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Topic: Timely mailing

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Subject: Timely mailing
Date Posted: 10/9/2008 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2008
Posts: 409
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Please help me understand something. I joined and read the rules of PBS and thought the idea was to mail the requested book within a couple days of agreeing to send the book. I try to mail out requested books within the next day. I do live in a metropolitan city so the post office is close and I have to pass by it most days as I take my daughter to work and school. I do understand that some people live in rural areas and may only make a trip to the post office once a week. However, on many occasions swappers have agreed to send a book and then they don't mail it even in the specified days they agreed to. I had one book that I requested on Sept. 23 and it was not mailed until Oct. 5.  How does this happen? They even went two days after the day that was supposed to be the deadline.

It is frustrating when I mail the books requested quickly and then have to wait sometimes a month before the book I requested with my credits gets to me. I am under the impression that all books on our bookshelves are supposed to be available as soon as they are requested. Is that the way it is supposed to be or am I mistaken? If they are available why is there such a delay?

Thank you to those of you who have mailed promptly. It is a joy to receive your books.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1,140
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The default is two days but you can change it if you can't mail it within that time period.  The majority of the time, I can mail within two days but I'm lucky that my carrier picks it up or I can mail it at work.  I have had people say there were going to mail within in a week and I've just learned to be patient.  I have so many books TBR that I try to focus on them but I love getting new books so sometimes it's tough. :-)  I'm not quite sure what happens if they mail it after the date they stated.  In both instances where it happened to me, the member had mailed the books but forgot to mark it mailed. 

Don't know if this helps.  I hope you get better turn-around time.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think that according to the help docs, the longest timeframe allowed  to mail a book after accepting a request is 7 days - but I'd double-check that to be sure.  Your sender could have possibly mailed on time and forgotten to log in & mark the book mailed, or sometimes people will mark a book mailed and actually mail it a day or two - or more - later.  This is only acceptable when they've made prior private arrangements with you through inboxes and it's acceptable to you for them to mail it late.  But they still have to mark it as mailed on time or the system will automatically cancel the transaction, and it will roll over to the next person in the FIFO line.  I don't know why some people mark mailed before they mail without getting the receiver's ok on it beforehand, but then I find many things that some members choose to do a bit of a mystery.  I always say there's no substitute for reading and being sure you understand the rules of the site, as well as exactly how the system is supposed to work.  It occurs to me though, I wouldn't say that nearly so much if everyone was actually doing it:P  My sympathies on the problem, btw.  I hope it works out & you get your book soon:)

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Lots of people mail out quickly.  Others don't so much.  I try to time mine so that DH can mail at the regional PO that mails out more quickly than from here.  But he only goes there once a week.  So I mail out from my little hole in the wall mail office which takes a day to get to the county main office which then mails out at some point to Richmond and Richmond sorts it out and off it goes whenever.  Takes a long time.  I've found that  once I got so many books on my TBR I didn't mind the wait so much.  Trying to mail out your books in fewer trips to the PO if you aren't close to one or don't have time to go there might be because of the cost of gas these days.  We can always put them in a Big Blue Box - but it might not get picked up fora while.  So if you are buying your postage from the PO you most probably are going to try to group all the books you can before you go.  And life happens to people.  Lots of reasons.  It's not usually that they don't want to get them out.  what if they ran out of supplies?   Many scenarios tocontemplate.  Of course, then there are the procrastinators among us and there always will be.


Date Posted: 10/10/2008 2:40 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 142
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I try to mail my books out quickly, but with two small children in tow, sometimes one day runs into the next and ia book gets mailed out later than I wanted.  I generally select the option that allows me to mail a book out five days after I accept and if I can actually pop it into the mail that same day or the next, I feel pretty good.  But some weeks, life just flies by (between kindergarten, soccer, ballet, playdates, grocery stores, doctor appointments....etc., etc.) and I end up needing all five days to get the book out.  Also, sometimes someone will put that they can mail on a certain date (not realizing that date is a Sunday) and have to mail the book out the following day instead.  This just happened to me last week.  I marked I could mail in two days, but the second day was a Sunday.  It was a hardback weighing more than 13 oz., so I had to take it to the P.O. (which, of course, is closed on Sundays), so I mailed it Monday instead. 

