Fall is in the air…'tis nearly the season for curling up by a fire with a good book and a cup of cocoa, while the wind howls outside…and for those of you who live in temperate climates, well—just rub it in, why don't you?
Box-O-Books has had a facelift. We have had a lot of positive feedback about the renovations that were put in place about a week ago. We appreciate all the feedback that our Boxers sent in, and tried to address every item. Now, the Boxes are labeled differently ("They Mailed" or "You Mailed") to help keep things straight (thanks, KajunFriend, for that suggestion!), PBS Delivery Confirmation and Requestor Conditions can be applied to Box-O-Books (many Boxers asked for this) and the whole feature should work much more smoothly, We have also introduced the concept of "verified Boxers". If you use PBS Delivery Confirmation on a certain percentage of your Box-O-Books swaps, you will have a special "DC Boxer" icon that will show to other members. And of course, there is still the Boxer Rating system for personal feedback on each transaction—you can read about a Boxer before you choose to swap. If you aren't subscribed to Box-O-Books, you can read about this feature in the Help Center, under the heading "Box-O-Books".
Custom DC Labels is another feature that originated with our members. So many were posting books to send to a friend using PBS-DC that we realized this feature was needed. Now you can print out a custom PBS-DC label for any package you send (and yes, the holidays are coming!). You can reprint the label as many times as you want, for no extra charge, during the first 14 days (but of course, each barcode can be used only once). Simply click the Custom DC tab on the right menu of your account page, and enter the information. It's that easy!
The PBS Store is having a sale! PBS T shirts are $7.99 instead of the regular price of $11.99 through October 15th. Order that Tote or BookMate you have been eyeing while you're there—they can be packaged together and save on shipping costs. BookMates continue to fly out of the Store—they make great presents. We have gotten some great suggestions from our members for new items to add to the store, and you may see these in the Kiosk soon. Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org --we're always on the lookout for great stuff to offer our members.
We passed three-quarters of a million books quietly in the last month. A cool million isn't far away! We hope to reach this goal by the end of 2006. It would be a great way to ring in the New Year!
Dear R&R—I got a book where the wrapper was taped to the book itself! Why do people do this? --Annoyed in Ann Arbor
We don't know. Nothing should ever be taped to a book. Applying tape to a book's cover is almost certain to damage it when the package is opened. The Help Center item "How do I wrap a book?" has suggestions about how to wrap your book so that it gets to its new home in the same condition it left yours. The basics are: cover the book completely, consider an inner layer of plastic to protect against the elements, reinforce the corners and seams with tape (shipping, not Scotch) and make sure the contents of the package don't slide around. We ask members who receive inadequately-wrapped books to give feedback to the sender (gently, please! Everyone is new to the club at one time), and share their personal "tips" on packaging, so that senders can improve their methods. If a wrapper is taped to a book and the book is damaged because of it, the requestor should ask for the credit back, and the sender should give it.
Dear R&R—I got an order for three books from one requestor, but when I printed out the wrapper only one title showed up on page 2! Am I not supposed to send the other two books? –Wondering in Willamette
This has now been fixed! Previously, the wrapper for a bulk (multiple-book) request showed only one of the titles to be included in the package. Now you should see all the titles that are to be sent in that shipment on the second page of the PBS Wrapper. We have had this on our To Do list for a long time, and we thank our members for being so patient with us. Check your account page, Will, to be sure that all the titles are listed on the transaction there, because this must be a request submitted before we made this change. Any wrappers you print for future bulk requests should show all the titles on the second page.
Dear R&R—I ordered a book over a month ago, and it never arrived. I re-ordered it from someone else when the first copy was "lost in the mail" and today I received the book from the original sender and the postmark on the package was 2 weeks ago!!! This book was mailed late—why should I have to mark this received? The sender shouldn't get credit for sending a book late! --Steamed in Schenectady
Most books that arrive late were delayed en route through no fault of the sender's (USPS is terrific, but it's not perfect!) If the package bears stamps, the postmark might not reflect the actual date that it was mailed. If the package has a metered strip for postage, that is a different story: the date on a metered strip IS the date that the package was mailed. Before you write an angry message to the sender, do consider that something serious might have happened to delay this mailing. It is impossible to know the circumstances here. One late-mailed package can be understandable; however, PBS does not tolerate a pattern of late mailing. If a sender's record shows that she or he is mailing late as a habit, we will reprimand him or her, and if the late-mailing does not stop, the sender will be removed from the club. It is important to let us know about late mailings, so we can investigate each case.
Late mailing without notice to the requestor is very inconsiderate, and we want to know about it when this happens. We tell senders that if they HAVE to mail a package late, to ask the requestor (using the PM feature) if it is OK to do so before marking the book mailed. This gives the requestor the chance to decline (the sender should cancel here, and repost the book when it can be mailed out within PBS timeframes), and try to get the book from someone else. In most cases, requestors don't mind if a book is mailed a little late, as long as they are made aware of it, so they don't re-order the book, and end up with two copies. We do recommend that "lost" books not be re-ordered too quickly, as frequently lost books are merely USPS-delayed, and do show up.
In this case, Steamy, you should mark the book received. You have gotten the book, and you can repost it and send it out to a new requestor, and get your credit back. While you are marking the book received, you will have an opportunity to let the sender know about the late mailing. Keep in mind that serious circumstances could be involved here—you don't want to yell at a late-mailer who's been hospitalized for a heart attack. But a firmly worded message to the sender, along with a notification to us by feedback, will go a long way to making sure that this does not become a habit with this person. Be sure to include the details of a transaction (book title, sender's name, postmark date) when you notify us, so we can look into it.
Don't be a drag! Really long forum sigs are tough on your fellow PBSers. Some sigs we have seen take up half a Forum page! If other members have to drag past miles of text on every two-line post you make in forums, they are much less likely to read your sig; they may turn off the ability to see sigs at all (you can do this in your Account Settings). And that is counter-productive, if for example you use your forum sig to advertise your latest "deal". For best use of the forum sig feature, put your magnum opus in your Public profile, and trim your sig line to reasonable proportions (5-10 lines).
Not all cover-ups are bad. When you wrap a book to send, you must be sure that the book is completely enclosed in the wrapper. Exposed edges are very vulnerable to damage, and your book may have a long way to go! Read the Help Center items on wrapping—there are basic guidelines there. Make sure your books arrive in as good a condition as they left you. Be nice to your books and protect them well for their journeys to their new homes!
Wouldn't you like to know? We have several new exciting, VERY much in demand features on the drawing board, and hope to go live with them soon! Keep your eye on the site for details.