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David W. Tollen
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General Discussion > GR rigidity hutrs readers & authors

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message 1: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments I love GR, but it has some rigid rules -- rules that confuse readers and make marketing difficult for authors. I'm writing to suggest that they be changed.

Here are the particular rigid obstacles I've run into:

1. PEN-NAME SWITCH MESS: If you switch author names -- like from a pen-name to your real name or vice-versa -- you can never get the old name off your book's GR page -- even if you get a new ISBN! I can understand requiring both names if the new edition keeps the ISBN, but it makes no sense if it's got a new ISBN. To all the world -- the Library of Congress, Amazon, etc. -- the new name applies -- except on GR. So GR readers are guaranteed to be confused. And it gets worse! GR policy not only requires that the old name stay, it requires that the old one be the primary author name -- adding to the confusion! (In my book, The Jericho River, I keep switching my correct, actual name to the primary position on my page, and a librarian coordinator keeps switching it back! My name is David W. Tollen, and virtually all readers know me that way, but this GR employee is forcing me to use "David Carthage," a defunct pen-name, as my book's primary author name.)

2. NEW COVER CONFUSION: GR really doesn't seem to like new covers. If you add a new cover, you have to add it as a whole new book. And your ISBN sticks to the original version. So if a reader searches on the ISBN, he/she finds the wrong cover. That generates confusion, particularly if the old cover is no longer for sale anywhere. (That's the case for my book.) I can understand requiring that the old cover stay on GR, but why can't you switch the ISBN and all the vital information to the new cover?

What is the benefit of these policies? I'm sure that in some circumstances, each one helps avoid reader confusion. But GR's rigid application (and that of its staff-members) actually has the reverse impact, creating confusion.

Do you agree? (Or have I misunderstood something?) Would you like to see these policies changed? And what other rigid policies have I missed?

/David
David W. Tollen, NOT "David Carthage," despite the erroneous listing on my book's page!


message 2: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor I saw it explained once that the purpose is to make sure a particular reader finds the edition they may have bought. If someone bought your book under the pen name David Carthage, they might be confused to come here and find it listed as David Tollen. All the individual editions created by new covers or pen names can be combined to consolidate the reviews across each edition, but those defunct versions never go away.


message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) I understand the policies completely. This site is about making things easy for the READERS - not the author. I would be really upset if I bought the same book twice because the author changed his name or revised the cover.

Why would you want to change name or cover after the book is published? That creates confusion everywhere. I think GR got it right this time.


message 4: by David (last edited Dec 07, 2015 01:54PM) (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments Actually, this policy makes things more confusing for readers, not less. Readers get interested in a book but have trouble finding it, and sometimes give up, because they've got the wrong author name -- since the book's no longer for sale under that name. Or they look for the book with the old cover and, again, can't find it. Or they see retailer listings with the new cover and don't realize it's the book they already have, with the old cover, because of the way it's listed on GR.

GR is right to require that old author names and covers stay in the database. But they take it too far, requiring that the ISBN apply only to the old cover and that the old author name -- which may no longer exist in the market -- be the prime name on the book's page. These policies meant to reduce reader confusion actually increase it.

Ever try to run a giveaway for a book with an old author name in the GR system? Good luck trying to tell readers who wrote the book on the giveaway page! GR forces the old, defunct name into the prime position, without the correct name. Lots of readers who don't win the giveaway will then try to buy the book online but won't find it.

In other words, this isn't just about serving authors' needs (though I disagree that those needs are irrelevant). It's about not confusing readers. My main point is that these rules shouldn't be enforced blindly; GR should look to see which outcome will create the least confusion.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

What I find upsetting, it gives a reader the opportunity to rate your book more than once when old covers are left there. Of course, the only type of person who would rate it twice would be one who hated the book. It seems you shouldn't be allowed to rate the same book more than once.


message 6: by Faith (new)

Faith The solution seems to be to not change your name after you publish. It's the author who has created the confusion, not GR or readers who might be annoyed at having bought the same book twice and review it accordingly. That being said, maybe if you email GR help directly they might be able to do something for you.


message 7: by lethe (new)

lethe Brina wrote: " Of course, the only type of person who would rate it twice would be one who hated the book."

