Help Center - FAQs About Annual Memberships

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Annual Memberships went into effect at PaperBackSwap on 2/15/2015. We think we have a membership plan that will work for everyone, no matter what your swapping pace or budget may be!

You can enroll in Annual Memberships in our Kiosk.

We hope the FAQs below will help with your questions!

What are the membership options?
What's the difference between Standard Membership and Limited Membership?
How much do they cost?
What's A la Carte Membership? How do I sign up for that?
How can I enroll in Standard or Limited Membership?
Can I upgrade my membership from Limited to Standard?
I need more help deciding which membership will work best for me!
Can I buy Gift Certificates for Standard Membership and Limited Membership?
Can I still swap without enrolling in an annual membership?
What will happen to my credits that I earned before Annual Memberships go into effect?
What are Swap Fees?
How much do Swap Fees cost?
How do I pay for Swap Fees?
Do I have to pay to put books on my Wish List?
What are Free Swaps? How do I get them?
What if I order two books from the same person? Do I get charged two swap fees?
I read that using Printable Postage means I won't have to pay for swapping. What does that mean?
How do I pay Swap Fees - when is a Swap Fee deducted from my account?
How can I keep track of how many free Swap Fees I have left?
What if I buy a Book Credit? Do I have to buy a Swap Fee to go with it?
Can I participate in Discussion Forums or send Personal Messages without enrolling in annual membership?
What happened to Gold Key?
How will Annual Memberships affect my Box-O-Books subscription?
Do I need to sign up to be an A la Carte Member?
Is there a way to pay for Annual Membership using Book Credits?

Why can't A la Carte members Post in the Discussion Forums?
How do A la Carte members send and respond to Personal Messages?
Why can't A la Carte Members send Personal Messages outside of transactions?
How can I tell when my current subscription will expire?
What happens if I don't renew in time and my Annual Membership expires? Can my Wish List be restored?
What happens if I am a Limited Member and run out of Free Swaps before the membership expires?
What happens to my Wish List if I am a Standard Member and I re-enroll as a Limited Member?

What are the membership options?

There are three options:

  • Standard Membership - $20 a year. Comes with a 500-item Wish List and the most new features
  • Limited Membership - $12 a year. Comes with a 200-item Wish List and some new features
  • A La Carte Membership - no annual fee. Instead, you pay 49 cents (or use a "free swap" that you can earn by mailing with Printable Postage) when you submit a book request. 100- item Wish List. All active members are A la Carte automatically, unless they enroll in Standard or Limited Membership. You can enroll at any time. 

What's the difference between Standard Membership and Limited Membership?

  • Here's a link to an overview comparison of the different membership options starting 2/15/2015. For detailed information, read on:
  • Standard Membership has unlimited fee-free swapping (Limited Membership allows you to request 30 books per year without fees)
  • Standard Membership has a 500-item Wish List (Limited Membership allows 200 items)
  • Standard Membership allows you to see how many available copies of a book are in the system (exclusive to Standard Members)
  • Standard Membership offers Friends Direct, Reminder List Filter by Friend, Easy Order from Friends, and the option to display more of your Book Lists (TBR, BIR, RL) on your Public Profile. (Exclusive to Standard Members)
  • Both Standard and Limited Membership offer Directed Delivery and Multi-Copy Requesting
  • Both Standard and Limited Membership offer some free 55-cent Printable Postage Printing Fees - Standard Members get one per month and Limited Members get one per quarter (every 3 months)
  • Standard Membership gives you access to two private Discussion Forums - one limited to Standard Members only, and the other for both Limited Members and Standard Members.
  • Limited Membership gives you access to one private Discussion Forum (accessible only to Standard and Limited Members).
  • Both memberships are renewable every year.

How much do they cost?

  • Standard Membership costs $20.00/year, payable from the Kiosk.
  • Limited Membership costs $12.00/year, payable from the Kiosk.
  • A la Carte members don't need to enroll, but can buy PBS Money in the Kiosk (to use for Swap Fees).

What's A la Carte Membership? How do I sign up for that?

