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Questions > Different language books

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message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria Elmvang (kiwiria) | 72 comments Generally different translations of the same book are merged under "editions". I'll take a look at Rowling.

message 2: by Lasairfiona (new)

Lasairfiona | 38 comments Let's try this a third time:

What about volumes that aren't part of a series? Many translations of longer books are broken up into multiple volumes because the translation makes the book even longer or cultural norms require shorter books. Should those volumes be combined with the main books or should they be left separate? They usually have different titles or subtitles which adds to the confusion.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments It doesn't just have to be translated books. Sometimes large hardback novels are just published in pieces as paperbacks. For example, the book Quicksilver, by Neal Stephenson, was published as a large hardback, but then was broken into three pieces when published as mass-market paperback, the first of which is also called Quicksilver (the other two are King of the Vagabonds and Odalisque). So, we have a book called Quicksilver which is actually only the first third of another larger book also called Quicksilver. Figuring out which is which and keeping them separated correctly can be difficult.

message 4: by Lasairfiona (new)

Lasairfiona | 38 comments So what should we do? Should we combine them under the main book with some parenthetical information? A good example of this is George R. R. Martin. If you go under his editions, he has some books in other languages that aren't combined because they part of books. GRRM's website even shows that the first books have multiple parts in other languages.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I sort of feel like they should be kept separate, because they are functionally identical to when two or more shorter books are later republished in a single omnibus edition. Would anyone feel it is proper to combine the three books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a single entity because they happened to sometimes be published in one volume even though they were originally published separately?

However, we should have a way of cross-referencing/linking smaller books with larger volumes which also contain them. I posted a request for this in the GoodReads 2.0 - UI and Design Refreshment group last week, but no one else commented on it so I don't know if there is much interest in trying to do this or not.

For now, all we can do is try to keep on top of these and try to note in the description the relationships. I spent a bunch of time this morning trying to straighten out all of the Legends and Legends II story collections edited by Robert Silverberg (the original hardbacks have been republished multiple times as both distinct and overlapping paperbacks), but I'm sure some other librarian will recombine and undo it all before too long.

message 6: by Lasairfiona (new)

Lasairfiona | 38 comments See, I would disagree. The author intended the books to be published as one in the original language. It is as if Two Towers was split up into two books rather than the trilogy being published together. Shouldn't we respect the way the author originally intended it?

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I'm not sure author's intent is always the best way to look at it. Some authors might write trilogies but consider them to be single works that happen to be broken into pieces for publishing convenience, while others may view each book as its own entity. Raymond E. Feist wrote Magician and then couldn't get the publisher to publish it as a single volume (this predated most of the thick, epic fantasy tomes that are so prevalent now), so it was published as two separate books (Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master). About 15 years later, after he had become big, he was able to get it published as a single volume called Magician. Should it be classified as a single work because that is always the way he intended it or recognize that for 15 years these were considered two separate books?

My personal view is that books should only be combined if they are essentially equivalent. If someone only reads the Two Towers, one would not claim they have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And the Two Towers is itself broken into two "books" (not titled anything other than Book III and Book IV); if they happened to be published separately (and it is not impossible they have been somewhere) would someone who reads only Book III have read The Two Towers? No, they've read half of it.

As another example, the first book of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan is The Eye of the World. Many years after it was published, it was republished in two smaller pieces (better to entice new readers who might not want to jump into a really thick volume) called The Two Rivers and To The Blight. Has someone who has read The Two Rivers read The Eye of the World?

Obviously, this is just my opinion. If the GR brain trust wants to weight-in on an official policy, we can go from there. I am for recognizing subsets of works as separate, but constructing a mechanism that allows one to cross-link these so there is recognition that one may be contained within another and to allow reviews and such to be combined or referenced.

message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments Michael, Everything you said in your last post makes sense to me.

message 9: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 44985 comments Mod
For the most part, I agree as well.

However, I wonder how realistic the linking idea is? I think it's great in theory, but if it cannot easily be done in practice . . .

Also, while author intent is indeed probably not the best distinction, publication title might be a better one. So I wouldn't combine the three parts of a trilogy with its omnibus edition, I might combine parts I, II, and III of a single book. While this is not totally consistent, the three parts are not really separate books in the same way the three parts of the trilogy are.


message 10: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse If we're going to abide by author's intent, Two Towers shouldn't be a separate book at all--LOTR should only appear as one humongous book.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments In practice, the linking idea seems rather complicated, but actually might be fairly simple. I guess I would see it as a pair of list fields attached to each book: "Contained within" and "Contains". A librarian could click a button to add the titles of books contained within an Omnibus (or do the reverse and add the title of a book which contains the current book) (to work properly a book should be simultaneously added to the contains of one and the contained within of the other; a librarian shouldn't have to add (or remove) from both ends). These fields could be considered a pair of special exclusive shelves belonging to the books themselves.

