Librarian Manual
The low-down on being a Librarian on Goodreads. For more resources check out the Goodreads Librarians Group
  • How to edit book or author information

    To edit book or author information, navigate to the book or author's page, then click on the 'edit data' link which is found in the lower right side of the box containing the book or author's information. Please remember to be accurate in your edits, as your changes will be reflected on anyone's shelf who has that book.

  • Why not make everyone a librarian?

    Initially, we allowed everyone to be a librarian. Anyone could edit book and author data, add cover images, or combine books. However, we found that while 99% of the people did a good job, occasionally we had someone who messed things up. So we created a new status that we bestow on those interested in helping keep things nice and tidy, which has worked out well.

  • What can librarians do?

    Goodreads members with Librarian Status can edit book and author data, add book covers, and combine different editions of books. Each book and author has one unique entry in the Goodreads database. Librarians help correct book issues, like if the data isn't correct, or is missing things like the book description or URL.

  • How to become a librarian

    In order to become a librarian on Goodreads you must have at least 50 books in your profile, then just apply.

  • Using the book edit page

    (This topic has now been broken down into subtopics for ease in using and editing.)

    librarian change log

    add a librarian note


    sort by title


    isbn - isbn13


    published - month - day

    number of pages

  • Using the book edit page: part 2


    In this field the format/binding type of the book can be added - i.e. Hardcover, Paperback, Mass Market Paperback, Audio CD, ebook, etc.

    The format field has a drop-down box with the most common formats. Select the one that matches the book you have. If there is not an appropriate format, click on the "other" link next to the format field. The field will then turn into a text box where you can type in the format of the book. Please use the existing formats if possible (i.e. use Hardcover instead of manually listing Hardback, etc) and if manually adding a format, use correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation.


    This field is for such things as "2nd edition", "Film Tie-In Edition", "Large Print", "Special Illustrated Edition" and other edition-specific data that belongs neither in the title nor the format fields.

    The following should not be added to the edition field:
        * information regarding alternate covers (use the description and Note fields)
        * information regarding cover artists (use the description field)
        * information regarding printing number (many printings of the same ISBN and/or cover may be published)
        * retailer-specific information, such as “Nook,” “Kobo,” “Amazon,” etc.

    official URL

    This field is for entering a URL officially associated with that book, such as a page on an author's site for the book. It may also be an author or publisher's website for the book, if it contains additional information or resources. Fan sites, reviews, book sellers, Wiki pages or other such pages should NOT be listed.

    Be sure to include the entire link, including the http:// part.

          Example of an acceptable link:

          Examples of unacceptable links:


    The description field is for entering a summary of the work. The best description to enter is one found on the back cover or on the dust jacket of the book. If the book does not have a summary listed anywhere on the cover or pages, you can copy a description from a different edition or an outside source, such as the publisher's website or Wikipedia. You may also write your own description; however, please avoid editing descriptions that are already in place and summarize the work sufficiently.

    The description can be a couple of sentences or paragraphs describing the content of the book. It should be a generic summary and should NOT include reviews or personal feelings (i.e. "This is a book about sisters. It was good. You should read it"). The summary should also NOT contain any important spoilers such as mentions of characters deaths, how the book ends, major twists or other information that would spoil the story for those who have not read it.

    The description field should not include any images or links to external sites.

    Descriptions copied from an outside source, such as Wikipedia, should contain a short citation stating where the summary originated from.

    primary language

    This field is for selecting the language of the specific edition of the book you are editing was written. For example, if the book you are editing is a German translation of a book originally written in English, the language should be listed as German.


    Source is an un-editable field generated by Goodreads. It tells you where the book originated from - whether it was imported from Ingram, another source, or created by a user.


    This is another un-editable field. It tells when the edition was added to the Goodreads database and also tells when it was last edited.

  • Using the book edit page: work-specific data

    original publication year

    This field is for entering the date at which the work was originally first published. For example, if you are editing a 3rd edition of book XYZ, published in 2009, but the 1st edition was published in 1985, the original publication date would be 1985. Determining the original publication date can often be done by checking the copyright page of the book and seeing when it was copyrighted.

    Original publication date will populate through every edition combined with the edition you are working on.


    The characters area can be used for listing the important characters of a book. To edit this area, click on the "edit characters" link. This will take you to a new page where you can enter new characters or edit existing ones. Characters should be entered one at a time using full names, if possible. Some characters are used through multiple books, so please be sure to enter character names the same way for each book. Always use correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization. If a character has a nickname, you can include the name in "" between the first and last name.

          Correct examples:
          John Smith
          Jane Doe
          John "Mac" Smith

          Incorrect examples:
          John Smith & Jane Doe
          John Smith and Jane Doe
          John Smith / Jane Doe

    Keep in mind that the characters you enter should be critical characters to the story. It is not necessary to list every name you come across, only the ones of most importance.

    Characters will populate through every edition combined with the edition you are working on.

    NOTE: be sure to save any existing edits to the book before clicking to the "edit characters" link.

    In some cases, a character will have only one name, like "Angel," or a very common name, like "John Smith." Make every attempt to distinguish the character with a unique name; the character's common name can be placed in the "Alias" field. If this is not possible, then add a short version of the book or series title in parentheses to distinguish between characters with the same name.

    When adding a new character, check the list of characters to make sure that a character with that name is not already in the database. If no character with that name already exists, simply add the character. If a character with that name DOES exist, add the character with the series name in parentheses. If a character appears in more than one series by the same author, use the name of the first published series to contain the character.