OK, I thought this quote was interesting enough to join this group (for a bit).

Why on earth do you think that? I actually have quite a number of "duplicate" books on my shelves (I just checked, 21 at the moment). Most of them are books I read in translation originally and liked enough that I wanted to read them in the original language. Others I read from the library first and loved them so much that I wanted a copy of my own (usually not the same edition). And others are favourites that I just want to own several editions of.

It may happen that I rate one edition higher than the other; original vs translation, f.e., or a beautiful edition vs a mass-market paperback. But you can be sure that none are rated lower than 3 stars*, and quite a number of them have 4 or even 5 stars.

I for one am very happy that GR allows multiple ratings. And I want to reiterate Christine's comment that this is first and foremost a site for readers, not authors.

(*except one book that I loved as a teen but wasn't that impressed by upon rereading)


message 8: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) They do allow you to add an "alternate cover edition", don't they? I've done that before when changing a cover.

https://www.goodreads.com/help/show/8...


message 9: by David (last edited Dec 07, 2015 03:02PM) (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments I think Brina's right: occasionally a fan will go to the trouble of rating a book twice, but a "crank" is more likely to do it: someone who just wants to criticize. But whether its fans or critics, the result is misleading for the reader.

In response to Faith -- "The solution seems to be to not change your name after you publish" -- that's easy to say if you're not in that position. But authors have been switching in and out of names forever. Sometimes authors switch because they've gone through a painful divorce and want to put an ex-spouse's name behind them (as lethe pointed out on another forum). Other times, it turns out the author's original choice re pen-names ("do or don't") was a mistake, for personal or professional reasons. Why shouldn't an author have the freedom to change? Bowker/ISBN, the Library of Congress, Amazon, and the rest of the industry make it easy. The only place I've ever run into obstacles is Goodreads.

The same goes for covers! What's wrong with switching covers? Most classic novels have gone through a ton of covers. Why create confusion re covers, instead of just simply, clearly letting readers know which cover is the most current -- available to buy -- while keeping images of the old ones?


message 10: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments P.D. wrote: "They do allow you to add an "alternate cover edition", don't they? I've done that before when changing a cover.

https://www.goodreads.com/help/show/8..."


Yes, but they don't let you connect your ISBN to the new cover. It's permanently linked to the old one, despite the fact that probably no one can buy it (at least, not new).


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments You know, it's easy enough for an author to set the new edition of their book as the "most popular" one. Which means that it is that edition which appears when someone searches for it using GR's search function. (If you need help figuring out how to do that, ask at the librarians group.)

Perhaps the problem is that ISBNs are being reused.


message 12: by Eric (new)

Eric Westfall (eawestfall) | 177 comments Uh...so what if, on GR, an ISBN is linked to an old cover? No disrespect intended, it's a serious question.

I've been reading for 67 years now (started at 5) and granted, for a long time I had no idea what an ISBN was. If I recall correctly, I knew what it was early in high school (for non-US folks, 14ish-15ish, age-wise).

Since then, even with the advent of the Net and AMZ, etc., etc., I have never once utilized an ISBN for a book search. I go looking for a book by title or author or a combination. (And yes, if an author changes his/her name that could lead me at first to think there were two distinct books, but I'm pretty sure I'm astute enough to figure out that they aren't before I buy.)

I've never looked at an ISBN as I open up a physical book and flip through the first pages to get to the start. And with ebooks that generally drop you right into the first page of text, you have to go hunting to find it.

I don't even know off the top of my head if the GR page for a particular book includes the ISBN.

So as I said at the top...what does an ISBN matter, whether correctly or incorrectly linked to a cover? (Or anything else to do with GR?)

Eric-the-ever-curious


message 13: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments Eric-the-ever-curious, I don't search with ISBN's either. But I'm told readers do sometimes. More importantly, listing services and other data aggregators do. They get wrong data from GR and put it on their sites.

But anyway, if ISBN's aren't important, why not let them attach to the most current version of the cover? What's the harm?

My main problem, at the moment, though isn't the ISBN. It's the fact that GR is forcing me to use a defunct pen-name in a contest, because of these rules. So the cover says the book's by one author while the contest data, and author bio, lists another. What possible benefit could anyone get by requiring that?


message 14: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) You're asking GR to solve issues that you, the author, did not resolve before publishing.

