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Amazon is going away as a data source

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message 1: by Otis, Chief Architect (last edited Jan 23, 2012 11:28AM) (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
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: http://www.goodreads.com/rescue_books...

Update: There have been many questions about Kindle Editions and books in the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program. As these editions are unique to Amazon, there are no alternative data sources. We anticipate keeping these, and will bend over backwards for all our authors who publish via Kindle to make sure their readers on Goodreads have a smooth transition.


message 2: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jan 20, 2012 11:00AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 435 comments I have read one of the books on the list that may be deleted. I borrowed it from my library, and I would find the copy through a search function. Will this be a satisfactory URL?


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Elizabeth: When searching, the best place to grab the information is from the publisher or author's website, but any trustworthy independent website that isn't a bookseller will suffice. (Library sites, public wikis, isbndb, etc). Please do not use Amazon's data. Thanks!


message 5: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
> Is the rescue list specific to each user, and taken from their shelves?

Yes it is. We will have a general list out after the big file import.

> I'm concerned, because I have improved many, many listings, over the years, whose data may have originally come from amazon, but which I augmented.

None of this will be lost - as long as it made it into the librarian log. We have a process running now that is updating sources for each piece of data to the librarian who added it. You can see these sources on the librarian log for each book (but again, they aren't complete).


Marisa (moretta) | 109 comments I have a "small" question. How have you get the "Rescue list"? Because almost all the books which are included in my list are English and Spanish editions, with no relation with Amazon.


message 7: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
It would be good to start making lists of good sources other than the obvious ones. Best are author and publisher websites, but library sites, wikipedia, and anything else like that should be ok too. We'd like to stay away from any ecommerce site.


vicki_girl | 2746 comments So what will happen to books that are only availble as kindle editions? Some of these are self-published authors don't even have much a of website, just a blog with no list of book info. I guess they could be added back manually...

I assume that if there was a way to keep books that users had shelved, you would do so. Can I still hope that it is possible and request that these be kept?

Is the ability to add ASIN going to go away?

Also, how will audible editions be affected?


message 9: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Marisa wrote: "I have a "small" question. How have you get the "Rescue list"? Because almost all the books which are included in my list are English and Spanish editions, with no relation with Amazon."

The rescue list is based on any book that is sourced from Amazon. Book sources have always been visible on the edit book page. If you find books in the rescue list that aren't sourced from Amazon, please let us know.


Vicky (vnorthw) | 2420 comments How (if at all) is this going to affect Kindle editions? I'm assuming they will no longer auto-import when you search for them, but is there anything else we should be aware of?


Cheryl in CC NV (cherylllr) | 337 comments Can goodreads be a source?


message 12: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Vicky wrote: "How (if at all) is this going to affect Kindle editions? I'm assuming they will no longer auto-import when you search for them, but is there anything else we should be aware of?"

We are hoping to keep those, but I don't have an answer to this yet. Ignore them for now.


Jackie Renee (jrjohnson1408) | 19 comments I do have copies of some of these books, but I have what may be a stupid question.
What is a URL?


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Marisa: You may view which fields were sourced from Amazon on the libarian logs for the book.

For example: http://www.goodreads.com/book/edits/6...


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 435 comments I used Alibris, so an ecommerce site. If I knew how to correct that to my library website, I could, but now the book is gone from the rescue list.


message 16: by M a y a (last edited Jan 20, 2012 11:19AM) (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Jackie Renee wrote: "I do have copies of some of these books, but I have what may be a stupid question.
What is a URL?"


The URL is the web address at the top of your browser. If you search for the book by ISBN, we need you to enter the URL of the site which you obtained the data from. If you have a physical copy of the book, no need to enter the URL (Just check the box that says you have a physical copy)


Jackie Renee (jrjohnson1408) | 19 comments Mayanka wrote: "Jackie Renee wrote: "I do have copies of some of these books, but I have what may be a stupid question.
What is a URL?"

The URL is the web address at the top of your browser. If you search for t..."


Thanks!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 435 comments OK, I see that I am listed as the source of data on the Librarian change log, but the URL says it is "not set." I don't know how to fix this.


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Elizabeth: The URL listed on the librarian logs is not the Source URL, it is just the URL of the book, if there is one. So no need to fix it, we have stored your source URL elsewhere. Sorry for the confusion.


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Abigail wrote: "Quick question: if a book is to be rescued, and has more than one author, will listing the primary author suffice? Will the secondary author information be retained?"

Yes. You only need to enter the primary author on the rescue page. Thanks!


message 21: by Vicky (last edited Jan 20, 2012 11:22AM) (new)

Vicky (vnorthw) | 2420 comments I rescued a book and it seems to be working as intended, for the record. ;)


vicki_girl | 2746 comments When I rescue a book using worldcat data, do I put www.worldcat.org or the url for the specific ISBN:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/intrins...


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments vicki_girl wrote: "When I rescue a book using worldcat data, do I put www.worldcat.org or the url for the specific ISBN:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/intrins..."