    Also, make sure that listing a character's name in the "characters" field will not spoil the plot for those who haven't yet read the book. If the use of a character's true name will spoil the plot, use their alias instead, and place the real name in the alias field. Make sure to indicate that the real name might be a spoiler by adding *spoiler* in front of the character's real name.

    literary awards

    In this field you can list any literary awards the book has won. If the book has won more than one award, list the various awards separated by commas.

    Literary awards will populate through every edition combined with the edition you are working on.


    The setting field is for noting what location(s) the book takes place in.

    Setting will populate through every edition combined with the edition you are working on.

    change comment

    The change comment text box is for adding a reason about WHY you made a specific change to a book. This is to help other librarians understand changes made to a book that may not make sense.

    If you are simply ADDING information to a book that was previously lacking it, you can say "adding additional information" or "adding a description" or anything of the like.

    However, if you are CHANGING existing information, especially information already edited by another librarian, then it is important to state WHY you are making the changes. For example, if you are renumbering a series or changing the series name, it is extremely important to say why so that other librarians will understand. So if you use a series list on an author's website to renumber a series, then state that and give a link to the website in the change comment box. This type of information will hopefully prevent the often encountered problems of multiple librarians changing information back and forth on books.

    Remember that if you are ever in doubt of a change you are considering making on a book, you can always post a question to the Goodreads Librarians Group and ask for help.

    librarian comment - add a comment

    This section is a discussion area for the specific edition you are editing. It can be used for librarians to discuss any issues regarding the information available for a book and functions similar to discussion topics in Groups.

    If you have a question or a concern about available information for a specific edition, you can click on the "add a comment" link and type in a comment regarding your concern or question. The comment will then be attached to the bottom of the book page and be visible to and available for discussion by other librarians who go into that book's edit page.

    PLEASE BE AWARE: that your comment will only get a response if another librarian sees the comment and chooses to respond to it. So if no other librarian goes to the book's edit page for a long time, your comment will not get a quick response. If you have an urgent problem regarding a book, it is best to post to the Goodreads Librarians Group.

    upload photo

    This section is for uploading the front cover image of the book. The only image that should be uploaded is the specific cover associated with the ISBN of the book you are editing. If there is an existing cover that does not match your book, please see the section on ISBNs regarding multiple covers for one ISBN. Existing covers should rarely be deleted and only if you absolutely know that cover is in no way associated with that ISBN. When in doubt, you can always post a question to the Goodreads Librarians Group and ask for help.

    Cover images uploaded should only be an image of the actual front cover (which will typically have title and author on it), and should not be an image of the art used to later create the book cover.

    upload ebook with format

    Here you can select to upload an ebook of specific format. This ability is now limited to Goodreads Authors and staff members.

    Refresh book rating stats

    Clicking this link will recalculate the statistics for a book (number of reviews, average rating). This is helpful to do if you notice the statistics do not seem right.

    Some general suggestions for entering/editing book data:

    * Always think twice before changing existing data.
    * Follow the guidelines above as closely as possible.
    * If you are unsure why something is listed the way it is, you can check the "librarian change log" for the book (linked on the right side of the page below the book cover area). The log will tell you what edits were previously done on the book. If no prior edits are listed, it is likely fine to make the changes you feel necessary. If there are other edits, you may want to read through the edits to see what was changed, and if any of the changes contradict a change you planned to make, you may want to either send a personal message to the librarian who made the change to discuss the reasons for it, or post to the Goodreads Librarians Group to ask for help in finding a solution.

  • Adding book cover images

    Acceptable sources for cover images include author and publisher websites, library sites, and various other public archives. We cannot legally use any cover images from booksellers, with the exception of Amazon. Since Amazon has purchased Goodreads, their covers may now be used on Goodreads as well.

    An individual user's high-quality scans or photos, taken of books they own or have in their possession, are also an acceptable source for cover images, as long as they are high quality.

  • Sacred texts

    Sacred texts with unknown or ambiguous authors are to be listed with the author "Anonymous". Please list any editor(s) or translator(s) in secondary slots. Publishers should not be listed as authors.

  • Separating authors with the same name

    Occasionally you may come across an author profile that encompasses two or more authors of the same name. In order to separate these authors and their respective books you will need to identify which books belong to which author. Once you have, leave one author alone and for the second, go into the edit page of each of their books and add an additional space between their first and last name.

    This will create a new author profile for the second author.

    If by chance there is a third author of the same name (which has happened), simply add a third space between the author's first and last name.

    NOTE: The ^ = 1 space and is just used to demonstrate the number of spaces. Also please note that any new books by the authors of that name will be entered into the main profile by default. They will have to be edited once they are added to Goodreads to shift them to the right profile.

  • Series: Creating New Ones & Adding to Existing Ones

    Creating a new series:
    1. Check if a series has already been created for the books in question. Please do not add a new series for each language the books have been published in, unless the numbering of the books differs from that of the existing series.
    2. Find a book in the series.
    3. From the book's edit page, scroll down to series and click add.
    4. In the edit series page, put in the series name.
    5. Still in the edit series page, click "add book" and search for the other books in the series.
    6. Add all of those books.
    7. Save the series.

    Adding a book to a series that has previously been created:
    1. Find a new book which should be added to the series.
    2. Memorize it (or just leave the record open in a different tab).
    3. Find a different book that's already in the series.
    4. Click on the series name in its title.
    5. Click on edit to open the series for editing.
    6. Click "add book", search for the new book, and add it.
    7. Save the series.

