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Topic: Ways to Get More Books Ordered at a Time

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Subject: Ways to Get More Books Ordered at a Time
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2008
Posts: 12
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I had suggested to PBS to allow senders to specify a minimum number of credits per order, but PBS does not have any plans of implementing that. Furthermore, most people who responded to the forum thread thought it was a bad idea as well (I still don't understand why.)

Right now, I have 27 books to mail to 27 different people. I also have 8 more being held. It is expensive for me to spend $3.50 to mail out each of these hardcover books. My questions are:

1. What percentage of requests through the PBS system consist of only 1 item? Is 27 out of 27 being a single item typical?

2. What can senders do to increase the likelihood that people will add more than 1 item to an order? I know people suggest the bazaar, but most of the requests start with me posting a book that somebody has added to a wishlist. So I doubt that the user ever goes into the Bazaar.

3. Is it permissible to DM people who request books asking them to consider adding more to their order? Is it permissible to do so if you include some kind of incentive, such as 4 books for 3 credits or something like that?

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
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1) I don't think anyone on the forums would have that info.  We would each only have our own stats.

2) Offer a deal in the Book Bazaar, or in your forum signature or Bookshelf header.  (You'll be saving money on postage.  The requestor will be saving on credits.)

3) It's permissible to PM members who have ordered from you.  It might be considered pushy if you were not offering a deal, but if you are offering an incentive as you suggested, it's perfectly acceptable.

ETA: When I'm looking at a member's shelf to see if I'd be interested in ordering more books, I find it makes a real difference to me if there's a good description -- perhaps a review -- and a good image.  The image is not necessarily of your copy of the book, but is a representation of what I might find in that book.

Last Edited on: 5/5/14 2:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2008
Posts: 2,210
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Also, what are you going to do about people who don't respond? So, you get a single book request. You message them with your kind offer for a deal. Some people would happily jump at it. Others may not be interested -  and they may not write you back to tell you so. They just expect you to send your single book per the rules. Are you going to wait until just before the mailing times out, then cancel? Are you going to send it anyway? Will you put a "Please respond by XYZ date if you're interested?" 

In my experiences, it is RARE that you randomly get more than 1 request at a time. Things like ordering from friends, the WL thread, or games excluded.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Do think about using the Vacation Hold to manage your account.  If you put your WL on auto-request, then books will come to you, just no orders to mail out.  Many of our members use this option to control shipping costs.

Upload cover images and edit book data.  A book with a cover and data is much more likely to be an add on book. 

I see nothing wrong with a PM offering a deal.  It may surprise some members who are not active in the forums.  I like to set the deal ratio to increase the freebies with the increased number ordered. 

That said, it then becomes VERY important to remove the deal books from your bookshelf.  I will actually use the send book to a friend option and reprint the wrapper with the added books.  I'll print the label without services, then use the address to set the send to a friend, then reprint the new label with services.  The send books option removes the books from your bookshelf. 

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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A PM without offering a deal- but asking them to consider ordering more so it becomes more affordable for you- puts people on the spot.  If you can't afford to send out individual books then don't list them on your shelf. 

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,209
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Except when I've had large collections of a children's book series posted, I very rarely get an order for more than one book.......maybe 3 times a year someone might order 2 at a time.   Paying $2.69 per pkg for a single book order would be the norm for media mail.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Do you ever check the WL of people you are sending books to? Instead of posting them all at once, post one, then check their WL, you might have another one you can post to them and save on postage.  I would PM first to ask in case they don't have any credits.  I used to do this all the time and was only turned down once by someone who was a die hard believer in not bypassing FIFO for any reason.

I found the Gold Key membership also helpful in helping me find friends to ship in multiples too.

But at this point, I've just decided I don't need credits bad enough to bother with these things and I just donate most of my books now. 

Also maybe instead of putting a PM me message on you bookshelf you could just offer a straight out deal like 4 for 2 or 5 for 3 or something.


zeke68 -
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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If you find you're sending a lot of WL books, use the WL multiple thread in the Book Bazaar.  I believe that may be the only place on PBS where you can require that someone order more than one book.  I check that frequently and just ordered 3 books from someone.  Saved them postage, got me three books.  Just remember that the books must be WL books.  My suggestion if you do use that is to organize your books by category.  I tend to ignore those that are just a list of books.

