Whew! What a month it has been. The new site rolled out on May 14th, as you know, and after a flurry of bugfixes, all has been well. We appreciate your patience with them, and your efforts in reporting any problems you had; with our members' help, we were able to get everything smoothed out quickly. We also appreciate all the suggestions that were made for "tweaks" to the interface, and most of them have been incorporated. The site will continue to evolve, of course--it is a work in progress always--but we are happy with how it looks and works now, and according to the feedback we have received, so are most of you! Thanks so much for all your messages and help. If we haven't gotten to your suggestion yet, don't worry, it's on our list of things to consider!
Now that the new site design is in place, we can get to implementing some of the new features we have had planned. We liked the old site, too, but it was upgraded about as far as we could take it. Now that PBS 2.0 is in place, some great ideas can become reality. We think you will love what's coming!
A word to all our military members and families--we hope that this past Memorial Day found your loved ones safe. To those who have sacrificed so much serving our country, we give our unending gratitude. Military addresses at PBS are listed as (city/state) APO/AE or FPO/AE. We encourage all of our "stateside" members to request books from these addresses--every book sent out will get the military member a credit to get another book. When you're far from home, books in English can seem like a lifeline. You can use the Search to find these members: just click Search in the toolbar at the top of the site, choose "Browse Member Books" and enter APO or FPO in the field for city; choose AE from the dropdown menu for State.
And of course, everyone, don't forget to sign the petition to Stop the Fires and Save the Books! Send the message that there are people who still love reading--and many of them are at PBS.
Thanks as always,
The PaperBackSwap Team
What's New? This month, it's more like what's NOT new. What's NOT new is that membership and the library of available books continue to grow, and posting and sending books (and as always, reading, reading, reading!) continue apace at PBS. New features on the site introduced last month include:
FABIL (Find a Book I'll Like), which offers book recommendations based on books you have rated as having enjoyed, books you have indicated interest in by putting them on your Wish List, and books your Friends have liked. Book Recommendations was one of the most-requested new features on the PBS Survey in March; we are really happy with the way FABIL turned out! You can get to this feature under My Lists, in My Account. Be sure to rate the books you have read (using the 5-star rating scale), to help FABIL make recommendations to you!
Rating Member Reviews. Now there is a thumbs up/thumbs down choice on every Member Review (on the Book Details page, or in the list of Recent Member Reviews accessed under Search in the toolbar at the top of any page on the site). You can also see what other members have thought of YOUR reviews (how many have clicked thumbs-up after reading a review you wrote) by looking at your reviews linked from your PBS Profile. If anyone has rated your review, it will show in a legend on the review itself: "6 of 7 members found this review helpful" means that 6 people clicked thumbs-up, and one clicked thumbs-down on that review. You can review books from your Bookshelf (click Write Review to the right of any book), or by clicking the down-arrow button on the right of any Book Details page, and choosing "Write Review" from the options. As always, Reviews must NOT include any information about a particular copy of a book. We hear over and over again from members that reviews are often the deciding factor when they are considering requesting a book. Let your "voice" be heard!
The Transaction Archive: Now you can see all of your past swaps in one place! You can sort by incoming/outgoing, type of swap (completed successfully, lost, canceled, Problem), title, author, date requested and date received. You can mark Lost or Canceled books received there, and in doing so give credit to the senders of those books (doing this is mandatory for a Lost book that arrives; it is optional for a Canceled book that arrives). Remember, the Transaction Archive contains only PAST swaps. Your ACTIVE transactions are in My Account--click My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site, and scroll down if necessary to see the different tabs: Books I've Requested, Requested From Me, Books to Mail, En Route to Me, Books I've Mailed. Clicking the tabs in My Account will reveal the books in each category of your active swaps. You can read more about how to use the Transaction Archive in the Help Center. You can also read more about how to find things in the new site layout in the Help Center, under the heading "PBS 2.0--What's New".
Browser Search Plugins for Firefox and IE: These allow you to search PaperBackSwap from anywhere on the Internet! That means if you are on another site and see a book you are interested in, you can just type the information into your PBS search field (which should be to the right of your web address field at the top of your browser: choose PBS from the options in the dropdown menu there), and search PBS right there. Please see the link at the bottom of any page on the site or go to the page Browser Search Plug-Ins and click the button there to install this feature.
Book List Import Bookmark: This allows you to import ISBNs from any page on any site where you see ISBNs, into any list on your account. Click the link at the bottom of any page on the site or go to the page Book List Import Bookmark, for instructions on how to use this feature with Firefox or IE. When you use this feature, you just have to be on a page with ISBNs you want to import, click the Book List Import bookmark you have put into your bookmarks (or "favorites") folder, and you will see a screen giving you a list of importable IBSNs. Click to place checkmarks in the ISBNs you want to import. The next screen will ask to which list you would like to import them (Bookshelf, Wish List, Reminder List, Books I've Read List or TBR Pile), and it will be done!
My Account To Do List: If there is a checkmark on the right side of the toolbar at the top of the page when you login, that means you have things on your To Do list. Place your cursor over the checkmark to see a menu of alerts drop down: pending requests, pending Wish List offers, transactions that need to be marked mailed, unread Personal Messages, new Box-O-Books offers, books to mark received when they arrive. You can access this menu from anywhere on the site and click any item in the list to be taken to the corresponding area of the site. The checkmark will NOT appear if you have nothing on your To Do list (no active transactions, unread PMs or new Box-O-Books offers).
