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Dear PBS Club Members,

Can you believe that the PBS Book Totals have skyrocketed from 250,000 to over 435,000 in less than 3 months! We have a LOT of new members. To all you new members out there, thank you for joining! You are MOST appreciated as we continue to make this the best book club in America!

  1. New Members Mean More Books--and More Bookloving Friends.

    Have you visited the newly redesigned Tell a Friend page lately? We have made it easier for you to refer new members to PBS. Remember, increasing our membership means more books for us all to choose from. And also, when someone you have referred to the site gives your PBS Nickname (or PBS User-Email) during registration and posts their first 9 books, YOU get a credit! Check out the various methods of referring others: email links, clickable icons for your website, bookmarks and flyers. You can personalize any of these items by entering your PBS nickname or email address into the box provided. Personalizing in this way ensures that the referral will be automatically recorded on your account if anyone uses your link or clickable icon or bookmark to become an active member! The Tell a Friend Page is accessible from the left-hand menu on every page of the site.

  2. Hurrah For Our Volunteers!!

    In January, we sent out an email call for help. We have been so encouraged by the response! We had so many members come forward to offer their time and effort that we had to scramble to get everything in place. Volunteers are now active in the areas of New Member Guidance (Tour Guides), Book Image Collection, Book Descriptions, Website Editing, Marketing and Games. {We are still interested in finding PHP programmers to help Robert with his ENORMOUS To Do list of improvements he plans to make to the site...if you want to help with this and are an accomplished PHP programmer, please send Robert a message from the feedback area.}

    Our Tour Guides are a mighty and powerful group! Each new member is assigned a Tour Guide automatically upon joining the club. The Tour Guide introduces him or herself by email along with a Personal Message. Tour Guides are doing terrific work, answering new member questions and helping them learn the ropes. If you are a new member, for goodness' sakes, take advantage of your Tour Guide if you have a question about how to use the club--simply log into your account and click on your Friends page on the right-hand side. Your Tour Guide's name will already be there, and you can click the button to send a Personal Message. Remember, the more of these questions get asked of your Tour Guides, the fewer that we have to answer in Feedback. Not that we don't love to hear from our members, but answering too many Feedback each day pretty much eliminates the chance for us to do anything else for the site. So please, check the FAQs or ask your Tour Guide first! Tour Guides: You all are our PBS Ambassadors, and we thank you for your patience and energy. You are doing a super job!

    Our Image Collectors have located and uploaded thousands of images to the database to replace those ugly blue "Cover Not Available" eyesores. Our Website Editors are working hard to correct all the inaccuracies in the database. You can help both of these groups in their efforts by submitting any inaccuracies you find. If you have an image of a book cover to upload (to replace an erroneous one, or to provide a graphic for a book that has No Cover Available on its book details page), simply scroll down to the very bottom of any page on the site and click Upload Book Covers. You don't have to do anything special to the graphic files--simply make sure they are "cropped" (no white or black border around the image), and they are good to go! If you find a text inaccuracy (ie, paperback listed as hardback, or wrong title or author of a book), you can also submit the correct information by scrolling down to the bottom of any page on the site and clicking Edit Book Data. Enter the ISBN of the book and make your changes to the book information on the next page. Submitted images and book data corrections will have to be reviewed by the volunteers before they can be added to the database, so the change won't take place immediately. Thanks in advance to anyone who does this--improving the quality of the database improves the club for all!

    Thanks to ALL our volunteers--we are touched by your generosity, and grateful for your hard work. If you would like to volunteer, simply send in an email to Volunteer@PaperBackSwap.com.

  3. NEW & IMPROVED: Robert has been busy!

    My goodness, where to begin with all that has changed at PBS? There's the Boxer Rating System, the Message Center and Friends re-organization, the new Account page, the Wish List, the Bookshelf sort-by-genre, the Back to Top Link at the bottom of each Forum topic page...the list goes on and on.

    The Boxer Rating System--A recently added new feature is the ability to record feedback about the members with whom you exchange a Box-O-Books™. When you have received your box and are ready to report your rating, simply go to Box-O-Books and find the swap you wish to rate. First select how you would rate the overall performance of the member: Positive, Neutral, or Negative. Then leave a few comments to explain your rating. It is appropriate to comment here on how long the member took to mail the box, whether s/he used delivery confirmation, and how well the books were packaged. If you disagree with the comments the other member has made about you, you also have the ability to insert a few words of explanation or defense. Remember that you will not be allowed to edit your comments at a later date, so say what you mean, but mean what you say!

