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Topic: new wishlist WILL be a pain....

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Subject: new wishlist WILL be a pain....
Date Posted: 4/22/2009 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 687
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***below is the explaination of the point system for the soon to come new wish list***

please- contact tptb and express your displeasure about this possible change...

all i want to know is- what the hell are tptb thinking??? one of the best things about this place is the ease of use...

i took remedial math from the shop teacher and still failed. i took college credit english in the 8 grade and passed with flying colors...

my eyes began to glaze over after 2 lines. someone will have to explain this system to me (repeatedly...) and i can guarantee i will still not understand.

i do understand the wl needing to be longer. but at this cost??? think of all the time this process will involve.. think of all the headaches involved in trying to rate your wishlist wants...

who cares about a rating on your wishlist??? seriously- if i did not want the book -yesterday- it would not be on my wishlist. how could it get more simple than that???

please- contact tptb and express your displeasure about this possible change...

(and if you think the new wl will be a good idea- more power to you- all i think that needs to be changed is the number of books it can hold...)



  • How to rank your Wish List:
    • You "rank" your Wish List by which books you desire to receive the most.
    • The Rank of "1" is the book you want the most.
    • Ranks can be adjusted by clicking and dragging the bar on the left hand side of each Wish or by entering a new rank into the box and clicking the "Move" button.
    • The order you rank your book is not necessarily the order you will receive them, but your position in line for a book will improve faster if you rank the book higher.
    • If you rank a book too low then you may be passed by some members who rank the book higher.
  • How rank affects position in line for a book
    • Each rank position earns you a specified number of points each day.
    • Points are awarded each day according to the rank of the item that day.
    • Points accumulate over time to determine your actual position in line on the Wish List for the item.
    • The formula used to determine the points awarded each day is:

points/day = 1000 / ( 1 + rank * 0.1 )

= 1000 divided by (1 + [rank multiplied by 0.1])

This works out to the following points per day for these ranks:


Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100 200 500 1000 2000
909   833  769  714  667  625  588  556  526  500  166


 48  20  10  5

Here is a graphical display of the same information (x axis is rank from 1-1000, y axis is points given per day)


This means that your book at # 1 position will "earn" 909 points per day. 

The person with the most points for a book that is Wish Listed will be in first position on the Wish List, and will get the next copy of that book posted into the system.  This means that when a book that is Wish Listed is posted into the system, it will be requested by (or offered to) the member who has the most points for that item at that time.  When a Wish List book is requested in your account, it moves off your Wish List, and all of the other books ranked below it on your Wish List will move up 1 ranking place accordingly.

Example Scenario: Jack adds a book to his Wish List with a rank of 10.  1 month later,  Jill adds the same book to her Wish List but ranks it number 1.  It would then take approximately 1 more month for Jill to pass Jack in line for the book.  If Jack had ranked the book 8th instead of 1st then it would take approximately 10 more months for Jill to pass Jack in line.

the numbers: 

  • Jack had the item at #10 on his Wish List for 30 days before Jill Wish Listed the item.  That means he accumulated (500 points/day * 30 days) = 15000 points for that item before Jill added it to her Wish List a month later.
  • Jill added the item to her Wish List at #1 on day 30 when Jack was at 15000 points.  She will accumulate 909 points per day, starting from 0.  While she is accumulating her points, Jack is still getting 500 points per day.
  • At day 60, Jill will have had the item on her Wish List for 30 days at #1, and will have 27270 points.
  • At day 60, Jack will have had the item on his Wish List for 60 days at #10, and will have  = 30000 points.
  • On day 67, Jack will have accumulated (500 points/day * 67 days) =33500 points, and Jill will have accumulated (909 points/day * 37 days) = 33633 points.

    This example shows that the most important factor is how long you have had a book on your Wish List before someone else Wish Lists it. Ranking them higher will help you get those you want the very most slightly faster.  Members with a long Wish List will see books ranked lower moving more slowly than those books they have ranked near the top.


WTF??? i think i need a masters degree to tell the new wl system i want a damn book....


