SantaThing - LibraryThing does Secret Santa
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That's right, SantaThing is back for a second year! The blog announcement is here.
What is SantaThing? It's our way of playing Secret Santa with other LibraryThing members. Basically, you pay $25. You'll get the name of another member, and then you pick out $20 worth of books for them. Someone else will be doing the same for you. LibraryThing buys the books, pays the shipping, and everyone gets a fun holiday surprise.
And anyone can go ahead and suggest books to give to the people signed up!
Sign up here:
This makes me so happy I cannot even tell you.
So I'm guessing you guys figured a way around the amazon/credit-card issue?
Awesome! I can't wait. I missed it last year and have heard such great things about it.
Abby: I signed up, and then tried to use the back button to make an addition to my suggestions. Now I'm on there twice. Sorry. Can you fix it, huh, can ya?
I promise to stay away from the back button from now on.
I have one question, how do you pay? Is it strictly through PayPal? (I guess that's two questions)
edited to add
Forget it, I feel totally stupid... I guess I should have clicked over one more page to get my own answer.
Hope this doesn't turn into the epic of last year.
ANd I'm glad Tim's favourite Terms and Conitions are there:
"To receive a copy of these Rules and Conditions, print them out, put them in a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail them to yourself, or to a friend willing to take part in such madness.
Gee, I pretty much forgot my hideously rotten day when I read this. Thanks to all of you at LT! Here's hoping your new, hassle-free shopping plan works (there is one, right?).
Yay! this was fun last year, can't wait to get my surprise again this year.
However, this year the $25 US just cost me $31.31 Canadian...
So, is it US only again?
edited to say: ok... I read the blog post. Question has been answered :(:(:(:(
18:Is there something you'd like to tell us Tim? There's no judgment here....:)
Tim - For some reason, I didn't think that sounded like Abby. Honestly, I caught the difference in style and tone in three words. Cool.
#5 What exactly makes your mustache evil? Does it steal from other mustaches or attempt world domination while you're not looking?
As I ponder that, I'm going over to Paypal and doing this up. :)
I so want to do this, and I really can't afford it. I hate being broke and unemployed. :(
Hey. We got some contributions recently from members, and we don't need them. So, if anyone--let's say anyone who's been around for more than 2 months and who has 50 books entered--feels they don't have the
money, but would be willing to pick a gift thoughtfully*, sign up anyway and put "Special Fund" in the PayPal area and send me a note. If more than ten people do it, I'll ask people to stop, or see if there are any other contributors out there willing to help.
*Maybe you could also be willing to pick gifts for others. Last year we have a few people not pick gifts, and it was a big burden for us.
I'm lucky enough to be employed and unbroke for the moment, so I'd be willing to say, "sponsor" someone who wouldn't otherwise be able to participate... let me know.
alynnk that is awesomely thoughtful! That's like a gift times two!
I'm employed, but not quite unbroke enough to sponsor others... but I'd be more than happy to volunteer my services again as a "picker" for people whose Santas fell down on the job.
Maybe this year there won't be *any* deadbeat Santas! Well, I can hope... :)
Eek--I can see comments that have been made on my listing, even though I am signed in. I was a good girl and clicked away before I could read (much of) them, but I thought we weren't supposed to be able to see those?
It's open for now. We'll lock it once the sign up closes, and the actual Santas start submitting their gift picks. In the meantime, it's up to you whether you want to see the comments or not!
I have to say, the commenting / suggesting might get pretty addicting. I adore the challenge of trying to figure out what someone else might love.
Due unforeseen circumstances I won't be participating but would love to be a guest picker if the need arises. It would be fun to pick books for someone. Let me know!
I can also sponsor someone who would like to participate but can't. Just let me know.
33> I'm in the same boat as you, cal8769.
Please do let us know if you need more SBPs in the event of DBS.
(That's Substitute Book Pickers in the event of Dead Beat Santas).