Contact Goodreads (support@goodreads.com) and explain your issues. They will try to find a way to solve your problem - but it may not be perfect (in your opinion) and they won't change the rules for you.


message 15: by lethe (new)

lethe David wrote: "Eric-the-ever-curious, I don't search with ISBN's either. (...) But anyway, if ISBN's aren't important, why not let them attach to the most current version of the cover? What's the harm?"

You seem to have decided between the two of you that ISBNs are not important, when in actual fact they are. When used properly, an ISBN unequivocally denotes one specific edition of a book. (On GR that can be very helpful. Try finding the exact edition you have of a book with 500+ editions. No fun without ISBN.)

Unfortunately, some publishers (mainly of mass-market paperbacks) and indie authors do not use the ISBN as it was originally intended. Instead they reuse it for new editions (new cover = new edition). On GR this causes a problem, because ISBNs can only be used once and there is only room for one cover per edition.

Hence the need to create a so-called Alternative Cover Edition, which is a big pain and a clumsy solution, but it's the best we've got.

If an author wants to prevent this cover confusion, the best way is to acquire a new ISBN for the new cover.

(Here is a bit of history on the ISBN, if you're interested: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... )


message 16: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments Christine wrote: "You're asking GR to solve issues that you, the author, did not resolve before publishing.

Contact Goodreads (support@goodreads.com) and explain your issues. They will try to find a way to solve y..."


Bowker/ISBN, Amazon, BN.com, the Library of Congress, Smashwords ... everyone in the book business handles this just fine -- except Goodreads. It's not a question of solving a problem for me. Goodreads creates the problem; none of these other institutions does.


message 17: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments I already complained about a comment I made that was flagged. GR said it was potentially abusive and contained a personal attack -- I called the writer a bitch. However, the writer described herself in her comments that way and also was abusive towards the author. I also was very critical of her comments but I gave substantive support to these comments, mostly criticizing her for her negativity that was not supportive with evidence. I probably went overboard, but no more than she did, and I questioned in my complaint why GR did not flag her review.


message 18: by lethe (new)

lethe Tom wrote: "I already complained about a comment I made that was flagged. GR said it was potentially abusive and contained a personal attack -- I called the writer a bitch. However, the writer described hersel..."

It's quite different to call yourself a bitch than it is to be called a bitch by someone else, especially someone you don't know.

GR themselves do not flag reviews and comments, only investigate flaggings by users. I don't know what the abuse towards the author was, but reviewers are allowed to be very critical, and they don't have to give evidence. They can basically say "I hate this book" and leave it at that.


message 19: by Tom (last edited Dec 08, 2015 03:04PM) (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments called him a douche bag, is that less offensive than bitch? Actually, it's more crude.


message 20: by Tom (last edited Dec 08, 2015 03:05PM) (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments By the way, she was being "bitchy" as she said, because Amen in his book decried "heavy metal" music. Amen is a psychiatrist whose expertise is studying the effects of stimuli on the brain. You don't need a Ph.D. to understand the effects of earsplitting music not only on your hearing but your brain. I know; I heard plenty of it in my day, and it has caused a lot of baby-boomers hearing problems in their old age.


message 21: by Tom (last edited Dec 08, 2015 03:03PM) (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments It might've been better for GR to simply edit the word bitch and replace it with something like "the reviewer."


message 22: by lethe (new)

lethe To my non-anglophone ears, douche bag does indeed sound less offensive than bitch, but that is probably because douche means something completely different here (shower).


message 23: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments Oh, I see, Lethe ... I didn't understand your comment, what was the difference between a user and reviewer. I was supposed to flag it if I found it offensive. I see now.


message 24: by lethe (new)

lethe Oops, I'm behind a couple of comments.

#20 Saying someone is being bitchy is less offensive than calling them a bitch.

(I like some heavy metal, but I don't play it full blast.)