Regarding your 3rd question, I've had people message me that they are offering a deal after I've ordered a book.  Sometimes I take them up on it, sometimes I don't.  

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,425
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If most of what you post are WLs the easiest way to move them out in bulk is to join Gold Key. It only costs $12.50 per year and lets you post your books to whomever you want. I always recoup my investment within a week or so, and save a ton of shipping fees the rest of the year.

When people request books from my shelf I always check their wish lists to see if I have anything else they are wishing for. About 30% the time I have at least one. Often more. Everyone I've offered an extra WL title to has accepted. With Gold key membership you post it straight to their wish list.

Search your friends Wish Lists for books you can offer them. Add people who read the same genres as you to your friends list. The forums are a good place to do that. Check out peoples profiles to see what books they like to see if you'd like to add them.

Put a list on your profile of Available Wish List books on your Profile. Add a link to that list to your signature line. Actually put up a bunch of lists. People look at other peoples lists all the time. The more lists you put up the more people will check out your profile.

Consider setting your friends list to auto accept to expand your circle of potential swaps.

And you probably don't want to hear this but The Bazaar is the best way to maximize your shipping budget. People expect a minimum order of 2 books. Some regular Bazaar posters require requests 3 or more books. The most any anyone has requested from me at one time was 7 books. I routinely ship out requests of 3. 


Date Posted: 5/5/2014 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2013
Posts: 56
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I have the same issue. I finally stopped posting WL books for the most part & just buy my credits as it was cheaper. As a low-income single mom, cheaper trumps everything else. Once in a blue moon if I have a little extra I post wishlisted lightweight small kids books that are cheap to ship 1st class. And try to find someone wanting a bunch of them in a single package.


Nancy - can you explain how Gold Key helps in multiple book requests? I'm not seeing it as a feature. In fact I don't see any pluses for SENDERS other than the 1 free postage fee per month, unless you send to friends a lot. I don't think I've ever sent anything to a friend on PBS, honestly.


Per the PBS Kiosk:

"Gold Key Membership Package

Take your PBS membership to the next level and become a Gold Key Member.  Unlock the following features to make your book swapping experiences here that much better:

Directed Delivery - When multiple copies of a book you order are available, we’ll determine the most expedient route to you. We take into account several factors to get your book to you as quickly as possible, putting special emphasis on the closest geographical location for “Greener swapping”!

Expanded Wish List - Can't fit all the books you're wishing for onto your Wish List?  The basic member Wish List can hold 200 books.  As a Gold Key member you can add 100 MORE books to your Wish List, up to a total of 300 books.

Friends Direct - What are friends for, if not to share books with? Gold Key Members can easily search all their PaperBackSwap Friends' Bookshelves to find books to request, and can also post Wish List books directly to their Friends' Wish Lists.

Multi-Copy Requesting - If you’ve ever wanted to order more than one copy of a particular book for your book club, classroom or reading group, this feature is for you.  As a Gold Key member you can choose exactly the number of copies you need from the available books, and order them all simultaneously.  No more ordering only one at a time!  Perfect for teachers, librarians, book clubs and more.

In addition, Gold Key members enjoy:

1 Free Postage Fee per month (each fee = 55 cents; up to $6.60 annual savings)

Gold Key Badge on your member Profile, identifying you as a Gold Key Member."


Date Posted: 5/5/2014 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I can see which of my friends have a book on their wish list, then I can open another window to see if they have some of the others I'm offering on their WL.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/18/2013
Posts: 56
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But that still assumes that members use the friends feature. Many I know do NOT use it - myself included.