Last Edited on: 4/23/09 12:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/22/2009 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Molly, I hear your frustration with the change.

But I don't think the problem is with understanding the math. A master's degree might help in understanding how the new WL will be implemented, but not necessary for how to use it. I can try to explain the new system in non mathematical terms if you'd like.

The problems that most members will face with the new WL, I think are:

  • the glitches that come with implementing any change
  • having to actually rank their entire WL lists. I can see how it would really hard to put an ordinal number to my preferences.

I hope tptb will include your number of points for a given WL title, along with your number in the queue / length of queue, which is currently available.


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 687
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ranking my wl is very simple- i want them all the same! YESTERDAY!!! but seriously- i am considering cancelling my membership when and if this new wl takes effect.

i mean- wtf???- what could be more simple than fifo? what could be more fair?

imagine you are standing in line for a show you really want to see... you have been there a LONG time. and 5 people waltz past and get in well before you- just because they said they really really wanted to see the same show. HUH?

this site has been such a simple and easy part of my life. i have enough complications. i do not need something as stupis as this to complicate it further...

i want all books the same.... now. yesterday... last week... i do not want to have to take the time to rank them. why? whats the point? if i did not want them now they would not be on my wish list. they would be on my reminder list....

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 12:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2009
Posts: 441
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this is also being discussed in the following thread: http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=162037

Ruth F (ruthy) had a brilliant suggestion: SEND FEEDBACK! If we don't like it (and I don't), they won't know that we're complaining here. Send them a message that details what bothers you and why and try to make a difference... I hate the idea of trying to prioritize my WL - that's like choosing a favorite child when you're the Duggers - there are TOO MANY to choose from and you love them all for different reasons. And my WL has a smorgasborg of older editions, books/authors I'm curious about due to recommendations, to-be-released new titles (some books with publication dates in winter have WL of 250++ members!) and some keeper books that other members just won't part with (I know they have them, they just won't give them up). How can I balance those with my short-attention-span AADHD (adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) that likes to read new authors/untried series, etc... It just isn't possible. If/when they do implement this new approach, I will just auto-rank and not pay attention to estimated time on list and some such nonsense. It is sad.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 12:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 687
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yes- michell. i saw that discussion but i did not want to hi-jack that thread. i followed the link to the new system and was floored.

i did send a note to tptb... i am hoping enough people complain- like the privacy issure- and they will just drop it...

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2008
Posts: 836
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I just sent in feedback to ask exactly what you are wondering.  I am #1 on a wishlist for a book that will be released in the fall.  I am the person who entered the listing into the system.  It looks like the potential will be there for me NOT to be the one to receive the first posted copy.  I agree, hardly seems fair. 

AND, how will I ever be able to track my place on the wishlist???  Right now, I can see that I am #215 of 300 wishers.........what could be easier??  The new system looks like it will just "bump" people out of the way....

I've asked them to provide me with info to several questions....

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I don't know how I feel about the WL system yet. But what I am trying to point out is that there are (at least) three types of reasons to be opposed to the system.

One deals with "ease of use" -- yes, there is the headache of having to rank all the books on one's own WL. However, on closer inspection of the proposed changes, people won't even necessarily have to do that because of the "auto-rank feature" which hasn't been entirely delineated yet. But I think one can still add titles to the WL in the same way, and once the initial glitches are sorted out, the way any user interacts with the new WL system will be similar and because routine or natural with time.

The second argument deals with "fairness" -- a queue is a very simple, very visually simple method of distributing goods, in this case, WL books. It seems like that a lot of the negative reactions to the proposed new WL is based on indignation that people who put the book on the WL later than oneself can potentially get the book faster. I think, depending on the specifics of how the WL is implemented (eg how they convert the time that many people have on the WL already into points) that probability can be very, very small.

On other threads people talk about how large their TBR piles are, and on still other threads, some state that the order in which they read their books has no relation to a book's WL status. I am not trying to single anyone out, nor am I saying there's anything wrong with how people choose the order in which they read their books. I am also not accusing anyone of hoarding.

