Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodreads rescue!

Goodreads needs you. No seriously, they do.

The reason being, on January 30th Goodreads will stop getting their data from Amazon. I'm re-posting the message from Goodreads: (click here to go to the original link)

At Goodreads, we make it a priority to use book information from the most reliable and open data sources, because it helps us build the best experience for our members. To that end, we're making a major change.

On January 30, Goodreads will no longer display book information that comes from Amazon.

Amazon's data has been great for us for many years, but the terms that come with it have gotten more and more restrictive, and we were finally forced to come to the conclusion that moving to other datasources will be better for Goodreads and our members in so many ways that we had to do it. It may be a little painful, but our aim is to make it as seamless as possible for all our members. Amazon data that we will stop using includes data such as titles, author names, page counts, and publication dates. For the vast majority of book editions, we are currently importing this data from other sources. Once the imports are done, those few remaining editions for which we haven't found an alternative source of information will be removed from Goodreads.

Member ratings, reviews, and bookshelves are safe, but your data may be moved to a different edition of the book. If we can't find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author. But the good news is that there's a way you can help.

Today, we are announcing new tools to help Goodreads Librarians source data for the books that need rescuing.

To view these new tools, click here and click "rescue me!" next to any of the books on the list. You will then see a form with data to fill in and some helpful guidelines for where to locate said data.

Early next week, we will be importing a database of 14 million ISBNs from a new source, so many of the books that seem to need rescue today may not actually be in jeopardy. We won't know until we import this new data source. So please don't spend a lot of time rescuing books—we don't want you to do unnecessary work. What we really need is for everyone to try rescuing a few books to see if the tools are working as we hoped. That way, once next week rolls around, we'll be ready to get down to the business or rescuing the books that actually are in jeopardy.

Thanks for helping Goodreads remain the amazing resource and special place it is. Hopefully all of this work will result in an even more robust Goodreads database, a database that, with your help, is already one of the best book databases in the world, and will last the ages. The rescue link:

What this means for authors is that there's a chance your book might get moved to a page with no name or author on it. The reviews will still be there but the book won't have a title.

Luckily there are things we can all do. If you have a Goodreads account and have a few reviews under your belt, you can become a Goodreads Librarian and help rescue the books. All you have to do is use a physical copy or look the information up on a site that isn't a merchant site. I've been using WorldCat, which is basically a lookup of library sites.

If you don't have a Goodreads account and want to become a librarian, all you need to do is sign up, review 50 books, and then apply to become a librarian. (Click here for a link to the application.)

It only takes minutes to save these books as they are now, but it'll take a lot longer to upload them after the 30th.


Updating this to say that if your books are only on sites such as Amazon or B&N, all you really have to do is verify that you have a physical copy and vouch for the information. I figure that even if the copy is a Kindle version or from a self-published source, it still qualifies. From what I've gathered from the GR post, all that the site really wants is to verify that the information is correct and true.


  1. Thanks for your informative blog, but I'm a self-published author, so all of my books are available ONLY at bookseller sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords, and, Siren/Bookstrand). So, what should indie authors do? It's possible the ARe ones can be considered a publisher site because of the way they had me sign up there. (I have two of my three books at BookStrand, but don't plan to have any others there. Their royalties are too small and sales volume really low.)

    I'd appreciate any advice as I try to "rescue" my RESCUE ME series at Goodreads.



  2. As long as you have a copy of your book, you can rescue it. I forgot to mention that! It doesn't matter if it's an e-copy or a paper copy, if you have the book in hand, you can still rescue it! I figure that even if authors don't, you still have all of the information in hand and can vouch for your own works.

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  4. The vast majority of my e-book purchases are by authors I've liked before, or through recs. I'll occasionally balk at a book with a truly hideous cover, if it's bad enough that I seriously don't want to encourage that publisher to ever do anything like that again. :P

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