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Dear Members,

Ah, September.  Summer's over...back to school...the weather will be mild for a while longer.  What could be better?

September is a lot of things: National Library Card Sign-up Month, National Pediculosis Prevention Month (you don't want to know!),  National Read-a-New-Book Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, National Better Breakfast Month.  It contains the holidays National Newspaper Carriers' Day,  National Grandparents' Day (this Sunday!), International Literacy Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day (the third Friday of the month) and Patriot Day (the eleventh, of course).  Past Septembers saw these new inventions appear: the safety pin, Scooby-Doo, the department store, the first edition of the New York Times....September is a month of beginnings and remembrances, of starting new and also looking back.

We are looking back at 4 years of PaperBackSwap!  Yes, we launched in September 2004.  Since then the club has grown beyond anything we could have expected.  Nearly 4 million books have been swapped between members; innumerable features have been added; sister swapping sites for CDs and DVDs were launched; we've been mentioned in more media outlets than we can name--major magazines, innumerable blogs, television news spots, even the Wall Street Journal!  During all this, we have "met" a ton of people whom we think of fondly as family.  Our members have been so patient as we work to improve the site.  Members who started out with us will recall that in the beginning we didn't even have Personal Messaging!  We've come a long way.  And everything we do starts with the members--you tell us how you use the site, what's not working for you, what you'd like to see--and we listen, and look at the issue from all angles, and try hard to find a way to solve the problems and implement the suggestions.  Sometimes it takes a while to get to something (our To Do list is huge!) but rest assured that if we can do something, and it will benefit the membership, we'll find a way to do it.

We think of every feature we add, every improvement, as a kind of "present" to our members.  We really try to make this site better wherever we can.  See "NEWS" below for the new features this month--sorry we didn't have time to wrap!

Happy Birthday to all of us!

Richard and

The PaperBackSwap Team


Happy Birthday to PaperBackSwap.  Looky looky at your presents.  No, you can't exchange them.  No, we don't have them in a different color.  Click What's New at the top of any page on the site, or go to the Help Center and read the items under What's New to keep up with what features have been newly added to the site.

Bookshelf Header.  New feature.  The Bookshelf Header allows you to add a custom, publicly-viewable message at the top of your PBS Bookshelf.  You can introduce yourself - give an overview of the types of books you have -  comment about a specific book you have posted - invite members to join your Game in the Games Forum - or just say Hello!  Read more about this feature here.

Book Notes. New feature.  Book Notes allow you to write a private (only you can see it) note on any book in the database.  No matter where you are on the site when you apply the note, you will see the note (which appears as a yellow sticky-note applied to the book cover) pretty much everywhere you see the book, and putting your cursor over it will show the note. Read more about this feature here.

Yahoo Address Book LinkNew Feature.  We have had terrible trouble with Yahoo not delivering PBS emails lately.  The Yahoo server will accept the auto-emails from our server but then doesn't deliver them!  This is at least partly being caused by Yahoo members clicking "Mark as Spam" on PBS emails (which can affect the reception of PBS emails for ALL Yahoo users at PBS).  Adding the PBS auto-email addresses to your Yahoo address book should solve this problem for an individual member.  We have provided a link for our members who use Yahoo.  Go to your Account Settings in My Account, and beside your email address (if you use Yahoo) will be this link: Yahoo Mail users: Click here to ensure receipt of PBS emails.  Click that, sign into Yahoo if you need to, click on the next page, you're done.  That will keep those Wish List offers and book request emails coming to you.

Update to the Bulk Request feature.
   Upgraded feature.  Now when a member adds a book to the request she or he has submitted to you, you will be told that you need to reprint the wrapper to include all of the books.  This will make everything much clearer, and make it easier to send multiple books in one shipment to save postage.  No need to read more about this feature; it makes everything simpler and you don't have to do anything to use it--it will work automatically.

Push a Book.  New last month, but hey! we don't think members noticed this. You can now suggest a book to a Friend that she or he might like to read. The Suggest option is available from the dropdown menu under More Options on the Book Details page.   You can see all the books that have been suggested to you in a new My Lists item in the menu under My Account; you can order from there (this will order from the suggester, if the book is on the suggester's bookshelf when you click the Order this Book button on the suggestion), and you can also click "Not Interested" to remove any item from the list.  Check it out!  Read more about the Suggest a Book feature here.


