Poor February. It's gotten such a bad rap. It's the shortest month, the waffling month (sometimes 28 days, sometimes 29), the coldest most dreary month... It's all W2s and still-paying-off Christmas bills and its peak is the one day a year that the florist can charge your mortgage to deliver a dozen roses. Well, we have decided to see if we can't turn things around! We have given you some new features to play with this month. See below to read about the upgraded Friends, the upgraded Bookshelf, the new Privacy Settings, the Blast PM feature, the new Facebook application...the new excellent PBS sweatshirt in the Kiosk...a chance to do some journalism...all in all, February 2008 is looking pretty spiffy!
Just a dip into the Reader Mailbag before you go on to read about the February bonanza of new features: One new member told her Tour Guide recently (and the Tour Guide asked permission to share this with us) that PaperBackSwap "is absolutely wonderful for my whole family. We all LOVE to read and it has saved us a bundle! And it has helped us teach the kids to respect their books, so they can trade them for new ones! Fabulous!"
We hadn't thought of that as a potential benefit of PBS membership...but we are very glad to be a part of the development of good habits! If we all take care of the things we have they will last longer. In this world of disposable everything, it is nice to know that some things can last a while. Like a good read...and the good feeling you get when you share that great experience with another reader by sending that book out. To all of our members: however you found your way to the site, and whatever you would say are your top reasons for continuing to post and swap your books, our thanks go out to all of you for helping to sustain something that just keeps on giving back...to all of us.
Have a wonderful month!
Richard and Robert
Stylin' in the 'Hood.
Yep, that's Richard modeling his new, super-soft PaperBackSwap hooded sweatshirt. Comfy and warm and uber-fashionable. Any color you want, as long as it's grey! Come and get 'em in the Kiosk.
Who's Your Friend? Now you know! The Friends is now reciprocal--which means that in order to be added to someone's Friends, you must accept his or her invitation to be Friends. If you accept, you both go onto each other's Friendss. We made this change in order to allow the programming of various things that have been requested over and over by members: blast PMs, for one (see below), and expanded privacy options (see below), as well as other upcoming features. There is a one-time "conversion" step for your current Friends, which is explained in the Help doc Friends Upgrade in the Help Center. Unfortunately, there was no way to keep any tags that you had applied to individual Friends, so anyone you invite will not be tagged when they accept and go onto your Friends page. (Your taglists are preserved, though, so you can reapply tags once the inviting/accepting is done.) Click the link "Friends invitations" at the top of your Friends to see who's invited you! Read more about the Friends upgrade in the Help Doc Friends Upgrade under What's New in the Help Center.
Have a blast. Blast PMs = the ability to send the same message in a PM to multiple members at once. You can do this from the Friends now. Limiting it to Friends only means we shouldn't have people spamming other members they don't know. This feature was requested of us over and over again, and we are sure many of you will find it useful. Read more about how to send Blast PMs from the Friends in the Help Doc Friends Upgrade under What's New in the Help Center.
New Privacy Controls. Now you can decide to share more...or less...with other members, using the Privacy Controls link at the top of the Settings page in My Account. You can choose who can see your lists, personal info, online status, and more. Each of these can be set to Public (everyone can see), Private (no one can see), All Friends (everyone on your Friends page can see, but no one else) and Full Friends (only those designated Full Friends on your Friends page can see). The system defaults before you make selections are the same as the system defaults were before. Read more about the new privacy options in the Help Doc New Privacy Controls under What's New in the Help Center.
Bookshelf upgrade. The Books to Repost area was under-utilized; it was a duplication of the TBR pile in some ways, and members weren't using it very much. In the spirit of efficiency, we have combined the Books to Repost with your Bookshelf--now each time you mark a book received without a problem you have the option to have it put onto your Bookshelf on hold, for easy one-click reposting later on. The default setting is to add the item to your bookshelf on hold--you need to choose Yes to prevent this from happening when you receive a book. You can view only Hold items, only Posted items, or All items, and you can sort All items to show posted at the top of the list. Read more about the changes to your Bookshelf in the Help Doc Bookshelf Upgrade under What's New in the Help Center.
