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Friday, December 9, 2011

Paperbackswap And Richard

(my apologies Richard, some of this is from my own imaginings!)
Sometime in early 2004, a couple of guys from Atlanta, Georgia were sitting around gabbing about books, and talking about how they liked to trade books with friends, and wouldn't that be a great idea for an online website?  So they started working real hard on it, and by August/September 2004, they had what they thought was a good idea ready to hit the world wide web, or at least the US!
Richard and Robert scouted around for some friends, some web designers, and others, and voila, they had a site up and going.  It was slow at first, only a few hundred members.  Today in December 2011 there are
 Public Profiles: 116,455 this is not the total amount of members, as alot have chosen not to have profiles
 Books Available: 5,121,989 
 Books Posted in last 60 minutes: 337 
 Books Posted All Time: 21,747,400 
 Unique Titles Available: 667,414
 Books Mailed All-Time: 12,203,423 
 Books Mailed in last 7 days: 42,346 
 Books Mailed Today: 3,897

These are big numbers!!
I became a member on October 1, 2005 (as I like to tease, I have belonged 5 years, 2 months, 7 days, and about 3 hours, lol)  The funny thing is, in about July I had joined Frugalreader.com (now defunct), and I had actually forgotten about it, but the last few days of September I was reminded of the site, and started playing with it, I sent out a couple of books, and then I went into the chatroom.
I was in the chatroom for probably about two days, when a girl came in, and asked if we knew about PBS, you mean the channel?

No, there is a trade a book site that is similar and it is called paperbackswap, and we have it nicknamed PBS.  So I was curious, and went and joined.  My life was forever changed,  how?
I have met so many new friends (one that I am going to meet in person two weeks from today!! Can't wait!!), visited a few in their homes, written letters, exchanged gifts, we are friends on facebook, have each others phone numbers, addresses, and we text.
I am even unable to name all of my friends on there, and I refuse to name even just a few, for fear the ones I forget will haunt me!!
But I cannot ever forget Richard.  About a year or so into Richard and Robert created PBS, Robert decided to do something else with his life, and left it all in the hands of Richard.  He has done a wonderful, beautiful job with his baby.
I remember one time about three years ago, a bunch of us were in chat, and Richard came wandering in (which he does every so often), and then a new person came in asking questions, so I went for it, and was answering all this person's questions about the site.  Richard came to me in whisper saying *you go Shey!*  I was so proud.  Richard was encouraging, and very helpful, and he totally brightened my day, I will never forget that.

In February 2009, after a number of friends had encouraged me to become a Tour Guide, I took the test, I failed it, but I also know that I took the test in like ten minutes, not doing any proper research, or looking for the answers.

So I simply kept myself as the guardian of the chat.  Well, in January of 2010, again a number of friends encouraged me to become a tour guide, I again took the test, and by studying, taking my time, and really thinking about not just the questions, but the answers, I passed.  So for anyone who says they failed the test, so did I my first time........Keep trying!!
In 2007-2008 I went through a bad ending of a not so great marriage, and my friends at PBS were there for me, two weeks after my  husband told me he was leaving, I went and stayed with a friend that I had met in chat, that gave me some down time, and a way to look at life differently.  My friends from PBS totally got me through that bad year.  Then they were with me again when I had a roommate, and things weren't going so well for us, and I had to again make a change in my life.
My friends from PBS know my life inside out, who I am, what I do, and why I am, the way I am, and they love me besides all that.  And I return that love.
Okay, I have hogged this discussion enough, back to what PBS is all about.
I said that I was a tour guide, lets start with that.  A Tour Guide, is basically what it sounds like, we answer questions, help navigate people around the site, and help them work out problems.  If it is beyond our expertise, we sometimes have to send them to The Team.  But usually we can solve problems with just a few well worded questions, and some calm and collected (HA) thoughts.
Okay, to the other parts of PBS:
There is the simple trading of books, you can post ten or however many books you  have sitting around in  your home, just taking up space, and for the first ten (first ten ONLY) books you post, you get two start up credits.  Each credit after that has to be earned.
What happens after you post these books? You hope and pray someone orders them! Now, what to do with those two little credits you have?
HAVE FUN!!  Search the ALL BOOKS section, find your favorite author, find a new one, order your child her favorite bedtime story.
It is one credit per book, doesn't matter if it is paperback, or hardback, they are all the same one little bitty credit!
Now lets say you have been a member for about a year, and you have sent out about 15 books, but ooops, you have spent all your credits, and while you were at your bookclub today, someone mentioned another book they were reading, but it isn't at the library, and woe, you don't have any more credits, what is a person to do?  You can buy them if you like.
They are $3.45 each, which think about it honestly, that IS cheaper than a book nearly any day!
Okay, lets say it is your first time sending a book out, Wow, what do I do, there are so many rules, and so many things I have to remember!
Here are the basics: Make sure the book is in swappable condition (nothing icky, ucky on it), no missing pages, or cover, no writing or highlighting within the text of the pages.
Do you not have a printer, or its out of ink, or it decided to go stupid on you the other day? no worries, you can write out the person's address, we supply that too.
Just make sure you wrap it properly, some people like it to be wrapped in plastic wrap (please no Press and Seal, that stuff leaves a HORRIBLE sticky mess on the book afterwards!) some use larger quart and gallon sized zipper type resealable bags.  Some use the labels off the site, others write it out.  Some use the paper the site suggests, some use bubble wrap, sometimes I use just a plain small box with the brown postal paper.
I am going to give a suggestion that some agree with, others don't, TAPE THAT SUCKER, but don't tape it so much that the person who gets it can't open it, but once it goes thru the post office machines, they mangle those packages.
Few years ago, one summer, I got so many packages ripped open, I was fortunate just to even receive one book!
There are so many other things to the site, the new Market Place, the Kiosk, the blog, the Electic Pen, The Recipe section.
Members of PBS don't just become members, they are a family that will never be forgotten, Thank you Richard for doing this for us, it has made our lives so much better!
























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