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Dear Members,

Newsletter imageWe were listening to music (a classic Smashing Pumpkins CD that we got from SwapaCD) and we got to feeling really Hallowe'en-y.   It must have been some subliminal association with the word "pumpkins".  We were humming along, but instead of feeling Smashing Pumpkins'  full of rage or like rats in a cage, instead we started getting in the mood to give out yummy stuff for free.  So we buckled down to work and put some new features on the site--some that we have been thinking about and working on for a while, and a couple that just came to us out of the blue.  You can find the new "treats" on the site--the Recipes page, the Instant Credit feature, the Tags (read more about all of these below).  Yep,  Hallowe'en at PBS is all Treats, no Tricks.  No carbs or cavities, either. 

The moral of the story: Be careful what you listen to...music has the power to drive all kinds of behavior.   (Where would the new iPod Nano be without Feist?)  Harness that power for GOOD, people! 

What's on your SwapaCD Tower?

Have a great October,

The PaperBackSwap Team

NEWS:

Instant Credits are here.   Yes, if you print your postage through PBS (you can choose this on the Wrapper Settings page), you will get credit as soon as you mark the book mailed--no waiting for USPS to scan or for the member to receive!  What's better than clicking a button and getting a credit?   You can read the FAQs About Printable Postage in the Help Center, to learn all about this feature.

Tag--you're it!  Now you can apply Book Tags to any book in the database, pretty much anywhere you see the book listing.  What are they used for?  Tags let you put your mark on any item in the database, and create any number of one-click "custom searches"!  Tag books you liked...books you hated...books with an antihero...books about the Russian Revolution...books you think have a good moral message...biographies...books you read in school...books you were supposed to read in school...books you have on your nightstand...books you would want with you on a desert island...pretty much anything goes! You can apply any number of tags to an item. and you can click on any tag to see a list of all the books bearing that tag.  (We will soon have a way to view the available tags without having to see them on a book listing first.)  When you look at a book in the database, you will always see the tags you applied (and you can remove them from there too), even if no one else can.  You will also see the top 15 tags that members have applied to that book.   Read more about Tags in the Help Center document Book Tags.

What's Cookin'?  Well, a whole lot! 

  • Newsletter imageFirst, the PBS Recipes page (under Community) is a place where you can enter recipes to share with others, and get ideas for your next meal!  You can search by keyword (Hmm...I'm in the mood for something kinda Mexican), meal type (examples: "dinner" or "Quick and Easy"), dish (main ingredient, examples: chicken, tomatoes), cooking style (gotta use that crockpot!), or nutritional info (lowfat, vegan).  When submitting a recipe you can even link a book to the recipe by entering its IBSN. 
  • We also have a cookbook author among us--well, many cookbook authors, and one very hardworking editor.  Sherry N. (royaltech) has been gathering recipes from PBS members for quite a while now, and there was so much interest in a "hard" (not digital) copy that we are looking into publishing it for PBS members to buy from the PBS Store.  The PBS Cookbook can only happen if we get enough pre-orders to put in the order with the publisher.  The book will be in a  hardcover with a comb binding (so the book lies flat when open! very handy), and will cost 12 dollars, shipping included.  Pre-order your PBS cookbook in the Kiosk now, and when it comes in we will send it to you.  You can even submit a design for the cover if you like.  If you have specific questions about the book, ask Sherry, who has done an enormous amount of work getting all of this together!  

And speaking of Sherry....

PBS Member of the Month

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Sherry N. (royaltech)

We swear, we didn't choose her, although of course she is a natural!  We got a ton of nominations for Sherry this month.

 

Members cited her patient and excellent advice regarding the submission of Data Corrections, her kind and helpful posts in Forums, and her generally all-around PBS-ness.  We think she embodies the friendly, sharing spirit of PBS really well, and as the Co-Coordinator of the Data Correction Volunteer group, she has had a huge part in improving the site for everyone!  She has recently started her own PBS Local Chapter, and we expect that group will soon be hopping with fun events.

