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The Sci-fi and Fantasy Book Club Message Board › Suggestion about meet-up RSVPS (and the unloading of free books)

Suggestion about meet-up RSVPS (and the unloading of free books)

A former member
Post #: 126
I've noticed a pattern: that (more or less) the same people always seem to get in on the reservations for book discussions, and a likewise similarity among those of us on the waiting list. I suspect those who always RSVP first have smart phones, always have them on (and near/on their person), and thus always are the first to be able to react to a particular Meet-Up announcement. Some of us don't have smart phones, or may work somewhere where we are required to secure such devices before going into our work areas. Might I suggest a "first refusal" for those of us who don't get into one meeting for one on a later date? Is that possible?

Also, it would be nice if books were given first to those who haven't got a book, yet, and want one.
Springfield, VA
Post #: 112
@Erik – Actually, the Discussion Board is not the proper forum for airing concerns, or providing feedback. An email to the Organizers would be more appropriate in the future. But, let me address it since you’ve thrown it out here.

The topic (and angst) concerning Waiting Lists continues to come up with some regularity. However, this is, to be absolutely frank, actually a non-problem! The key is to simply not fret about whether you IMMEDIATELY get onto the ATTENDING list (or not), and just let the process work itself out. In the history of this book club, we rarely, if ever, have folks actually be denied a seat at our book discussions!!! And, since we first began instituting the additional (Morning) sessions, this has effectively accommodated all of our members who choose to attend. Still, just because you keep finding yourself on the WAITING list at the outset of the RSVP process does NOT mean that you won't be able to attend one of our discussions! As the list’s name implies…just wait! [In fact, you have ALWAYS made it into every event for which you’ve RSVD’d, in your 5 months as a member.] And, since you are a new member, you'll soon see that, each time we open the Morning Session (usually a week or so before the discussion date) for any one book, the make-up of the initial ATTENDING list changes dramatically. Almost all of the Waiting List folks get into one or the other session at that point. And then, if there happen to be folks left hanging on the Waiting list - we have started using a larger room at Houlihan's in order to accommodate adding those folks, too. It is NOT our policy to prevent attendance...neither is it to make the process stressful!!! But, we do need cooperation and understanding. With a membership count that is on the precipice of cresting 600 (DANG!), we really DO need some mechanism for controlling what might be an otherwise wholesale free-for-all in the RSVP process. [It would be sort of like a “shamble-pede” on the “Free Brains” booth at a Million-Zombie-March!] The happy truth is, we are an extremely popular book group, and MUST have methods for equitably supporting our membership. That is why it is VITAL that everybody keep their RSVPs up to date, and monitor the site with a fair amount of regularity. Oh, and some additional points to keep in mind are:

A) Everyone who wants to get into a discussion, and is willing to be at least somewhat flexible, has generally gotten in,
B) New Meetups are announced after 6pm in order to make it fair for anyone working in a secure area, or with restricted Internet access,
C) The Waitlisters already get first crack at morning sessions, before they're announced, and,
D) The reason we have waitlists and no-show policies is primarily to maintain the quality of our discussions, and to make it easier for us and the venue to plan for sizing.

So, in fact, our current system works quite well, and is effectively serving our members. Yet, it merely requires a bit of patience and perseverance. Thank you for exercising both!

As for your idea of "right of first refusal" – that would only cause undue disparity among members, and would just require a LOT more work on the part of the Organizers - to keep track, to send email requests, etc.; all of which would hinder and delay the process unnecessarily. For what it's worth, I ask that you please have faith in the existing system, and know that we CONSTANTLY are looking for new/better ways to make it work.

Now, as to your comment about giving out books - I'm not sure exactly to what you're referring? But, if it is this with regard to the free advanced copies we sometimes receive from publishers - those are usually circulated around in a fairly casual manner. It is neither a right nor an expectation as a member of this group – it’s merely a perk that has come our way for being so…well…large, successful, and active. So if you didn't get one, please keep an eye out, and one will probably turn up in the future! Make friends and see who might be finishing one soon! Check around. And even though folks are certainly welcome to keep those free copies once they are given... since they are advanced copies (and not final, edited, proofed, published versions), most of us are pretty content to read and rotate them along. But, understand that when you accept one of these free copies, there is a strong expectation that you will provide a review of the book. Otherwise – why should the publishers continue sending them to us??? And, to be honest, I have yet to see any disparity AT ALL in the method by which these are being distributed!!! We sometimes hand them out as prizes at events [In fact, at the Halloween Party (which you opted not to attend), and after the limited-quantity books were handed out as prizes for costumes, then everybody that wanted a book was able to choose from the remaining stock! In fact, there were enough to go around for all! And, those same books are currently being re-circulated even now. I saw one passed along just yesterday morning.] Or, sometimes it is simply, "Hey, who wants...?" when a book is handed back to one of us for recirculation. The trick to the latter would be to hold your hand up faster, I guess, or speak up more quickly. We do not (WILL not!) log or keep track of such matters - so it’s really up to you to stay vigilant, and to attend regularly, in order to optimize your chances of getting a free book.

I hope this clarifies matters for you, and I hope to see you at future events.
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