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Topic: Tips for New Members

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Subject: Tips for New Members
Date Posted: 12/8/2010 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2005
Posts: 361
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We decided to update this topic, so we have adapted some of the points made by members in the previous topic, into the list below.  Thanks to Chris W. (webman) for the original topic, and thanks to the many members who contributed to it. 

(1) If you're really new here, get an overview of how things work...read over some basic Help docs about getting and sending books:

(2) Make your Wish List work for you.  Some books are very popular after they come out - they will be swapped ONLY by Wish List for a few months.  So get in line for them by putting them on your Wish List.  A lot of times, new books that aren't in stores yet will already be listed in the unposted books. By wishlisting them early, you'll be one of the first in line to get them when they become available.  Be sure to use the Wish Expander option while wish listing books - this will help you get the book you want as soon as possible!

(3) You can sometimes add a listing (for example, for a not-yet-published book) by searching the database for the ISBN. Find the ISBN at the publisher's site and copy-paste it into the Search here - it may not return a result right away, but check back after a few hours and if the listing could be added it will have been added.  Then you can put yourself on the Wish List for that book, and be #1 in line!

(4) Make a PBS nickname!  It 

  • helps you get your referral credit - it's easy for people to enter on the Sign Up page
  • makes it easier to log in (you can enter your nickname instead of your whole email address)
  • makes it easy to refer others without giving out your email address to them
  • increases the chances that you will get book requests from other members
  • allows you to create a profile with book lists and links to your reviews, etc.

(5) Take a look at the Book Condition Criteria when posting your books the first few times.  It is easy to access them from the Need Help? tab on the upper right of the Post Books page.  Another good Help doc is Is my book okay to post here?  which is also in the Need Help? tab on the Post Books page.  Just look over that info before you list a book, and after the first few times you'll be familiar with the rules.

(6) Check Out the Genre Discussion Forums - you can find a lot of great book discussions and recommendations there, in your genre(s) of interest.

(7)  If you're interested in clearing out space (or earning credits), consider offering a "2 for 1" deal to other members in the Book Bazaar! Read the "rules" topic in that forum before you post.

(8) Keep your posted books neat and organized in one place. They'll be easy to find when one of your books has been requested, and it will help keep them in better condition.

(9) Look over your Bookshelf and Wish List periodically to be sure that they are current - remove any books you no longer have from the Bookshelf, and remove any books you don't want anymore from the Wish List.

(10) Every now and then, buy a new book. If we all waited for the newest books to be posted on PBS, no one would ever get them. By buying new books, or even used from your local paperback exchange, we can keep the selection on PBS fresh and the Wish Lists moving.

(11) Check the "estimated weight" for your shipment before printing the wrapper.  The database is usually accurate, but it's not perfect, and to be sure that the correct postage amount prints out you just need to be sure that the estimated weight on the Wrapper Settings page is correct, before clicking Print.

(12) Use the Wish List Hold when you have 0 credits.  You can put your Wish List on hold (and keep your Bookshelf active) without losing your place in line (and continuing to move up in line) by selecting all the books on your Wish List and clicking the Hold button at the top of the list.   This will prevent you from being offered Wish List books when you have no credits.

(13) Consider joining Box-O-Books! For $8 a year a real bargain - you will save at least that much a year in postage by sending more than 1 book at a time. Not to mention it helps support this FREE site!  Box O Books can be accessed under Community at the top of the site.

(14) Want more requests? Check out the "How to get your books requested" Help doc!

(15) Review all the books you have posted on your Bookshelf - or at least star-rate them.  Reviews and ratings help other members decide whether or not to order a book.  They also help you by improving the accuracy of the recommendations you get from the site, and the similarity index between you and other members.

(16) Use the Help Docs Search in the Help Center first, if you have a question - most of the time you will find your answer.  You can also search the forums if you have a question  - chances are good that someone's asked (and answered) it before.  With that said, don't be shy about asking your questions in this forum - members are really great about helping each other.

(17) Wrap well to keep your books safe! Do NOT tape the wrapper to the book.  Consider using an inner layer of plastic to keep the book dry - don't use 'press-and-seal Saran wrap' since it leaves a residue).  Use an extra sheet of paper for larger books, or alternative wrapping methods - your goal is to create a sturdy package that will enclose your shipment completely and protect the contents during the USPS journey.

(18) Play nice.  Most of the time swaps go well here. If something goes wrong, though, it's best to treat the other member as you would want to be treated, if you had made the mistake. Things always go better that way! 


Now it's your turn!  What are your tips for new members?   Post them below!

Subject: PBS wrapper
Date Posted: 12/17/2010 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2008
Posts: 418
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I have had great success mailing my books using the PBS wrapper however, I have received some books wrapped with those that were ripped open at the edges of the book. To prevent this from happening, I have found that tape on all edges of the package will keep them from being torn and exposing the book to damage. The plastic water barrier is also a great idea. You never know what the package may be exposed to enroute. I have mailed out over 300 books and so far they have all been received without damage. My desire is that all the books received will be in the same condition that they were when mailed. I would rather overwrap and overtape than to have a book come out of its wrapper.  

Last Edited on: 12/17/10 1:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/29/2010 2:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 605
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I made a very detailed thread with tips for mailing a book wrapped in paper that would be helpful to most new members: http://www.paperbackswap.com/forum/topic.php?t=224782

Date Posted: 3/3/2011 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2009
Posts: 1,938
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I am not a newbie but I learned something new here: topic #3 was news to me!  And very good news.

Continuing with what Mary stated about wrapping books; I always prewrap in plastic wrap then after packaging I make sure that I wrap one long piece of packing tape horizontally and also vertically around the book. That way if the book has an extremely rough journey to its destination and the packaging gets damaged the book won't fall out.

