it blank, or just plain input error by not converting ounces to pounds, doing the conversion wrong, or slipping a digit.

Date Posted: 5/15/2011 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/9/2008
Posts: 839
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Last Edited on: 2/2/15 3:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/15/2011 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,351
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Tips for doing a data edit

  • click on the title, then on "more options" --> "edit book data")
  • weigh your book before wrapping, and enter the book weight, not the wrapped book weight on the data edit page.
    • As mentioned above, the software automatically adds a bit for wrapping materials
    • When you enter the correct weight at the bottom of the "print wrapper" page, use the wrapped book weight, and toggle the menu there to 'wrapped book"
    • A postal scale or kitchen scale is essential if you are not taking the package to the Post Office.
  • convert ounces into pounds.  (Divide the number of ounces by 16,  so 8 ounces divided by 16 will be .5 pounds, or half a pound.)
  • add any other missing info you have about the book.  (You're the best resource, since you have the book in hand.)
  • put a note in the "reason for edit" box that you have the book in hand.  (Only the data edit approver will see your note.)
Date Posted: 5/16/2011 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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To augment Patty's excellent data editing suggestions, here's an online calculator to convert ounces to pounds for those who want it.  Yes, Patty's math works fine -- my brain's just lazy. devil.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 5/16/2011 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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You can also do that conversion at Google's home page. Just type "x ounces in pounds" in the search box.