But I can see the possibility for someone (let's call her A) with a very large TBR pile getting a WL book under the current system, and for it to sit in that pile for a long time, unread. I can also see a possibility that under the new WL system, if that A had ranked this book lower, then he/she would have not gotten it as quickly -- but instead it went to a person B who ranked it higher because he/she wanted to read it "more" or sooner, and reposted so that A would have gotten the book later, but not later than when A would have gotten to it anyway. Can this be considered "fair" as well, or perhaps better at making more people happy? I'm not sure how I feel about it, just putting it out there for thought.

The third type of argument is "familarity" --resisting change for the sake resisting change, or preferring the familar. I personally think that this a weaker reason if entire community can benefit from the change in the long run.

Just food for thought. Help me figure out my position for or against the new WL.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 1:56 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I have to admit - I hate change.  I'm not all that adaptable once I figure out something. 

I'm one with a couple of hundred books in the TBR.  I read a lot of books that are in series, and I hate to start a series when the end of it isn't in sight yet.  I also prefer paperbacks and mmpb's are just fine with me.  So I'm hanging back with just that preference.  When I get a book and it sits a while and I decide maybe I'm not going to read it anytime soon (or possibly ever) - I repost it.    The only books I intentionally sit on are the series books.  I don't have "keepers" because I don't want to have them forever. - in that way I like change!  ;D 

I would imagine that a lot of people who don't have time as it stands now will go with the auto-rank feature just because who has time everyday to "rank" 200+ books??  Not that many.  So maybe we end up ranking about 10 and using auto-ranking for the rest. 

Books are different from movies and CD's in that movies and CD's are wanted when they are new - having towait for them makes them less desirable because of the social nature and the constantly changing trends  and "fads".  Books are less like that.  Popularity still exists but much less so.  A book that was released in 2000 will most likely still be relevant unless it's about current affairs or informational about things like technology.  A movie or CD won't be so long-lasting as a general rule.  So I think the ranking thing is less attractive for PBS just based on that.

One other question comes to mind - what happens with the vacation hold a keeping your place in line on the WL??  Right now it's no big deal.  Time is part of the ranking variables so do you keep your place on the WL for a book??  Are you removed and re-inserted somewhere else when you come off vacation hold??  This came up on the other thread that was linked here above. 

I'd rather be reading or posting about reading. Ranking is not fun.


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 2:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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I wish they'd just DO it already.   Everyone has been talking about it for about 2 years.   I wonder how many long threads there already are about it.   I don't see why someone wouldn't at least try it before dishing it.     But that's just my opinion and we all have one, especially about our wish list!

Katy -
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 3:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 932
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I just sent my note of displeasure. I don't see why things should be made more complicated. FIFO is simple, and a first-come, first-served wishlist is simple. :p

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 7:12 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,607
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please- contact tptb and express your displeasure about this possible change...

Unless, of course, you aren't displeased. LOL


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 7:20 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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I'm so sick of these threads.  Just make the stupid change, already.  Give us a chance to gripe about the reality, instead of the possibility.

I would like to note that people who are currently on wishlists will get extra points at the time of the change based on how long we have had the book on our wishlist.  We are not likely to see a lot of change in our positions on books that we currently have on our lists.  Really we are going to see the change more on books that enter the system AFTER the change occurs.

This system is going to help those with a shorter list get books a little earlier, sometimes.  But, as Ruth mentioned, it is not as important to read books instantaniously, so a little extra waiting shouldn't hurt anyone.  You might actually finish a TBR pile book or two in the meantime.


Last Edited on: 4/23/09 7:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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OK, I sent in my comments. I just want to know, how would you handle it when you have every version of a book on your wishlist? In most cases, I don't care what version a book is (except the Outlander series) I just want to read it. By putting every version on my list, I have a better chance of actually getting the book someday. So, how would you rank that? also, Books are not like DVD's and CD's. They don't have 6-8 different versions with different ISBN's. Also, you can view many DVD's in one day. It is really hard to read more than one book a day. And, I can only read about 2 a week which is around 100 books a year. I am not sure why anyone would want more than 100 wish list books anyway.