 

Sherry, we appreciate everything you do, and now you know that the members do too!  We don't know how you manage to accomplish it all, but PaperBackSwap thanks you.


If you have any nominations for Member of the Month, submit them to us here.  Your nomination will not "expire"--anyone you nominate will have a chance at getting Member of the Month if enough nominations accumulate over time.  So go for it! Tell us who's helped you in the Forums or as a Live Help Tour Guide, who's been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS.  We got a lot of nominations in September, and we have all of those folks "on our list".  Who knows--one of them might be YOU!


PBS LOCAL CHAPTER NEWS:

Welcome to our newest Local Chapter Leaders!

  • for Missouri - Angela D. (jaylou).
  • for Greater Michiana - Sherry N. (royaltech).  They have a gathering planned for November.  Contact Sherry for details.
  • for Lake County, IL- Tammy C. (tammyc1023)

If you want to become a PBS Local Chapter Leader, all that is required is a PBS Nickname and the motivation to organize meetups in your area.  You may also be asked to help with local PBS events such as book festivals in your area, if we are participating in any there--no obligation to do that, of course!  There are no "rules" for Chapter Leading--the chapters are nearly as individual as our members--so if you are interested, just let us know so we can add your group to the list of official Chapters.  When we have done that, just post a topic in the PBS Local Chapters Discussion Forum to get the ball rolling!

Recent Book Festivals:

Newsletter image

We didn't make it to Montana, but our steadfast Big Sky members (from left to right) Alyssa S (lysstwrt), Rebekah W. (bekah) and Collette R (vwbernie) did a great job running the PBS Booth in Missoula. 

Check the Photo Gallery for pictures of the South Dakota, Baltimore and Blue Ridge GA book festivals that also happened in September--we'll get those uploaded soon.  It was great to meet more of you guys, and we wish we could just go to Book Festivals full-time!  Meeting members and talking to prospective members is about the most fun thing we do.

Upcoming Book Festivals for October 2007:

  • Wichita, KS "Kansas Book Festival" October 5th and 6th
  • Collingswood, NJ "Collingswood Book Festival" October 6th
  • Aurora, IL "Midwest Literary Festival" October 6th and 7th
  • Nashville, TN "The Southern Festival of Books" October 12th-14th
  • Charleston, WV "West Virginia Book Festival" October 12th-14th
  • St. Petersburg, FL "St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading" October 27th
  • Sarasota, FL "Sarasota Reading Festival" November 3rd
  • Miami, FL "Miami Book Fair International" November 4th-11th

Contact us if you want to volunteer to help at any of these!  Hope to see you there.

DEAR R&R

Dear R&R, I love the printable postage!  But I got two requests the same day and didn't realize they were from the same person.  I printed out individual wrappers with postage for both books!  Can I get a refund so I can send these books together?--Quizzical in Quogue

Dear Q,

We are really sorry, but the printed postage can't be refunded.  The money goes to USPS and endicia when you print.  We are working on a way to alert a sender if a requestor has submitted multiple individual requests to you, but right now we recommend to anyone who is planning to print with postage (or PBS-DC alone) that you always check the address first by clicking the backup wrapper link at the bottom of the Wrapper Settings page without choosing any extra services (this is the default setting on the Wrapper Settings page), to see where the book is going.  Then you can choose your services and print only the wrapper(s) you need with postage.  When you mark the books mailed, you will get Instant credit for the book(s) listed on the wrapper you printed with postage, and the other book(s) will earn credits when they are received. 

We hate this confusion, and if the programming to prevent it weren't such a bear, we would have it done already.   Requestors, you can help too, by making sure to click Order This Book on the page you see after clicking to request a book (the page on which you choose your mailing address for the book), and adding the extra books then.  This will make the request into a "bulk request" and avoid the problem entirely.  You can also send a Personal Message to the sender right after submitting two or more separate requests telling the sender not to print postage on more than one wrapper for the books you ordered, in hopes that she or he reads your PM before printing.