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 7:30 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Just an FYI, unless the book was mailed from the post office with a postage sticker purchased there, you can't go by the postmark date on the book.  Sometimes books are picked up by the carrier and not postmarked for days.  So, unless it was a PO purchased postal sticker (which is going to have the date printed out on it) the sender may in fact have mailed it on time and it just doesn't look like it to you!

This happens all the time!


Date Posted: 10/10/2008 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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"I am under the impression that all books on our bookshelves are supposed to be available as soon as they are requested. Is that the way it is supposed to be or am I mistaken? If they are available why is there such a delay?"

Meg...I know we live in a McDonald's society and want everything immediately but, this is a used book site and people actually have lives that involve..extended family, children, work, emergencies, housework, appointments, etc etc.  Being a member of this site involves developing patience...I would recommend going back and rereading the Help Center about mailing books...it is not required that books are mailed out in 2 days and even if it was mailed out immediately you do realize that the USPS can and often does take up to 21 days for it to actually get to you.

It would be nice if everyone could mail their books out a couple of days after accepting the request but, everyone has a life and that just can't always happen.  It is handy that you pass by the Post Office every day....some of us don't, for me it is 10 miles off my usual path to and from work so, trust me I am going to take my full 5 days from the time I accept a request, just in case another request comes in and they can all go together....sometimes I will wait the full 5 days to accept the request & the full 5 days to actually mail it.

Also, your sender by the rules had 2 days after the stated date they gave to actually mail it AND mark it mailed.....I would recommend checking out the Help Center...it explains all of this.

Sorry if I'm talking in circles or repeating myself but, the tone of the original post just aggitates me...comes across as so snobbish...maybe it is just me and my hormones this morning but...argh!!!

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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A person has 5 days to respond to a request.  At that point they can pick a mailing date 5 days out.  They get an extra 2 days grace period.  That's 12 days from your request.  Then 4 weeks is allowed for media mail.  That's nearly 6 weeks that one could possibly have to wait for a book.  While that is the extreme example, it is a possibility.  This is all in the rules/help docs.  I found it very helpful to do a thorough reading when I first joined.  It answered a number of questions and concerns, such as you have raised here.

There are numerous reasons for not checking in every day, or for not accepting a request on the first day.  Tho I could list some of the various logical and appropriate responses I've read on the forums thru the months, I'll just put it in a nutshell, and that's "real life".  Folks attend to their real lives before their online life.  As long as people are operating within the allowable time frames here, you will either have to be patient or look elsewhere.

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well, I don't think everyone has the same understanding of how much time senders actually have to work with when they get book requests.  The one that Meg mentioned requesting on the 23rd of last month and didn't actually get mailed until Oct. 5th, while that may seem excessive to some of us, it's still within allowable limits.  Senders have 5 days to respond to a request (unless it's a WL request), and when they accept, if all the requestor sees on their end is that the request is accepted, the sender still has up to two days to mail before an automatic system action is taken (the request cancels and rolls over to the next FIFO copy).  If the sender opts to extend the date they can mail by up to the maximum allowable timeframe (I checked the help docs, and it is 7 days), then 12 days elapsing between the time you request a book and when it actually gets mailed to you is entirely feasible.  You also have to take into account that people who select the "I can mail later" option and select the maximum of 7 days still get that additional two days grace period, or whatever you want to call it, before a system action is taken and the transaction is cancelled.  That means it could be as long as 14 days before they absolutely must mail your book out, and not risk having the transaction cancelled.  I realize that probably seems like an excessive length of time when you want a book asap, but if that's what the system allows, we should expect for at least some of the senders we request from to make use of it.  Like many people have said here and in other threads regarding this, some of them need that time for various reasons - including the inability to get to a PO quickly and conveniently.  I think this is just one of those things that we need to take in stride, since it's how the system works, and those are the terms we accept when we sign up:P

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Meg - I just want to point out that you will probably slow your mailing down after you've been here a while too. I started out like you, accept them right away, pick the shortest length and mail the books ASAP. That gets old when you are mailing books every day of the week. I now time my mailings so I am only going once, maybe twice a week. Anything requested right after I go to the PO will have a bit longer of a wait. I drive within 3 blocks of the PO every day, but I just was not willing to spend so much time at the post office. The rules do say that a book mustbe available for swap at the time it is posted. It does not say that it must be mailed immediately.