This is probably a stupid question, but here goes:
So, I spotted someone on LibraryThing I want to Santa. But I don't know their RL adress, so how do I fill out the sign-up form?
Welcome to LibraryThing!
No problem. Feel free to ask any question.
The way LibraryThing Secret Santa works is that you don't pick your own recipient. LT assigns a recipient to you and handles the mailing so that each individual's mailing address is never revealed to anyone else, ensuring each member's privacy.
The form is filled out with *your* real name and *your* mailing address. In that way, only LibraryThing knows where to mail the gift that you are to receive.
ETA: Please note that Secret Santa is only open to people who live in the US, UK, or Canada. I noticed that many books in your library were in German and didn't want you to sign up for Secret Santa only later to find out that, if you live in Germany, you would not be able to participate.
Ah. Shame. I would have liked to give someone in the UK something. And yes, I'm in germany.
Too bad you can't participate, but you *can* suggest books for others. Perhaps in the future other countries will be also able to participate in Secret Santa.
Anyway, stick around and have a look into all the nooks and crannies here at LibraryThing. It's amazing.
Haben Sie einen glücklichen Feiertag!
I'm curious where library thing will be buying the books from. Could they focus on buying from indie booksellers? Do they buy new or used books? Do they buy the cheapest copy, or the most expensive?
or is it all through the great behemoth Amazon?
just curious...sound like a great idea.
We're doing it from Amazon. I wish we weren't, but we are. The discounts and the shipping breaks for AmazonPrime make this possible. As does the fact that Amazon has set up a corporate account for us now, so we don't get changed over and over for each package shipped, which made our bank insane.
I'm sorry about Germany. It's generally assumed this is some anti-German thing. But doing it in many countries presents real problems for us. We can afford Amazon prime in our largest three countries, maybe.* Doing it in Germany for four or five people wouldn't work. So we'd be paying full fare for overnighting books around Germany. That's after we got a German to help us order the stuff. Beyond a few European countries, it just gets impossible. If one Czech user signs up, what do we do? They send themselves a package? We overnight from Germany?
*Amazon Prime costs $79 in the US. Assuming free shipping and $20 average purchase—people went over too often last year—we make $5 on each SantaThing user. But to get the free shipping, we need to buy Amazon prime. So we need at least 16 SantaThing members in a country or we're losing money. While we are happy to put in huge amounts of time to break even—and, last year, getting all our wives to agree to putting LT money on personal credit cards, to avoid triggering fraud watches!—losing money overnighting books around Europe is a hard sell.
#15 - when I signed up this afternoon my $25 US cost me $32.12 Canadian. Yikes.
Have signed up for the first time - this is such a wonderful idea!
Any German want to explain whether this helps us? http://www.amazon.de/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=504950
Any German want to explain whether this helps us?
It doesn't appear to. It explains that premium delivery is 6 euros per item (or free with Amazon Prime) to get you next day delivery. Overnight is more. Standard delivery is 1-3 days for books within Germany (through Amazon, not through Marketplace). Shipping on orders of 20 euros or more with standard shipping qualifies for free shipping (again, not marketplace). The free standard shipping offer applies to orders from Amazon.de to Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
For Standard Delivery:
Germany 1-3 business days
Austria 1-3 business days
Switzerland 3-9 business days
Liechtenstein 3-9 business days
Luxembourg 2-3 business days
How much of a time-crunch are you going to have?
No. Orders of 20 euros or more qualify for free standard shipping (with the delivery times I quoted above). Amazon Prime is 29 euros. Amazon Prime for the .de only applies to shipping within Germany.
But you get free standard shipping within Germany (and for some other countries as well) on orders of 20 euros or more. And according to Amazon, standard shipping within Germany takes only 1-3 business anyways.
But 20 euros is more than $20. (A bit over 26, in fact.) So it doesn't help.
Amazon Prime is 29 Euros, but only helps inside Germany. Leaves us poor members in Austria, etc. still out in the cold. Maybe if we had to be a double Santa to take part? Then the shipping would be free.
