Happy New Year!
We begin the year close to the 1,000,000-book mark. I am sure we’ll reach it before long. A million books—it boggles the mind, doesn’t it? PBS continues to grow in membership, and we are by far the biggest bookswapping club on the Internet. Bigger isn’t ALWAYS better, of course. But in this case…it is! :-)
We have made a lot of improvements to the site in the last year, and hope for great things in 2007. Thanks to those of you who have written in with nice comments about new features (and tweaks to existing features) that you enjoy. And thanks also to those who have written in to let us know that something isn’t working so we can fix it, and to those who submit their ideas about changes they would like to see to the site. PBS is constantly evolving! Rest assured that even if your suggestions do not “bear fruit” immediately, they may do so in the future. Sometimes we’re just working out the programming, or brainstorming the best possible way to make a change.
PBS was mentioned in the news recently: In the month of December All of the following newspapers or magazines ran items about the club. Welcome to our new members from those areas!
We wish all of our members--longstanding, new and in between--a wonderful 2007.
You asked for it…you got it! You may have noticed in the last week that we have changed the programming so that when a Wish List offer or request is pending in your account, there is a button on the screen that will take you to your account for five minutes, so that you can accomplish other tasks there before responding to the offer or request.
The Electic Pen is hopping! Check out our members’ creative efforts. There are poems and stories there to touch your heart and your funny bone—something for every mood! You can get to the Pen from the left menu of any page on the site.
PBS Chapters: We have more Local Chapter Leaders to announce. These are the folks who have volunteered to be responsible for arranging PBS meet-ups in their areas. You can find their topics in the “PBS Local Chapters” forums, and PM them from there (or search by nickname in the Member Directory to send any of them a Personal Message).
Here is the updated list of Local Chapter Leaders:
- Brookie (Brook S.) --NJ/Tristate Area
- ALMOverton (Alyssha O.) -- New York City
- ShellyD77 (Michelle D.) -- New Hampshire
- FranS (Fran S.) -- Oklahoma City, OK
- sara16 (Beverly F.) -- Cattaraugus County, NY
- Munro (Barbara I.) -- South San Diego County, CA
- Devilofabird (Lea C.) -- Arizona
- coolweather (Marie B.) -- Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR
- nemo (Debra D.) -- Southeast Pennsylvania
- Doughgirl (Lynne J.) -- Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St.Paul), MN
- PJsails2 (PJ S.)-- Northern Michigan
Anyone else who is interested in organizing an area (it can be city, state, county, regional—whatever you like), please let us know by sending in feedback to us telling us what area you want to “organize”. Local Chapter Leaders must have a PBS nickname (which means you must make a public profile), so that others can find you in the Member Directory. Please see the Help Center for instructions on making a public profile. Thanks to our Local Chapter Leaders! Do let us know what you guys cook up!
PBS Store News: Did you know that you can special-order BookMates? That’s right: even if the color or pattern you want isn’t available in the BookMate version (I or II) you have your eye on, you can select another color/pattern and then send a note into the feedback area (click Send Us Feedback in the left menu), letting us know what color or pattern you do want! We’ll change the order for you. PBS Store items are in the PBS Kiosk.
Do your Spring Cleaning early. A brand new year—what better time to take a look through your Wish List and make sure that all items that appear there are ones that you still want to request when they are offered to you? You can get to your Wish List by clicking Book Lists on the right side of your account page, and choosing Wish/Reminder List from the dropdown menu.
Help yourself to the Help Center. Now when you click to send us feedback, you will see not only a list of Help Center items that may answer your question above the text box, you will be taken to the Help Center where you can search yourself, before sending your message in. We love to hear from our members, but so many questions we get are already answered thoroughly in the Help Center, and the volume of this kind of feedback has taken away from our ability to address the “knottier” problems that need our personal attention. We continue to work on the Help Center, adding and revising items so that information is clear and easy to find. Take a look! Even if you’ve been a member for a long time, you may find out something about the site that you never knew.
Dear R&R—I need to give a credit to another member. I searched the Member Directory for her name, and put her on my Friends, and gave the credit. She says she never got it! What happened??? –Creditless in Chicago
You gave the credit to the wrong member. Searching the Member Directory by name will not always turn up the member you are seeking. Many members have the same first name and last initial; a member will not appear in the Directory at all if she hasn’t chosen to make a public profile.
A foolproof way to do this is to follow the instructions in the Help Center item “How do I add someone to my Friends?” (Search the Help Center using the words Friends to find this item), which tell you how to click the member’s highlighted name (in the To: or From: field of a Personal Message, for example) to be taken to his or her profile or bookshelf, either of which will have the “Add Friend” button. Click that button to add the member to your Friends. Then you can give the credit using the Friends page crediting feature, as explained in the Help Center item “How do I give credits to other members?” (in the Quick Help box on the right side of the Help Center page, among other places in the Help Center).
Dear R&R—I requested a book from another member, who apparently read my Requestor Conditions wrong. My conditions say “I only want hardcovers if they have their dustjackets”, but this was a paperback book! I have no conditions for paperbacks. She declined the request! How do I get this book from her? --Frantic in Phoenix
Bottom line: you can’t. If the sender declined your request by clicking “My book does not meet these conditions”, then you will not be able to re-request that copy of the book from her. You can contact her from your Canceled Transaction list (linked from the top of your Transactions Archive page), if you want to explain to her that she read your Requestor Conditions wrong.
It is very important to word your Requestor Conditions as clearly as possible for this reason: once the book is declined, you will not be able to get this copy. If you have Requestor Conditions on your account, review them (in your Account Settings) to make sure that they reflect exactly what you mean. In your case, Fran, the sender may have read only as far as “I am only willing to accept hardcovers…” before she clicked to decline. Yes, that’s her error, but you can’t eliminate human mistakes! Everyone makes them sometimes. The best you can do is prevent them as much as possible, by wording your Requestor Conditions as clearly and unambiguously as possible.
We suggest that all members read the Help Center item “What are Requestor Conditions and how do they work?” (under “Account Options” in the Help Center; also accessible by searching the Help Center for the phrase “Requestor Conditions”), to learn how this feature works from both the sender and the requestor’s point of view.
Sorry, Franny, you will have to wait until another copy of the book is posted into the system.
Dear R&R—My Requestor Conditions say “I don’t want books that have been around pets. If you have any questions, PM me.” Are those conditions OK? --Quizzical in Queens
Actually, no. Your Conditions should NOT ask members to PM you to ask for more details. The Conditions should be clearly interpretable by themselves, without added PM communication. The reason for this is that the sender may think declining is the first step toward further negotiation/discussion about this book. Once declined, the book can’t be re-requested by you! So if you MUST have something like this in your Requestor Conditions, it should be worded as “If you have any questions, please ACCEPT my request and send me a Personal Message. If you decline this request, I won’t be allowed to request the book from you!”
Dear R&R –My printer broke! Can I still send books? --Inkjetless in Indiana
Of course you can! You don’t need a printer to get the address to send your books. You can download the .pdf file without printing it, and hand-copy the address onto your package; if you have trouble downloading the file, you can simply click the link to the Backup Wrapper that is on the Wrapper Settings page. This will take you to a webpage on which the address will appear, and you can hand-copy it from there. Detailed instructions are available in the Help Center item “I can’t print my wrapper!” and “Can I hand-write the address to send a book?” in the Quick Help box on the right side of the Help Center page.
Be our Valentine… See the February Forums for details.