Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

The Jericho River
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Book Issues > please delete fals author name!

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message 1: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Hello. I'm the author of The Jericho River, 2nd ed., and my name is David W. Tollen. But the book's Goodreads listings include two author names, mine and "David Carthage." There is no David Carthage associated with the book. Could you delete that name? The system won't let me do it.

BTW, "David Carthage" is a pen-name I used for the 1st edition of the book, which had a different ISBN and a different Goodreads number. It's completely gone, so it shouldn't show up for the 2nd edition.



message 2: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13729 comments Quoting from the librarian manual:

"In some cases, a book may be originally published under a pen name, but then later reissued under the author's original name. When this happens, the author listed for any and all editions should be the author name the book was originally published under - so the reissued edition would need its primary author name changed to the originally published pen name, with the additional name added as secondary for all editions with it on the cover. Doing this will allow the various editions to be combined." ( )

Moved "David Carthage" back to primary position.

message 3: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42415 comments Mod
David wrote: "It's completely gone, so it shouldn't show up for the 2nd edition."

Goodreads does not delete out-of-print books. Please see and

As lethe said, David Carthage needs to be the first author on all editions of the work.

message 4: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Guys, Goodreads gives me the option to put my name first on the book's profile page, and that makes sense, since no reader has heard of David Carthage. Please leave that in place.



message 5: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (last edited Dec 06, 2015 05:03PM) (new)

rivka | 42415 comments Mod
The book was originally published under David Carthage. So, as per Goodreads policy, that name needs to be the first author on all editions of the work.

message 6: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments FWIW, Rivka is a GR employee, so no librarian is going to differ from what she says

message 7: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Rivka, readers are hearing about a book by David W. Tollen. It's on blogs, at Amazon, etc. The use of "David Carthage" confuses them. And the Goodreads system gives me the option to put my real name first. I understand if you don't want to help me, but please don't interfere with what I'm trying to do. I'm just trying to make people aware of my book under the author name they know.

BTW, I'm also trying to pay Goodreads money, by doing ad campaigns (as well as running a contest, which brings you traffic). But I'm getting more and more frustrated and thinking of giving up. It seems Goodreads is going to punish me permanently for changing my mind about my author name and cover image, and there's no way to get out from under the consequences.

Again, if you won't help me, please just leave me alone. Thanks.


message 8: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Please just leave me alone. I'm not hurting anyone or misleading anyone. Your policy will confuse people, and your system lets me put my own real name first. This is a rule without a reason. Please don't enforce it for no reason. I have to live with the inclusion of "David Carthage." Please just leave it at that.

message 9: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 843 comments the reason is for standardization of ALL books in the database, not just yours - they aren't going to deviate from policy just to please you

message 10: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Thanks, Dee. I think they deviate from the policy all the time. The system lets authors decide which name is first, and the staff doesn't change it unless the author makes the mistake of posting here, thinking he/she will get help -- and the staff notices.

I'd like to request that the staff leave my listing alone (and stop confusing readers). Can you tell me where to make that request? Customer support portal?

Rivka, until I make a formal request to your supervisors, could you please leave my listing alone? I'll submit my request ASAP.



message 11: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Rivka, would you please let me know how to reach your supervisor?

Thank you.


message 12: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13729 comments David wrote: "This is a rule without a reason. Please don't enforce it for no reason"

Hi David, I'm not going into the debate of which author name should be the primary here. I just want to explain that actually there are reasons why the primary author must be the same on all editions:

1. Books cannot be combined if they don't have the same primary author (they don't show up on the same combine page).

2. If the primary author is changed when books are already combined, weird things can happen to the author list: as a beginning librarian, I came across 3 appearances of the same book on an author's list, when there was only one. This was, according to rivka, "one of many reasons why all editions of a work must be set to the same primary author." (see msg #726:

Here is a recent example:

You must admit that is rather confusing. And since rivka said it was only one of many reasons, not having the same primary author probably causes more mayhem behind the scenes, not directly visible to us end users.

message 13: by Bea (new)

Bea David, if anyone searches on your name, the book will come up even if your real name is in secondary position. Your book will also show on your profile.

