Letter from the Founders
Greetings to our Book Family for the New Year!
Can you believe it is already 2006? We look back on some of the milestones PaperBackSwap has accomplished this past year: We’ve already achieved membership in all states, including two US Territories - Puerto Rico and Guam. As members, you’ve already posted over a quarter of a million books. We’ve created the ability for members to trade without using credits. Our forums are bursting with entertaining thoughts and helpful hints regarding books as well as fun life lessons. Most importantly, our club has become a true "community". As another year begins, we look forward with great anticipation to the goals our club will accomplish this year. We can’t even begin to imagine where we’ll be this time next year, but hold on ‘cause it will be a fun ride!
Richard & Robert
The PaperBackSwap Team
Recent Testimonial from a PBS Member:
I have loved this site since I first joined in April 2005. I have explored so many new genres and read so many books since joining. But, it's not just the books that make PBS such a great site. It's the people. I have made so many new friends since joining. People who understand my love of books and reading. I knew that the majority of the people that I had met since joining were wonderful but I didn't truly realize how wonderful until my family and I lost everything that we owned to a tornado November 15. One of the members realized that it had hit in the area that I lived in and then Richard (co-founder of PBS) called to check on us. They then let everyone on the forums know what had happened to us. The overwhelming support and love we have received from the people on PBS has touched our lives in a way that little else can. In our time of need people that we have never met in real life reached out and helped us. I have felt more love from my online book friends than from my friends in real life. It has made me realize how truly wonderful the world can be. I just want to thank all of the people on here and tell all the new people what a wonderful site this truly is.
Hayley M. - MADISONVILLE, KY - 12/30/2005
Bullseye! Contest Winner Almost a Dead Ringer!!
Lisa V. (profile nickname: designforward) came within 3 minutes of guessing when the 250,000th book in our Quarter of a Million Contest. Lisa V. submitted a guess for that day for 9:54 pm. She wins 25 credits! The actual 250,000th book was posted on PaperBackSwap on December 23, 2005 at 9:57 pm by member D.L. D. (profile nickname: Erinyes). Congratulations to both of these members!
Thanks to all that participated in, as well as those that anticipated, our club reaching a quarter of a million book postings. It is exciting and amazing that we’ve come so far in such a short amount of time. Each day thousands of books are being added to the club library. This results in more choices for our members and more fun for everyone!
Box-O-Books Now Fine-Tuned and Ready for All Boxers!
Hello to all you “Boxers” that have joined in on the hottest book swapping craze. The updated version of Box-O-Books has arrived and members are ecstatic. Join now and you can start swapping boxes of books for absolutely NO credits! That’s right. All Boxers have the privileges of trading books among themselves without having to use their credits. There is no limit as to how many books are allowed in a box, so the sky is the limit! Check out this amazing service brought to you by the PaperBackSwap Team where you can save money on postage and read books for free!
We’re Watching Your List and Check’in It Twice!
The Wish List is an incredible feature, especially given that there are over a quarter of a million books on the site. As soon as a book is posted that is on the Wish List, it is offered to the first person in line for the book. But what about those times that someone posts a book similar to one on the Wish List but it is not the exact copy? There are times that someone may have the hardback version or a different print of the same book (eg..Large Print, Second publisher run, etc..). Some wishers might be willing to request these different versions as well. As a service to our wishing members, we send out a mass email to all members on the Wish List to let you know when a book is posted that is SIMILAR to the one on your Wish List. Please keep in mind that these SIMILAR versions are not put on hold for anyone because they are not Wish List books. They are in the system on a first come, first serve basis.
To Insert extra stuff in a Book, or NOT! …No Question …Just Don’t Do It
Please take notice of the USPS regulations and our Insert Policy: No inserts are allowed in books. This is against USPS media mail regulations and can result in a very large fine. In addition to breaking the law, it can also be offensive to receivers of the material if they are sensitive to the subject matter. Please remember, your values and opinions are not necessarily shared by other members and they should not be subjected to them. Be sure to check books for inserts prior to mailing, as books reported as having inserts will jeopardize the membership of the sending member.
Shipping Suggestions from Members:
At PBS, we encourage feedback and suggestions from you, our members. Your helpful input has led to many improvements to the club in the past year. We continue to encourage your input, and we would like to occasionally share with you some of the things we hear from members. The following is from Ellen F. (profile nickname: How-toCollector).
"Dear PBS Librarian,
I'm a new member of the PaperBackSwap and am pleased with the service so far. I'm very excited about it and want to help make it the best site of its kind. I'm very well versed in shipping books. My one concern with your instructional materials is that I feel you are encouraging insufficient wrapping and packing of books. I'm sure you may have heard this before. (I couldn't resist adding my two cents.) I feel we all would be well served if you would encourage the use of recycled materials. Even one layer beyond what you are currently suggesting would be helpful. In my personal opinion, white printer paper is suitable for nothing more than a label. Brown paper bags and saran wrap (as per your suggestion) are an appropriate minimum. And something that most of us have around the house. And of course, use your label.(Your labels are excellent by the way.)
