Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Where are my books, and why must I wait this long?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Where are my books, and why must I wait this long?
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 2:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

I ordered two books from the same person on July 8th.  The "Details" section said they would be mailed by July 14, but were marked mailed July 16.  Here it is, August 5th, and I still don't have them, and I've PM'd her twice - very politely.  She has read the PM's, but has not answered me.  The Details section also says the Est. Arrival is August 12th, with System Action on August 13th.  And, by the way, PBS has emailed me asking me to receive the books, but, of course, I haven't physically received them yet.  By the time August 13th gets here, my two credits will have been sitting there unable to be used for over a month - and I don't have any credits left to order with.  Why is it permissible to tie my credits up for over a month with no response from the sender and no way to retrieve the credits?

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 2:16 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
Back To Top

Because that is the rules of the site.    There is no way for you to tell if she's read your PM or not.   Maybe she's out of town?  What is she supposed to say anyway? She mailed them and has no idea what the PO is doing with the books.   It's been less than a month since they were mailed and the site gives them a month to arrive.

This is unusual that it would take so long.  However, it's not unheard of for Media Mail.   Hence, the month period we have for the books to arrive.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 2:48 AM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

Yes, I see that you are right about the PM.  I went back and tried to figure out if I could tell if she had read it, and I can't.  I belong to another site where it says "unread" (in red), and I got mixed up between the two sites, thinking since it didn't say unread, it had been read.  Oh well, dumb mistake.

As to what would she say?  Well, for one thing, I asked her if she had purchased DC?  It didn't say so in the "Details" section, but she could have purchased it from the PO or Paypal.  That way the book can be tracked.  I was in no way rude to her, so I don't know why she would have a problem answering my PM by just saying she had mailed it and it should be showing up soon, or yes/no about the DC.

I'm actually surprised that she hasn't PM'd me to find out why I haven't received it on PBS.  After almost 3 weeks, I would be wondering why, if I were her.  She can't get her credits either until I receive them into the system.  As for media mail, I've received most of my books on both sites within 2 to 4 days.  Maybe I've just been lucky - until now.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 3:15 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 433
Back To Top

Media mail takes as long as it takes.  You have been EXTREMELY lucky to get books in 2-4 days via Media Mail.

Where are the books coming from? 

I live in HI and currently have 12 books in transit, all with DC.  Some were mailed as long ago as July 12th.  Some mailed since then have arrived and been marked recieved.  I pay for my shipping through paypal but when I check the USPS site, all it says is that 'Electronic Shipping Info Recieved' .   See some other forum posts about DC, regular scanning with USPS just doesn't seem to be happening these days.  So even knowing that the sender used DC doesn't neccessarily give you much more info. 

Although I am new to the site, I accept that many books being sent to and by me will be marked 'Lost'.  So I understand your frustration that your credits are tied up - but in the beginning I had to wait  about a month till my books were marked 'received' before I was able to order some.  I even had to pass on a WL book as I didn't have the credit and then go to the end of the WL again.

It's irritating that the sender hasn't replied to your PM, and a tad rude in my opinion but what can they say other than 'I mailed them'.  The DC ref won't neccessarily give you any more info.   Hang on in there, I'm sure they'll arrive in due course.

BTW -  the TV show 'Lost' is filmed in HI - coincidence - lol :) 


Date Posted: 8/5/2009 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
Back To Top

If I was the sender, most likely I wouldn't be responding to PMs about the books. As others have said, what would I say other than I mailed the books? It's also possible she mailed them before she went off line for a bit. I know I'm not spending quite as much time on the computer in the summer since I'm out and doing more stuff.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
Back To Top

Yes there is a way to see if PMs have been read.  If you to go your From Me PMs and click on the "Unread" button,  any PMs that have not been read will get a check in the box.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,392
Back To Top

I've had Media Mail going to the next state take 6 weeks (the book went lost before it got there); and have also had MM going cross country get there in 2 days.  I'm about to have a book I sent go lost (I think), but will wait until PBS declares it lost before I PM the requester.  Have patience (I have NONE) LOL.  Pat

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

The system is set up to allow for almost a month for reason.  You need to learn patience when using PBS or get your books new from Amazon.

I would not be happy to be getting PMs asking why books I mailed haven't arrived yet. 

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 5,013
Back To Top

Yes, patience is the key. I don't have much patience, but I am learning to be more patient. Right now I have 5 shipments about to go 'lost'. i'm hoping they will still show up.

In June, I had a book go lost, and the member swore up and down that could not have happened. It did and I  reordered the book this week. In July, I had 4 books from one member  go lost. I pmed her, she wrote me back saying her rural mail carrier brought them back for some reason. She then said  she remailed them. I still don't have those books. Then, I had two books go lost from one member. That member's account was closed (maybe too many lost books?). In another situation, a member mailed a book 11 days after he said he mailed the book. I received that book and was glad I did.  I have also received books that were mailed 12 days before I got them. I don't know where they sat as there were no problems with the wrapping or anything. Oh yes I do know, they sat in Bell, California!

So many situations and so many things can happen with media mail. I have decided to just sit and be patient. PBS is right in their decision to give the books about a month to be received.