(Actually still wouldn't help me as paypal doesn't work for me.)
A couple of questions:
1) Given the exchange rate, can orders from amazon.ca cost $25?
2) Why do you have the restriction on books under $5? Lots of books cost $15 or $16, and it would be nice to be able to get two books rather than just one.
Abby/Tim - This is a great idea, thanks. Among other things, it's fun to see everyone describe what kind of books they like.
1. Given the exchange rate, can orders from amazon.ca cost $25?
Yes. We should make that clear. Whatever the exchange rate is, is fine.
2. Why do you have the restriction on books under $5? Lots of books cost $15 or $16, and it would be nice to be able to get two books rather than just one.
I think it was because of shipping concerns. But now that we're using Amazon Prime, that might not be a problem.
Here I was assuming the restriction was so you'd have fewer people padding an order with Dover books to get to exactly $20, giving you a bit more of a cushion of $16 and $17 orders. ;)
What about U.S. territories such as Guam? We have a normal U.S. postal address here on base. (military)
>54 smartblonde: I don't know LT's policy, but they will be using Amazon Prime. Shipping with Amazon Prime is for continental US only, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, P.O. boxes, APO/FPO and U.S. territories, possessions and protectorates.
#45/48: Standard shipping for books is always free for deliveries from amazon.de to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. There is no 20 Euro limit on books for these countries.
Yes, you're right.
What would need to be taken into consideration is the varying VAT for the different countries.
>50 _Zoe_:, 52
Yes, orders from Canada can cost $25. When you get the "instruction page" (once we pick your Santa-ees), I have it saying to pick out books that don't exceed a total of $20 US / 13.5 GBP / $25 Canadian dollars
I personally have no problem with cheaper books padding out the order. I'm just afraid people will get confused and add used Amazon marketplace copies to pad it out (which we *can't* use Amazon prime to ship with, and often they take weeks to show up). I'll get rid of the "can't buy books under $5" rule though.
Why? I think it would be nice for people to get maximum value out of this. And with 300+ orders, you should easily cover the Amazon Prime costs even if some people go over.
No, you can get more than 2 books. Just don't get TWENTY one dollar books...
1. I can still see comments on my SantaThing Gift page from before SantaThing sign-up closed. Will we be able to see new comments?
2. "Choose your gift by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page." -- I feel stupid for asking this question, but can Tim or Abby elaborate more. This seems very vague. What information do you need? Title & Author? Amazon link? Edition specifications?
Should we worry if our recipient has an international location on their profile? You would catch that right?
Good call - we need to lock it shut so you can't peek at your own still...
Leave a link to the item or items in the comments; also leave the title and ISBN, if there is one -- as it says in the directions :)
Don't worry, I went through and looked at all the addresses one by one. They might have an international address on their profile, but a US/Canadian/UK mailing address listed for SantaThing.
Is there a way to determine what country the mailing address is in, or do we just guess from the profile? I ask, because it makes a significant difference what books are available through the corresponding Amazon. And how much they are.
Oh no I didn't think about the potential they might cost more on the uk/ca version or not be there ... uh oh.
Better going check out my pics again lol
74/75: Maybe the blurbs could be labeled for the country? Even if it was only the UK and CA ones, since I think there's less of those.
Not easy to automate, since we didn't have people check a "country" box when entering their address...
79>we didn't have people check a "country" box when entering their address
Next year! :-)
I hope someone Secret Santas Tim and Abby the book How Does Aspirin Find a Headache? They'll need it after this . . .
Thank you guys, for the end of semester treat of having something to wrack my brain over other than my research! Email me if you have some "deadbeats" you need help with; I can probably help some.
Seeing all the thoughtful, deliberate choices people are making for their SS, and the kind little notes that are accompanying many of them, it's given me such a warm, holiday feeling. I haven't been feeling particularly holly/jolly lately; leave it to LT to perk up my holiday spirit. Is there anything this Thing can't do?