#21 I don't think GR can edit someone's comments or reviews. In the Librarians Group, if someone criticizes someone by name they are asked to edit their comment, and if they don't, the comment is deleted.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments That is also the case in the GR Feedback group; the original poster is asked to edit their comment, and if they don't, the comment is deleted.


message 26: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments My complaints are about GR policies that confuse readers. I don't have any problem with GR policing harsh language. I think online communications need a bit more of a Big Brother than offline conversation, since it's so easy to go too far with people you don't know and can't even see. But to be fair, I really don't know how GR handles these things.


message 27: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments lethe wrote: "To my non-anglophone ears, douche bag does indeed sound less offensive than bitch, but that is probably because douche means something completely different here (shower)."

Yes, it definitely does mean something different and a bit raunchy. In any case, I think they cancel each other out. I flagged that review by the way. And I don't think you can compare Heavy Metal with Chopin, do you?


message 28: by lethe (new)

lethe David wrote: "My complaints are about GR policies that confuse readers."

Sorry for hijacking the thread, David :)


message 29: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "That is also the case in the GR Feedback group; the original poster is asked to edit their comment, and if they don't, the comment is deleted."

Now I get it, I was replying to the top rather than the bottom reply ...


message 30: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments lethe wrote: "Oops, I'm behind a couple of comments.

#20 Saying someone is being bitchy is less offensive than calling them a bitch.

(I like some heavy metal, but I don't play it full blast.)

#21 I don't thin..."


You at 56 like Heavy Metal ... well, I used to like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in the day, but they weren't my favorites -- the Moody Blues were more my style. But some of this Heavy Metal today is just noise, it's horrible. It goes along with the raging hormones of youth. I remember it well and it does cause hearing problems when you get older if you listen to it too much and it's too loud, just a biological fact.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

lethe wrote: "Brina wrote: " Of course, the only type of person who would rate it twice would be one who hated the book."

OK, I thought this quote was interesting enough to join this group (for a bit).
Why because it has happened to me. I changed covers and the same person rated it twice. Same book, just a different cover. I'm not talking about different languages. Same book.
Why on ..."



message 32: by lethe (new)

lethe Brina wrote: "lethe wrote: "Brina wrote: " Of course, the only type of person who would rate it twice would be one who hated the book."

OK, I thought this quote was interesting enough to join this group (for a ..."


Your comment wasn't posted in its entirety, but as I understand it there was one person who rated your book twice, negatively. It's quite a generalization and exaggeration to deduce from that that the only type of person who would rate a book twice would be one who hated it.


message 33: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments I think it's a reasonable supposition, that for a person to rate something twice, they have strong feelings about it, whether positive or negative.


message 34: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments I also think staff should delete one of the reviews because it skews the rating of the book unfairly.


message 35: by lethe (new)

lethe Tom wrote: "I also think staff should delete one of the reviews because it skews the rating of the book unfairly."

They won't do that. Readers are allowed to rate/review different editions of the same book.

Readers also know not to take ratings too seriously. Reviews are much more important. But it should be pretty clear whether a review is an honest, critical review of the book or just an ad hominem attack.


message 36: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments Why not? If someone gives a review, it adds to the rating. If the same person gives the same review, it doubles the contribution to the bad rating. It's what should be done, I think. But fairness doesn't seem to count anymore, nor equality, nor justice.


message 37: by lethe (new)

lethe Tom wrote: "Why not? If someone gives a review, it adds to the rating. If the same person gives the same review, it doubles the contribution to the bad rating. It's what should be done, I think. But fairness d..."

I was going to say "Ask Goodreads, they made the rules", but then I had a look at the review guidelines (https://www.goodreads.com/review/guid... ) and they actually say this:
"We will not tolerate abuse of our ratings system, such as rating the same work more than once for the purpose of inflating or deflating the book's average rating. Multiple ratings we determine to be abusive will be removed."

Huh. I've always heard (in the Feedback Group, but also in the Librarians Group) that ratings of different editions were allowed.


message 38: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments Different editions ... but this lady's book was a novel, so the content likely wasn't different.


message 39: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments Oh, btw, GR refused to delete that review I flagged. I wonder if they deleted my comment -- they said they would. I need to rewrite the comment, and educate the writer whose camel's back was "bitchy" that Amen is on the right track about how language influences our behavior -- she doesn't have a clue -- and that Heavy Metal music has negative effects on our hearing, and probably our brain, as well (Amen said it does, and he's studied it through his brain scans, which reveal the effects on the brain of various stimuli). She gave his book a one because she knows more than he does, despite that he's been studying the brain for more than 30 years.


message 40: by Tom (new)

Tom Calarco (tomcalwriter) | 22 comments lethe wrote: "Tom wrote: "Why not? If someone gives a review, it adds to the rating. If the same person gives the same review, it doubles the contribution to the bad rating. It's what should be done, I think. Bu..."