    Don't do this:
    1. Find a new book in the series.
    2. Open its edit page, scroll down to series, and click add.
    3. Put in the same series name.
    4. Save the series.

    This will not add the book to the existing series! You can test this by clicking on the series name in the book title: if you don't see the other books in the series, you didn't add the book to the existing series. If you've done this, delete the new series (click edit on the series page, scroll to the bottom, and click delete), go to the correct series listing, and follow the steps for adding a book to a series.

  • Rules for combining book editions

    The rules for combining book editions are listed below, and are also posted on the right side of the combine page for each author. These rules have been decided as a collaborative effort between the Goodreads staff and the members in the Goodreads Librarians group.

     do combine:
    • Different publications of the same book.
    • Different formats of the book (hardcover, paperback, audio).
    • Editions/translations of the book in other languages. Even though many translations differ significantly, we've made the decision to combine them all, and have people note the differences in their reviews.

     don't combine:
    • 2-in-1 books or boxed sets that include the given book.
    • Cliff notes or other works about the given book.

  • How to merge two author profiles

    Each author name is unique and has its own profile. Sometimes various data sources use slightly different spellings of an author name (eg JK Rowling vs J.K. Rowling vs Joanne Kathleen Rowling). To merge two author profiles, edit the data for the profile that should be discarded, and change the name to be the exact same spelling (copy/pasting helps here) of the profile that it should be merged into. All books will be associated with the new author. If there is doubt as to the correct spelling, we recommend checking The Library of Congress.

  • Imprints are not series

    Imprints and other unrelated collections of works (usually by multiple authors) are not series. They can be grouped with a Listopia list, or the collection/imprint information can be listed in the edition field, but they should not be grouped into a series, or listed on a book's title line.

    As a general rule, a book is only part of a series if that designation would apply to all editions of a work. In the case of imprints and other non-series collections, it is common for some of these books to be published under numerous other imprints as well.

    For example, SF Masterworks would not be a series, and neither would Harlequin Blaze.

  • What is the difference between regular librarians and super librarians?

    Super librarians can do these things that regular librarians cannot:
    * Delete an edition of a book with more than 5 adds
    * Delete an e-reader with more than some number of adds
    * Edit a quote with over 500 adds
    * Merge two quotes with over 5 adds that aren't Levenshtein similar
    * Merge two quizzes
    * Hide a quiz with more than 50 "takes"
    * Edit the sub-genres of a genre
    * Delete a place with more than 3 books

  • Combining editions with more than one author

    In order to combine editions that have multiple authors listed, the editions must have the same author listed in the first author field. Once that is done, you can then combine from the first listed author's combine page, and ONLY the first author's combine page.

  • How to merge two identical editions

    If a particular edition is listed twice, it is appropriate to merge the two entries into one. Please do not delete an edition of a book just because it does not have an ISBN. Some older books that members manually add will not have ISBNs. Please check carefully and err on the side of not deleting a book edition.

    Note that merging two editions deletes the less popular edition and merges all reviews into the more popular edition. This is different from combining editions, which is where you can mark one version of a book as the same as another.

    When you find a duplicate and you know which edition it was meant to be, this is how to merge that duplicate with the actual edition:

    1. Separate the duplicate and its actual edition from any other editions of that book.
    2. Combine them just with each other.
    3. Click 'delete this book' at the bottom of the edit book page. Note that this only works for books shelved fewer than five times. It will merge with its actual edition because this is the most popular (only) other edition available in that combination.
    4. Re-combine the actual edition with the other editions of the book.

  • Initials in author names

    * There should be a period after each initial.
    * There should be no spaces between consecutive initials.
    * There should be one space (excepting disambiguation) between an initial and a non-initial.


    * J.K. Rowling
    * J.R.R. Tolkien
    * Philip K. Dick
    * F. Scott Fitzgerald
    * George R.R. Martin

  • Books with multiple authors

    Goodreads currently allows up to 50 authors per book. Authors should be listed in the order they appear on the book cover. If there is no cover or covers of various editions differ, use alphabetical order.

    For compilations that include both editors and authors, please list the editors first and then other contributors.

    Please note that editors should only be added for records like anthologies and reference materials. Novels and other works of fiction should not have editors listed.

  • How do I fix stray editions with no data?

    When you find a stray (duplicate) edition with no data except author and title, or just an invalid ISBN:

    1) If necessary and appropriate, merge authors.
    2) Combine the incorrect edition with the edition it should be merged with. If it's not the default edition, this will mean separating it out from any others.
    3) Delete (merge) the incorrect edition. This will move over any shelvings to the edition you have combined it with. If there are more than 5, this step requires a superlibrarian. Post in the Please delete this book thread in the Librarians Group for assistance.
    4) If you separated in step 2, recombine.

  • Uploading Ebooks

    Uploading ebooks is now limited to the author of a work and Goodreads employees.

  • Out-of-print editions

    Goodreads policy is to keep all editions, even out-of-print ones.

    Authors may wish to indicate that such an edition is out of print. That is acceptable, as long as all of the following guidelines are followed:
    1) The information should be listed in the description field, not the edition field or the title field.
    2) This information should be added to any existing description. It should not replace it.
    3) The information should be listed discreetly. No all-caps, italics, or bold, please.
    4) No sales links or other external links. A link to another edition on Goodreads is fine.