I do wish there was more I could do to help! If you need a volunteer elf, let me know...
I have two books in mind, one shows delivery in 3-4 weeks, the other is in stock. Can I do this, send one now with the other to follow?
Another question, looking at the targets library, looks like Canada resident. Can I go with amazon.ca as long as i give an alternate book if you need to go to amazon.com? Book is available on .ca, but not on .com
If I give alternates, do I get feedback on which book actually gets sent?
I didn't last year, and I listed a pair of options. I had a plan A for my recipient that was a few dollars over, and a plan B in case the few dollars was too far above $20.
Please do go with amazon.ca
As long as there's something showing up ASAP, I think it's ok if a second book shows up later... Any one else have opinions on that?
Oh, and no. You're not likely to get feedback on alternatives. When we get into ordering mode, it's more like GO GO GO DON'T LOOK BACK!
Though I think sometimes we left a comment on the SantaThing page saying which book we ended up ordering...
Edited to remove something silly and add this question...
What do you do when someone only spends like $10,$11, $12 instead of trying to hit $20?
Should we be trying to leave a cushion or hit $20?
I think I may have discovered why some people might have went over $25 (and equivalent) last year. Amazon occasionally runs sales that aren't real apparent when looking at individual items. One day (say, the day the book was chosen), the cost adds up fine while the next (say, the day the order was made), the cost is over.
I noticed one of these sales on Amazon.co.uk that ended on Tuesday or so.
Just an observation. :-)
Go to the SantaThing page. Click on the link for the person you were assigned. Post your picks there.
Does anyone know if we will be able to see what members suggested for us(all suggestions) after x-mas?
Yup, we'll un-block the comments so you can see all your suggestions later on.
Yay that's exciting.
Thank you to all of you for putting in long hours (I'm sure). This has been so much fun reading and suggesting.
Thanks again for doing Secret Santa again this year. It's such a fun event.
Thanks, too, to those of you who helped Tim, Sonya, and Abby finish up the ordering.
I'm curious as to how the ordering went this year. I'm thinking it was better, but still kind of hectic due to those Secret Santas who forgot to choose books for their Santa-ees.
Yay! My SantaThing package arrived today all bright and shiny and book-filled! Thanks Tim and crew for organising it and thank you so much for letting me take part even though I was too broke to pay the $25. Tim and the Special Fund reminded me that Christmas spirit is still alive an kicking. I've missed out on all the Christmas parties this year because I was too brassic to go so it was great to have the opportunity to take part in something fun and festive. You guys are Good People! :) HO!HO!HO!
Mine arrived this morning too - thanks to all at LT for organizing this, and thanks, jgoto, for picking such great books!
Which means, I think, that I'll have to hike down to the post office way the heck down 9th Street*. If, that is, they can even be bothered to leave me the notification (they didn't with the last box I got sent).
*The USPS maintains an outpost much closer to me, but they don't hold stuff there.
*squee* My books arrived! Thank you all so much, especially the LT staff for organizing SantaThing and my Santa Tmyers526 for the awesome picks. Y'all rock!
Yaaay! All the hard work and Amazonning paid off!
The process worked pretty well, I have to say. We were able to just start in on all those who chose for their Santa on Friday, and that gave the AdoptedSantas a good amount of time to choose for those whose Santa didn't choose. (There was at least one instance of a blizzard getting between the Santa and their Santee.)
Abby and her wife did a late-night set of ordering, then I picked up the next morning. By Sunday, I think we were all a bit Amazon'd out. Abby described it as at first being an experience of 'ooh, that's a good book'. By the end, I think it was most like driving home after a long day at work. You pull in the driveway, and you don't recall driving home. I know I looked at the screen, and realized I had chosen, addressed, and sent an entire order without thinking about it. It was kind of scary. Hopefully there are no duplicates!
I'm so glad everyone is enjoying this. Just imagine next year, when we start sooner! (Abby will likely not be 9 months pregnant next year. We're all lucky that her baby hasn't come yet, or it would have directly affected SantaThing!)