Give Refund button. If you send a book that is received with a problem, and you need to give the credit back to the requestor, this is much easier to do now! Just click the "Give Refund" button, and the credit will be given back. No need to Friend the requestor. You can access the button on any completed (with a problem, or without a problem) transaction in your Transaction Archive, by clicking the Request Details link for any book you sent that was marked received. The credit refund will match the number of credits the requestor "paid" for the book, and the refund button will disappear once you have used it.
Put your Face on. Now you can easily share your PaperBackSwap lists with your Facebook friends on your Facebook profile. Just go to http://apps.facebook.com/paperbackswap and log into your Facebook account to install the PaperBackSwap application. Then click the PBS icon in the left menu of your FB profile to choose what you would like to show: you can show your recently posted/swapped/received books, your Bookshelf, TBR Pile, Books I've Read list, your Book Reviews. Don't forget to check out the various PaperBackSwap Facebook groups, like PaperBackSwap and PaperBackSwap Rocks!
Writers, Front and Center! Some of our best members come from small towns and cities across the US. But many communities have never even heard about PaperBackSwap or the sister sites SwapaCD and SwapaDVD because there has never been any media coverage where they live. And unfortunately, many of these small publications do not have the staff to write about our club themselves. So we are asking for some help from members who are writers and have previously submitted articles to newspapers/magazines for publication. If you are interested in working with Richard on getting some articles written about PaperBackSwap - we sure could use your help! Please send inquiries to the email address we have set up for this purpose: RichardPickering@PaperBackSwap.com. Thanks in advance to all who step forward to help!
Local Chapter Leaders:
Welcome to our newest Local Chapter Leaders!
If you want to be a Local Chapter Leader for PBS, you just need to have a PBS NIckname and some organizational skills...check the Local Chapter Leaders Forum List of Official Chapters to see if your area already has a local Chapter. If not, and you want to do this, just contact us. There are no formal guidelines for being a Chapter Leader. All of the information is in the Local Chapter Leader Discussion Forum topic.
How to Make a Cookbook: a PBS recipe.
One extremely dedicated, energetic, organized PBS member, Sherry N. (royaltech)
1. Agree with Sherry that this would be a great idea. Work up a cost estimate and all that number-y stuff.
Serves approximately 250.
You can pre-order the Cookbook in the Kiosk.
MEMBER OF THE MONTH:
Carol W. (carolceltic)
We got a lot of nominations last month--many of you are accumulating votes at a great rate, and will surely be Member of the Month at some point. But there is no doubt who February's Member of the Month is! A veritable avalanche of votes for Carol came in...they nearly buried us. These are only a few of the comments that were included with member votes:
...one of the most gentle, kind-hearted PBS members...loved by everyone...
...a wonderful and caring person in every way...a great swapper, and a big support in the forums...
...always compassionate in the forums, thinking of others first. We love Carol!...
...sweet and encouraging and giving...
...so kind hearted and always concerned for other members and PBS...always a positive influence on the forums and quick with a good word for any situation...
Carol, PBS loves you! Won't you be our Valentine?
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. Each month the person who has the most votes accumulated gets to be Member of the Month and gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride. So go for it! Tell us who's helped you in the Forums, who's been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS. We are keeping a list of all the nominated members. Who knows--one of them might be YOU!