Calling all RVers:  SmiLynnLady (Lynn P) is a full-time RVer, and loving it!  She wants to know how many other full-time RVers we have in the club.  Click her nickname above to go to her profile on PBS and send her a Personal Message, like a virtual honking of your horn to say Hello!   According to Lynn, there are a "million + Americans living full-time in our RVs, and... PBS meets our special needs for books-on-the-go!"  For those who don't know, RV = recreational vehicle.  If you have to ask, you don't have one!  Also if you have to ask, you might want one!  Contact Lynn to find out more about this lifestyle, and who knows!  You might be joining the "road crew" sometime soon.

Heartfelt thanks.  LoveBeingMOM (Shai G.) wrote us to say "I want to thank the wonderful members of PBS for their support during the difficult time my family is experiencing. Many members have offered prayers, best wishes, are sending items for my husband and son, giving credits. The emotional support I am receiving is of great help. I am proud to be a member of PBS."  Aw, Shai.  Our members are so wonderful and we wish you the best.

PBS Store News:

Vinyl Stickers are back!  Vinyl Stickers are back!

Cookbook Update:
  We have a message from Sherry (royaltech), who is editing the PBS Cookbook.  She is very sorry that her illness has slowed this down, but she has an energetic assistant editor now who is helping push the project through to completion. Thanks, Elizabeth (Cattriona), for your help with this!

Sherry said:

    "Hi PBS,   I know that many members are questioning by now, where those cookbooks are that were expected to be finished and ready to be mailed by the end of March.   While many knew I was very sick over the winter and this was slowing down the production on my end, many don't know that we found the reason. I have now had a double mastectomy, and have started my chemotherapy, which will be followed by radiation.   This does not mean that work has stopped on the cookbook, it simply means I'm slower. I expected to heal much faster from the surgery, but that turned out to be wishful thinking.  The best news tho, is that I now have a helper, and she will be working with me on the layout and I expect us to be able to have this ready to go to the printer very soon. Very soon, as in a couple weeks! I will update in the topic PBS Cookbook News also.   I want everyone to know that this is an absolutely fabulous cookbook that they are waiting on. I know it's hard to be out the money for the book and not have it come in, but if they will think of it more as being on their wishlist, and a guaranteed granted book, maybe that will help them hold out :)   I hope this helps and that everyone will just be able to hold tight and watch the topic above for news and updates on how the book is coming along.   Sincerely, Your biggest fan!" - Sherry N. (royaltech)

PBS Local Chapter News:

    New Local Chapter Leaders:

  • Lindsey M - lsmcnellis - has taken over chapter for Central Florida (Volusia & Seminole counties)
  • Sharon C. -sharoncrachy- Great Falls, Montana
  • Julie S. -pern- Idaho
  • Tammy E. - tammy89333 - Charleston, WV
  • Leigh Anne H. -lahaygood - Central/West GA
  • Holly H - moondanser - Canton/Cartersville area, GA

If you want to be a Local Chapter Leader for PBS, you just need to have a PBS NIckname, a viewable public profile, 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.

Books You May Have Missed:

Many of you know Lori G, auntielala-thebookpimp, from the Forums.  Her book recommendations get rave reviews.  So many members have been helped by reading Lori's recommendations that we asked her to send us some. 

Two Books Lori Recommends:

Stripped by Brian Freeman - "fantastic!!!!"
Immoral by Brian Freeman - "must read!!!!"

Two Cozy Mystery Authors Lori Recommends:

Victoria Thompson - Gaslight Series.  See this author's bibliography here.
Cleo Coyle - Coffee house series. See this author's bibliography here.

Two Romantic Suspense Authors Lori Recommends:

Hunter Morgan
Allison Brennan



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T. G. (lildrafire)

Nominations for Tammy have been coming in since we began the MoM feature.  Some of the comments we got about Tammy:

"She always has something insightful to say with a twist of humor. She often lightens the mood on the forums."

"She is a kind woman, who does nice things for people without flaunting it. I think that it would be great for her to get some recognition for everything that she has brought to the PBS community. I can't say enough about what a great friend that she has been to so many of us, and how much she has brightened up the place by sharing her humor and her fabulous story telling abilities. I love Tammy, and I think she should be Member of the Month."

