Did You Know? Idea Exchange Allows for Customization

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Since ABA launched new forum software on the Idea Exchange section of BookWeb.org last November, countless booksellers have been taking advantage of the new, user-friendly forums and the increased flexibility the new software provides. However, even the most experienced Idea Exchange participants may not be familiar with some of the many options that are now offered. To help ABA member booksellers get the most out of their online virtual community, here's a look at some of the highlights of Idea Exchange's many features.

Among the options built into the new forum software are a number that allow booksellers to customize their experience -- from determining how many posts per page they would like to view to what personal information is or isn't shared with colleagues to private messaging. Making things easy, many of these choices can be accessed via the "My Profile" page.

Users looking to edit their forums should navigate to the My Profile link, which can be found at the top of the Idea Exchange homepage.

Once at the My Profile page, booksellers are offered six choices:

  1. Change My Information. This option allows users to edit how they view the forums and how others view their profile. Here, users can choose whether or not other forum participants can see their name and/or e-mail address. Also, the Change My Information page provides the user a way to change how many posts per page they want to view. The default is five posts per page, but a forum participant can increase this number to 10, 15, or even 50 posts per page. Furthermore, users should go here if they wish to change their time zone, or if they want to provide their Yahoo, AOL, ICQ, or MSN ID.

  2. Change My Avatar. Here, users are provided the option of uploading their avatar. (An avatar is a digital representation of a user.) Only JPG, GIF, or PNG files are allowed. Maximum file size is 60k. Width and height must be less than 150 pixels.

  3. Change My Signature. Users can change or add a signature that will appear at the end of each of their postings.
  1. My Watches. Clicking here gives users a listing of all their forum thread "watches." The Watch This Thread feature can be found at the top of each thread. This feature allows users the ability to track via daily e-mail notifications any new postings to a thread they find interesting. The My Watches link at the My Profile page lists users' chosen watches and provides them the opportunity to delete them.

  2. My Favorite Threads. Similar to My Watches, this page provides users with a list of their favorite threads. To create a favorite thread, simply click the Add to My Favorites feature, which can be found at the top of each forum thread.

  3. Find All My Posts. As the link suggests, clicking here provides users with a searchable listing of every post they have made. Users can search by keyword, forum category, date, or whether the message contained an attachment. Users can also limit or expand their search's results per page.

  4. My Private Messages. The My Private Messages page looks and navigates in the same manner as most e-mail mailboxes (e.g., Yahoo or Hotmail) and provides users with a listing of all the private messages they have received or sent. Private Messages may be sent through the My Profile page or simply by clicking on the "author" of a particular thread. This will expand to the author's profile and then the sender need only click on the "PM" icon next in the Member ID field. Users can view their Inbox, Draft, Sent, or Trash Folders, and delete, move, or mark as unread, any of their private messages.

Other links found at the top of the Idea Exchange homepage are:

  • The BookWeb homepage. Clicking here brings the user to the BookWeb.org homepage, where they can choose from a number of different features, including links to Bookselling This Week, Book Sense This Week, the Book Sense Bestseller Lists, featured BookWeb items, and more.

  • Recent Threads. As the name suggests, clicking this link provides the user with a listing of the most recent forum threads in the different forums. This includes options to sort by date, author, replies, and views, which all can be arranged by ascending or descending order.

  • Search or Help menus. The Search menu will allow the user to search the forums via keywords or by member name in all forums or in one particular forum. The user can also determine the number of results per page. The Help menu offers the user a wide range of information, from how to change a profile to creating and formatting posts.

The Idea Exchange Forums are open to ABA bookstore and provisional members only. To participate, booksellers must have a BookWeb Account, which they can easily create through a link on the BookWeb homepage.