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Policies & Practices > Format/binding question

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message 1: by Isis FG (last edited Apr 20, 2009 08:36PM) (new)

Isis FG (isisfg) | 565 comments I was having a discussion with another librarian tonight about what should go in the Format field (which shows as Binding on the book page) after I realized we'd been editing at cross-purposes. (i.e. I'd been changing to one thing, and she'd been changing to another).

So the question is, with regards to Paperback vs. Mass Market Paperback vs. Trade Paperback, what should we be entering?

Personally, I'd been changing format to reflect MMP when the book was a mass produced, mass sold paperback (the kind you can find just about every where), Paperback for the ones that are less available (like small-press, specialty stuff), and Trade Paperback for the larger sized paperbacks (which seem to be more and more common these days).

(I used this Wiki page as a reference.)

But another Librarian I know had thought GR preferred just general Paperback and Hardcover. Neither of us is sure which is correct.

I prefer the more distinct labeling because it tells a user more about the book. If they see it is an MMP then they know it may be easier to find, or if they see it is a Trade PB then they'll know it is larger sized and more expensive than a typical PB, etc.

Does GR have a stance on this? Or does anyone have any thoughts?


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Isis, I've been marking them myself as just Paperback and Hardcover but I'd never change any of the specific paperback types. Isis, I like your idea as the ideal but I'm not sure most members would know which was which and there's so many already in the database that say just Paperback so I'm sure most would remain that way in the database. If GR/we decide to be more specific I'm happy to enter books that way and make edits if I'm sure they should be made. In the meantime, I wouldn't change MMP or Trade PB to just Paperback when I see them.

I'll be awaiting the official decision. Either way is fine with me.


Isis FG (isisfg) | 565 comments It would be impossible to correct all the books in the GR database to completely reflect the format, so I'm not saying GR should say that books HAVE to be labeled that way.

I'm more referring to if your going around editing a book during typical librarian work. When I'm editing books I've read, I always change the format to reflect exactly what kind it is. And the other librarian and I were debating whether we were supposed to use just Paperback or the more detailed label. I was under one impression, and she another.

So we're just wondering which is preferred for books you find yourself editing.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Well, I've been doing just Paperback, but I'm willing to make it more specific.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments To be more clear (if I haven't been already) I've put Paperback when manually adding a book. When I come across a book to edit, I don't remember ever bothering to edit that field unless I've had evidence it was mislabeled. So, when I see Mass Market Paperback, Trade Paperback, etc. I've left them as they are.


Isis FG (isisfg) | 565 comments I generally change Paperback to Mass Market Paperback or Trade Paperback if I know specifically what kind that ISBN is. If I don't, I just leave it as Paperback.


Vicki | 18 comments I suspect that a lot of the MMP is supplied from Amazon updates. I just checked out a few there and they listed the mmp.


Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 61 comments The more specific label seems preferable to me, if I can readily discern the binding. However, if I add a parenthetical binding notation to the title, I only put "(Paperback)", not "(Mass Market Paperback)", as I don't think the distinction needs to be quite so fine for the title field.

That being said, I don't go out of my way to edit the binding of a particular book, even if I'm editing the book for other reasons.


message 9: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Ben wrote: "The more specific label seems preferable to me, if I can readily discern the binding."

Agreed. However, it should never be added to the title field. (It will show up in certain views, added by GR from the format field. But it should never actually appear on the title line, and should be edited out if it does.)

There's at least one librarian out there who has decided simplicity is best, and is editing "paperback" to "paper"; "hardcover" to "cloth"; and "Kindle edition" to "kindle". I find this irritating, but past discussions with them have been fairly fruitless. :P

There is, AFAIK, no established precedent or policy regarding how to identify bindings. Personally, I try to be consistent within my own edits, and ignore most other librarians' edits of the field. ;)


JG (The Introverted Reader) | 461 comments I change it to the more specific MMP or whatever if I think about it and I know for sure. I can't say that I think about it very often though. I think I mostly do it if the field is completely blank.


Isis FG (isisfg) | 565 comments I've just gotten in the habit of editing that field. Whenever I finish a book, I got through the book's data and make it as complete and correct as possible...then I shelve it on my "full-info" shelf. So it's just gotten to be a habit to edit all fields.

I hadn't really thought about this whole thing much before until I noticed another Librarian and I were undoing each other's format changes. So I thought I'd see when the train of thought was on format...whether to go general or specific.