Tammy, clearly the monkey avatar is not the only thing that is rockin' about you! You are our Member of the Month for August. Congratulations!

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 when the Newsletter goes to press 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 Librarian--I have been offered a book from my wishlist. The member who posted it sent me a message saying the book was listed as a paperback but her copy is hardcover, and do I still want it?  The book on my Wish List is paperback!  I don't want the hardcover--I want a paperback because they're lighter and easier for me to hold.  Now I don't know what to do. Do I cancel the request -- which will take the book off my wishlist (and lose my place in the wish list queue!)?  How can I cancel that request for the erroneously listed book without taking the book I DO want off my wishlist?--Stymied in Saratoga

Dear Sara,

The sender made a mistake here, posting the book she has with a listing that does NOT match her book.  Book listings must match the book's ISBN, title, author and booktype.

When a sender makes this mistake with a Wish Listed book, she puts the wishing member in a difficult position: of having to say "no I don't want this book" in a Personal Message while ALSO having to click "Yes I want this book" on the request so she isn't kicked off the Wish list by the system.

If you get a message like this for a book you have Wish Listed, you can tell the member something like this:

"Thanks for telling me you posted the book incorrectly. I do NOT want the hardcover. I will have to click to accept the offer though so I don't get removed from the Wish list line that I have been waiting in to get the paperback. Please click "I cannot mail" on this request when you get it from me, and that will remove the book from the system, and then you can repost it with the correct booktype on the listing. The Help doc "Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems" in the Help Center can help with getting this book posted correctly, so that someone who wants the paperback can request it. Thanks again!"

It's not okay to post a book incorrectly so it matches a Wish Listed item.  This is unfair and members shouldn't do this.  Sometimes the ISBN/title/author will match the listing, but the booktype won't, but ALL FOUR need to match.  Reading "Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems" in the Help Center makes this situation (and how to solve it and post the book correctly) very clear.

We hope you get your paperback version soon, Sara!  And that this sender finds a member who wants the hardcover she has to offer!

Dear Librarian-- I logged in today, and OMG all my "Read" tags are gone!  I tagged every book I have read "Read" so I didn't have to load up my BIR List, or go to the Book Details page to see the notation that the book is already on that list.  I have dial-up and it's inconvenient to have to go to the Book Details page to see that notation!  Why did my tags go away?  They weren't hurting anyone!  How am I going to keep from ordering a book I have already read??? --Wailing in Waukeegan

Dear Kiki,

We are sorry that the membership pounced upon these tags and clicked the R on them to mark them as inappropriate.  They weren't technically inappropriate--just redundant.   And of course if you were using "Read" without your initials or some other personalizing bit, who knows how many other people have also used this Tag, and it might be confusing to you and others to see this Tag there on books you have not read.

But dry your tears, Kiki, we have great news for you!  You now can see the notations of what lists a book is on right from the search results in the Book Browser.  Yes, the "On My:" (Bookshelf, Transaction Archive, Books I've Read, etc) notation appears right there, so you don't have to click to load up the book details page to see it.

You can also use Book Notes for this kind of thing--just mousing over the note on the search result will show you what you wrote there.  And no one else will see it!  So no confusion.  And no need to re-tag all those books!

You can read the Help doc Book Tags in the Help Center to understand better what Tags are actually inappropriate and deserve that report.  Personal tags are merely redundant, and they will be "drowned out" naturally in time, by club-useful tags.  The Help doc explains these different categories.

Dear Librarian--Oh no!  You removed all the "Brand New Giftable" and "Book is from a nonsmoking home" Book Tags!  I have been using them and so have others, to get gifts and to be sure we request books only from nonsmoking homes.  Now how are people going to know that my books are from a nonsmoking home?  How am I supposed to tell them that some of my books are brand new and giftable?  And how am I going to be able to order books from a nonsmoking home?   --Agitated in Alabama

Dear Allie,

The reason why those tags were removed (and will continue to be removed) is that they are confusing to members!  They are false advertising, actually.  Too many members don't understand that a book listing represents all copies of that book in the system.  Say there are 20 copies of a book in the system.  Any Book Tag you see could have been applied by ANY of the members who posted that book, or by anyone just passing by.  The Tagger could have the copy of the book that is #13 out of 20 to be requested, or #2 or #9, or that book could have already been swapped and the Tagger never took the Tag off (yes, people, you KNOW who you are).  So when you go shopping for books from a nonsmoking home, or a giftable book, by clicking that Tag and browsing the list of books that come up, any time you click Order This Book on the book, your request will go to the next copy--the one that is #1 in the list, and there is no way of knowing if that copy was the one that was Tagged by that member.  