---

Dear R&R, Okay, then I'll send these books separately, so I don't have to waste the postage I put on the extra wrapper.  At least I'll get both Instant Credits!  But what do I do next time, when I get two separate requests?  How do I make the wrapper for one book print out enough postage for both books? --Q

Dear Q,

We are glad you asked!  It is really simple.  Just adjust the weight that shows on the Wrapper Settings page to the combined weight of all of the books you plan to mail in that shipment.  Newsletter imageThen the postage that prints out will be for a package of that weight.  The system won't mind if you seem to be telling it that your one book has suddenly swelled to double its weight--it will just print out the necessary postage for the weight you enter (and doing this won't affect the weight that the database has on record for the original book).  This is also useful for members who use Printable Postage to send one or more "unofficial" books in a package, as people do when they make 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 deals in the Book Bazaar.

---

Dear R&R--Can I get a word in here?  Q is hogging your attention.  I wanted to ask about these weird listings I keep seeing on the Club Wish List, for books with incomplete ISBN numbers.  ISBNs are 10 or 13 digits, right?  So why are all these members wishing for books with these "bad" 5-digit ISBNs?  Is this an error in the database?  And I have one of the books that is wished for with one of these fake ISBNs--it's the same title, and it's a paperback, like the one being wished for.  Why can't I let this member know that I have the book she wants with the correct ISBN?  Something's wacko here!  --Stymied in San Jose

Dear Jose,

No way!  These aren't "bad" ISBNs, and they aren't due to a system error.  But they are "fake" ISBNs...kinda.  They are the numbers PBS assigns to books that members list using the Post a Book Without an ISBN feature.  If a book you have doesn't have an ISBN, this feature lets you list it for swapping.  Or if the book has an ISBN but the book itself does not match the PBS listing for that ISBN (examples: you have the hardcover and the listing is for a paperback, or vice versa; or your book is regular-size font, and the book in the database for that ISBN has "Large Print" in the title), you can't use that listing to post your book.  (Cover images don't have to match: only ISBN, title, author and binding type ALL have to match.)  So if you want to offer that non-matching book for swapping, you need to post it as if it doesn't have an ISBN, using the Post a Book Without an ISBN feature to create a "custom" listing that matches your book.  That's how a new "non-ISBN" listing is born!

Non-ISBN listings behave a little differently than ISBN listings at PBS:

  • Non-ISBN listings apply only to that copy of the book. 
  • They can't be edited using the Edit Book Data link.
  • They can't be added manually to your TBR Pile (unless you have received that copy from another PBS member, and add it to your TBR Pile when marking it received). 
  • The "short ISBNs" can't be re-used to post another copy of the book (you can repost  a book that you received from your TBR Pile or Books to Repost area, though).
  • Non-ISBN listings are not linked to any other listing in the database--which means that
    • if you post a book without an ISBN, you will NOT trigger a "Similar-to-Wished-for-item" alert email to the members wishing for ISBN versions of that title.
    • If you have a non-ISBN item on your Wish List, you will NOT get "Similar-to-Wished-for-item" alert emails if another version of that title is posted.
    • When you receive a book that was offered to you from your Wish List, non-ISBN versions of that title will not automatically be removed from your Wish List by the system.

All of this means that it is pretty inefficient, and likely to be ineffective, to put a non-ISBN item onto your Wish List.  The only item that will trigger a WIsh List offer would be that exact copy that was originally posted using that non-ISBN listing, if that exact copy is reposted by someone who received it from the orginal swapper.  It's possible that this will happen, of course, but not likely.

So when you see that members are wishing for non-ISBN items, this generally means that each member clicked "Add to Wish List" on all listings in the database for that title, even the non-ISBN ones.  If they later get an ISBN version of that title, and they do not remove the non-ISBN item from their Wish List manually, it just stays there.