The specific URL, thanks!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 435 comments Mayanka wrote: "Elizabeth: The URL listed on the librarian logs is not the Source URL, it is just the URL of the book, if there is one. So no need to fix it, we have stored your source URL elsewhere. Sorry for the..."

Ah, thanks, Mayanka.


vicki_girl | 2746 comments Okay. I just rescued this book and it seemed to work.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/85...


message 26: by Marisa (last edited Jan 20, 2012 11:35AM) (new)

Marisa (moretta) | 109 comments How do I change the source? I mean, perhaps American books have good sources for these data, but Spanish ones? And some of them, I don't have them anymore, so I can't verify. A lot of them go to the bin, for sure.

Well, let's see if ISBN database works.


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Marisa wrote: "How do I change the source? I mean, perhaps American books have good sources for these data, but Spanish ones? And some of them, I don't have them anymore, so I can't verify. A lot of them go to th..."

When you rescue the book, you become the source of the individual fields. However, you must enter a source URL if you used a website instead of a physical copy of the book to obtain the information on the rescue book page.


message 28: by Marisa (last edited Jan 20, 2012 11:43AM) (new)

Marisa (moretta) | 109 comments And another funny think. Where am I going to get the ASIN aside of Amazon? Well, with your answer, I already see the reason but it's going to be too much work only for changing a record in the database in a "proper" way. Anyway, let's see how many books disappear in the ether.


Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic) (mg2001) | 44 comments Will cover art that came from Amazon disappear too?


message 30: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Will cover art that came from Amazon disappear too?"

Yes. But our first priority is the basic data that we need to keep the book identifiable (title/author/isbn). We might make a list of books with no covers later.


dely | 74 comments What will happen to the books we will not rescue?

I have a lot of books without ISBN because I often buy old books in second hand shops and it is not easy to find an URL for these ones.

In your new data-source are there Italian editions? Amazon was good for us Italians. If I don't remember wrong on GR there is only IBS.it and hoepli.


vicki_girl | 2746 comments I would really like to know how to handle a book like this:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12...

It is self published, so there is no publisher website. It is a Kindle edition, so the only source other than amazon is the author website. On his site he only gives the title, some info on the original publication in a zine, and the amazon link.


Shay | 179 comments Is there a bulletin/email going out to GR authors to rescue their own books? Especially the ones that are self-published, etc. on Amazon? They would, hopefully, have the info to save their own books, right? They could just state they have a copy, ebook though it may be.


Moloch | 710 comments Question: is Amazon.it affected?

A lot of Italian book info came from there. In the future, if it won't be used anymore as a source, will Goodreads have trouble finding Italian ISBNs and Italian books? Will we have to add them all manually like some time ago?


message 35: by Otis, Chief Architect (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Moloch wrote: "Question: is Amazon.it affected?

A lot of Italian book info came from there. In the future, if it won't be used anymore as a source, will Goodreads have trouble finding Italian ISBNs and Italian b..."


Yes unfortunately so. Although we are working on importing a feed of Italian books from Mondadori, so it will get a little better. Suggestions for other publishers to get feeds from are welcome!


message 36: by rivka, Volunteer Mod (new)

rivka | 20007 comments Mod
vicki_girl wrote: "I would really like to know how to handle a book like this"

Vicki, maybe you missed this post of Otis': http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7...


message 37: by M a y a (last edited Jan 20, 2012 12:16PM) (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Vicki_girl/Marisa: For Kindle editions, you may use the information from the author's website, or if you have a copy of the ebook you may retrieve information from there. Alternately, you could just ignore these for now as we are still working on a better solution.

Shay: We have not yet built a special page for authors but they may rescue their own books if they navigate to the book page. Authors will see the warning saying the edition is at risk and have the ability to rescue it.

Moloch: Yes all Amazon sourced data is affected. However, Otis mentioned above that we are in the process of importing data from other sources. Next week you will have a better idea of how many Italian books would remain at risk.


vicki_girl | 2746 comments rivka wrote: "vicki_girl wrote: "I would really like to know how to handle a book like this"

Vicki, maybe you missed this post of Otis': http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/7......"


I did see it, but thank you. I posted because with several of these self-pub authors there is nothing but the title on the author's webpage. I suppose that is enough to at least rescue the title and author.

I am just really paranoid about my books and this has me a little worried:

"If we can't find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author. " -Otis from msg#1

I use GR to help me remember the titles of books I came across browsing here and around web. If the title and author were wiped, I'd never remember it...

I will definitely be going through my books around the middle of next week, to make sure I at least keep the title and author on my shelves.


Cait (tigercait) | 5006 comments Do you have a list of which publishers and book listings you're currently using as sources or have lines on, so if we're involved in a niche publishing market we know to start digging for more sources now? I'm particularly thinking of American and European comic trades publishers, which is where I've been doing a lot of librarian work lately....


message 40: by Marisa (last edited Jan 20, 2012 12:26PM) (new)

Marisa (moretta) | 109 comments Mayanka, if I "ignore" them till Jan 30th (we're on Jan 20th, so no so much time), they're going to be lost if we don't rescue them, as Otis has said.