There's at least one librarian out there who has decided simplicity is best, and is editing "paperback" to "paper"; "hardcover" to "cloth"; and "Kindle edition" to "kindle". I find this irritating, but past discussions with them have been fairly fruitless. :P

Yeesh! Save us from people who decide their way is the only way. I think I spend more time these days undoing other people's edits than doing typical data adding.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments There's at least one librarian out there who has decided simplicity is best, and is editing "paperback" to "paper"; "hardcover" to "cloth"; and "Kindle edition" to "kindle". I find this irritating, but past discussions with them have been fairly fruitless. :P

That's irritating. I don't think I've run into these yet. I guess this kind of thing is a reason for having an official decision about edition type.


message 13: by Kathrynn (last edited Apr 21, 2009 05:08AM) (new)

Kathrynn | 185 comments I can do the MMP in lieu of paperback. It was me, but hadn't noticed that field was being changed by another librarian...Sorry Isis. :-) I used the manual sample that only shows "paperback" and "hardcover," as my guide.

Perhaps, we can come to a consensus and ask for the manual to be edited more specifically?

What about nonfiction paperbacks, though. They are generally not in trade or MMP size? Just leave them as paperback?

Thoughts?


vicki_girl | 2749 comments Kathrymm wrote: What about nonfiction paperbacks, though. They are generally not in trade or MMP size? Just leave them as paperback?

I would. For print editions, I use three designations: Hardcover, Mass Market Paperback, and Paperback. I avoid using "Trade Paperback" since the definition is rather nebulous.

As to the librarian changing 'Hardcover' to 'cloth', what about leather bound editions? I hope they're not calling these 'cloth'. :S


message 15: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Kathrynn wrote: "Perhaps, we can come to a consensus and ask for the manual to be edited more specifically?"

Sounds good. Y'all decide; I'll edit.

*yawn* Wake me up when it's morning.

. . . what? Aw, nuts. Yawn 6


Isis FG (isisfg) | 565 comments vicki_girl wrote: "I avoid using "Trade Paperback" since the definition is rather nebulous. "

Yeah, that one is tougher because I believe real Trade PBs are a specific size. I mark those trade, but I've also marked some in between sizes trade as well (ebooks that go to print often seem to come in this size). I just think it helps to get an idea of the format and price of the book.

Kathrynn wrote: "I can do the MMP in lieu of paperback. It was me, but hadn't noticed that field was being changed by another librarian...Sorry Isis. :-)"

That's okay, Kathrynn. I just happened to notice it yesterday when I was trying to see who keeps changing the series label format on the Troubleshooters series (I think I've had to change it back 3 times now).

If I get a chance today, I'll see what I can write up for the Librarian's manual and post it here for discussion.


Carolyn (seeford) | 572 comments I don't usually touch that field, unless I see that it is definitely wrong - and I think the very few I've changed have been from 'paper' to paperback, and from 'cloth' to hardcover!

I never realized that someone was spending effort on putting the wrong binding name in the field! Every book (unless it is an ebook or audio) is made of 'paper' and most of the hardcovers in my libraries don't have any 'cloth', the covers are pressed paperboard (or whatever it's called).

I don't understand why someone would take a perfectly good description in a field and then change it to something shorter/wrong. Sheesh!

Rivka, maybe this is a person you should have Otis & Co send a message to - what they are actually doing is corrupting the data, not making any improvements...



Cheryl (aradanryl) | 6 comments Coming from a database maintenance background, I know keeping a large quantity of users input consistent isn't easy. That's why we use dropdowns or radio buttons here and I recommend that solution.

This avoids the "my way" or "your way", it becomes the "software's way" and oddly enough, its been my experience that it also reduces stress/problems. As near as I can tell, the Goodreads programmers have the skills so it might be a strategy that helps keep the peace among such a diverse group of people.

It has the added benefit of making the screen more user friendly to those of us that aren't formally-trained librarians and who are new to goodreads.


message 19: by Cait (last edited Apr 21, 2009 12:14PM) (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5006 comments On the other hand, Cheryl, it would mean that any new format has to be added to the database by a GR developer -- which means that, in practice, it'll hardly ever get done because it's too much trouble to request. It also means that, in order to pick up incoming data from the various Amazons, either the list needs to include format options in all of the incoming languages or else the import function needs maintain a list of translations.

I'm not sure I disagree, mind you, but those things need to be considered.


message 20: by This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For (last edited Apr 21, 2009 01:02PM) (new)

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I've always thought the format field would be better as a drop-down list than an open-ended field. The import issue is a big problem, but from a user-entry perspective, I don't think there are that many legitimate formats: hardcover, paperback (perhaps broken down into 2-3 subformats as discussed), a few basic audio formats (cassettes, CD, DVD, MP3/Digital?), and eBook (this may or may not require subformats, depending on the publisher).

I'm sure there are a few others that might pop up here or there (wirebound? board books?), but are there any other major formats?

(On a vaguely related note, where does information such as brail or large-print go? Description, I guess. You sometimes find these in the binding field [well, large print, I've never actually seen a brail entry:], but it has never seemed appropriate and I don't like them under the title in parentheses)

Actually, the discrepancy in the name of this field is telling. It's called "format" on the edit screen but "binding" on the book screen. It seems to me that these should be two separate things:

Format should be a restricted dropdown list with only...3...choices: paper, audio, eBook. (Yes, I know, someone will find a carved tablet they want to enter into GR, but bear with me...)