If these fields (shelves) are empty, nothing is displayed on the book page. If the "contains" field is not empty, a list of the books contained within the volume is added to the book page, along with links, basic ratings, and maybe even an expandable top review or two (one could even use one of the current shelf display models). Similarly, if the "contained within" field is not empty, a list of the volumes a book is a part of could also be generated.

Actually, I wonder if a similar concept might be used to create common, non-owned "shelves" representing book series as a way of tying together books that are part of a series with something other than parenthetical titles? Almost like a special fake user who has a shelf representing each series, but that this user's shelves are cross-referenced by the book pages themselves so as to list the series it is contained within. The technology is already there; when you look up a book you can see how other people have shelved just needs to have a special super-user created whose shelves are treated differently by the book page and whose shelves can be accessed/edited by librarians on the whole... They wouldn't even need to be exclusive since it would automatically allow for nesting smaller series within larger series/sets of books (Dragonlance Chronicles within Dragonlance universe, for example).


message 12: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 44985 comments Mod
I have no idea how feasible your suggestion is, but I like it! :)

You should suggest it over at the redesign group.

This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I already did about 10 days ago, but just reposted with some slight additions the above text as an addendum to that original post since I now spell the idea out a bit more clearly.

message 14: by Lasairfiona (new)

Lasairfiona | 38 comments The Contained within/contains field would satisfy me just fine. Linking series through something other than parentheticals that aren't even followed all the time.

message 15: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments So, in the meantime, as a practical measure should we be splitting out translated half-books? (For example, the French and German translations of Perdido Street Station are published in two volumes -- and, to make it more fun, the French translation are just "Perdido Street Station t1/t2" but the German translations have actually retitled the half-books ("Die Falter" and "Der Weber"). Come to that, I don't even know if the French and German halve the original volume in the same place!)

message 16: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Hmm, I'm going to carry on splitting out half-books from whole ones, then.

message 17: by Angel (new)

Angel (mnemosyne) | 48 comments I think that there is one main reason not to combine books that were originally one novel but were split into several, and that is because it makes tracking what you've read much harder. I'm going to give an example because it makes explaining much easier.

Clive Barker's book Imajica is quite large and was originally published as one novel. I read it as one novel, and now I've become aware that they split it into two and that's how they're currently producing it. For my record keeping purposes, it doesn't matter if we combine the "Book One and Book Two" editions with the "all one giant book" editions because I read it back when it was one giant book. However, someone who has only read Book One gets all messed up in that situation. They want to add to GoodReads that they've read Book One and put Book Two on their "to read" list. If "Book One" and "Book Two" get combined under one edition, it makes that impossible for them to do. And that defeats one of the primary purposes of GoodReads.

I hope that made sense, it's 5am and I haven't gotten to bed yet.

message 18: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments Yeah, from the angle of "tracking what I read" it absolutely makes sense to list part-books separately -- I even have a couple of instances where I only own part of a book! -- but from the angle of "comparing my books to other people's books" it's frustrating: I don't see the combined ratings or reviews, I don't see that I have books in common with other people, I can't look down a list of whole books (which tend to be the more popular editions!) and see that I've already rated them, I can't click on my part-book edition and see the whole-book editions or vice versa, etc.

message 19: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 44985 comments Mod
It is perfectly possible to list different editions of a single book under "read" and "to-read," although it does make the record-keeping a bit confusing. But Cait's point is a good one too.

message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2413 comments I know the suggestion has been made that members be able compare authors read, in addition to books read, with other members which would pretty much solve this one if it were implemented. Harry Potter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 vs. Harry Potter all of them. Or all of a work vs. separate parts of it. I like the idea. Also, if one member had read a few books by an author and another member had read other books (same genre) by that author, it would help members find others who enjoy similar books.

message 21: by Grey (new)

Grey (spaceharper) | 10 comments Should the "contains/contained in" feature get added, it would solve this problem...

message 22: by Femmy (new)

Femmy | 26 comments Has there been any conclusion about this issue? Should we list translated part-books together or separately with the original whole-books?

message 23: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 44985 comments Mod
Yes. We list partial books separately from whole ones, regardless of whether they are translations.

message 24: by Femmy (new)

Femmy | 26 comments Okay, thanks, Rivka!

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