  • Using the book edit page: official URL

    This field is for entering a URL officially associated with that book, such as a page on an author's site for the book. It may also be an author or publisher's website for the book, if it contains additional information or resources. Fan sites, reviews, book sellers, Wiki pages or other such pages should NOT be listed.

    Be sure to include the entire link, including the http:// part.

          Example of an acceptable link:

          Examples of unacceptable links:

  • Page numbering

    This field is for entering the number of pages of a book. The number of pages in a book is meant to include all content except for advertisements and preview chapters for other books. Included end material may include acknowledgments, afterwords, appendices, glossaries, indexes, notes, and suggested discussion questions.

    Introductory material paged using roman numerals is not included in the total page count.

    Books already in the database often already have page numbers, and these are occasionally incorrect. These can be corrected, but only if you have the exact book with a matching ISBN, or by using WorldCat or another site with reliable page numbering.

    Most ebook formats do not have a fixed number of pages since the pagination adjusts for screen size. If the publisher provides a specific page count, that number should be reflected in our book data. For PDF-specific editions, or any other fixed page ebooks, the normal paging rules may be used.

    For audio books, number of hours should be used in lieu of number of pages, when that information is known.

  • Publication date (editing books)

    This field is for noting the date the edition associated with the listed ISBN was published. Date published can most usually be found on the copyright page of a book. That page will tell you when the work was copyrighted - and if the book is a first edition, the copyright date will be the same as the date published. If it is a later edition, the date will be different. Some books, not all, will list dates for subsequent publications somewhere on the copyright page. The last date listed is what should be used to fill in the date published. If you know the book is a reprinting/reissue published later than the copyright date, but no other dates are given you can A) if the book already has a date published supplied by Ingram, leave it as is; B) research the publication date for the edition you have using Worldcat, Library of Congress, the author's website or numerous other resources; or C) use the copyright date as the date published.

          year: 2008
          month: September
          day: 22

    Adding the month and day are optional. They should be included if known. Year is also technically optional, but it is strongly encouraged that a year always be included. Note: All publication dates must follow the Gregorian or Julian calendar.

  • Publisher (editing books)

    In this field, list the publisher of the book, such as Bantam, Jove, Berkley, etc. The name of the publisher can often be found on the spine of the book, the back cover, and/or the copyright or title pages.

    Be sure to properly spell, punctuate, and capitalize the publisher name - it is not necessary to use ALL CAPS for the publisher name even if that is the way it is written on the spine. Capitalizing the first letter is best.

    When there is a choice between a publisher and an imprint, the general rule is to choose the most specific rather than more general.

  • Acceptable sources for covers and book data

    List of acceptable sources for book covers and other book data*:
    Author Websites
    Publisher Websites (such as Random House and Smashwords)
    Amazon (since they now own Goodreads)

    National Libraries of the World:
    Use this site to find non-US libraries, some even have English based sites in addition to the native language, so this would be a good resource for librarians rescuing non-English books.





    Dutch (is an imprint of De Bezige Bij)

    English (UK)

    English Publishers

    Finnish (National library database) (Database of capital area libraries)

    Finnish Pulbishers (publishes books in Swedish)

    List of Finnish publishers

    German National Library/Deutschen Nationalbibliothek: (English version)

    German Manga Publishers
    EMA/ Egmont Manga & Anime:
    Panini comics/ Panini manga:
    Tokyopop Germany: (click Bücher)


    Bibliotecha Nazionale Centrale di Roma:
    Internet Culturale:

    Italian Publishers

    Kodansha and Shueisha are a couple of the big publishers in Japan.



    The British Library:

    Rare, Old & Out of Print Books (Multi-Lingual)
    SC University Libraries Rare Books & Special Collections:

    RPG Game Index: (for tabletop RPG gaming books)

    Cover Images (Search for images similar to the one you provide)

    *Sites that are not acceptable to use:

    Barnes & Noble
    Library Thing
    Baker & Taylor
    Google Books
    all other (non-publisher) bookseller sites

  • ISBN-10 and ISBN-13

    An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number (Wikipedia definition) and is a 10 or 13-digit number that identifies a book. The ISBN can usually be found in several places on a book: on the back cover by the barcode, inside the front cover, and on the copyright page.

    When editing book data, it is almost never necessary to alter the ISBN. This should only be done if you are absolutely, positively sure there is an error in the listed ISBN. If you are unsure, you can post to the Goodreads Librarians Group for assistance.

    This field will mostly be used when manually adding a new edition to the Goodreads database. When doing this, enter the exact ISBN into the appropriate 10 or 13 digit field on the book edit page. It is best if you can list both the 10 and 13-digit numbers, as it will aid in future searches for the book. If only one is listed on the book itself, you can use the ISBN Converter here to retrieve whichever ISBN is missing.

    If, when you save your changes to the book, a message appears telling you that the ISBN you entered is already in the Goodreads database, the problem could be one of several. First, in the red outlined box at the top of the page, there will be a link to the existing book with the ISBN you entered. Go to that link and see if it is the book you were trying to manually enter. If it is, you can simply close the page with the edition you were trying to add then add the existing book to your Goodreads Bookshelves.

    However, if the books do not match, it's usually one of two issues. First, if it is the same book but with a different cover, then it is likely the ISBN was reused for a later/earlier reprinting. If that is the case, you can manually add a new edition to the database that would be an 'alternate cover edition.' This is done because as of now, it is not possible to upload multiple covers of a book, and because changing the cover of an existing edition is not ideal. Some people may have added the existing edition with that specific cover because it is the one they own. If you want to have an edition shelved with your specific cover, then it is accepted procedure to create a new edition with your cover art. However, since an ISBN can only be used once in the database, leave the ISBN fields on your new edition blank then in the Description field, add a Librarian's Note: stating that it is an alternate cover edition and state the ISBN. You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to attach a note to the book (this helps prevent the book from accidentally being deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry).