Now if PBS wanted to add a perk to Gold Key where you could input a batch of ISBN's into a special add to bookshelf page & it would search for the most going to a single member, then I'd be ALL over that. I'd proably even be willing to pay double what they charge now {$25.99 vs. $12.99 annually}. I'd post a lot more books into the system too, since postage would be less overall because I would send out more multiple book packages. Yes, it would slightly bypass the FIFO order & the WL order, but no more so than the existing post to a friends WL or the regional shipping to get the closest book in the system. The WL order would probably average out, honestly given that many folks tend to have the same taste in books & have the same WL wants.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,425
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Trinity -  The reason Gold key works so well for me is that I have a LARGE list of friends who read the same books as me. I checked your wl and we have different reading styles. But 2 weeks ago I looked at the wish list of a friend and found that I had 15 of the books on her list. I offered seven of them to her and she accepted. Because I have Gold key I was able to go directly to her wish list and post them straight to her. there is an extra button that is visible to gold key members that says "Post this book". All seven books cost about $4.00 to ship.

You don't have to post to a friend. It's just what I do because most of my friends read the same genre. It's quicker than randomly checking out profiles


Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,425
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Unless you have desiginated your wish list private anyone can view it. The term "friends" is a little misleading. It's mostly so you can follow people you choose. Aside from that and limiting who can view your lists, it's use is a little limited. 

I use "Mail to a Friend" to mail books to people who are not on my friends list often. 

Last Edited on: 5/5/14 9:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/5/2014 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/17/2013
Posts: 340
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2. What can senders do to increase the likelihood that people will add more than 1 item to an order? I know people suggest the bazaar, but most of the requests start with me posting a book that somebody has added to a wishlist. So I doubt that the user ever goes into the Bazaar.

My suggestion would be to make your Bookshelf much, much smaller.  When I request a book, I always check out the sender's Bookshelf to see if there is anything else I want.  If I see more than 200 books, I might look at a page or two, but more often I might only look at the first page.  If I had ordered a book from you and clicked on your Bookshelf to see almost 700 books (which I did just click on your Bookshelf to see what you were offering), I would do what I just did - hit the back button and say forget it.  I would much rather spend my time reading than shopping.  There is no way I have time to look through 700 books on the off-chance that I might want to order one or two more.  I'm not trying to be harsh; just giving you my experience.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Oh, edit the book listings to make sure they have a genre.  I will often go to a huge bookshelf and use the genre sort, looking at just one category.  But books without genres do not show up in the sorts.  They also do not show up in the new books by genre banners on the home page.  Or the Advanced Search by subject.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,557
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Not sure that I can add much to help, but I'll try... even though I'll probably repeat suggestions already made.

Add books to your TBR list to see if they're Wish Listed before posting them or use the search feature sorted by WL books. Post those WL books in the multiple WL thread in the bazaar. Ask that peeps request more than one book and add that requests can be combined with books from your shelf to complete an order. 

Advertise books deals in the bazaar. You won't receive a credit for every book, but you will save on postage.

Send books that are in good to better to excellent condition. Wrap them well. Add any qualifying descriptions in your post (I smoke and had cats and always let peeps know that). Don't list books that are in a condition that you wouldn't want to receive (I know that this changes from person to person). You'll find that you'll hook up with 'repeat customers' who order multiples.

And, you'll hook up with some really, really great people.

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 1:02 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,492
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In addition to everything suggested above (and in your other thread), I also watch the Book Bazaar for people looking for specific books or series or types of books.  I just responded to someone yesterday who was looking for biographies.  She ordered 5 books from me.  I think I send out more multiples shipments than I do single book shipments, but I always PM every requester with a deal and ask them to let me know if they're interested or not so I can get their order in the mail.  I also check their wishlist to see if I have others they want, and I let them know if I do.  If they don't respond within a few days and I'm going to the post office, I go ahead and ship their single book. 

I type in every ISBN and look at the book detail page before posting a book.  If the book is wishlisted, I don't post it.  I don't want to send out a bunch of singles, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.  I'm very low income and just can't afford to do it.  So I post those in the Wishlist Multiples thread in the Book Bazaar and add them to my own book list called Wishlist Multiples on my profile.  I also add books to my list that have no copies in the system and no wishers.  I have had people request books from my list in a PM.  Lists are great for all kinds of reasons.  Sometimes people are looking for books in giftable condition, so I made a list of those too.  Now if I see someone looking for giftable books, I can just point them to my list.  I have had several people order multiples for their family members that way. 