  • A la Carte Members are those who have not enrolled in an Annual Membership
  • A la Carte status will be assigned automatically to new accounts, and any existing accounts that don't enroll in Annual Membership before 2/15/2015.  Note: you can upgrade anytime!
  • A la Carte members can still swap books! For A la Carte members, requesting a book will cost $0.49 in addition to the Book Credit. That $0.49 is the "Swap Fee" and it can be paid either by
    •  deductions from your PBS Money balance or 
    • "free swap fees" ("Free Swaps")  - you can earn those by mailing books out with PBS Printable Postage.
  • You don't have to do anything to enroll in A la Carte Membership - that is the automatic membership assigned if you don't enroll in Standard or Limited Memberships.

How can I enroll in Standard or Limited Membership?

  • You can purchase in the Kiosk
  • Payment Methods include: credit/debit cards, PayPal and PBS Money (choose the option you want when checking out)
  • You can also send in a check or money order to pay for membership.
    • please be sure to include: your full name (in the form that you used to register at PBS) and the notation of what the payment is for (Standard Annual Membership or Limited Annual Membership).
    • The address to which to mail check or money order is:
      • PaperBackSwap
        3651 Peachtree Pkwy
        Ste E-390
        Suwanee GA 30024-6009
    • Please allow 10 days for mail reception and processing.

Can I upgrade my membership from Limited to Standard?

  • Yes, if you are a Limited Member you can purchase the Upgrade Membership item in the Kiosk for $8
  • When you make that purchase, your Limited Membership will be upgraded to Standard Membership for the remainder of the membership term.

I need more help deciding which membership will work best for me!

  • Maybe looking at this will help

Can I buy Gift Certificates for Standard Membership and Limited Membership?

  • Yes! Those are available in the Kiosk.
  • Payment Methods include: credit/debit cards, PayPal and PBS Money (choose the option you want when checking out)
  • You can also send in a check or money order to pay for membership.
    • please be sure to include: your full name (in the form that you used to register at PBS) and the notation of what the payment is for (Standard Annual Membership or Limited Annual Membership).
    • The address to which to mail check or money order is:
      • PaperBackSwap
        3651 Peachtree Pkwy
        Ste E-390
        Suwanee GA 30024-6009
    • Please allow 10 days for mail reception and processing.

Can I still swap without enrolling in an annual membership?

  • Yes! You can be an A la Carte member, and pay 49 cents (plus the necessary Book Credits) for each book shipment you request.
  • You can also earn Free Swaps (so you don't have to use PBS Money along with your Book Credits to request books) by using Printable Postage to send books out.

What will happen to my credits that I earned before Annual Memberships go into effect?

  • Nothing! Your credits will remain in your account balance and will be used as always to request books
  • For Standard Members, nothing will change about how you request and send books. (Except for the addition of the extra features you can read about in the Kiosk)
  • For Limited Members and A la Carte Members: you will use Book Credits as usual, but there will also be a Swap Fee required when you request a book (in addition to the credits needed).
    • Limited Membership comes with 30 free Swap Fees ("Free Swaps') per year (and some extra features);
    • A la Carte Members pay swap fees either (1) using PBS Money OR (2) by using Printable Postage - each mailing with Printable Postage earns a free Swap Fee ("Free Swap").

What are Swap Fees/"Free Swaps"?

  • For Limited or A la Carte members: each shipment you request will require Book Credits as usual + 49 cents - that 49 cents is the "Swap Fee" and will be deducted from your PBS Money balance
  • A "Free Swap" replaces a Swap Fee when you request a book.
    • "Free Swaps" (free Swap Fees) are earned by using Printable Postage or buying Book Credits
    • When you request a book shipment as a Limited or A la Carte member, and you have Free Swaps, one of your "Free Swaps"  will be deducted when you request instead of PBS Money.

How much do Swap Fees cost?

  • Each Swap Fee is 49 cents (payable in PBS Money from your PBS Money balance)
  • Or you can use Free Swap Fees ("Free Swaps") - they are free, and earned when you use PBS Printable Postage to send out a shipment.

How do I pay for Swap Fees?

  • You purchase PBS Money in our Kiosk 
  • Then as you request books, the Swap Fees are deducted (49 cents per shipment requested).
  • You can buy each Swap Fee as you need it, but most A la Carte members find it more convenient to go to the Kiosk, buy 5 dollars or so in PBS Money, and that will be good for 10 requests before a "refill" from the Kiosk is needed. 