Jose, you should check the ISBN on your book against the Club Wish List.  If your ISBN is not wished-for, that usually means that the members who are wishing for the non-ISBN versions already got another copy of the book, and haven't cleaned up their Wish Lists.

If you ever need to post a book into the database using the Post a Book Without an ISBN feature, and you see that members are wishing for other (ISBN) versions of that title, now you will know that your book will not trigger "similar-item" alerts.  You can always advertise your version of the wished-for book to the membership in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum.   This usually works pretty quickly to get a book requested!

You can read a lot more about non-ISBN items at PBS in the Help Center document titled....you guessed it....About Non-ISBN items at PBS.

---

Dear R&R--What the heck are the Tags good for? I just don't see the point.  --Pugnacious in Poughkeepsie

Dear Pug,

Tags are a way of marking a book any way you like.  You can Tag all the books on your bookshelf ("cozy mystery", "got this from Zelda", "made me laugh out loud", "in the original Greek", whatever you like), and when you have done that, anyone looking at that book anywhere it is listed in the database will be able to see your tag (IF your tag is one of the top 15 applied to that book).  You will always be able to see your own tags, if you have applied any, when you look at a book listing.  This means that someone who is looking for cozy mysteries can click the tag "cozy mystery" wherever he or she sees it on a book, and see ALL books that members have tagged as "cozy mystery".  This also means that you can keep track of your books in a new way--if you are managing an account for your family, you can tag each different family member's posted books with his or her name or initials, tag books on your Wish List with the name of the person who wants that book, etc. 

As for using the tags for subject/genre cataloging, we can't put it much better than one of our members said in the Forums:

"For example...my cookbooks are all tagged as "cookbooks" and "nonfiction" and then tagged more specifically as "baking," "Chinese cooking," etc. When I click on, say, the Chinese cooking tag, all of my Chinese cookbooks show up. ...I'm currently reading Maharanis: The Lives and Times of Three Generations of Indian Princesses by Lucy Moore. I could give it tags such as "India," "royalty," "Indian royalty," "British Raj," "biographies," "biographies of women" etc. Then anyone who is interested in, say, the British Raj could find that book by that tag. Tagging is far more flexible than plain old subject cataloging."

Thanks, jas, for the very nice examples of the awesome power of Tags!

Tags will be most functional when the ability to search/view all Tags goes live.  We are working on that now--but we need some Tags to get going, so...everybody start Tagging!  You can read more about the Tags in the Help Center, of course.

---

Pug again (if Q gets two questions, so do I!).  So what if I tag a book "for Mary" and everyone else sees that?  What good will that do?  And what's to stop people from tagging their books "Front cover torn off" or "My copy is a paperback" like they sometimes do inappropriately in reviews?

Well, if you tag a book "for Mary" and a member who doesn't know Mary sees the tag, it won't do that member any good.  (It won't do him or her any harm, either.)  But if a lot of people have tagged that book, and "for Mary" is not one of the 15 most commonly-applied tags, no member (besides you) will see the "for Mary" tag anymore.  If having "for Mary" on a book helps you remember that you want to request that book for Mary, then by all means, use that tag!  You can remove it anytime you want. 

You're right, there's nothing to stop members from using Tags in the ways you mention--although following proper book-posting procedure should prevent them from ever posting a book whose front cover has been torn off, or using a listing with the incorrect binding type--but remember, such tags will also be "drowned out" if enough other members who use tags appropriately Tag the book with something else.  Every feature has the potential to be misused, but the Tag feature, if used by enough members, will "correct" itself.  We think it is a really great and easy tool which has a lot of uses, including as a way for members to sort their booklists, to see what other members have to "say" about a book, and to find books in the database that they are interested in reading.

COMING SOON:

--Feeling Artsy?  You can submit your design for the PBS cookbook...and also vote on those submitted...

--Remember, the "startup credits" for new members at PBS are going to change from 3 credits for the first 9 books to 2 credits for the first 10 books on FRIDAY, October 5th.   So if you are thinking of referring anyone, do it now to make sure they get an extra book! 


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