ON another note, I always put the wishlisted books on my coffee table and choose from that pile to read first. I know how long I waited for the book, so I want to read it and pass it on soon. Of course, there are always those that I can't part with and go right to my keep shelf.



Last Edited on: 4/23/09 8:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,434
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Some of us HAVE tried it--it's implemented on both SaCD and SaDVD.

I have to tend my SaCD WL or I go backwards on CDs, and I only have about 50 on my list there.  Rankings have less to do with how bad I want and more to do with how many other people want & how to balance getting it as fast as possible w/o losing spaces on others.

I hate hate hate the fact there is no RL on SaCD and I will hate it even more here b/c I use the RL a lot more extensively here than I ever did there.

I do wish they'd either implement it or say they aren't, but I still am hoping they won't combing RL and WL. I like the chance of putting WL stuff on hold briefly, but RL I use for completely different things, and I would really like it to stay separate.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I really agree with Kayote - she has experience with the ranking system.  I also see that she confirms what I thought about movies and CD's being wanted more often, faster, and more aggressively.  Since books aren't usually something people want to have read yesterday so they know what everyone is talking about like with movies - which are finished within a couple of hours,  I'm thinking there will be a different effect of the ranking system on PBS WL's.   Who knows how extensive that effect will be??  I don't know.

I want to keep the RL - or some version of it, as well.  I really use it.  Tags are not as useful because they aren't in one nice list of titles that I can put notes on to remind myself of why a title is on the list.  It may be because I don't want the book.  It may be because I may want the book.  It may be that I want to get it for someone.  Lots of ways to use the RL that can't be duplicated with an unlimited WL.  I would take a limited WL over losing the RL any day.  The limited WL at least forces the system to move books in a way that an unlimited WL wouldn't.

There may be mass exodus of people soon after this proposed change and there will be loud and persistent gnashing of teeth about it.  I'm wondering what the end result will be. It may be very chaotic for a little while.  It may be very interesting for a while.  I'm beginning to think I'm glad that I have all these TBR's waiting!  I may have to hunker down and watch the action - whatever it may be.


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 104
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I'm not sure I understand how the new system is supposed to work, but it sounds scary to me.

Many books on my WL are old books that are unlikely to be posted. They haven't been posted in years, if ever. I have them on my WL in the wild hopes that someone may someday post them. And I'm at the front of the line for many of these, or near it.

And now it sounds like someone who's ranked the book with a higher priority may well get the book before me, even if I'm the first person to wish for the book.

This line-jumping seems especially egregious if the book hasn't been posted in years, if ever. If I get bypassed even once, I may have to wait for years to get another chance-- a chance that may never come??? :-(


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I don't like the idea that I might get passed up on a book just because it's #8 most wanted instead of #1 on my WL.

About the TBR thing: We're not required to repost books. Therefore, it could never leave someone's home. I know I keep most of the books I get here. So I don't really think that's necessarily a valid argument. My ranking has nothing to do with whether or not I'd repost it.

I don't mind no more RL. I just don't like that it won't be a simple first come, first serve sort of thing. That's why I love this site. Other swapping sites like Bookmooch are free for alls. I know this change won't make it a free for all, but it will change who gets what and when. I don't mind waiting through 50 people before getting a book because I know sometimes I'm #1.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 7:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 104
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Doesn't get any simpler than that.

The current system is already simpler than that. :-|

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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The point is that ranking them over and over is time consuming and many people don't have the time or don't want to take the time to do that. Some people with experience with the proposed system say the only way it really works for you is if you take the time to rank the books.  Others say not.  Hard to tell what to believe.  But I doubt that any system is easier and less carefree than the current one in use here at PBS.  Easy and carefree!  What beautiful words for someone who only wants to read books.  I'm feeling prematurely sad.


Date Posted: 4/23/2009 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I actually think a priority system would be useful, but surely there's a simpler way than ranking every single book by number? I wouldn't mind marking a book "high" "medium" or "low" priority when I wishlist it, for example. Or even just high and low.  Sometimes I get offered a wishlist book sooner than I really want it and then have to decide whether to go all the way to the end of the queue again. I've often wished I could just bump myself down in the list instead.