Do I have to pay to put books on my Wish List?

  • No! The Swap Fee is deducted at the time you request a book to be mailed to you. You aren't charged to put books onto your Wish List.

  • If a Wish List book becomes available and is offered to you, and you accept the offer and request the book (or your Wish List auto-requests the book), the Swap Fee (or Free Swap) will be deducted (along with the Book Credit).

What are Free Swaps? How do I get them?

  • "Free Swaps" are fee-free swaps - meaning that if you have a "Free Swap" it allows you to request a book without paying a Swap Fee in addition to Book Credit(s).

  • Members enrolled in Standard Membership get unlimited fee-free swapping; members using other plans use a Free Swap + Book Credit -OR- 49 cents in PBS Money + Book Credit, each time they request a book.

  • You can earn Free Swaps by using Printable Postage to mail books out: Each time you print a wrapper to send a shipment using PBS Printable Postage, that will earn one Free Swap (the Free Swap is added to your account when you mark the shipment mailed). This is also true of Mail to a Friend (creditless) shipments sent with PBS Printable Postage - those also earn Free Swaps. Please note that the "courtesy printing" (monthly for Standard Membership, quarterly for Limited Membership) does NOT grant a Free Swap, since there is no Postage Printing Fee associated with that mailing.

  • If you purchase a Book Credit, that will come with a Free Swap
  • If you enroll in Limited Membership, you will get 30 Free Swaps per year.
    • After that, you can use Swap Fees for requests, OR upgrade to Standard Membership for $8 for the remainder of your term, OR mail books out with Printable Postage to earn "Free Swaps".

What if I order two books from the same person? Do I get charged two swap fees?

  • No, each shipment you request costs one swap fee (even if the shipment has more than one book in it)

I read that using Printable Postage means I won't have to pay for swapping. What does that mean?

  • Each time you print a wrapper to send a shipment using PBS Printable Postage, that will earn one Swap Fee (the Swap Fee is added to your account when you mark the shipment mailed). Please note that the "courtesy printing" (monthly for Standard Membership, quarterly for Limited Membership) does NOT grant a Free Swap, since there is no Postage Printing Fee associated with that mailing.
  • So if you use Printable Postage for every shipment you send out, you will earn a Swap fee for each shipment, to use (with Book Credits) for your future requests.

How do I pay Swap Fees - when is a Swap Fee deducted from my account?

  • When you request a book shipment, the Swap Fee (either 49 cents of PBS Money OR one of your Free Swap Fees ("Free Swaps")  if you have some) will be deducted then - at the same time the Book Credit(s) are deducted.

How can I keep track of how many Free Swap Fees ("Free Swaps") I have left?

  • There is a Swap Fee Registry at the top of every page on the site, along with the Credit Registry and Money Registry

What if I buy a Book Credit? Do I have to buy a Swap Fee to go with it?

  • No, your purchase of a Book Credit will include a Free Swap Fee (you will not have to buy PBS Money to pay the swap fee)

Can I participate in Discussion Forums or send Personal Messages without enrolling in annual membership?

  • A la Carte members will not be able to post in Discussion Forums.
  • A la Carte members WILL be able to send Personal Messages using the PM button on a transaction. They will also be able to send Personal Messages to Tour Guides and respond to Personal Messages from Tour Guides.

What happened to Gold Key?

  • Gold Key features have been absorbed into the Annual memberships.

How will Annual Memberships affect my Box-O-Books subscription?

  • It won't. Box-O-Books membership is separate from for-credit swapping, and enrollment in Annual Membership (Limited or Standard) will not affect your use of Box-O-Books.

Do I need to sign up to be an A la Carte Member?

  • No. You'll automatically become an "a la carte" member on 2/15/2015 if you choose not to pay an annual membership fee. You will keep all your credits.
  • You can change your mind at any time and upgrade your membership in the Kiosk.

Is there a way to pay for Annual Membership using Book Credits?

  • No, this is not currently possible.
  • Methods of payment in the Kiosk are: credit/debit cards, PayPal and PBS Money. You can choose the payment method when you checkout.
  • You can also send in a check or money order to pay for membership.
    • please be sure to include: your full name (in the form that you used to register at PBS) and the notation of what the payment is for (Standard Annual Membership or Limited Annual Membership).
    • The address to which to mail check or money order is:
      • PaperBackSwap
        3651 Peachtree Pkwy
        Ste E-390
        Suwanee GA 30024-6009
    • Please allow 10 days for mail reception and processing.