Thanks Dawn for that tid bit about 'unread' messages. Never knew that one before, and I've been on here for almost two years!

Last Edited on: 8/5/09 9:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
Back To Top

Dawn is correct about being able to tell if your PM's have been read.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
Back To Top

Thanks Dawn  - I learned something new about PBS today.   Love knowing that is possible.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 112
Back To Top

Thanks, Dawn, for posting that info about unread messages! Now I know the person I sent a PM to about an unpostable book did read it, just didn't respond!

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

BTW -  the TV show 'Lost' is filmed in HI - coincidence - lol :) 


Yes there is a way to see if PMs have been read.  If you to go your From Me PMs and click on the "Unread" button,  any PMs that have not been read will get a check in the box.

Thank you, Dawn.  I followed your instructions and saw that the sender has not read my PM's.  That makes me feel better because now I know she's not deliberately ignoring me.

The system is set up to allow for almost a month for reason.  You need to learn patience when using PBS or get your books new from Amazon.  I would not be happy to be getting PMs asking why books I mailed haven't arrived yet. 

You know, I see so reason for sarcasm here.  You can make your point without that.

I actually thought I was doing the right thing by PMing her.  I have read over and over in the forums to just PM somebody if you have a question rather than being in the dark about something.  Then, when I do - and very politely - I get chewed out for it.

As I said earlier, I'm very surprised she hasn't PM'd me, asking if I received the books so she can get her credits.  If she had done so, I would not have thought her rude at all, I would have understood perfectly that she was just wondering what happened, and I would have explained that the books hadn't arrived yet.  In fact, below is my PM to her of July 31st.


I just wanted you to know I haven't received the two books you sent me yet. I'm sure they will be here any day, but I didn't want you to think I had neglected receiving them in the system. It says you mailed them 7/16 and today is 7/31 - so that's 15 days. Kind of a long time. Did you get DC on them so you can track them?


Would this PM annoy you?  I can't see why.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
Back To Top

Marti, I have been having some books take a lot longer to get to me for some reason.  Maybe it's already due to some post office staff cut-backs, or maybe a lot of PO employees are on vacation or something.  Many people don't like to be PMd about unreceived books until right before they are to be declared lost.  On the other hand, I think it's rude not to respond to a PM, even an earlier one--we all know what it's like to be anxious to receive a book and it would literally take about 15 or 20 second to send a PM back saying-Yes, the book was mailed when I marked it mailed, or No, I haven't received the book yet.  I don't think that's such a big effort.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2008
Posts: 7,301
Back To Top

I have had books take a few weeks when they are only a couple states away. It just happens sometimes and you learn to adjust your thinking to not get worried until it goes lost. I would have answered your pm had it been me but I can understand this other persons side if they feel they didn't want to answer since they still had two weeks to go before the books were marked lost and is within the acceptable guidelines of PBS. It can be hard because for all issues, some people will tell you to pm and some people will say not to. In this situation, I would say that you sent the pm, told the person your concern and now I would let the matter alone unless the books pass the date and are lost in the mail. Hope you receive the books :-)

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
Back To Top

I would not PM someone until the day the books were about to go lost. Making sure she did mail them when she said she had.
15 days is not that long for media mail.  As others have said they can and do take varied amounts of time to get to people.
The other thought is, maybe this person is on vacation, hence why her PMs are not being read.

I would just let PBS handle things, if the book goes lost then it goes lost. Plus DC is not very helpful most of the time and not to be relied upon.


Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

Diane, thank you.  I think what you said was very reasonable.

You have a good point about the postal cut-backs or vacations, etc.  But, just to put it in perspective, here are two very recent PBS transactions.  The first one is me mailing a book:

Mailed From: FL
Mailed To: MO

Request Date: 7/30/2009 11:56 AM ET
Date Accepted: 7/30/2009 3:03 PM ET
Wrapper Printing(s):

  • 7/30/2009 3:09 PM ET

Date Mailed: 7/31/2009 10:33 AM ET
Date Received: 8/4/2009 7:07 PM ET

This one is me ordering and receiving a book:

Mailed From: MA
Mailed To: FL

Request Date: 7/31/2009 10:09 PM ET
Date Accepted: 8/1/2009 10:36 AM ET
Wrapper Printing(s):

  • 8/1/2009 10:36 AM ET

Date Mailed: 8/1/2009 12:44 PM ET
Date Received: 8/4/2009 4:53 PM ET 

Both these transactions happened long after the books I posted about that I ordered on July 12 and still haven't received as of August 5.  My mail just came, and the books weren't in it.  I guess other people have different experiences with media mail, but the examples shown above are what I've always been accustomed to on both book sites I belong to.


Edited to correct a word - another edit to delete a word.  I guess I should proofread better before I send the post.

Last Edited on: 8/5/09 4:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2005
Posts: 504
Back To Top


Anyone who has been a member of PBS more than a month or two is only too familiar with the vagaries of Media Mail. As someone said earlier, it gets there when it gets there.

