twittering

January 7, 2009

Thought it was about time I not only had a twitter account but that We Swap Books had one as well, so

http://twitter.com/weswapbooks

Follow for site updates and other inane stuff from my head.

Competition

January 1, 2009

CompetitionAnnouncing our first competition at We Swap Books, running throughout January 2009.

To find out more,  click here

1st prize is £25 in book tokens. Kind of excited about this and hoping for a good turnout, this being our first competition. Also in the next few weeks I hope to send only the 2nd issue of our newsletter.

Recommended Books

December 22, 2008

This Christmas the Scottish Book Trust has reviewed 16 books that they recommend for Christmas presents. Some fantastic books on this list, including one of my favourites “Day of the Triffids”.

The list can be found at the URL below.

http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/adults/books/recommended-reading/book-of-the-month-christmas-special

Great list and some great stocking fillers if you’re stuck for an idea.

And also to all our swappers we hope you have a Merry Christmas  and a Happy New Year.

DESIGN

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve changed the design and layout of the site. We’ve removed the 4 tabs from the top of the screen “WESWAP”, “HOWSWAP” etc. and replaced them with an easier to use drop down menu. We’ve also replaced the menu on the left with more of an interactive menu allowing you to get access to the Fiction and History section pages faster. We hope these changes make the site a more enjoyable experience.

The site is also more cross browser friendly now. Layout problems that existed in FireFox should have been fixed, we’re still ironing out some of the issues but we think we’ve got the majority of them.

HELP

You may also notice on some pages now, we have a small question mark in a speech bubble. Clicking this image wherever it appears will open a help popup that will explain the page. These have been added around the site along with a new and improved help section, available from the top menu. We added these to help explain some of the issues some of you were encountering on the site.

AWARDS

Some of our swappers have proven themselves to be great members. They add interesting books and send your book to you promptly. Using the site myself I know that there are some swappers I can depend on to get their book to me quickly. So how do we award these swappers…awards.

The swappers who go above and beyond will now be rewarded by assigning them awards. We have awards starting at white award (to signify more than 5 completed swaps with positive feedback) all the way up to gold award. We’ll be assigning these to some of our members in the next few days, I’ll drop an email to let you know if you’ve been awarded an award.

If you don’t get an award this time round please be assured this does not mean we view you as a bad swapper, bad swappers we ban. So if you don’t get an award please don’t be down hearted, we still value you as a swapper.

FORUM

A small change we’ve made to the forum is email notification. Now if you post a reply or start a discussion in the forum you can receive an email whenever any replies to your thread. We’ve also fixed some small bugs and layout issues with the font.

We would encourage all of our swappers to go the forum and introduce yourself, also have a look in the Book Wanted forum…you never know, you might have the book someone is looking for.

ADVERTS

We hope these don’t detract from your enjoyment of the site. Thing is that the site does have expenses (promotion and hosting costs), so to counterbalance these expenses we have had to incorporate more adverts in the site. Again, we don’t think these will get in the away of your enjoyment of the site.

FEEDBACK

We’ve tried to make it more noticeable in your member section when you have to leave feedback for other swappers. The % score beneath other swappers names is a percentage of how much of their feedback left was positive feedback. If you don’t leave feedback for other swappers then we are left with a score that is not a true representation of that persons worth to the forum. So please, if you haven’t left feedback for a book you have received please do it now. Thanks.

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We hope you enjoy all the changes we’ve made to the site. In January we’ll be sending out a newsletter and we’ll be announcing detail of our first competition. That’s right, our first competition so keep your eyes peeled for that.

In the meantime if you’d like to leave any feedback or ask a question on the site changes, then please leave feedback and questions either here on the blog or here on the forum and I will answer them as quickly as I can.

So this is Christmas

December 11, 2008

Being a patron of Royal Mail, and I know most of you other swappers are as well, thenI thought I would post the usual Christmas update from Royal Mail.