Why can't A la Carte members post in the Discussion Forums?

  • This is a security measure - keeping spam accounts out of the Discussion Forums means no spam links that could carry malware.
  • It's NOT that we worry about our A la Carte swappers being spammers - but plenty of entities exist simply to create spam accounts for the purpose of spamming open forums. It's just not wise to have open forums anymore. The need for Annual Membership enrollment in order to post in forums should close that loophole.
  • A la Carte members will still be able to read the Discussion Forums.

How do A la Carte members send and respond to Personal Messages?

  • A la Carte members are able to send Personal Messages from transactions - in other words, you can use the PM button on the request to send a message to the other person in a swap.
  • A la Carte members can respond to Personal Messages from Tour Guides from their Personal Message Center.

Why can't A la Carte Members send Personal Messages outside of transactions?

  • A primary concern about Personal Messaging was the lack of security - fake accounts could (and did) send spam PMs, which made for an unpleasant experience for those receiving the spam. Restricting unenrolled members to Personal Messaging only about transactions closes that security loophole.

  • Another point concerns the design of the club: we've tried to make room for everyone, from lighter to heavier swappers, and thereby spread out the "burden" of the cost of the site over all who participate.

    • We did envision that A la Carte members would be lighter swappers, who do not participate socially in the club, and that those who participate more extensively would enroll in Annual Memberships - a Limited Membership is a dollar a month.
    • We know that it may be disappointing for some existing members to consider paying to use a service that has not charged a fee for so long, and we do hope that members whose participation here exceeds light swapping will look over their experience in the club and come to the conclusion that keeping the club going strong is worth a dollar a month going forward.

How can I tell when my current subscription will expire?

  • You can place your cursor over the clock at the top of any page on the site when you are logged in, and it will show you the expiration date of your current membership.
  • You can also see the expiration date in the Kiosk, on the item page for the membership in which you are currently enrolled.

What happens if I don't renew in time and my Annual Membership expires? Can my Wish List be restored?

  • You'll get a 30 day warning email and a 7 day warning email, before the expiration date.
  • On the expiration date your Wish List will be cut automatically to 100 items if you haven't resubscribed.
    • The most recently-added items above 100 will be removed (they will be moved to your Reminder List)
    • If your Wish List is100 items or below on the expiration date, no items will be removed.
  • You will have 2 weeks "grace period" after the expiration date, in which to renew - if you re-subscribe during the grace period, your Wish List will be automatically restored to what it was (number of items, each item's place in the queue for that book) before the expiration date.
  • After the 2 weeks' grace period has elapsed, your Wish List cannot be automatically restored, but you can find the removed wishes on your Reminder List.

What happens if I am a Limited Member and run out of Free Swaps before the membership expires?

  • You can choose among the following:
    • Upgrade to Standard Membership for the remainder of your subscription, at a cost of $8. That would immediately give you Standard Membership (so you would not need to use any Free Swaps or Swap Fees) until the end of your current Subscription. You would also get all of the other features of Standard Membership, right away.
    •  pay a 49 cent Swap Fee every time you request a book shipment,
    • re-enroll in Limited Membership, which would extend your Limited Membership subscription by a year and would also add 30 Free Swaps to your account immediately - you could start using those right away,
    • send books out using Printable Postage  - earning a Free Swap (which replaces a Swap Fee) for each outgoing mailing.

What happens to my Wish List if I am a Standard Member and I re-enroll as a Limited Member?

  • When your Standard Membership expires, your oldest (earliest-added) 200 wishes will be retained - the others will be removed to your Reminder List.
  • If you upgrade to Standard Membership (by purchasing the $8 Upgrade item in the Kiosk) within 14 days of expiration, your Wish List will automatically be restored (preserving your place in the queue for each book)
  • If you upgrade to Standard Membership (by purchasing the $8 Upgrade item in the Kiosk) after the 14-day mark, your Wish List capacity will increase to 500 (but the removed wishes will not be restored to your Wish List).