Dear R&R--Why do you keep making changes that no one asked for? It's just rude not to let us know in advance when you change something! Don't you care at all about what WE want? --Irate in Indiana
Yes, we absolutely care about what our members want. That's why a lot of the changes get made--they are in direct response to member feedback asking us for improvements to existing features. Sometimes it may not be obvious how much would need to be changed, programming-wise, to incorporate what may seem to be a simple tweak to the site. Pretty much everything on the site is interconnected, and often one change over here means a lot of changes over there, and over there, and over there. We are grateful to our members who write in with suggestions: you all have really helped to improve the site! We consider every suggestion, and those that we agree would be beneficial to the club we put on our To Do list, which is ranked in order of urgency. Some items need to be done before others can be started on. For each project, we hash out all the design features first, then work out the programming, and test it before we release it. Right after a change "goes live" is the best time to tweak it--and we do, based on member comments in forums and in feedback. We make a lot of little changes based on member comments in the first day or so after new programming is released. So many times our members think of things we didn't; constructive commentary about a new feature, especially if it seems to represent a consensus, often will result in a change. Just saying "I hate it" won't make the change go away, though.
We actually do try to make members aware of significant changes to the site. We don't send out an email for every single change: we are determined not to clutter up our members' inboxes with emails. For very major changes (like the change in Postal Rates by USPS in May 2007, and the site upgrade in the same month) we send out a club-wide email in advance to every single member; we also announce the change in the Newsletter, and update the Help Center. Very significant changes to major features (for example, the Wish List) we announce in the Newsletter well in advance, to give plenty of notice before the change goes live. For less significant changes (like the Friends and Bookshelf upgrades), we update the Help Center What's New section, and also announce/explain in the Newsletter. We can't time the release of every single change to the site to coincide with the Newsletter--that's just too restrictive a schedule, and not realistic. Not everyone gets the Newsletter, and not everyone visits the Forums. That's why the Help Center What's New section exists--it is accessible to every member with just three clicks, from anywhere on the site (click Help Center at the top of any page on the site > click Browse Help Docs > click What's New! at the top of the list on the left). For every change of any magnitude, we update the Help Center What's New area, announce/explain in the Newsletter, and will often post a topic in the Discussion Forums (even though only a small portion of the club uses the Forums regularly). In addition, the regular Help Center topics are continually updated to reflect smaller changes.
If you keep your eye on the What's New topic in the Help Center, Ira, you won't be taken by surprise! And if you hate a change we make, we are really sorry. We don't do it to torture you, honestly. We make changes only after much consideration and discussion, and nearly always directly in response to member demand. We know that not all members will love all changes; that would be unrealistic to expect. But each change is made with the membership in mind, to benefit the club as a whole.
Dear R&R--This Friend thing is like junior high all over again. My Friends is empty! I am too shy to ask someone to be a Friend, and I feel like a loser. I am having PTSD. --Shrinking Violet in Sheboygan
Don't feel like a loser! Some members haven't gotten invitations because they lurk in the forums, and don't post, so no one "knows" them to invite them. And remember that others also may be feeling shy. You don't have to use the Friends at all, of course! But if you want to, just try sending an invitation to a few people; you can send a PM telling them why if you like, but many folks have their Friendss set to auto-accept all invitations. You can ask members who have the same taste in books as you do, if you notice this while browsing bookshelves or the Forums; you can ask someone with whom you have had a good swap. When marking a book received, you can say "thanks for the book--this was a really great swap! If it's okay I am going to invite you to be a Friend so I can keep an eye on your bookshelf." There's no reason they wouldn't want to Friend with you. A good friend never harmed anyone, and they will probably be flattered. You don't have to know someone well to be Friends--and you can set any or all of your information to private in your Privacy Controls so that your Friends doesn't make you feel exposed. And you won't get "rejection" emails if an invitation isn't accepted.
We are really sorry we brought back bad memories, Violet. It may help to keep in mind that all members at PBS are required to be over 18, and that this is a friendly site. Most members are terrifically kind and open to "meeting" others in the club. We don't think there's anything to fear here. And those who don't have a lot of (or any) Friends aren't losers. Not everyone uses the Friends. We think it's a great feature, but it's not for everyone of course. Don't let it stress you out.
--Wouldn't you like to know? LOL
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