I revised my comment, but they didn't delete the old one like they said they would.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Tom wrote: "lethe wrote: "Tom wrote: "Why not? If someone gives a review, it adds to the rating. If the same person gives the same review, it doubles the contribution to the bad rating. It's what should be don..."
They told me it was okay even if they were just rating the cover and they also said they don't have to read the book to rate it. I don't understand how the rating system is relevant. I also did some numbers with reviews in relationship to my royalties. I found that my reviews are only 1% of my royalties.


message 42: by David (new)

David James (goodreadscomdavid_james) | 52 comments Those who rate a book twice are most likely doing it unintentionally. If the wording is the same of course.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments Or as the work-around to re-reads.


message 44: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Brina wrote: "Of course, the only type of person who would rate it twice would be one who hated the book."

Incorrect. I've seen many instances where this is done with 5 star ratings.


message 45: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Dec 11, 2015 11:34PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Goodreads likes new covers just fine; change the product for sale on your product page on retail sites like Amazon. Then add a new edition on goodreads withiut vandalizing existing editions and reader activities.

Ummm...just how often do you think a reader with a book in hand (or on ereader screen) they just read would not search on goodreads for it based on the book title and author name of edition they just read? Sure, in stores like Amazon.com you want the product pages to be exactly what the customer is buying but goodreads isn't a store.

Why wouldn't you want all editions of your book combined where a search finds all of them then reader just picks the featured one you (or popularity) set or the edition they want to use? Why destroy existing book records here instead of just adding a new edition when publishing a new edition (even if only change is book cover)?

Add a new edition here on goodreads without *^@!*ng with reader book activities including but not limited to cataloging/inventorying/shelving, how it looks/sorts on reader shelves, reviewing, adding to listopias with cover criteria, to cover hunt challenges in groups/bookclubs, to book discussions ...

Don't want new readers choosing or seeing the older cover (or being confused because not matching the one just bought) -- do like #4 of the author FAQs instructs and just make the new cover the featured/ primary/ default edition that shows in search results, on author page, series page, "add book/author," popular by genre and a kajillion other areas of goodreads.

Have trouble setting, ask staff (librarians actually cannot set or choose; I do think goodreads could change that where--only at public-on-librarian-group-threads author request--a librarian could help with that when helping author create a new edition or if 34 books of a 35 book series showed in series pages/sections in one language that #35 would be an edition in same language...).

Don't want to set which edition is the primary/default -- goodreads just uses the most popular/used edition. Which means you are really extra vandalizing reader book activities and shelvings if changing the edition most used by them even if some of those activities don't show in your author dashboard.

Product data on retail sites need to match the product customer might purchase. Goodreads is more of a library whose members might very well be using editions not currently for sale (in fact, some members do nothing but catalog exact editions own and are rather OCD about it if only for insurance purposes).

Just because you published a new edition, why should a reader be disqualified from a group/bookclub cover hunt challenge where they bought, read and reviewed the older cover? Why should goodreads accommodate your wanting to destroy the older editions instead of creating a new cover edition (and optionally making it the featured edition which effectively hides the older covers unless a reader deliberately chooses) instead of potentially millions of readers who have or want to use the other oublished editions?

If I am such a super fan if an author or a book that I have dozens of collectible editions -- digital or print -- why destroy my inventory of my collections to repeatedly replace older covers with the cover currently for sale? That's not how I and other readers use goodreads to track their books; that's just how retail sites and authors do their retail pages. How readers feel about that and how they use goodreads will vary by reader; but some do get absolutely infuriated when author marketing try's to destroy their carefully selected editions ( admittedly others are just happy to have found an edition of the book and managing to shelve or use it).