Genre Discussion Forum Lineup: After much feedback, many suggestions and much monitoring of how the different Discussion Forums were being used, the lineup was changed on 5/31. Some unused forums were cut, some were renamed, and some were added. Those that were renamed may be in a different place alphabetically than before, but all the previous topics were preserved. Check out the lineup on the Main Discussion Forum page.
Jessie opening her surprise-shower gifts. See A PBS Shower of Affection, below.
A PBS Shower of Affection: Jessie M. (checkingmypulse) thought she was just playing another Swap Game in the Games Forum. Little did she know the whole thing was a SHAM! The theme of the game was "Scouting for New Kitchenware", and Lori G (auntielala) was the hostess. The conspirators selected kitchen gadgets related to the title of a book, and pretended to send the items to their "swap friends". Jessie had no idea that this was all fake--that everyone in the game was collecting things to send to HER, as a PBS wedding shower! It was an intricate and flawless conspiracy: the "con artists" posted fake DC #s and described the items they'd "received"; one even wailed about the package she'd sent possibly having been lost in the mail. Jessie, completely unsuspecting, dutifully packed up a kitchen gadget and sent it off. Then the packages started to arrive at Jessie's house! A Kitchen Aid mixer, muffin tins, mixing bowls, serving dishes...the list goes on and on. Even biscuits for Jessie's dog Scout! Read the list of participants and the "booty" Jessie received here. See Mendy V (Mendy)'s slideshow of the shower (with music!) here. Best wishes to Jessie and Greta, whose wedding is in August.
Stop the Fires - Save the Books. Read about the book-burning here. We got thousands of signatures on the petition in just the first few hours. We hope that the bookstore owners will agree to give the books to PBS; if not, we hope that the books will go to another good cause. We trust them to make the appropriate decision. The PBS petition is meant to show how serious PBS is with our offer, and that there are many real readers in America, who are eager to give those "orphaned" books new homes! Thanks to everyone who has pledged a donation to support the PBS rescue project. We'll let you know as soon as we hear the outcome of this.
"It's comfy in here!" Katrina W (webb5)'s son has found a new mode of transportation.
Dear R&R--I am bothered by your denouncement of the bookstore owner who had to burn his books. He did it to send a message--didn't you get that?!? People in America don't read anymore, and he tried to give his books away, and nobody wanted them! You shouldn't blame him for trying to get the message out. And there are plenty of good causes to which those books could be donated. Why should PBS get them? --Inquiring in Indiana
The Stop the Fires - Save the Books petition is not intended to denounce Mr. Wayne! We do understand the message that he was trying to get across: that reading has declined in America to the point where he could not even GIVE books away. We sympathize with his frustration at not being able to find a home for these books. The PBS petition is meant to let him know that there ARE still readers in America--and many of them are at PBS! We are pleased to know that other groups are interested also; we trust the bookstore owners to make the decision about who should get the books. We know that PBS members would put the books to good use, but of course we will be happy also if the books go to another group--as long as they don't get burned!
Dear R&R, I received two books, but can't find them in my Transaction Archive when I went to mark them received! I requested the books, and then they just disappeared from my account. Where did they go? --Perplexed in Petaluma
When you receive a book, the first place you should look to mark it received is on the En Route to Me tab in My Account. The Transaction Archive holds only PAST transactions--not those that are still active. To get to your En Route to Me tab, click My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site, and scroll down if necessary to see the En Route to Me tab. If you have books to mail or books newly requested from you, the Books to Mail tab or Requested from Me tab will show by default; the En Route to Me tab will be to the right. Click that tab and you should see your books, which you can mark received as usual.
Dear R&R--I looked at the new Transaction Archive, and I see that some books I sent (and thought I got credit for!) were canceled! I also see that books I marked received were canceled! Didn't these books get marked received correctly? Did I get credits for the books I sent? Did the senders get credits for those books I received?? I am really confused. How did this happen? --Panicked in Palo Alto
Dear R&R--I can't understand why you think the new Search is better than the one we had before! I can't find any of the books I am looking for. For instance, I wanted to find books in the genre Science, subgenre Education, but putting "Science Education" into the search field in the toolbar got me all kinds of unrelated books! What's up with that?! Also, it seems you are missing a lot of authors in your database--I put Jodi Picoult into the search field and it said there were no books by her at PBS! And when I wanted to find a biography of Truman by David somebody, I put "Truman" into the Search field and I got a bunch of mysteries! Then I wanted to look up books on beekeeping (I am interested in taking up this hobby) but putting "Bees" in the search field gave me novels and Winnie-the-Pooh! This is crazy! How can I find the books I want? --Frustrated in Fort Wayne, IN
Yes, the Search is very different, and it may take some getting used to. But really, it is much more powerful than the previous Search. Let me give you some help with these searches:
There is more information about how to make the PBS "turbo" Search work for you in the Help item "How to find books to request" (in the Help Center and also in the Need Help? tab at the upper right of the Search page, the Homepage, and My Account). But the best way to tame this search is to try it out; we are confident that those who were able to cope with the limitations and quirks of the old Search will be able to get the hang of the new Search with a little practice.
SO many features are in the works. The new site design has opened up so many possibilities. Stay tuned...
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