I will also be sorry to lose the reminder list.

Date Posted: 4/23/2009 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 595
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I have just about quit using SADVD and SACD now because it takes so long to get things I want because of the ranking system.  I, too, want all of the tons of books on my WL equally.  I will probably seriously consider quitting PBS if the system is implemented the same way it is on the other two sites, because I don't think books and DVD's should be treated the same way, for reasons mentioned above in other posts.  I think FIFO is fair and it has worked well for me for a long time now.  I have obscure tastes and I fear some of the things I want I will never get because they are rare but I might not rank them at the top.

Subject: Proposed WL question
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,917
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I'm trying to make some rhyme or reason to this proposed WL.  Is there an official page on this proposed WL? 

Question. What is PBS trying to accomplish by changing the WL system?  Most importantly, why do they want to change the existing one?

One minor question for clarification. Assume that you have 25 WL books,.does each book have a different rank number from 1-25?

Thanks, I'm not entirely sure for what,  lol


Subject: Proposed WL question
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,917
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I'm trying to make some rhyme or reason to this proposed WL.  Is there an official page on this proposed WL? 

Question. What is PBS trying to accomplish by changing the WL system?  Most importantly, why do they want to change the existing one?

One minor question for clarification.  Assume that you have 25 WL books, does each book have a different rank number from 1-25?

Thanks, I'm not entirely sure for what,  lol.


Last Edited on: 4/23/09 10:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2009 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Elona, the official page for the proposed WL is here.

Since I don't work for PBS, I can only speculate and/or repeat what I've heard here on the forums on why PBS is changing the WL. I think TPTB want to attract more new members and / or make transactions go faster. The WL can possibly accomplish this by: 

  • giving a perspective newbie a (sense of a?) shot at getting the heavily WL'ed books faster. Currently the only determinant of who gets the next available copy is first in, first out (FIFO). Under the new system, the most important factor in determining who gets a newly available copy is FIFO, but members are asked to rank their books. This ranking will, through a formula which is posted, be translated into a daily accumulation of points by the computers at PBS.  So ranking a book highly as something you really want can offer the possibility of "passing" people ahead of you in line who ranked the book lower than you -- but whether you pass people, or are passed by people, depends on:
    • what rank you give the book vs what rank they give the book
    • how much longer they have been on the WL than you,
    • how much time actually passes from you WL'ing the book until the book becomes available. It turns out to be a small probability, but not zero.
  • so this is supposed to encourage people from saying "oh my gosh, these WL lines are really long, i'll never get books I want, I'm not going to join."
  • also, the new system encourages people to keep a reserve of credits. The new WL's default setting is Auto-Request. If a book becomes available and you are the first person it is being offered to and you have it on the default Auto-Request, if you have no credits you get passed over without even knowing it. You are still #2 though. Members who anticipate and want to avoid this, especially for books that are rarely posted, will likely want to keep a stash of credits available.
  • the WL might move faster if a lot of people don't bother to change from the Auto-Request default. The computer will say "#1 doesn't have credits, lets skip to #2, oh #2 doesn't have credits... until #whatever has the credits. No more waiting 48 hours for each of those people assuming they have it on Auto-Request. Since the WL can move faster, the rate of transactions for the site increases. This can potentially lead to (a) more people getting WL items faster leading to peopl being happier with the site, attracting more positive attention, thereby attracting more people to join and put more books into the system etc. If there are more transactions per day, and a certain percentage of the membership uses PBS postage and/or DC, PBS will get more income from fees.
  • someone has pointed out since people might move backwards on their WL, they might become frustrated with the WL altogether and click on the "Buy from Amazon" link, which also generates "referral" income for the site.

And to answer your third question, if you have books on your WL, you would have to assign each book a unique #. No assigning every book a "#1" which is essentially what the current system is now. But supposedly you can select auto rank and the computer will do it in such a way to maximize the number of WL items you will receive, but of course the computer doesn't know what your tastes/preferences are or want to read next.

Last Edited on: 4/23/09 11:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 2