As a reader and volunteer librarian, I just do not see the issue. I can find you by either searching for the author profile or the list of books associated with the author or the title itself. All of those are ways I would normally search for a book I wanted to read.

message 14: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Thanks, lethe and Bea. I think this librarian system is a great feature of GR, and I've found the librarians wonderful. But there are two real issues here that I don't think you're seeing:

1. SCREWED UP GIVEAWAY: I'm about to run a giveaway with an ad (unless I can't get this solved). The giveaway's page lists the primary author's name, and it provides an author bio/profile of that primary author name. So my prospective giveaway looks like it's for a book by "David Carthage." Yet there is no such name on the cover or associated with the book in any way. (As I explained, that's the name on the first edition, under a different ISBN.)

This generates confusion for readers and benefits NO ONE. The GR system lets me switch my real name to the primary position, but if staff keeps switching it back, I can't run a clear giveaway.

2. CHILLING EFFECT OF ENFORCEMENT: I'm having this problem because I asked the librarian group for HELP. If I'd just kept quiet, no one would have noticed that my real, correct name is in the prime position, and rivka wouldn't be watching my page, forcing me to obey this rule. I think the librarian's group should be about helping people. There should be no negative consequences to posting here.

I've written to GR support about this, asking for help with this name issue on my giveaway. I've also posted about this and other issues I find confusing, here: I welcome further feedback, particularly if I've misunderstood something -- here or at that post.

Thank you!


message 15: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13729 comments 1. Unfortunately librarians can't help with giveaway issues, and I must confess I don't understand how giveaways work exactly. I can see that it would be confusing having your "old" name there.

2. I'm sure it would have been noticed eventually, if only because your book would have started to appear in duplicate on your list. We just found out a little sooner now. Don't feel bad about posting here.

In earlier comments you said that GR lets you put your own name first, implying that therefore you should be allowed to. But that's just because as an author you have (limited) editing privileges. You could also put your name in the title field and the ISBN in the author field, but of course GR expects you to enter the data according to their policy.

I'm not a member of the Author Feedback Group and can't reply there, so I want to address some issues here.

Personally, I don't agree with GR's policy that a book should forever have the original author name as the primary author. I can understand it from a library point of view, it's analogous to the title a book was first published under forever remaining the original title.

But I can very well imagine an author regretting:
- a rashly chosen pen name (not saying that yours is)
- having published a book under their own name when upon second thought they don't want their colleagues to know that they write erotica in their spare time
- having published a book under their married name when they have gone through a painful divorce
- etc.

I think it would be better (and make a lot of authors happy) to take the new name as primary for all editions, with the old name as secondary on the old editions.

BUT I don't make the rules, and as a librarian I must adhere to GR policy. Which wasn't thought out by any one staff member, but was a joint effort by a lot of people (AFAIK). And it's very necessary to have a policy, because this is a gigantic database that would pretty quickly turn into a mess if the rules weren't "enforced".

The new cover/ACE issue is a direct result of the limitations of the database. ISBNs (and ASINs) cannot be used in more than one record, and one record can only have one cover. With ISBNs it's first come, first served, i.e. the first edition in the database gets to keep the ISBN. It's undoable to keep transferring them. But with good linking users are able to find the cover/edition they want.

And don't forget that GR is first and foremost a database for readers, not a venue for authors to sell their books. Most of the editions in the database are not for sale anymore. But they stay, even though some GR authors would actually like us to delete everything not for sale at Amazon.

GR authors tend to think sometimes that their readers won't be able to find their books on GR, but GR users are generally quite savvy. They know their way around and how to find the edition they want, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

message 16: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments Thank you, lethe! It's great to hear that some of my concerns resonate in the librarians group.

My main problem at the moment is that, if staff keeps switching my defunct pen-name to primary position, my giveaway confuses readers. I think this is a good example of a rule without a reason. What harm can it possibly do to have the author's current, correct name in the prime position, so long as the old name still appears on the page, in the secondary position? All this requires is that the staff leave authors' names alone during a giveaway, to avoid confusing readers.

I'm still waiting for a response from support, to fix my broken giveaway.

I'm not the only frustrated author. I don't think any of us wants major changes in GR. What I'm really requesting is less blind enforcement of these rules: a little more thought about how rules meant to avoid confusion could cause it ...

message 17: by David (new)

David Tollen | 29 comments I thought you all might be interested to know that the GR support staff ultimately agreed to my request. They let me run my giveaway with the correct name in the prime position.

I really appreciate that! Thanks again, GR staff (if you're reading this thread).

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