          Here is an example of an alternate cover edition of a book: LINK

    In the other case of duplicate ISBNs, it may be that an ISBN was reused on a completely different book. This shouldn't happen because ISBNs are supposed to be unique, but exceptions have been found. If that is the case, manually add a new edition to the database, leaving the ISBN field blank then in the Description field, add a note stating the issue with the ISBN and listing the actual ISBN. You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to attach a note to the book (this helps prevent the book from accidentally being deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry).

          Here is an example of a book where an ISBN was reused on a completely different book: LINK

    It is important never to alter an ISBN simply to get a book to save (if getting an ISBN error when trying to save). ISBNs are specific numbers associated with specific books. Changing those numbers can make identifying the book difficult and cause problems for the Goodreads database. So always enter the correct ISBN. If there is a problem with the ISBN already being used, see the above sections for other methods of adding a book when there is an ISBN conflict, or post a message in the Goodreads Librarians Group asking for help.

    PLEASE NOTE: Whenever manually adding a new edition to the Goodreads database, it is important to fill in as much information as possible. This will help not only other users who may want to add that specific edition to their bookshelves, but it will also help ensure that another librarian does not delete it thinking it is an invalid entry.

    ALSO NOTE: ISBNs were not used until 1966 and did not become widely used until the early-to-mid 70's, so books published before or around that time do not have an ISBN - though it is possible for a pre-ISBN book to become associated with an ISBN due to an ISBN being added when/if another printing of the edition occurred after the initiation of ISBNs. Pre-ISBN books can be added to Goodreads by manually adding a new edition, leaving the ISBN field blank and adding a note to the description stating it is a pre-ISBN book. The book may have another identifying number such as an ASIN or LCCN and those can be added to the note as well. A note can also be added using the Librarian Note feature linked near the top of the book edit page. An ASIN, LCCN or other identifying number should never be entered into the ISBN fields.

  • Adding or editing author names on a book record

    The first author field is for entering the primary author of the book. Be sure to properly spell and capitalize the name or the book will not link to the correct author profile and become harder to find in the GR database. Also, author names should be entered first name last name so they will link to the appropriate author profile on Goodreads. Only one author should be listed per author field.

          Correct examples:
          Suzanne Brockmann
          Catherine Anderson

          Incorrect examples:
          Brockmann, Suzanne
          Anderson Catherine
          Suzanne Brockmann and Catherine Anderson

    If an author uses initials in their name, the initials should contain NO spacing between them and be marked with a period. No spaces within the letters of a name.

          Correct example:
          J.D. Robb

          Incorrect examples:
          JD Robb
          J D Robb
          J. D. Robb
          J D R o b b

    If an author uses his or her middle name or middle initial for their publications, then this should also be included in the author name. Initials should be followed by a period.

          Jayne Ann Krentz
          Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

    Authors with titles or degrees (such as Dr., Sir, Ph.D., Captain, Reverend, etc) should NOT be included in the author name (unless necessary to avoid confusion, or if part of a recognized pen name (e.g., Dr. Seuss)).

          Correct example:
          Phillip C. McGraw

          Incorrect Example:
          Dr. Phillip C. McGraw

    Authors with a relational suffix (Jr., Sr., III, etc) SHOULD be included in the author name separated ONLY by a space after the last name.

          Correct example:
          L.E. Modesitt Jr.

          Incorrect example:
          L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

    If the book does not have a primary author, and instead has an editor, list the editor's name in the author field and click on the "add role" link next to the text box and input the word Editor (or other appropriate title).

    Author roles should always be added using the "add role" feature next to the author name, and not by adding it in ( ) following the author name.

    For audiobooks or translated editions, this field should list the author of the original work.

    Regarding author pseudonyms or pen names - some authors write or have written under multiple names. When editing or adding information for a book written by an author with multiple names, enter the author's name as on the front cover as the primary author. The author's other names may be added in the other author fields. Original name or other pen names can added and linked via a Librarian Note: in the description field, or using the Librarian Note feature located above the Title field. In some cases, a book may be originally published under a pen name, but then later reissued under the author's original name. When this happens, the author listed for any and all editions should be the author name the book was originally published under - so the reissued edition would need its primary author name changed to the originally published pen name, with the additional name added as secondary for all editions with it on the cover. Doing this will allow the various editions to be combined.

    Authors with books published in multiple languages should have their names dealt with similarly to those with pen names. All editions should have the primary author name as the standard or most common Roman (that is, English-language) version of the author's name. Editions published under another spelling of the name or the name in another language should have that name listed as the secondary author.

    Different editions of a book not having the same primary author can cause quite a few distinct problems. Please keep the primary author for all editions of a work the same.

    add new author (add role)

    If there are multiple authors of a book, or persons with other roles*, click on the "add new author" link below the first author field and a new text box will appear. Enter in a second author's name - or editor's, illustrator's, etc name - being sure to use correct spelling and formatting.

    For audiobooks or translated editions this field can be used to list narrators or translators.

    To label the role of the person listed, click the "add role" link to the right and input the role of the person.

    If there is a third author/editor/etc, click the "add new author" link again and input the necessary information. Follow this procedure until all pertinent people are listed.