A complicating factor may be the severe financial predicament of the U.S. Postal Service. A friend who works there behind the scenes has been told to expect a cutback in the hours of his entire department and I expect everyone has seen the news about post office closings.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2009
Posts: 1,977
Back To Top


I just had a similar situation happen to me.  A member mailed a book to me that took 16 days to get from Pennsylvania to New York!  Luckily she got a DC so we could see what was going on.

It was mailed on 7/16 in Pittsburgh but never left Pittsburgh until 7/29 according to the DC scan.  What was it doing in Pittsburgh all that time?  Must be a mighty fine place to spend time. LOL

Anyway, after leaving Pittsburgh on 7/29, it arrived in my home town on 7/31 and was delivered 8/1.

Books sent to me from Oregon and Florida using Media Mail have arrived in 2 days. How do you figure that one out?  I do not know.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2009
Posts: 896
Back To Top

Hi Marti - you might want to look at some of the threads on the USPS forum. I've very new and they've given me a better understanding of how media mail works.

Media mail is the last class of mail to be loaded on trucks and whether or not it's loaded is dependant on how much room is left. Your books could be sitting in a regional distribution center waiting for their turn on a truck.

The books may be stuck in a slower distribution center, like Bell, CA, if it's coming from the west coast. Or they may be taking the scenic route (through East Oshkosh maybe?)

The only required scan for DC is when/after it's delivered. Any scans done along the way are just gravy.  It's not the same as a tracking number (like for Express Mail).

The sender may not be expectantly looking for the credits if she has a credit balance.  Also if she did send them with a DC, she could have already received the credits as the Quick Credit.

Hope this helps a little.


Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
Back To Top


After reading all the various responses to your original post I felt a need to throw in my 2 cents. I agree completely with your reasoning and handling of the situation. I have sent and received books on 8 different venues and never had media mail take longer than 8 days (AK and HI excluded). Although, I have read from others that it does occasionaly take longer, but that is the exception not the rule. You were correct in thinking the book should have arrived by now. And there was nothing wrong with sending a polite PM to the sender. Yours was VERY polite - kudos to you!

Don't be too discouraged by some responses that have a differing opinion. You will always get many varied responses to a given situation. You did not do anything wrong. Most people would not be upset by a polite PM.

Hopefully the book will arrive soon.



Date Posted: 8/5/2009 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,125
Back To Top


I've ordered about 250 books in the last 7 months. Some of them come in 2-3 days. I've even gotten 2 the next day (not even first class, believe it or not!)

Most come within 7 business days.

But about 1 out of 10 packages takes longer. Sometimes way longer. There is really no rhyme or reason to it that I can tell. Some books just take 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or even longer to appear. Mostly, they seem to have been mailed on time. They come from all different states. I've only had a few actually go lost on me, but some have taken the whole mailing period to arrive.

I don't really do anything with PMs (either when I've mailed or when I'm waiting) until right before the book is about to go lost. Because PBS gives the whole mailing period for a reason ... sometimes it just takes that long. For no reason that we will ever know.

If it were me, I would have answered your PM, but I probably would have said something along the lines of not worrying about it until the book is closer to going lost.

Hope you get your books soon!

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

Thanks, everybody, for your posts.  I guess I just didn't realize how much time media mail could actually take, never having experienced anything but a few days' turnaround.  But, evidently PBS thought 15 days was maybe a little more than usual, since they emailed me on July 31st, reminding me to mark the books received - that would have been exactly 15 days from the day they were mailed.  And now, another 5 days have passed beyond that.

Leslie, it looks like you and your sender were PMing back and forth about the books that hadn't arrived.  Seems very reasonable to me, contrary to public opinion, LOL.  Maybe mine are in Pittsburg too.  They are coming from Texas, but hey, you never know!  Your mailed date was the same as mine - 7/16 - and your books arrived on 8/1 - so there's still hope for me.

Or maybe they're in East Oshkosh?  Terri, the sender didn't send them with DC - at least not PBS DC, as that shows in the Details - so she wouldn't have received her credits yet.  I guess she could have enough credits that she isn't bothered by my measly two not getting to her account yet, LOL.  Why can't that be me???  Maybe she is on vacation, as somebody said.

Date Posted: 8/5/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
Posts: 510
Back To Top

Christina, THANK YOU.  You made my day, and I now feel vindicated.  I could not imagine why some people thought I had done something out of line.

Sara, thanks.  Now that I've learned how to tell if an email has been read or not, I can see that mine has not been.  She must be on vacation.  You mentioned first class.  I finally figured out that if a book (including the bubble wrapper I use) weighs 7-oz. or less, you can send it first class and it's actually cheaper!  A lot of the books I send are over that weight, though - including the one I used in my example earlier.

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
Back To Top

Marti, I'm waiting for a book that was mailed July 20 in Texas.  I'm in Michigan and on August 3 I received a book from Texas that I ordered and was requested July 29!

PBS has sent me an e-mail sayin gmark the book received - it's going lost soon. 

I had two that I mailed out and got to almost the delivery point.  I PM'd one asking if they had received and and if not I would try to find what happened to the book.  She answered to say she just returned from vacation.  She did thank me for worrying though.

Maybe you and I will get our books soon.  Mine doesn't have a DC either.