For more Christmas info from Royal Mail, click here

By the way quick update on the new site. I plan to start moving the new site over to the live server this weekend. I realise I’ve been pushing the new features but I think you’ll notice the new design more than the new features. Some of the new features include swappers awards, a January Competition, a tidied up member and help section and next year I plan to add email alerts and being our USA site.

Browsing through the Scotsman website when I found their recommends section and in it, some book related lists so I thought I’d post some links to the ones I found the most enjoyable.

Best Scottish Author : A bit disappointed not to see Rankin on here but then I’ve never read Burns, maybe if I had I would understand. RLS the best author from Scotland and I would say certainly in the top 10 of worlds best…but then being Scottish I’m biased.

Best Scottish Children’s Author

Best Football Book : Glad I found this list, “A season with Verona” just jumped to the top of my “have to read” list.

Best Book Scottish Location : Don’t really get this one but enjoyed it all the same.

Best 2nd hand bookshops in Scotland

Sorry for anyone outside Scotland who wanted more than Scottish book lists but then I think you can understand why The Scotsman would concentrate on those in particular.

As you probably guessed the changes I had in mind for the site for the 1st of November weren’t ready for then. I’m almost finished all the changes (the main one being a site restructure and redesign) and I hope to have everything up and running for January.

I would also like to give a tip to people who run their own websites. During this last month I have been building the new site and it has taken time. Lots of content, functionality and design bits to be readjusted and tested. So as a result I haven’t been promoting the existing site as much. In fact not at all. Don’t ever let yourself fall into this trap. Your site always, ALWAYS, needs promoted. I’ve learned my lesson.

I will hopefully post a screenshot of the new design and a list of features, hopefully before the end of November, so keep your eyes peeled.

I am a huge fan of the Kurt Wallander books by Henning Mankell and was pleased to discover this morning that on Sunday, this Sunday the 30th of November, shown on BBC1 at 9pm will be the first of three TV Movies adapted from Mankells books.

Some more information on this blog, including excerpts from a Branagh interview : http://eurocrime.blogspot.com/2008/11/wallander-bbc-interviews-branagh.html

Like I say I am a huge fan and I’m suprised they got such a notable actor like Kenneth Branagh to play Wallander. Being filmed in Sweden, this has all the ingredients to be great.

Fingers Crossed.

Royal Mail Warning

October 17, 2008

A lot of us use Royal Mail to post books to one another, so I thought it might be prudent to post a warning message here about a couple of things when dealing with Royal Mail

1. Make sure you have copied the other persons address correctly. Double check if you have to. We’ve had a couple of rare occasions where books are returned to sender because the address wasn’t recognised. It’s unclear why this occured but I’m putting my money on incorrect addresses, so please double check before going to the post office.

2. This has been confirmed by Royal Mail and the Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 09066 611 911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize .

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072 396 655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) at www.icstis.org.uk

 

On a side note the new design looks great, might post a preview here next week.

state of the union

October 1, 2008

I seem to have fallen out with the guys who run gumtree. Not sure why, but they say they see me as competition to their swapping section. Even though they have ads for titletrader and other swapping websites on there. Difference being these guys paid for their ads, I wanted free ones. At the moment the site makes no money…none. So I’m trying to stick to free advertisements, not easy online I can tell you. I do sometimes post the odd ad on facebook but believe me, I’m not doing that on a regular basis…simply can’t afford to.

It’s a bit frustrating just now because I would like to plough on with the new and improved We Swap Books, but it’s proving a little difficult. After 3 years my wife and I have almost completed our house (just need to paint the hall, get a new front door and then carpet the hall) so finally, finally that nightmare is almost at an end. And I’m building a website for one of my wife’s friends so again, it’s tough to get time. But the new website is going to rock…hopefully it’ll be up and running soon.

New features are going to include email alerts, improved members section, new design, the USA site and much more. Also going to try and remove the book comments and replace it with more of a book rating system, but that is proving difficult, so for this update I might not get around to that.

Keep your eyes peeled though because the new site is on the way.