    When a book has multiple authors they should be listed according to the order they show on the cover, if possible. The order also needs to be the same for any/all editions of the same book. This will allow for editions to be combined. If two editions of the same multi-author book do not have the same author listed first, the books can not be combined. So it is important to list multiple authors correctly.

    Cover artists should NOT be listed in the author fields. Cover artists may be noted in the description field.

    *Please note that editors should only be added for records like anthologies and reference materials. Novels and other works of fiction should not have editors listed.

  • Using the sort by title field

    This field is for the title that would be used when sorting by title so that articles like "A," "An," and "The" can be excluded.

          Examples of sort by titles:

          title: The Lawman
          sort by title: lawman, the

          title: The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, #1)
          sort by title: unsung hero, the (troubleshooters, #1)

    When initially manually adding a new edition to Goodreads, the system will automatically create the sort by title - but only for articles "a," "an," and "the." For titles that start with punctuation or for a translated title that starts with an article such as "la," the sort-by title will need to be manually set. If there is series information present in parentheses following the title, Goodreads will change the sort by title to:

          unsung hero (troubleshooters, #1), the

    as opposed to:

          unsung hero, the (troubleshooters, #1)

    Either way is acceptable when manually editing the sort by title.

  • Book title (editing books)

    The title field is used for the title of the book and for the subtitle if the book has one. Other information, such as binding, edition number, or language, should be moved out of the title field into fields specific to that information. Series information may be included in the title field as well. This is optional, but if series information is included, it should follow standard formatting. If correct series information has been added to the title field, do not remove it from the book record - the more complete the book data, the better. (See below.)


    The title should match the title shown on the cover of the book, if that information is available. If a title includes accented characters, apostrophes, quotation marks, or punctuation, include these in the title. Do not remove definite or indefinite articles such as "the" from the beginning of titles; this is handled by the sort title, which is a different field (see below). Double-check the spelling!

    The title should be capitalized according to standard title capitalization for the language of the edition. Preferred title capitalization in English is the use of capital letters for the principal words. Only use sentence capitalization, all uppercase, all lowercase, or other capitalization if the book specifies it. Note that many titles appear to be in all uppercase or lowercase letters on the cover but are not otherwise capitalized this way, and that therefore the cover is used for the words of the title but not necessarily the capitalization.

          Examples of titles:
          Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
          Guards! Guards!
          À la recherche du temps perdu
          Der Sommer der silbernen Stute


    The subtitle should also match the cover of the book. Bear in mind that books are sometimes republished with different subtitles, so a subtitle for one edition should not be assumed to be present on all editions. When a book has a subtitle, the subtitle should be separated from the main title by a language-appropriate separator (in English or if the separator is unknown, use a colon) and a single space. The phrase "A Novel" may or may not be considered a subtitle; the cover of the edition should be the guide. The phrase "A Novel Of {Something}" or "A {Something} Novel", where {something} is the book's series, should be considered a series indicator rather than a subtitle, and so it should not be present in the title field except as part of the series (see below for series).

          Examples of subtitles:
          Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
          Ghosts of Gettysburg: Spirits, Apparitions and Haunted Places of the Battlefield
          Alice und das Land im Nadelöhr. Die weiteren Abenteuer von Alice im Wunderland
          Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War

          Among the Living: A PsyCop Novel


    If a title is given in non-roman characters (kanji, Cyrillic script, etc.) and a transliteration in roman characters is available, the transliteration can be placed in square brackets after the title and any subtitle; this is optional. Do not provide a translation in the title field.

          Examples of transliterations:
          エア・ギア 1 [Ea Gia 1] (Air Gear #1)
          Дверь в лето [Dverʹ v leto]
          夏への扉 [Natsu e no tobira]


    Series should always be created separately. (See here for more information.) Currently, the series display is not complete across the website, and therefore series information may be repeated in the title field; this is optional. Again, please do not remove series data from the title field if it has already been added!

    Place the series information in parentheses after the title and any subtitle or transliteration. If the book is numbered in the series, place the number after the series name with the # symbol in front of it. (Use the same conventions for series numbering in titles as is used in the series object.) Previous conventions used a comma after the series name and before the number; this is also acceptable. If formatted in this fashion, the parenthetical part of the title will be replaced by the actual series object's name and number on the book page as a link to the series.

          Examples of series mirrored in titles:
          Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter #1)
          Among the Living (PsyCop #1)

    An exception to this is when the series name is the primary or only title. In this case, the title may be formatted with series name and number as the title (the number may be written out to match the title as shown on the edition) and any additional title text as the subtitle.

          Examples of books with the series as the primary title:
          My Brain Hurts, Volume One
          Gunsmith Cats: Bonnie & Clyde
          Methods of Modern Mathematical Physics, Vol. 1: Functional Analysis
          Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Programming
          The Best American Short Stories 2005       Amazons II

    omnibus/boxed sets

    At times multiple books may be released as an omnibus (multiple books reprinted in one book) or a boxed set. If multiple books have been reprinted together which are not part of a series and the edition does not have its own title, all of the included titles should be listed in the title field. When titles are listed, the preferred separator is a space, a forward slash, and another space; other acceptable separators are commas and ampersands. If the edition has a separate title, the list of included titles may be treated as a subtitle or it may be omitted (if it is omitted, this information should be listed in the book description field). (In addition, "Omnibus" or "Boxed Set" may be added to the 'edition' field.)