I also recommend PBS postage with delivery confirmation: you get your credit as soon as you mark the book sent and you can also follow your books journey by clicking the Details button next to the book.

Subject: "wish list expander"
Date Posted: 3/5/2011 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2011
Posts: 29
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Can you tell me what this is?   Also how do you get a book "linked" to others on the wish list.   My "Dragon Tattoo"  edition has 56 copies available, but we don't appear to be linked with the others for which there are none available.    

Date Posted: 3/9/2011 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 5,196
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Sarah T., I've sent you a PM.


Tip: New members, don't waste your wishes on Non-ISBN listings which will probably never have anything posted to them again!  From the Help Center:

non-ISBN books on a Wish List

  • will not trigger "Similar-to-wished-for-item" alerts
  • will not trigger a Wish List offer unless that particular copy is reposted into the system by someone who received it through PBS (using the Repost Books area or TBR Pile)
  •  will not be removed automatically when another version of that title is received through the Wish List.
Date Posted: 3/18/2011 4:47 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,507
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I just want to add that while I recommend making a nickname, please do not use your full name or your email address.  Folks, PBS is public.  When people are sending you a book, they will get your name and address.

But please be safe and secure.  You do not need everyone on the internet to know when you are on vacation hold.   You can always tell your friends how to find you.  


Date Posted: 10/7/2011 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 4,595
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Under my account, where it lists the books I need to send, I clicked on the link which has the instructions for wrapping a book.  My question is: where do I get the $0.37 First Class stamps?  :-)

Perhaps it is time to update one or more of those images.  The postage display is also outdated.

Date Posted: 10/9/2011 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,507
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PBS Glossary!

Date Posted: 11/22/2011 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,277
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If you are going out of town for a few days or won't have computer access for a few days or your budget will not allow you to currently mail books, put your account on Vacation Hold! (Under "My Account" pull down menu). That way you will not get any book requests that you cannot fulfill (and black marks against your account). We all know the frustration of requesting a book that times out! (But you also will not get any wish list books offered to you unless you have your wish list on automatic request.)

Subject: I received a book
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2012
Posts: 1
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How do I acknowledge receipt?

Guyt Watson

Date Posted: 4/7/2012 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2007
Posts: 8,560
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Guy:  Go to your main account page.  Click on en route to me tab.  On the left side under the book there is a spot to mark the book received.

Subject: (woops, wrong place, reposted as a new thread)
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2006
Posts: 14
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(woops, wrong place, reposted as a new thread)

Last Edited on: 6/18/12 1:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: PO Boxes
Date Posted: 8/3/2012 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2006
Posts: 1
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I have a regular home address as my default, but I need to send a few books to an alternate address, a PO box. How do I put the PO box number in the form?

Date Posted: 8/29/2012 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2007
Posts: 8,560
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David: Request the book as usual. After the book is requested, you should get a page that 1) gives you an option to order more books from that member and 2) an option to send those books to an alternate address.  Use that alternate address to send those books there.

Date Posted: 8/22/2013 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2011
Posts: 9
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Evidently if you are sent a book that is damaged (not from shipping - from the sender) you are SOL! FYI.  So win some, loose some.

8/21/2013 @ 3:17 PM ET
Since this is a case of the sender denying that the book was in unpostable condition, the site cannot really intervene. You absolutly do not need to send it back unless they would refund the credit and send a second credit for the return postage. Since the tranasaction remains unresolved the sender will have that on thier record. If they show a pattern of problem transactions then the PBS team would be able to look into the situation.

Last Edited on: 8/22/13 11:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2013 1:04 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,126
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Wendy, you have posted this same message in 3 different threads.  You were asked to please remove the sender's name. 

Subject: quick credit /dc
Date Posted: 9/10/2013 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2013
Posts: 1
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Yes I purchased only the quick credit option meaning the d.c. when i went to the post office to buy the postage they said the the d.c. was free and i had to pay them .90 cent for it was it this if i already paid pbs for it, or am i confused and wrong or are they? what should i do. cause now i am out more money and i didnt know that

Subject: WL book list for club
Date Posted: 2/25/2014 3:13 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 155
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I frequencty see people indicating they have WL books with different ISBN. I am wondering how they know what books are WL.

Subject: wish list other people
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 155
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Subject: Wish list of other people
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 155
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Some times I see a notice that a Wish Book is available with a different ISBN. How do you know what books are wish listed listed overall?



Subject: Wish list to reminder list
Date Posted: 3/5/2014 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
Posts: 155
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How do I move a wish list book to reminder list easily? I want to keep my FIFO in place.


Date Posted: 3/8/2014 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 491
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Anne - This is not the place to be asking questions - you need to start a new topic so that others will see the question.

You won't keep your place in line if you move a book off your wishlist to reminder.

If a book is wishlisted, the page will say so: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Roses-Origami-Math-Toshikazu-Kawasaki/book/4889961844/
 has seven wishers because it says "Members Wishing: 7" in the right column under the description.

Date Posted: 5/12/2014 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,277
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If you have an RC (requestor's conditions) and you are approaching a member who is not offering a deal to see if they will do a deal...please, either turn off your RC or let the other member know from the beginning what your RC is.

I recently went through a lengthy negotiation with a member looking for a deal that required numerous PMs back and forth -- a deal was finally struck but when they requested the book they had a long, complex RC that made it impossible to fulfill their request and I found myself hissing with frustration because I had spent so much time working out the deal with them all for naught. If I had been aware of their RC from the beginning I could have saved both of us a lot of time. Remember, you are asking another member for a favor, do not then make them jump through hoops.

Date Posted: 7/28/2014 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,507
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Please, this is not a thread to ask questions.  We don't watch it.  Please ask your Tour Guide, Live Help under the Help Center, or start a new thread.