Your book also may have taken longer if the first person to receive the request did not fill it.   the person who did sent it may have mailed it immediately. The system rolling the request over could make it so your order isn't even accepted for a month if you hit a few inactive members.

eta: just wanted to point out that the two day grace period really isn't meant to be used for mailing days. Other than the few exceptions that are listed in the help center, the books are supposed to be mailed withing the 5 days and the 2 extra days are allowed for marking the books mailed.  

Last Edited on: 10/10/08 10:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/10/2008 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I used to mail books immediately myself.  This was before the PBS postage.  Mailing the books involved loading 2 preschoolers and a toddler into the van and dragging them into the PO.  Fun time for all.  After making about 10 trips to the PO in 2 wks-I started making only one trip a week.  Now I keep stamps on hand to mail smaller books from my mail box so I don't have to pay the postage printing fee.  But since my mail carrier frequently puts mail in the wrong boxes, it makes me nervouse send books out that way. I also trade on another book site and sometimes I have international requests which require a trip to the PO.  I'm holding off on mailing 2 books from that site, and 2 game books from here because I have to take an international request to the PO.  I have 2 games close to ending and I'm hoping I can  also get those 2 books in the mail.  I have until Wed to mail the game books. 

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I just want to expand a little on the time a book takes to reach someone after being mailed.  I've received and sent books to Hawaii, Alaska, and APO's  - it definitely takes the full amount of time allowed and more gor a media mail book to go those distances.  In fact, I don't worry about it for a good time after if is declared "lost" as most will be from there to me.  I realize that  the OP may not have meant this particular time lapse - but it is a considerable one when waiting for a book from these places.  I have 3 right now I've been waiting for  from these places to arrive - I knew when I saw their point of origin that it would take a long time - so one must develop patience since we don't always know the circumsatnces.


Date Posted: 10/10/2008 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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Yeah... I've recently been on both sides of this coin.  When I get a request, I go and find the book, inspect it and then accept, this might take me a day unless it's a WL book I've just posted, in which case maybe a couple hours after getting the request.  I then choose the latest mailing date, not because I procrastinate (all though occasionally, well we all have our lazy days eh?) as much as between DH, kids, grandkids, MIL and my elderly mom who lives with us, someday there just isn't enough time in the day.  Also I know when rushed I can get a bit confused and have actually mixed up mailings so I like peace & quiet and time. 

Even still I mail as soon as possible, it is rare for me to wait until the last day.

I recently ordered a few books the first week of September, after timing out twice, the third accepted, printed and never mailed.  It was cancelled by the system two days after the will mail by date.  Now it has been accepted and marked mailed the next morning at midnight, so we shall see. With the two other book orders, one the woman pm'ed me with apologies about late mailing, things beyond her control happened and she mailed late.  No problem I would cancel if it went to the next person after getting lost, but as a result they arrived the day before they went lost.  The other book has gone from person to person, to timed out mailing on to another person, it finally arrived I was never so happy to see a book since it was #2 in a series and I wanted to read it first with books 3-5 waiting LOL

On the bright side, I also got a wish granted, the person accepted with in hours of my saying I wanted it, mailed the next day, and two days later I received a beautiful hard cover with a pristine dust jacket, obviously carefully read once if that.  I wasn't going to keep it, but if it is good I may put it on my keeper shelf.

So a few bad apples here and there but I still believe this is the best site for book trading.

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I usually mail within a day of accepting an order but I also drive right by a PO on my way to work that has an APC machine.  However there have been a few days where I couldn't mail when I had planned because the APC machine was out of the stamp material. 

that said, I still choose the furthest out mail by date because you just never know when something will come up and delay you mailing the book.

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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I can only assuredly get to the PO once a week.  I usually manage twice, but I can't promise that second one.