And when you use the Book Tags to tag your books this way, you are saying (even though you don't mean to) that every single copy of the book available in the system is giftable, or from a nonsmoking home.  So...you could have been the cause of little Jimmy's bout of wheezing last week.  Yes, indeed.  Jimmy's mom ordered the book seeing your Tag and got the book from someone else.  Jimmy's mom wasn't using Requestor Conditions saying she didn't want books from a smoking household.  Jimmy's mom got a smoky book (not yours) and had to give Jimmy his inhaler and put the book into a big plastic bin with some kitty litter for a week.  It got the smoky smell out and Jimmy is just fine but Jimmy's mom was pretty upset, and thinks someone lied to her with the tag on this book.  She doesn't know who did it, but if she finds out...watch out.

So what do you do if you have allergies to smoke, to find books that are from a nonsmoking home, and to tell others that your books are in a nonsmoking home?  Here is what you can do:

  • Make Requestor Conditions in your account that say you don't want books that are currently in a smoking household.  Remember to read about using Requestor Conditions properly, so you don't just confuse senders by saying "I don't want books exposed to smoke".  That kind of thing will get you a lot of declines, since these are used books and who knows if the books have EVER been exposed to smoke.   If the sender isn't sure, she or he will click to decline your request, and you can't re-request the same copy after it's already been declined for Requestor Conditions, so using Requestor Conditions carelessly could make you miss out on books that would be perfectly fine.  
  • You can also double-check the Bookshelf Header when ordering a book, to see if the posting member has a Header saying his or her books are from a non-smoking household or that some books they are offering might be giftable.  It's not the best use of the Header, but it's a lot better than using Tags and misleading members about the condition of the book they are going to order.

Now when you make your Requestor Conditions--what?  You don't know what we mean by the Bookshelf Header?  You want us to explain that RIGHT NOW?  Okay.  You can read about it in the Help Center, but we see you are too ecstatic for the fine-motor control necessary to click your mouse.   Just let go of our arm, please.

This is how to use the Bookshelf Header for this purpose: When you click Order This Book, you can then click "Order More from Member" on the next page (you don't actually have to order more books after doing this).  The next page will show you the bookshelf, and the Bookshelf Header will be at the top of that page.  If a member wants you to know that his or her books are in a non-smoking home, the message will appear there.  Then you can feel absolutely sure that the book will be coming from a non-smoking home, and you may even want to add more books to the order.  Now--seriously, let go of our arm--remember that this is a new feature, so it may take a while for members to make their Headers, and not all members will use the Header to indicate smoking/nonsmoking home.  So if you DON'T see a message in the Header about that, don't presume you've hit on a bookshelf located in a nightclub or tobacco factory.  Your Requestor Conditions will still make sure that books from a smoking home aren't sent to you, even if the sender isn't using a Bookshelf Header.

It's important to continue to use Requestor Conditions, in case the first sender misses the request or doesn't mail it in time or clicks "I cannot mail".  If the request cancels, your request will be passed along.  The next sender will see your RCs though, so you're covered.

And you can make your own header to tell people that your books are from a nonsmoking home, or which ones are brand new and giftable.  Yes--okay, okay, that's nice you're hugging us, we love you too--you can do that and anyone who clicks Order More from Member on a request for one of your books will see that message you wrote.  And anyone who clicks to see your books from your profile or a forum post or a personal message from you will see that message too.

That's quite a good happy-dance, Allie!  Whoa, careful with those backflips!  We're glad you're so tickled.  Now...get thee to the Help Center and use the Help Docs Search to read all about these features and how to use them to work best for you! 


  • Whatever's next on our To Do list...

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