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Topic: WHY So Expensive???

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Subject: WHY So Expensive???
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2005
Posts: 79
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Why are credits SO dang expensive???? It doesn't cost PBS anything when I trade a book with someone else! I can get used books a LOT cheaper than that at book sales and garage sales! I only live off my disability, how can anyone afford those prices???

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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Well the idea is to trade books vs buying credits.  Even trading books to a UBS isn't all that equitable.  Sure they sell at half price but when you turn in a book you only get a quarter of the cover price in credit.  Trading books you already have, mailing them first class which is often cheaper these days than media mail you can definitely save money.  I do have to agree with you though my local thrift store sells books for a quarter sometimes an entire bag for a buck, occasionally I go to the Goodwill or other thrift stores and get them for a dollar or less which is defintely cheaper, but I don't always find a good selection of books I like, I generally look for tradeable books when I go there because even at a buck, it's cheaper than a credit.


ETA: Also I try to get more bang for my buck by taking advantage of bazaar deals, usually 2 for 1 but I have done as well as 3 or 4 for one credit, talk about a bargain especially when you can get several in a series! 

Last Edited on: 2/14/08 3:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2005
Posts: 6,987
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Kris, it also actually does cost money to run this site, so saying it doesn't cost anything when you trade a book isn't completely accurate.  This site (and it's sister sites) are free to use...they don't charge a membership fee at all. So, they are forking out the money to keep the site running (and running very well!) without asking us to make payments for the benefit we gain from it all.  It's up to each person if they want to purchase credits...no one says you have to.  :)

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 556
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If credits were much cheaper, why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of posting and mailing books when they could just buy credits?  Of course, there would soon not be any more books left to request using those credits...


Date Posted: 2/14/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Also you can usually find a member selling them cheaper that what PBS charges. I agree with Bret. If credits only cost $2.50, who would bother with posting and mailing out books to earn credits?  Everyone would just buy credits and sell their books to the UBS so they didn't have to deal with posting and wrapping. 

Plus the cost of credits does help fund the PBS website. They aren't making any money of this. They only charge a yearly fee for Boxing which is optional.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Sorry but credits are STILL cheaper for me here than going to the UBS, a really crappy UBS at that.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I wanted to add something similar to what Michelle just said: credits on PBS even at $3.50 are the same and cheaper sometimes that what I can get used books for around here.  This is not a big garage sale area.  The books I see at the thrift stores are usually in really bad condition.  The UBS store charges $3.50 for a used mass market paperback.  They never have trade-size paperbacks and a lot of the books I read come out in trade.  Sometimes I find good deals on ebay but even now it seems the bidding gets crazy on everything. I always find something good at Half-price books but it's over an hour away so I don't get there that often. So I consider $3.5/credit a bargain.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 12/31/09 12:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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yeah, if I had to purchase credits they would be cheaper than any of the UBS here and the FOL well that is not somewhere I go to buy books (they would be cheaper full price at a bookstore).  Sometimes but, not often I'll find some at a garage sale but, that doesn't happen often and now with gas prices going to garage sales isn't cheap at all.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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You know, back in the day, every thrift store in town sold used paperbacks for 10-25 cents or so.  The more recent boom of internet booksellers, and newer bricks & mortar stores that sell used media popping up everywhere have about killed that off.  We have Half Price Books here now.  Woohoo.  Some people from Texas are here in KY driving the prices of used books up all over town.  How gratifying.  And have you noticed?  Everyone with anything from a converted gas station bookstore, on down to Joe yard sale suddenly thinks he needs to be selling his used (and often not gently so) paperbacks for half off the cover price.  The Goodwill near me is still in the Dark Ages and throwing their books into bins.  I get nauseated just looking at it, so I don't go there anymore, despite the low prices.  Another thrift store I used to shop at finally decided to organize their books on shelves (not alphabetically either), and now seems to think not tossing them all willy-nilly onto tables entitles them to half off of cover price too.  Thankfully we still have DAV (Disabled American Veterans) thrift store here.  they have a well organized & neat media section, and books are still 30 cents for paperbacks & 90 cents for hardbacks.  Unless they're having a sale - which they frequently do - and then they're marked down to 10 cent paperbacks and 50 cent hardbacks.  I myself have always sold a considerable number of books at my obligatory summer yard sales, for as low as 25-50 cents.  Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever be doing that again.  I had no idea I was a favored supplier of online booksellers, and some of the things I let go for a few cents were resold at huge mark ups.  Somebody should have told me I had such a booming business.  I don't think we've seen the worst of it yet either.  I wouldn't be surprised to see minimum prices reach the halfway mark before it's over.  New books are expensive.