When looking for a book on goodreads I look for it based on title and author I have, wishlisted or viewed. I might spot it by bookcover I have. I don't go checking with the author and publisher pages to see if anyone mentioned a change in title, pen name, etc. (much easier to just find the edition I know on goodreads, the search results will show me the default edition then I can choose which edition to use. I doubt I'm the only reader who searches for book I read by the title or author name on that edition ...

Sure, goodreads could have more pen names cross referencing features. Current policy, because of how readers are most look likely to use the site, is to make the book title and primary author match the book title and author shown on book cover (slight tweaks so fits into database standards, particularly with punctuation) then add other pen names. Can list or explain pen names on each author profile/page.

Moving isbn numbers ... why should the edition I have that was first published with that isbn be vandalized just because Amazon and other bookseller sites don't make self-publishing authors get a new isbn number when publishing a new edition?

Probably a longwinded TMI under the spoiler: (view spoiler)


Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) David wrote: "Actually, this policy makes things more confusing for readers, not less. Readers get interested in a book but have trouble finding it, and sometimes give up, because they've got the wrong author na..."

The policy is to have all editions here, old and new. If all editions are here (search feature malfunctions like reader typos aside) -- how can you say readers would have trouble finding the newer or the older editions?

It's not the fault of the policy if the author's manual edits don't add all the new editions (or if data feeds from Ingram, publishers, Amazon, etc. don't). Or if no one tells a librarian they'd like a new edition added.

Once you publish an edition of a book -- why should readers here not be allowed to use that edition in their book activities? Why shouldn't we be able to review the edition we read?

Just what policy do you think goidreads should have (instead of listing all editions under all titles and names and covers)? If you set a policy of only the newest edition currently for sale -- how is anyone with or familiar with an older edition going to find your book? Are people who already bought and read your book not allowed to find it to review it now that you've changed names and titles? If you set a policy to only allow the first edition published -- oh good grief surely no one wants that since makes it hard for someone to buy the book and if you want to also limit editions to just first or last published (or even to first or last of formats like hardcover, paperback, audio, large print, different translators, etc.)?

All editions = readers here can find edition wanted. Limit to last or first edition published and one or the other won't be found by readers.

Unless just a disingenuous way to try and distance what's the same book with new name from previous reviews because don't like them. Or to try and pretend was never published with that now updated, amateurish or disliked previous cover (again, you can just set the new edition to be the default so the book search and author/series page display on goodreads matches the book cover/title/author on retail sites)?

Honestly, I don't re-read a lot of books where I'm getting new editions all the time (if I love a book enough to be re-reading it, on the other hand, I am even more likely to want to track multiple editions and may or may not update my ereader with new cover for the ebooks depending on my notes and highlights).

If discovering book for first time (by browsing, ads, author post, features like readers also enjoyed...) on retail sites like Amazon I'll presumably see edition currently for sale while on goodreads I'll see the default edition author sets (likely the current edition for sale but sometimes the edition author collects the most royalties from or whatever reason led them to choose that edition) or the most popular edition.

If between the time I discovered a book and the time I went to buy it there were changes (title, author, cover, etc.) -- I'm going to look for it by the edition I discovered. Most likely I decide to buy from one of my goodreads shelves or a friends review/post on my goodreads feed still showing the older edition.

(Off topic for what original post was about: Admittedly, I find it odd when a a fiction book has multiple editions unless some 25th year anniversary of a very renowned book with new foreword or "now a major motion picture" movie tie in versions -- not multiple formats like paperback, audio, kindle, ebook, etc. but actual updates and revisions including title and author changes -- odd; odd meaning likely to question if the previous editions were drafts sold to unsuspecting public as if ready to be the final published edition. I'm cynical enough to suspect that a fiction book "revised" or "newly edited and updated" editions is not likely a bestseller getting rave review after rave review with ratings all saying readers loved it and bloggers and social media just exploding with how great book is; more likely trying to rebrand because wanting to try new marketing or because needing to distance itself from unwanted reader opinions of older published editions. If a bestseller, not that likely to need to try new marketing.)