And another question, what's going to happen with books which aren't at any librarian's shelf? Are the other users going to be able to rescue them too?


the_cat | 327 comments Maybe I'm reading this wrong. In the last 3 years I've edited and uploaded cover for around 23300 editions. I think half of them dont have an ISBN or reciews, only the data available from specialized sites and its cover but they are mostly OOP books. There are many books you wont find in any shop. There may be authors whose entire list of works is OOP. I cant possibly go back to redo or rescue all my work from 3 years. Are you going to delete everything? Isn't one of the aims of this site to provide lists of works from any author even dead and forgotten? Seriously? Because if so I'm giving up as librarian. I know how it pissed me off last summer to discover some of those books gone. I didnt investigate I dunno how many were deleted. But all of them? omg


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Nickname wrote: "Time ago I created this (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...). So that periodical has no relation with Amazon, but it's in the rescue list.
Is it possible to export tha..."


We are currently running a script to update the sources from the librarian logs. So that book may soon be removed from the at risk list, assuming we have the necessary fields sourced from librarians.


Lee | 45 comments Frustrating! I have found many editions of the same book on GR with blurred images that I've had to look up at Amazon (see-inside feature definitely a bonus) to make a combine or edit - now to hunt for the same image elsewhere for O/P or rare books is exasperating & at times virtually impossible. WorldCat is not accurate either. Combining books that are missing authors will be too much of a chore to clean up - GR is going to end up with books all over the place when they could be combined or typos taken care of. Certainly info on Amazon is often inaccurate but the clarity of images to check against a poor GR image has been a big help to correcting typos & ommissions. I regret this big change - I guess this means the thousands of edits we've made - moving information to the correct fields or deleting repeated subtitles & other errors is all for naught? My heart is sad...the amount of data GR will discard because of messes at Amazon is truly a shame.


Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic) (mg2001) | 44 comments Mayanka wrote: "Vicki_girl/Marisa: For Kindle editions, you may use the information from the author's website, or if you have a copy of the ebook you may retrieve information from there. Alternately, you could jus..."

Just to confirm and make sure I'm doing this right, if I am fixing a Kindle edition, is it okay to use the information from a Kindle book I own and select "I have a physical copy of this book present"?

I am also concerned in particular about classics and obscure out-of-print books where it is not a simple matter to find information on a publisher or author's website, and where this upcoming import of ISBNs probably won't help.

I'm not sure if it's acceptable as a source for this, but http://www.archive.org has scans of many, many out-of-copywright books. Hopefully that should suffice for some of these older works, since you can view a scan of the actual book to get the information.

As others have mentioned, I'm also concerned about the short timeline for this. With only 10 days to go until the deadline, I'm a bit nervous to just wait and see what happens, especially with Kindle books.


M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments Marisa wrote: "Mayanka, if I "ignore" them till Jan 30th (we're on Jan 20th, so no so much time), they're going to be lost if we don't rescue them, as Otis has said.

And another question, what's going to happen ..."

As Otis said, we are working on an alternate solution for Kindle books.

For books that are not on any librarian shelves: We are working on importing 14million books so we are hoping the majority of information will be saved. We will reassess afterward and decide what needs to be done and whether we should open up the tool to all users.


message 46: by M a y a (last edited Jan 20, 2012 12:38PM) (new)

M a y a (M-a-y-a) | 63 comments the_cat wrote: "Maybe I'm reading this wrong. In the last 3 years I've edited and uploaded cover for around 23300 editions. I think half of them dont have an ISBN or reciews, only the data available from specializ..."

If you uploaded a cover, you are the source, not Amazon so the cover is not at risk. We are also working on using the librarian logs to attribute fields you have fixed to you. Books that you manually added with no ISBN would also not be at risk. Hope that helps!


Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 106 comments Seems like there will be some wrinkles but Amazon.com has been the source of a lot of junk data I've found myself fixing ... I feel like this will be a good thing.


Soul (soulkeeper720) | 32 comments It might be a good thing, but we all r going to get our hands full with work, though that suits us after all we are Librarians


message 49: by Sara ♥ (last edited Jan 20, 2012 12:50PM) (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 292 comments Will you let us know when that script has finished running? I've tackled all my "may be deleted" books (except my Japanese copy of Twilight, which my mom bought me when she was on vacation there... I don't read Japanese, so I don't think I can accurately transfer the data over). Oh, and the ones that aren't out yet.

I think I'll wait on the "may be merged"s.... 4 pages of audiobooks, essentially... Scary!


message 50: by vicki_girl (last edited Jan 20, 2012 12:51PM) (new)

vicki_girl | 2746 comments I agree that it will be definitely be better in the long run. There may be some speed bumps along the way though. :)

Question: Is the following an acceptable URL?

http://lostinthecloudblog.com/2010/08...

I am working on collecting this set and have added all the books to my shelves. As far as I know it is the only place on the web where all the titles are given. Many of these are on the rescue list because some do have ISBNs (especially the ones from 2002). Some are on worldcat and some are not.


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