We're all lucky that her baby hasn't come yet, or it would have directly affected SantaThing!
But just think how quickly Sprout's little fingers could have clicked and typed .... ;)
I got my SantaThing gift last night! UPS tried to hold it hostage, but we managed to convince them to give it up. Thank you for the picks, JoleneConnelly!
I just got my books too but the note on the receipt said it was only a partial order (even though it's two books already, one Dover) and there was no Secret Santa name so I don't know who chose for me. I got FIVE boxes from amazon today but just the "partial" from SS. Be that as it may (and it is), I am delighted with the choices. I'm so glad I did this for me this year; selfishness pays!!
My parcel arrived this afternoon! Yay!
And I second klarusu - thank you so, so much for the Special Fund that allowed those of us who are seriously broke to take part. :o)
UPS stopped by today with my Santathing goodies. Can't wait to start in on them!
Many thanks to scurry316 and the hard-working SantaThing Elves.
104> The driver tried to deliver it when we were still at work, so put it in to try for re-delivery the next day. We called and asked if we could pick it up, they said no problem, but when we got there it was MIA, so it took about half an hour of reaffirming who I am and giving the delivery sticker to about five different people, but we did finally get it! It could have been worse, but I don't think I've ever experienced such chaos when picking up a package before!
I'm not complaining, though! It really could have been much, much worse. They could have (horror) lost it.
Stupid question perhaps...how do we know who picked our books? Mine didn't have a note (and now I realize I'm a bum because I forgot a note with mine). Is a message with the order the only way to find out?
I love my books and want to say thank you!
Never mind above, I found the user name in the small print on the order form.
We'll be opening it up completely—so you can look at your comments too—on December 25.
I just got my package, and I'm really excited about it. Thanks to the LT elves and my santa, and apologies for completely dropping the ball and forgetting to pick out my books -- I'm a schmuck. Glad someone was there to pick up my slack!
My books came today! I'm looking forward to reading them. Thank you LT and my secret Santa!
Received mine yesterday. God Bless UPS braving the snow'n ice on my hill. It's a great pick, and something the roman triumph I'd never heard of. I hope my SS victim is as pleased as I am. I sent a nice note to my SS.
So, I'd prefer it if you didn't open up the comments yet, since my books haven't yet arrived....
Brother's books arrived yesterday and he is pleased. He likes the idea because it opens him up to authors/books he might never have noticed or tried. Thanks to xtrmntall for your choices.
I'm very excited about the books my Santa selected, but they still haven't arrived. :-(
Email email@example.com and she can track them down. In one case, Amazon said they delivered it but, when asked, they sent it again.
My books arrived. I couldn't say when exactly, since I was out of town over the holiday, but a neighbor collects my packages for me so I got them from her on Tuesday. I must say, I'm very impressed with my santaperson - both books are totally new to me (although I have heard of one of the authors) and both look right up my alley.
Is there a way to see my comments? Or have they not been opened up yet? Thanks for your help!
Can't you see them here?
Do you see the signup page? That's what I see when I try to open up my version.
>124 mcelhra:, 126 If you click on your listing at the top of the page, you get the signup page, but if you click on your listing within the big list of people, you should be able to see your comments.
Aha! That worked!
On the other hand, it turns out Amazon didn't quite work. I only got one of the two books named.
>128 AnnaClaire: I think amazon is sometimes just slow. I've only gotten one of my two books so far, but I emailed Sonya and she gave me the tracking number for the other one, so I know it's on the way.
Thanks Tim! For some reason I couldn't figure out how to get there on my own.
Oh, I'm sure my other book's on it's way, too. And I agree that Amazon likes to be slow: I once tried to order a textbook from them. I eventually had to cancel because it was going to take longer than it was supposed to, and upping the shipping actually delayed the predicted arrival date.
Yeah - let's give Amazon a wide berth. If anyone hasn't gotten their package/packages by January 20, email me.
sonya @ librarything.com
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