          Examples of books in omnibus/boxed set editions:
          Alice in Wonderland / Black Beauty
          The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection
          The Scarpetta Collection: Postmortem / Body of Evidence
          Goosebumps House of Horrors Boxed Set
          Seeker's Bane
          The Fairy Charm Collection, Vol 3
          XXXHolic, Volumes 1-3

  • add a librarian note

    The "add a librarian note" link is located above the Title field on the book edit page. Clicking it will bring up a text box that will allow you to attach a note regarding important information about the book. An important note may be about an ISBN conflict, that the edition is an alternate cover edition, that the book should not be combined with certain books, or anything else pertinent to cataloguing the book in the Goodreads database.

    Librarian notes of this type are edition specific and will show up in a yellow box near the top of the book edit page and also in a yellow box below the specific edition on the author's combine page.

    If a book has a Librarian Note attached when you go to edit it, please read it carefully and keep it in mind when doing any editing or combining. If a note has you confused, you can always post to the Goodreads Librarians Group and ask for help.

          Here is an example of a book with a Librarian Note: LINK

  • librarian change log

    Clicking on this link on the book edit page will allow you to see a page listing all previous edits to the book and its associated editions. You may toggle between edits to all editions of the work and just those to the edition you are editing.

    Before you change existing book data on a record, be sure to check the librarian change log to ensure that your edit is correct!

     * If you are concerned about particular edits, please use the flag feature on the book’s librarian change log. This will bring the edits you’re concerned about to the attention of a staff member, who can take appropriate action.

  • Combine versus merge

    While combine and merge are generally considered synonymous, Goodreads Librarians often use the two words to mean distinctly different things.

    Combining means taking two or more editions and linking them into one work. No editions are deleted, so you have the same number of editions before and after a combine.

    Merging means combining two editions that are actually duplicates, and then deleting one. An edition is deleted, so after a merge, you will have fewer editions than before. If a merge is performed correctly, all ratings, reviews, and shelvings of the deleted edition will be moved to the edition with which it was merged (or the most popular edition, if it was merged with a group of editions).

    In both cases, the book page's cache may take a couple days to completely update.

  • Primary (default) edition of a work

    The primary (or default) edition of a work is automatically set as the one that has been shelved/rated/reviewed by the most GR users. There is no way for a librarian to change the primary edition of a work manually. Authors who are members of the Goodreads Author Program may manually set an edition as default from that edition's edit page.

  • Merging whole-series placeholders

    If a book series is not packaged by the publisher as one item (such as a boxed set), the series should not be created as a fake book. Any user-created series objects should be merged into the boxed set for the series (if available) or the first book of the series (if no boxed set or similar publisher-created series item is available).

  • Not a book

    Just as not all books have ISBNs, not all ISBNs are associated with books. When an item which is not a book is imported via ISBN into Goodreads, it does no good to delete it: the item will only be re-imported as long as it remains on the feeder site. (Often these are book-related items which are assigned ISBNs by book publishers so that they can be tracked through their book systems.)

    These items should be transferred to the “author” NOT A BOOK. This can be done by editing the individual book record and replacing the existing primary author with the author NOT A BOOK, or, if all of the items on an author's list are not books, the author can be edited and merged entirely into NOT A BOOK.

    In the case of items currently credited to an author who is a member of the Goodreads Author program, proceed extremely carefully and contact the author for clarification if there is any question regarding the status of an item as a book, particularly in the case of calendars, workbooks, or blank books with additional content.

    These items are not books:
    * multi-packs of the same book
         *** dumpbin, dump bin, dumpb, dumpbi, dumpbn, dbin, d/bin
         *** mixed bin, mixed copy, copy bin, mxd
         *** prepak, ppk, stockpack, stock pack
         *** header
         *** shrinkwrap, shrink wrap, s/wrap, swrap
         *** x12, x24, x36, x48, 12c, 24c, 36c, 48c, 12cc, 24cc, 36cc, 48cc, 60cc
         *** awbc
    * promo materials (displays, etc.)
         *** counterpack, counter pack, cpack, c/pack, counter display
         *** floor display, floordisplay, floor disp, fd, f/d
         *** 18fl, 24fl, 27fl, 36fl (fl = floor display)
         *** mxfl
         *** easel
         *** clip strip
    * movies (DVD or VHS)
    * television episodes
    * theatrical production recordings
    * music (esp soundtracks) (but not bound sheet music)
    * stationery
    * calendars (unless containing additional content)
    * diaries and blank books (unless containing additional content)
    * posters
    * coloring books (except those for reference or which tell a story)
    * unbound maps (as opposed to bound maps in an atlas)
    * board games
    * tshirts
    * toys
    * stuffed animals/dolls
    * bookmarks
    * stickers
    * decks of cards (including Tarot)
    * puzzles (as opposed to puzzle books)
    * plaques (inspirational, or otherwise)
    * video games
    * zines
    * podcasts discussing books
    * untitled books where no verifiable publication information about the book exists (often these are titled "Untitled #3" and represent placeholder ISBNs that were never used)
    * "all book by an author" or "all books in a series" where no published collection of these works exists

    The ones with numbers indicate #'s of copies, e.g., 24c indicates a 24 copy item...thus these are usually display or stock items of that # of books and not the correct ISBN for the actual individual books themselves. These are the most common numbers, but others also abound. Also, stray numbers in a title (as numerical digits rather than spelled out), even without the x, c, or cc, will often indicate copy number as well. A single year in a title (e.g., 2008) often indicates a calendar. Presence of one of these terms does not automatically indicate that the item is not a book, but in most cases you should be suspicious.