    The New Account page: The active transactions have moved down on your Account page, but they are still there! Robert has placed links in the white area in the top middle of the page to take you quickly to the different categories of Active Transactions in your account. This will be very helpful to those members who have a lot of books coming and going and who need to "jump" right to a category to mark a specific book mailed or received. Notice also that your bookshelf has moved off the Account page. To see the books you have listed for swapping, click My Bookshelf on the right-hand menu. You can see all your completed transactions on the Completed Transactions page, also available from the right-hand menu. Your Lost Books and your Canceled Transactions are linked from the top of the Completed Transactions page as well.

    The Wish List: The Wish List is now limited to 200 items. Please see the Wish List Update at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/wish_list_change.php for an explanation of this change in policy. There is also a new feature which will help you keep your Wish List tidy as you go along: when you are offered a Wish List item, if there are other versions of this book also on your Wish List, you have the option to keep the other versions on your Wish List or have them automatically deleted from your Wish List by the system when you accept the offer. If you would prefer NOT to have the other versions deleted when you accept, simply uncheck the box next to the list of alternate versions on the offer. It's that easy! Remember, if you opt out of the auto-deletion, once you receive the Wish List item, you will need to remove these alternate versions manually from your Wish List.

    Box-O-Books Gift Certificates: these make a great gift to a Friend! To buy a membership in Box-O-Books for another member, simply log into your account and click Buy More Credits on the right side of your Account page. Scroll down to see the various Gift Certificates options. Box-O-Books Gift Certificates are at the bottom of the page. You can use PayPal or Verisign to do this, or send us a money order or check payable to PaperBackSwap, at: PaperBackSwap, 3651 Peachtree Pkwy Suite E390, Suwanee GA, 30024.

    The New Friends: you can tag your friends now and sort them by tags--for instance, Boxers, or Cozy Mystery Lovers. You can apply more than one tag to a Friend, and view your Friend categories--all Boxers, or all members in a Games Forum swap--with one click. The Friends is available as always from the right-hand menu of your Account page.

  4. TIPS & TRICKS:

    Don't forget to mark your Lost Books received when they arrive!
    What happens when a book that was supposed to come to you doesn't arrive by the system action date on the request? It becomes a Lost Book and goes into your list of Books Lost en Route to Me, which is accessible from a link at the top of your Completed Transactions page. Does this mean the book is really lost? Quite frequently, no. Most Lost books aren't actually lost--they are simply delayed en route to you, and will eventually arrive. When a Lost book does arrive, it is very important to mark it received, so that the sender's account shows that he or she sent the book. If you do receive a "Lost" book, make sure to mark it received. You can do this by logging into your account, clicking Completed Transactions on the right, then clicking the link at the top of the page "Books Lost en Route to Me." Locate the book in this list and click the Was Book Received? button. After you have completed the process of marking the book received, the transaction will move to your Completed Transactions list.

    How to Wrap a Book.
    We know you want your books delivered in the same condition in which you sent them! We know you don’t want to have your books get separated from the wrapping en route. Here are some tips for keeping your books safe while they are in the arms of the USPS:

    Using the PBS wrapper. If your book is small enough, you just need to use both printed sheets as the wrapper. See the photographs of how to do this at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/how_to_wrap.php. *PLEASE NOTE that these photographs predate the Media Mail postal rate increase; 4 first-class (letter) stamps no longer suffice to send a typical paperback. See the FAQs for current media mail rates; check your wrapper for the specific required postage for your package; when in doubt, take it to the post office.*

    Many members use an inner layer of plastic, around the book, to protect it from wet weather or accidents en route. Plastic grocery bags, Ziploc bags, clean inverted bread wrappers, saran wrap all work great! Just don’t use the “press and seal” wrap, as that has a tendency to stick to and ruin books.

    For larger or heavier books or multiple book shipments, you’ll need to make a sturdier package, using a padded mailer or manila envelope or even a cut-down paper grocery sack. You can cut out the address from the first page of the PBS wrapper and tape it to the outside of your package. Slip the second page into the package with the book. If you use an unpadded envelope of any kind, make sure the excess envelope material is taped down to avoid catching in the postal machines. The key to packing multiple-book shipments well is to prevent the books sliding around in the package en route. They will be jostled a lot on the way to the requestor! You don’t want them to tear through the packaging.

    No matter what wrapping method you choose, TAPE is the most important component! Use plenty, especially over the corners. Tape down every seam with packing (not Scotch) tape. It’s always better to use too much tape than not enough.

    Our USPS does a great job, but packages are jostled en route and good packaging will protect them for many reads to come.

We hope that you are enjoying the club and reading all kinds of great books! This is the best book club in America and we have all of our great members to thank!

All the best and happy reading!

Sincerely,

Richard and Robert
The PaperBackSwap Team