I know what the USPS can do to a package. I've received padded mailers back that have been cut almost in half. We have to think beyond a single mailing. Preserving a book’s condition is very important. They receive enough abuse with just normal handling. I would like to see these books exchanged over and over again. Just because this service is "free" doesn't minimize the intrinsic value of the books. So we shouldn't skimp in this area. I'm sure those involved with your service would not mind this minimal, extra effort. Thanks for taking the time to review my suggestions."
Additional Mailing Reminders:
- When shipping books, a few simple reminders and suggestions:- If using envelopes, when oversized, please fold envelope to avoid excess movement of book within the envelope. This prevents the book from becoming trapped in the postal machines.
- Members shouldn't reuse envelopes without using lots of tape...adhesives don't work as well a second time....envelopes may open up and books may slide out.
- Use the wrapper or cut it out and attach it to the book EVERY time!
- You may want to use Saran Wrap to protect your books (to keep them from getting wet) before wrapping. Plastic bags, wax paper or plastic grocery bags also work well. But please DO NOT use Press and Seal as it sticks to the covers.
- Be sure to include the Request ID. If it isn’t on the package, you will not receive credit.
- Be sure Media Mail is prominently displayed on your package.
- If your package is one pound or more, it MUST go to the post office due to USPS regulations after 9/11.
- Use packing tape to wrap the wrapper. Do not put tape on the book. If you must use tape to hold it to the book cover, please use scotch tape.
- Do not place tape over stamps.
PR and Membership Highlights
Recently PBS was highlighted on National Public Radio (NPR). The coverage was on a nationwide basis. Listener response was overwhelming. With the surge of NPR listeners, we had members sign up from all 50 states in one evening. This is great news. See what spreading the word can do for you and all our wonderful club members? More members...more books to choose!
A member, Jan W., was recently able to obtain newspaper coverage in her area simply by contacting the local editor of her paper. It was a very simple process, and the paper was very interested in informing readers about PaperBackSwap. Check out our Press & Media section as well as our Advanced Referral section for ideas on how to promote the club. . If you are successful in helping to acquire a story in a newspaper, radio or TV, let us know and you’ll be rewarded credits.
Don’t forget to have your referrals use either your profile nickname or your PBS email address when registering. This will ensure that you receive a referral credit for their membership.
Postage / Return Address Changes
Please review these two very important changes taking place within our club:
1) As you may have already heard, the USPS is increasing postal rates which will change the rates for mailing books. Keep in mind, this is a USPS Change that we do not control. Starting Sunday January 8, 2006, the new Media Mail rates will be:
- Under 1 lb $1.59
- 1 lb to 2 lbs $2.07
In order to be prepared for this increase, PBS will begin calculating the new postage rates on book wrappers as of Saturday, January 7th. This will allow for those members that print wrappers over the weekend to have the accurate postage applied for mailing their books.
A member suggested using 2 60-cent stamps and 1 39-cent stamp to equal the new Media Mail rate. You may want to purchase stamps ahead of time in these quantities for mailing future books.
Please continue to use Media Mail rates whenever possible. Most book requests are less expensive using this rate. Occasionally for small/thin books, it is cheaper to send books via First Class. However, if you choose to send a book using First Class, please be sure to mark out the Media Mail stamp on the wrapper. Additional postal information will be available in the FAQs.
2) Another major change that will be taking place in the system as of January 7th relates to the Return Address for the book wrapper. There are thousands of PBS books that are mailed all over the country every day. Unfortunately, we are receiving books returned to us each day for missing postage and improperly hand-written labels. This requires us to sort out each situation and to re-mail these books. This is time-consuming and expensive. To eliminate this problem we are changing the return address on the book wrapper to the sender’s address. If you are concerned about privacy and do not wish to use your return address, you may rent a USPS PO Box or you can still select to use our address for the return address. To use our return address, you will need to make this selection in your Account Settings.
If you do choose to use our return address, then Please Note: You will now be charged a book credit for any book returned to us so that we can correct the mailing situation; this means you will forfeit your credit for mailing the returned book.
Thank you for preparing in advance for these important changes. Should you have questions regarding mail rates or return address changes, please use the feedback section of the club to present your questions.
We wish all of you the very best in the upcoming year! As the club continues to grow, we hope that you enjoy the great features that will be added in the near future. Thanks for making our club the largest and best book club in America!
Richard Pickering and Robert Swarthout