Help Topic

Adding an alternate-cover edition

If you find that a book with a specific ISBN is already listed with a different cover, it is likely the ISBN was reused for a later/earlier reprinting. If that is the case, you can automatically (if the cover being added is the newest) or manually add a new edition to the database that would be considered an “alternate cover edition.” This policy is in place because it is not possible to upload multiple covers of a book on a single edition, and 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 shelve an edition with your specific cover, 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 unless the edition you’re adding is the most recently published. If that is the case, you can move the ISBN or ASIN, as ASIN/ISBNs should be listed with a book’s most recent edition. Please confirm that the edition is the most recently published on Amazon or the publisher's site.

All book pages have a link to automatically create an ACE. Next to the "add a new edition" link, we have added an option to "add an alternate cover edition". Clicking this link copies all information from the existing edition over to the newly created edition, excluding only the publication date and cover. It also removes the ASIN/ISBN from the old edition and adds it to the new edition and adds Librarian Notes to both editions. You will then need to add the new publication date and cover to the new edition, and save.

Manually creating ACEs is of course still perfectly fine and, if the edition you are adding is the older one, is required. (The tool can only be used when the cover being added is the newest.) Using the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page, add a note to the old edition explaining that you've moved the ISBN to the latest edition (e.g., “This a previously-published edition of ISBN XXXXXXXXXXXXX”). Including a link to the related edition(s) is also preferable, although this is not required. You can also list the ISBN and state that it is a previously published edition in the description field of the older edition. Adding this information will help prevent the book from being accidentally deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry.

Please do not use the edition field for information about alternate cover editions.

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 and add the ISBN to this edition in the ISBN field. Remove the ISBN from the older book, and in the Description field, list the ISBN and state that it is an older book and that you are moving the ISBN to the more recently published book. You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to add a note to the book.

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

It is important never to alter an ISBN simply to get a book to save (if you’re receiving an error message about the ISBN when trying to save after making edits). 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.

Handling ARCs
Advance Readers Copies or book galleys are occasionally added to the site with the ISBN number of the future published edition listed in the ISBN field. In this case, simply move the ISBN to the published edition and add a Librarian Note stating that this is the ARC cover and the ISBN number is being moved to the published edition. You can then add the ISBN number to the published edition.