    Note that any of these items packaged with a book count as a book, if the specific book edition with which they are packaged is not otherwise sold separately.

    These items are books:
    * repacks
    * F&C Sheets
    * bound sheet music, scores, librettos, etc.
    * atlases
    * reference books (including books on CD-ROM)
    * book group discussion guides
    * workbooks
    * calendars or something-a-day books with additional content
    * "blank" books with additional text or collectible artwork
    * advanced reader copies (ARCs)
    * boxed sets (sold as a boxed set with one ISBN)
    * multiple distinct volumes (sold together as a set with one ISBN)
    * book-length fanfiction which is complete (no WIPs, please), and self-published
    * forthcoming books with only partial information
    * books withdrawn from publishing if enough information was ever provided to make a book record a useful resource
    * periodicals and bound comic books with ISBNs
    * periodicals without ISBNs but substantially similar to books (eg, perfectbound literary magazines)
    * single-issue magazines and comic books on an individual and unencouraged basis, although they should be typed as "periodical" in the work: media type field
    * short stories published online (the format should be "ebook")
    * audio productions, not recordings of theatrical productions (the format should be "audiobook")
    * podcasts of books

    When shifting an item onto NOT A BOOK (this is usually referred to as "NABbing" the item, NAB standing for NOT A BOOK), follow this process:

    1. If the item has been shelved by any users, attempt to determine whether these users (or at least some of them) intended to shelve an actual book. If this can be determined, shift their reviews onto the actual book like so:
          a. Copy down the ISBN of the not-a-book.
          b. Follow the instructions for merging two identical editions to merge the not-a-book into the actual book.
          c. Search for the ISBN of the not-a-book.
          d. The not-a-book record has been recreated in the GR database with no users shelving it; all of the users were transferred to the actual book in step (b).

    If the item has not been shelved by any users, it should still be separated from any other editions via the combine page or separate tool. (Deleting and re-importing an item will result in an item uncombined with any books.)

    2. If moving only one item: Edit the record of the item to change the following fields:
          * Any secondary authors should be removed from the book record.
          * The primary author should be changed to NOT A BOOK.
          * The media type for the work should be changed to "not a book".
          * Optionally, the title should have "NOT A BOOK" added to the beginning of the title.
          * Optionally, if there is a description of the item, it should have a librarian's note added to the beginning of the description: Librarian's note: This item is not a book and should not be rated on Goodreads.

    3. If all of the items remaining on an author's list of books are not books, the author can be merged into the NOT A BOOK author profile. If the author has associated fans, quotes, quizzes, or other author information and it can be determined that this is an incorrect profile for an actual author, the individual items should be NABbed according to step (2) and the author merged into the profile of the actual author in order to preserve the fans and other author information.
          * Any secondary authors should be removed from all books' records.
          * The author profile should be edited and the name replaced with NOT A BOOK. When prompted, be sure to merge into NOT A BOOK's profile.
          * If working in bulk, it is not necessary to edit each individual (not-a-)book record to edit the title or other fields.

  • Adding an alternate-cover edition

    If you find that a book with a specific ISBN has already been listed with a different cover, then it is likely the ISBN was reused for a later/earlier reprinting. If that is the case, you can manually add a new edition to the database that would be an 'alternate cover edition.' This is done because as of now, it is not possible to upload multiple covers of a book, and because changing the cover of an existing edition is a violation of Goodreads policy. Some people may have added the existing edition with that specific cover because it is the one they own. If you want to have an edition shelved with your specific cover, then it is accepted procedure to create a new edition with your cover art. However, since an ISBN can only be used once in the database, leave the ISBN fields on your new edition blank. Then in the Description field, list the ISBN of the original cover edition and state that it is an alternate cover edition. You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to attach a note to the book (this helps prevent the book from accidentally being deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry). Please do not use the edition field for information about alternate cover editions.

          Here is an example of an alternate cover edition of a book: LINK

    In the other case of duplicate ISBNs, it may be that an ISBN was reused on a completely different book. This shouldn't happen because ISBNs are supposed to be unique, but exceptions have been found. If that is the case, manually add a new edition to the database, leaving the ISBN field blank. Then in the Description field, add a note stating the issue with the ISBN and listing the actual ISBN. You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to attach a note to the book (this helps prevent the book from accidentally being deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry).

          Here is an example of a book where an ISBN was reused on a completely different book: LINK

    It is important never to alter an ISBN simply to get a book to save (if getting an ISBN error when trying to save). ISBNs are specific numbers associated with specific books.

    Note: The publication date for an alternate-cover edition should be the date the book was released with the new cover, not the date the book with that ISBN or ASIN was originally published.

  • Suffixes and prefixes for authors names

    Only social suffixes are used. This includes Jr., Sr., and Roman numerals. There is no punctuation between the name and the suffix.

    Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
    Andre Dubus III

    Other suffixes and prefixes are not included with author names:
    *Academic degrees (BS, MS, PhD, MD, DDS, Prof, Dr. etc.) should not be used
    *Honorary degrees (KBE, LLD, Sir etc.) should not be used
    *Professional (Esq, CPA, CFA etc.) should not be used
    Diana Derval (not Prof. Diana Derval)
    Robert C. Atkins (not Dr. Robert C. Atkins)

    The only exceptions are those where the author is known primarily by a name that includes the honorific:
    Mahatma Gandhi (not Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)