Even as high as credits are here at PBS, I still think it's a reasonable system overall.  When you look at the fact that ALL books have the same trade-in value here and it's 1 for 1, and then look at pricing on a a rare out of print book on Amazon, it kinda shifts everything back into perspective a little bit.  Plus, I used to buy credits when I wanted more books than I had credits to order.  Now when I need credits, I just run a special.  I've found that I can still ship about 3 paperbacks for less than it costs me to buy one credit.  No, it doesn't always cover my initial investment on the books I have, but I get a pretty significant amount of books free or dirt cheap, and I never was breaking even on my trade-ins anyway.  Locally, UBS' are actually worse.  A 20% register credit on trade-ins is considered generous.  Thankfully there are still a lot of people out there who just want to clear out their books, and just want someone to come & get them.  I was amazed at how many aquaintances I had who started offering me books once they found out I was willing to take them.  Library sales are great too, and if you can get enough of the free or super-cheap ones that you can actually move here, it does a lot to offset the cost of everything else you pay higher prices for.  When you're a reading junkie, every little bit helps:)

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,733
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We don't even have a UBS in my town.  Just Goodwill and a used a bit store and the pickings are slim at both.  Yeah, the books are cheap but there aren't many and they're in pretty bad shape.

Buying a credit for whatever it costs is much cheaper than buying a book and paying the shipping on it.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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We have a great used book store here in town that is divided by book type and even author. The problem is that I really like Christian fiction and the books in that section get grabbed up as they are being shelved by the poor bookstore shelving clerk. They are also usually $4-10 dollars per book (and some of them in not so great shape). I still grab up the books that are on my wishlist at times but I prefer to use this site for variety and ultimately cost.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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What's a UBS?

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 3,070
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Used book store

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2008
Posts: 79
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I guess I'm lucky... We have an awesome FOL store here (Maui, Hawaii)...lots of vintage Hawaiiana books, which I find facinating.  And they're 10 cents each.  TEN CENTS! 

Last Edited on: 2/14/08 10:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,373
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This is the most expensive place I get books.

It's also the easiest & has the best selection & I can put in WL orders and then ignore them.

Credits are expensive, but R&R have done a great job of making sure the credits are worth something. I've seen other trade sites die because the value of their credits sank, partially because of giving away/selling for cheap credits.

But, as someone else mentioned, the idea/encouragement is for you to swap out your books. It's cheaper to mail a book than to buy a credit--and I think it should be.  It's better for the club as a whole if you swap books instead of buying credits.

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 11:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I find buying credits a great deal..even paying the PBS price from time to time(I usually get credits from others here selling for less) and I often get great deals in the book bazaar and from people I know on here..WAY cheaper for me than the UBS. I tend to be  a keepr so I don't post many books but every so often I'll post just to keep up the spirit of the place, you know? I mailed out a5-6 packages the past month which is a record for m e. I've also given away a lot for free to different people.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 6:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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totally OT--- But WOW!  sounds like I need to raise my prices, hee hee.... at our store no MMP is ever more than $3, and rearely a trade is more than $5..... I hate, hate, hate the whole "half-price" pricing..... back to regularly scheduled covno now :)

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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The current credit price is still a "good" deal when you consider it includes shipping.  Buying the same book online elsewhere , even if you only paid a penny... you would still have to pay shipping.

If you have a cheapo Used Book Store or Goodwill nearby... finding the book you are looking for is like a treasure hunt and there is no guarantee they will have it.  The PBS selction is awesome.  If credits were dirt cheap, folks wouldn't post and send books and the great selection would dry up.

I have yet to buy credits because I love going to Goodwill and buying books and shipping them to keep up my credit supply.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 1:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2006
Posts: 479
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There was an old post that explained the cost of credit..It had to do with each credit having to be backed up with a book and the committment to mail on behalf of the site. 

I do not remember all the details, it was something like cost of book at used book store,  packing materials and shipping costs. I do not recall if it involved labor.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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LOL, Sam!

Yep, our local UBS is a "half price" one.  Half the cover price, regardless of condition, which makes credits a bargain for me. 

We do get great deals at FOL sales, but that's only a couple of times a year and most of the really good (i.e. WL) stuff is gone on the first day. 

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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I save money on gas.

I save time.  (One of the most precious commodities)

I don't have any good USBs in my area.

For all these reasons I don't find it expensive at all, but a true cost-saver.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2007
Posts: 2,755
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There's no USB here where I live or a good will store, closest one is half an hour away. And most of the books I like are 15.00..so the price here is fine. I'll take it any day over paying 15.00. And also I like to go to yard sales too, but sometimes I can't. Like this year I doubt I can because my mom is having surgery and is going to have a very long recovery time. So I doubt I get to go to any to go look for books. So I like it here. And if I want a book right away there is always Ebay or Amazon.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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I agree with Kayote's post. This is the most expensive place I get books. BUT - factoring in the WL and the extrodinary amount of books from which to choose, I feel fortunate that I'm able to "shop" here. I'm also a volunteer at an FOL store  We are very particular about donations - no smelly books, no filled wiht animal hair, books, no liquid damaged books, no underlined, etc. etc. In fact, our conditions sound much like those of PBS. Most of the books i select to list here are from that store. Ours is a free standing store open 4 days a week all year. I am sorry to hear about some FOL stores near some of you that must have need for improvement. I am so very, very grateful that I found this site! Happy swapping, everyone!

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
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I think the credits are a deal. I found PBS after getting rid of most of the books I no longer wanted. I will buy credits if necessary, we homeschool and I have saved a lot just in the last few weeks buying books for next year. 

We do have cheap thrift stores, but like someone else mentioned a lot of the books are unpostable.