Help Topic

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
* 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 books by an author" or "all books in a series" where no published collection of these works exists
* story bundles

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:
* coloring 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. Note that we do remove fanfiction at the author's request.
* 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 (e.g., perfectbound literary magazines), although they should be typed as "periodical" in the work: media type field
* serialized, web-only editions that have been subsequently published as completed works
* 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 and has an ISBN or ASIN number, follow these instructions:
     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/ASIN of the not-a-book. Once the editions are merged in the above step, this search should result in no hits.
     d) Create a new book record with the not-a-book ISBN/ASIN.
     e) Click on “edit details.” On the right side of the page, click on “mark as not a book."

Following these steps ensures that 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 when merging editions. This procedure also prevents future additions of this not-a-book to the Goodreads database.

Note: If the item has zero shelvings, simply follow the instructions in 1e.

2. 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 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.