Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

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Questions > how to add "read online" link to a book?

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message 1: by Paola (new)

Paola | 9 comments Some books do have a link to their freely available online version, while some don't although a freely available online versions exist: can we librarian add such a link?
For instance, The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston has a free online version exists on the Internet archive here: is there a way to add this link to the book page?


message 2: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 01, 2013 11:12AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) To which edition of the book would you add it? The online version is not going to be a perfect match for any of them. The official url field is generally for the book's official page at the author or publisher's website and the public domain books all were published pre-internet.

Usually what shows on the book page are details for a specific edition. I don't think it's a problem for book description to say it is in the public domain. But, three issues with adding the read online links (1) internet archives is only one of hundreds of sites where you can read or download free public domain books, (2) books/documents/articles only available to read online versus being downloadable as ebook in one format or another are not in goodreads database, (3) maintainig the links-making sure all the links are working, not broken, that sites not using permalinks haven't re-organized and moved book so link no longer accurate, making sure links from internet archives, project gutenberg, and all the sites are represented versus "advertising" or the implied recommendation of just certain specific sites, making sure links are not to malicious sites or sites hosting ads that might be ...

Links at goodreads tend to just be to book page at publisher or author sites or blogs.

Even to obtain free, I don't think links to purchase, read or download a book( for free or for pay) get entered.

If author or copyright holder wishes to upload an excerpt or an entire book for goodreads members to read, they have an "excerpt" feature they can use to upload. Authors are also welcome to blog/post out the link to goodreads for their followers to see or post it in appropriate groups that welcome.

Public domain books aren't, of course, going to have living authors or dedicated publishers to handle that sort of thing. Members who will read public domain books on line tend to know by looking at publish dates and have favorite sites to get the free reads.


message 3: by vicki_girl (new)

vicki_girl | 2765 comments Public domain books, that are available for download, can be uploaded to Goodreads by librarians. However, the book link you provided has two issues:

1) the book is broken into literally hundreds of parts that wqould have to be put back together as a single work to be added to Goodreads for reading online.

2) the link indicates the book was published in 1937 which means it may still be in copyright in the US. Further research would be required to confirm its public domain status.


message 4: by Paola (last edited Jan 01, 2013 09:10AM) (new)

Paola | 9 comments vicki_girl wrote: "Public domain books, that are available for download, can be uploaded to Goodreads by librarians. However, the book link you provided has two issues:

1) the book is broken into literally hundreds..."


Ladies, thank you both!

@Debbie: thanks, I referred to the "download ebook" button that for some books appears as one of the "get this book" buttons. Now I know librarians can upload a copy, but there may be copyright issues for this specific book that i should look into better.

@vicky_girl: sorry, my fault - along the list of rtf, txt or html files there is also a DJVU file (here), so that is the one I was thinking of linking. I was assuming that if it was on Internet archive it would be out of copyright, but from what you write I'd conclude I was wrong then!


message 5: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 01, 2013 11:07AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Well, even if public domain and a site has a lnk to read online - we may not have permission to use that link to obtain the book to upload it to goodreads.

Some of the sites hosting books put extra material, covers, forewords, etc. that alter it from being just the straight text in public domain. Or put terms of service stating that this is their version, compiled or scanned by some sort of proprietary service, etc.

Unless it's your own scanned or OCR'd edition or the site specifically has a statement granting that you can re-use or share out their file, get permission first.

Most actually do have a statement allowing you to share. Which = getting permission.

Project Gutenberg on main page specifically says "All items are free to download and share. " and adds "Our ebooks are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free of copyright in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks. We also have a number of copyrighted titles, for which the copyright holder has given permission for unlimited non-commercial worldwide use."

But all sites don't.

For example, the terms of use at Internet Archives site says "Our terms of use specify that users of the Wayback Machine are not to copy data from the collection. If there are special circumstances that you think the Archive should consider, please contact info at archive dot org."

I personally question that sites who don't explain copyright permission and their own terms of service may not be the best source of whether or not the files on their site are legal. Just that—along with a lot of very good, useful perfectly legal sites preserving and making available public domain books—there are a lot of sites that think nothing of providing illegal copies of copyrighted works ( scanned, retyped, drm stripped, ... sometimes referred to as "torrent sites") - not something easy to keep up with or police so goodreads doesn't post the links and just be very, very careful of the legalities when uploading books.


message 6: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 01, 2013 11:09AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Paola wrote: "Some books do have a link to their freely available online version, while some don't although a freely available online versions exist: can we librarian add such a link?
For instance, The Complete..."


Unless the link to their freely available online version is directed to the author or publisher website or was posted by the author - I don't think it's supposed to be there. Definitely not if it leads to a site you have to "join" (whether or not free) or to something that looks like advertisement. I cannot think of any link that should be there for a book in public domain because copyright expired; possible exception is if author established an official literary trust for their works (in which case the trust website's page for that book can be put in official url).

If not sure link belongs, post the book to this group and ask.

If link goes to the book's page on author or publisher site/blog, it should go in the official url field (whether or not book can be read for free at the link, if it's the author's official page for the book that is the official url).

(Ditto for reviews, time limited special promotions/announcements/offers, and advertisements in book descriptions not belonging unless something basicallly just useful data like "also available in the series are book 1, book 2, and book 5 is coming out in" type of statements members might appreciate). Book descriptions are just that, descriptions. Usually just repeating snyopsis/blurb from back of book.)


message 7: by Paola (new)

Paola | 9 comments Debbie (Debbie Rice) wrote: "Well, even if public domain and a site has a lnk to read online - we may not have permission to use that link to obtain the book to upload it to goodreads.

Some of the sites hosting books put extr..."


Debbie, thanks - it looks like this one may be under copyright, then (the author is British, and died in the 60s, so with 70 years to go it must be under copyright), so it looks like it is better to give a pass to this one.


message 8: by Paola (new)

Paola | 9 comments Debbie (Debbie Rice) wrote: "If not sure link belongs, post the book to this group and ask."
will surely do!
again, many thanks!


message 9: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 01, 2013 12:24PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) British copyright periods are different from U.S. I think there's even an official or an unofficial holiday or celebration for the day when a long list of books goes out of copyright? I forget the name of it.

At any rate on the Internet Archive site (whether in or out of copyright) to legally distribute/share/upload a file you either go to the source site (they pull from Project Gutenberg and others) and check for/request permissions (a lot of the source sites do allow you to share) or get permission from internet archives.


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