I should add that I do sympathize with just a pen name change because getting confused with another author, got pressed by a previous publisher into one disliked, translated offensively, etc. I remember one military science fiction author who had same name as a rather odd and inflammatory religious cult leader that started writing religious doctrine books after they did -- Amazon and goodreads both thankfully allow reviews to be flagged as possibly being of the wrong book because the SF guy was sure getting some doozies.


message 47: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 7 comments D.A. demonstrates how GR is good with working with authors. This thread indicates that most authors and readers dont have a problem with the issue David brings up. David, have you tried contacting the staff?


message 48: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Dec 12, 2015 09:14AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I should have qualified my comments that I was assuming the books/editions being discussed were all published editions or ARC editions.

Making any changes to published editions is seen by some readers picky about their goodreads shelves (and activities) as equivalent to breaking into someone's home to destroy a book on their bookshelves just because no longer selling that edition. If not yet published, readers expect possible tweaks before publication. Some of the to-be-released books are pretty bare of details including covers where an avid fan hears even a rumor that author signed to write three more books in a series so creates books called "Untitled (Series #6)" "Untitled (Series #7)" ... -- for those, yes, titles/covers can be updated when working or published titles are available without upsetting reader activities. Some of us seriously wig out a little when an author gets a not-yet-sure-of-policies newbie librarian to change a book cover totally changing the shelving we were doing or getting us disqualified from some of the fun activities ("challenges") some groups do ... once published, it's just public retail data and authors just do not have product currently for sale type of pages here although welcome to add the newer editions.

Goodreads let's members including authors add not yet released books -- and those never published (or never released even as review copies or ARC editions) ones can have covers edited by librarians. Easiest requested if cover image clearly indicates "draft" "placeholder" "coming soon" "final cover to be revealed" type of comments and before any actual reviews. "Actual reviews" meaning something other than a review saying "Can't wait for this one" type of comments.

Because no one other than staff (including the volunteer goodreads librarians) gets to do anything about reviews other than flagging/reporting problem ones -- there have been problems with authors trying to destroy data on published books or even get them outright deleted to get rid of unwanted reviews or covers they don't want seen. If book was published that way -- well, sorry, but it was published that way and some readers will have used in book activities, be sharing or be looking for that edition. Just effectively bury it by setting your new edition as the default/primary edition so new readers see the new one without destroying existing reader activities.

There's even been past problems with authors trying to don a new identity because previous identity had gotten a bad reputation. A recent example of a particularly bad reputation author trying to change names on their books (and certainly not what original poster was talking about even though part of why policies are in place to prevent) is the serial plagiarist with some current pen name and previous pen names going viral on the book sites, blogs, and social media (and even published in mainstream media) -- their excuse being that we should be more sympathetic because they had personal and professional issues (hey, thief, the authors you stole from also have personal,and professional issues plus they put in the work to publish the book you stole so now have that issue added). Usually it's not something as serious as plagiarism (and if that or other copyright or legal issues are behind changes wanted to a published edition, just explain to goodreads staff).

More commonly it's just an author publishing a new cover edition wanting to get rid of older editions regardless of how it impacts existing reader activities. Have a new edition, pen name or title -- add that edition but don't destroy existing data. Keep in mind that more goes on here at goodreads than authors having product pages in a retail catalog. A published edition is a published edition even if later edition is one currently for sale on retail sites. Goodreads is not for commercial use; as a courtesy (and in the interest of maintaining an accurate book database) authors can choose to do some book edits like adding updated editions subject to being reverted/edited if against the database standards. Authors are blocked from doing edits to book-covers, series info and a few other edits because of past problems. (The series issues off topic for this thread but short version is that instead of adding a book or edition to an existing book series they kept creating series duplicates consisting of only one book.)

ETA: typos and hopefully clarity. Grrrr....cannot stand plagiarism!


message 49: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments lethe wrote: "David wrote: "My complaints are about GR policies that confuse readers."

Sorry for hijacking the thread, David :)"


lethe, you didn't hijack the thread! I meant to trigger a conversation (and I certainly got what I wanted).


message 50: by David (new)

David Tollen | 16 comments D.A.—just reading ... wrote: "I should have qualified my comments that I was assuming the books/editions being discussed were all published editions or ARC editions.

Making any changes to published editions is seen by some re..."


D.A., I appreciate the lengthy feedback. You're vigorously arguing that GR is right not to "destroy" former cover editions. Who's saying they should?


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