Binding would then be a descriptor whose property is partly dependent on the format:
Paper: Hardcover, Paperback (Mass market, trade)
Audio: Cassette, CD, DVD, MP3, (others?)
eBook: LIT, PDF, ePub, Mobi, Kindle, etc.


vicki_girl | 2749 comments I agree in theory, but I think that it would be too complicated to implement.

Also, I would say for format we should use "print" rather than "paper", but that may be a case of puh-Tay-toe/puh-Tah-toe. (But it may solve your 'stone tablet' problem ;-) )


Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 299 comments Good thought, Michael! I like that idea a LOT.


message 23: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "Rivka, maybe this is a person you should have Otis & Co send a message to - what they are actually doing is corrupting the data, not making any improvements... "

Past experience says this is likely to be minimally effective. I'd rather wait until we have a revised manual and point it out to them there. (And to be clear, this user also makes HUGE numbers of useful edits.)

I rather like Michael's suggestion as well. However, converting the current database to that format would be a huge undertaking, no?


message 24: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Constraining data with a dropdown does eliminate these kinds of issues, but it also limits the creativity of what can be added. Not to mention not all of our data sources for books (mostly Amazon) have a completely constrained set of data.

We could however fix this with some better user interface that mixes a dropdown and a text box. It sounds like the official suggestions should be: 'Paperback', 'Hardcover', 'Mass Market Paperback', 'Kindle Edition', 'ebook', 'Library Binding', 'Audio CD', 'Audio Cassette', 'CD-ROM', 'Leather Bound', 'Unbound', 'Spiral-bound', 'Unknown Binding'. Let me know if you think any others should be included.

If you are curious, here are the top formats in the database:

+----------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| count(*) | format |
+----------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| 2655714 | Paperback |
| 1710710 | Hardcover |
| 735695 | Unknown Binding |
| 97415 | Mass Market Paperback |
| 78610 | Library Binding |
| 76986 | |
| 65897 | Perfect Paperback |
| 58942 | Audio CD |
| 55532 | Audio Cassette |
| 47832 | Broschiert |
| 47509 | Broché |
| 42327 | Gebundene Ausgabe |
| 34278 | Kindle edition |
| 30041 | Taschenbuch |
| 29876 | Board book |
| 29023 | Spiral-bound |
| 27808 | School & Library Binding |
| 21489 | �行本 |
| 18195 | Reliure inconnue |
| 17905 | Poche |
| 13450 | 文庫 |
| 11988 | CD-ROM |
| 10865 | Ring-bound |
| 9791 | Relié |
| 9328 | Turtleback |
| 9292 | コミック |
| 8403 | Textbook Binding |
| 5922 | Map |
| 5902 | Calendar |
| 4116 | Unbound |
| 3727 | Leather Bound |
| 3674 | Album |
| 3520 | Plastic Comb |
| 3510 | �行本(ソフトカ�ー) |
| 3184 | 新書 |
| 3111 | Pamphlet |
| 2990 | Hardback |
| 2872 | MP3 CD |
| 2819 | 大型本 |
| 2794 | ペーパー�ック |
| 2612 | Cards |
| 2455 | Comic |
| 2451 | Cartonné |
| 2411 | paper |
| 2401 | Sondereinband |
| 2396 | Broschüre |
| 2306 | � |
| 1966 | softcover |
| 1893 | ebook |



mlady_rebecca | 574 comments Sounds like a pretty thorough list.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments I've certainly seen many with Unknown Binding but I'd never have guessed it would be so common. I don't see Trade Paperback, although maybe Paperback would suffice for that type of binding.


message 27: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
I think trade paperback was further down the list.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Otis, Oh right. I guess it's a really, really long list.


message 29: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Otis wrote: "We could however fix this with some better user interface that mixes a dropdown and a text box."

Great. :) Thanks, Otis!


Otis wrote: "Let me know if you think any others should be included."

"Board book". Also, I'd make them all lower case (except "Kindle edition" perhaps). I've often wondered why they're capitalized in the first place.






Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Rivka, Board book is there: 29, 876


mlady_rebecca | 574 comments Also, should abridged vs unabridged for audio books be specified in the format field?


message 32: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
It isn't for other formats.


Debbie Moorhouse Patrick Nielsen Hayden, an editor at Tor, once explained that Trade Paperbacks are those that don't get their covers stripped when they're returned, unlike MMP. This can't be ascertained from the size of the paperback, I'm afraid.


Eva Leger (EvaMarie22) | 756 comments SF SQRL wrote: "Patrick Nielsen Hayden, an editor at Tor, once explained that Trade Paperbacks are those that don't get their covers stripped when they're returned, unlike MMP. This can't be ascertained from the ..."