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 565
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I think some of the resistance you've seen on this thread and your earlier one is that PBS is based on a FIFO (first in, first out) system, unlike some other book swapping sites. That means, for anything that's wishlisted, the first person who wishlisted it has first 'dibs' on it. And because that person may have been waiting for a while, and because it's unlikely that they want anything else on your bookshelf or want to 'waste' another point on something that's not wishlisted, you usually won't get multiple book orders on wishlisted books. It's fine to offer a deal via PM, but I think it's also important to be OK with a refusal of a deal, or a non-response. (I have all my wishlist books on auto-request, so I might be out of town and not checking the site when I order something, so might not see a PM until several days have passed.)

You should be willing to send out, individually, anything you put on your bookshelf. That's how PBS works. The PBS folks have allowed one exception, and that's the wishlist multiples thread in the Book Bazaar.

Now, to practical advice: if you've got wishlisted books, don't put them on your bookshelf right away. Put them on the wishlist multiples thread and see which of them go before listing them normally. For non-wishlisted books, either offer a deal or join the Box of Books group.

I think a lot of this sorts itself out as you are a member for longer. I personally don't post books that have more than one copy available; my storage space is too constrained for that. That keeps my bookshelf small (sometimes it's zero). I post wishlisted books as I finish reading them, so I never have a big postage bill all at once. Some members never or rarely post books and just buy points to get books. Some members do a lot in the Book Bazaar and most members have never been there. Your 'issues' are based primarily in the fact that you're new with a new influx of books that a lot of people want, so there's a lot of pent up demand for those titles, but it will pass after the initial period.

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 794
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I tend to be a person who gets hooked on certain authors so I don't mind an occasional "my bookshelf has more books by xyz you might want to take a look". Often I do order others especially in a series that I don't already have.

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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"My suggestion would be to make your Bookshelf much, much smaller.  When I request a book, I always check out the sender's Bookshelf to see if there is anything else I want.  If I see more than 200 books, I might look at a page or two, but more often I might only look at the first page. "

I understand the feeling, but logically, of course, it does not make sense to make one's Bookshelf much smaller.  If one makes it 100 books, how is that better than having 700 books that people look only at the first 100 of?

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,335
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The problem with making your shelf smaller is that people aren't as inclined to find another book to order.  My shelf is small & I rarely get anyone ordering more than one book from me at a time, probably due to having little to pick from.  That's my own fault though.  I have a tendency to want to move books out of my house at times, so after awhile, I will donate some of mine which makes my shelf on here even smaller.

I know a lot of people won't sift through shelves with 500+ books, but I will if I happen to see books that are interesting to me.  And this sometimes makes me want to order more than 1 book from someone.

Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 5/6/2014 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 415
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When I had many books on a related topic.  I posted some of them and then later when I had another batch on that topic,  I PMed the few people who had ordered the multiple books on that topic with the list of books I had not posted yet.  They wanted many of them.

I don't remember setting out at the beginning with the goal of multiple. just that I only felt like carrying some of them away at a time and inputting them in the system.  And then it just seemed easier to type a list of titles and pm instead of putting them in the system.

So on the later ones, instead of putting them in the system at all, they just gifted me the credits and sent me their mailing info.  I found that easier.

Date Posted: 5/6/2014 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I'm sorry.  But either ordering from your shelf or posting directly to their bookshelf is much safer for both parties.  PBS is set up with safeguards.  Bypassing the system with credit gifts leaves both sides vunerable, without a way to report problems.  

I do not recommend it.  If there are any problems, then you can do nothing. 

Date Posted: 6/1/2014 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2008
Posts: 839
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A few years ago a neighbor was clearing out a house and gifted me with piles and piles and PILES  of books, and many were antiquing manuals that were still good and still in good shape.  I had to send a lot of readers digest condensed books to the recyclers, but there was a lot of interest in antique books.  After the initial flurry of requests, I sent a PM to people who ordered, offering an additional 2 books for an additional credit, saying that I was fine if they weren't interested.  Many took the offer, nobody was offended, and it cleared out the books, which went to people that were interested in the subject matter.