I work full time.  Going during the week involves hauling books in on the bus, then sneaking down to the PO a few blocks away. Sometimes I have time, sometimes I don't.

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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It's perfectly okay for senders to take as long as PBS rules allow to send the book. If I really need a book quickly, I buy it.

Date Posted: 10/10/2008 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,887
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Meg, I feel your frustration with the late mailing. I am new to PBS too and it sounds like we had almost identical experiences. I requested my first book 9/25. It was accepted 9/25, marked as mailed 10/1 (the last day of the grace period to mark as mailed). I received the book today and the postage sticker from the mail counter was 10/7. So my book wasn't mailed until a week after my sender marked it as mailed.

According to the PBS rules this is an "unofficial" problem and it said to mark the book as received but in the bottom box describe the problem. I'm not sure if anything will come of my comments but it might help weed out the bad apples.





Date Posted: 10/10/2008 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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Meg, if you click on the blue "request details" link in your transactions archive (on the horizontal yellow bar on your My Account page) you can see what the "request date" is.  If the date is different from the actual date you first requested the book, it means that your request was declined by the first sender, or maybe by more than one sender, and was passed on to the person who actually mailed the book on the date listed there.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2008
Posts: 409
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thanks for all the input. I am learning to be more patient as I enjoy the books I have received. This afternoon I requested some books and they were mailed before the day was out. I'm sorry if anyone was offended by my questions and ask that you forgive my tone. I didn't intend to stir up a hornet's nest, I am just trying to understand the system. Happy reading everyone and keep those books coming. I have found some great books and almost every one I have received has been in pristine condition. This is a great way to circulate those books I am through with and I have told numerous people about the site. Have a great day and thanks again.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2007
Posts: 3,773
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i think i'm having bad luck with this book. i orginally requested it on 9/26. the first person never responded so it timed out and passed over to the next person. then the 2nd person waited til the last day to accept and then chose the latest mail date which would be today. now i know there is a 2 day grace extending but there is no mail tomorrow or monday. so i have a feeling that it's going to pass over to the next person. so at this rate it will probably be a month and a half before i get this book!

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 2,608
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I'm still relatively new to this site so I haven't gotten that many requests yet.  Between that, and as a newbie, wanting to please my requestors, I generally mail my books out 1 - 2 days after I receive the request.  They say that media mail can take 21 days, but so far I've found (with both sending and receiving) that it usually takes only 4 days.  I've been very impressed with the speed of media mail.  In fact I received one book only one day after the the postmarked date!!!  That was an in-state mailing, but still I thought one day was quite fast.

Date Posted: 10/11/2008 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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When did the senders say the would mail the books?  I know in the once instance you wrote about the person definitely seems late, but you are given 5 days to respond and then can always choose the option of mailing the book later (I think it is an additional 5 days out), so you basically get a little over a week to mail a book.  Plus, if Media Mail is used it usually takes another 2-3 weeks to get your book. 

When I first joined, I was very good about sending my books out within 2 days, but now with increased orders and a busy schedule, I only go to the PO once a week.  With gas prices and such, I know there are alot of other members that also only send books out once a week. 

Subject: Mailing books
Date Posted: 10/15/2008 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,448
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I also use to mail books within the first day or two of getting the request.  I now give a date about 5 days out.  I still will probably get it mailed in the 2 days, but this way I get a little wiggle room.  I go by the PO every day, either going to or coming from work......the blue box is right there....

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2007
Posts: 3,773
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well just like i thought, that 2nd person timed out as well, it's now sitting on the 3rd person and i'm still waiting for them to accept it. this was the last copy in the system so hopefully they'll send it!

Date Posted: 10/15/2008 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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Meg, the day will come when you're not able to get the book in the mail that quickly, and you'll appreciate the opportunity to select "Mail later" when you accept a book order.

I've been proud of my past history of next-business-day mailings. Historically, most of my books are out very quickly. But this fall, I'm working full-time, I have two young children, school and church activities, and on top of those usual activities, my employer has me taking a job-related course at the university.

Trust me that at this point, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to select a longer window in which to mail. I can still get credit, the others still get their books. It just takes me a little longer to get the book in the mailbox.