That's interesting- I never knew that. I always thought that the larger paperbacks were trade.
That is a thorough list by the way!


Debbie Moorhouse Oh, so did I!


Cheryl (aradanryl) | 6 comments Thank you, Otis! And thanks for the data, it was definitely interesting to see the breakout.

Would suggest that 'Mass Market Paperback' be 'Paperback-Mass Market' so that they appear together on what probably will be an alphabetic list. Perhaps Binding-Library and Binding-Unknown for the same reason. It really helps those of us who don't do this for a living.

Cleaning data is a never-ending, thankless chore, much like housework.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Me too re the large and more expensive paperbacks. Squirrel, anyone, do you know if those large and expensive and sometimes more literary paperbacks have any additional name other than paperback?


Carolyn (seeford) | 572 comments It seems Otis is asking what should be added to the 'official suggestions' in his post, which is not the system list he appended.

I agree with Rivka about adding 'Board Book' to Otis' short list - that is important information to know when I'm looking at books for my 19-month old. = )

I think we also need 'MP3' as a format as well, or would that be covered under 'ebook'?


Debbie Moorhouse I'm afraid I don't know.


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Thanks anyway Squirrel.

Carolyn, Yeah, Rivka explained that to me and I agree about board book being an official binding.


message 41: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "I think we also need 'MP3' as a format as well"

Agreed.


Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 299 comments Cheryl wrote: "Would suggest that 'Mass Market Paperback' be 'Paperback-Mass Market' so that they appear together on what probably will be an alphabetic list. Perhaps Binding-Library and Binding-Unknown for the same reason. It really helps those of us who don't do this for a living. "

I like the idea of the paperbacks being listed together in the list (although I don't mind them being separate either), but I think we should leave Library Binding and Unknown Binding alone. To me, it's not intuitive to flip them around--people who are adding books with library binding are going to be looking for "library", not "binding". Plus, leaving it alone would make "Unknown Binding" the very last option, which I like.


Ben Babcock (tachyondecay) | 61 comments Lisa wrote: "Me too re the large and more expensive paperbacks. Squirrel, anyone, do you know if those large and expensive and sometimes more literary paperbacks have any additional name other than paperback?"

This article gives a detailed explanation that agrees with what Squirrel said. Most trade paperbacks are larger in size, but not all large-sized paperbacks are trade.

I can't find reference to any other format, but that makes sense to me: the terms "trade" and "mass market" refer to the intended distribution channels of the editions. There does not seem to be a third type of distribution channel. Unfortunately, I don't see any obvious way of determining whether an edition is trade or mass market just by inspecting the book. I always went by what a distributor, like Amazon or Indigo, says in its listings.


Cheryl (aradanryl) | 6 comments Otis wrote: "Constraining data with a dropdown does eliminate these kinds of issues, but it also limits the creativity of what can be added. Not to mention not all of our data sources for books (mostly Amazon)..."

The more I think about it, the more I really like your solution, Otis, it steers the majority in the desired direction but allows the ones who really feel strongly to still accomplish whatever they feel is necessary.

I think the suggestions of Board Book (Rivka) and MP3 (Carolyn) are great choices to add to the short list. I suspect the majority of goodreads users are not trained librarians and they would understand those particular designations easily.

I also agree with Rivka, consistent case is definitely a good idea for most databases.

I'm curious, any idea of approximately how much programming time is involved. It helps us appreciate the behind-the-scenes effort that is involved.





Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments Ben, Thanks for the link. It is an interesting article.


message 46: by Carolyn (last edited Apr 22, 2009 02:08PM) (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 572 comments WOW! That was quick Otis! I'm already seeing the drop-down box in the books I'm editing.
Thanks!

Question to the group:
Should Large Print books be listed as 'Large Print' in the book format list, or should it be added into the title field (and if so, thoughts on spelling it out or just putting LP, please.)

Obviously, there is a definite group who would be looking for books in this format, and right now there is no consistency. It isn't always in the publisher field (some pubs have a LP division), so what to do to make that info more accessible?

Thoughts?


Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2365 comments I think large print should be listed; I know those who deliberately get those editions. I've noticed Thorndike does a lot of the large print books.


message 48: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "WOW! That was quick Otis! I'm already seeing the drop-down box in the books I'm editing.
Thanks!"


WOW! Awesome!

And I agree, LP books should be listed in the format. Maybe not common enough to add to the dropdown though.


vicki_girl | 2749 comments Can we agree to write it out, i.e. 'Large Print'? If I hadn't been reading this discussion, and just saw it on a book, I would be thinking of records/record players.


message 50: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20842 comments Mod
vicki_girl wrote: "Can we agree to write it out, i.e. 'Large Print'?"

Oh, agreed.


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