Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

309 views
Policies & Practices > Titles with "A Novel"

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (walker) | 7 comments Is it appropriate to delete the subtitle "A Novel" from book titles?


message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 963 comments I would leave it, IMHO.


message 3: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) | 755 comments I've always deleted it myself. Since it isn't part of the title on the actual book I've never left it.


message 4: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42444 comments Mod
Actually, sometimes it IS on bookcovers.

I don't think it matters much either way.


This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For | 949 comments I almost always delete it. Publishers often put it on covers, but it is rarely actually considered part of the actual title. It's more of an advertising ploy.


message 6: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 579 comments I usually delete it, unless it's prominent on the book cover. But I agree, it doesn't make much difference either way.


message 7: by Eva Marie (new)

Eva Marie (evamarie3578) | 755 comments rivka wrote: "Actually, sometimes it IS on bookcovers.

I don't think it matters much either way."


If it is on the cover itself I've left it before but I agree with Michael about it not being part of the title *usually* and if it's not I delete it.
I think it looks far better without it personally.


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 2409 comments I admit I virtually always just leave it alone because I'd rather concentrate on other edits, but I also don't think it really belongs. If it's on the cover, it's rarely but occasionally part of the title.


message 9: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (cohlover) Carolyn wrote: "I usually delete it, unless it's prominent on the book cover. But I agree, it doesn't make much difference either way."

ya i agree


message 10: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments I delete it. But most of the time I've had to do that it was becasue they were using it to indicate a series designation, and we have our own series formatting.


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 362 comments I'm just a reader, not a librarian - but let me say that I like being able to see it. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out if a book is fiction or not, and if the publisher gives me a clue I'm thankful. For example, memoirs vs a first-person narrative.

However, if there's any chance that leaving "A Novel" attached would mess up with the effectiveness of title searches, then go ahead and take it off whenever you see it and have a moment to do the fix.


message 12: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Harkness (deborah_harkness) | 4 comments Here's my question: what do you do when one edition (US) has it but another (UK) doesn't? Does this screw things up when you try to combine editions under a single list? and if so, should "a novel" come off?? (thinking of Cheryl's comment.


message 13: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 593 comments Deborah wrote: "Here's my question: what do you do when one edition (US) has it but another (UK) doesn't? Does this screw things up when you try to combine editions under a single list? and if so, should "a novel"..."

You can combine books with slightly different titles or completely different titles, since some books are released in different countries under completely different titles.

The "a novel" issue is, as far as I can tell, just cosmetic. I've only seen it used as a type of series designation. So if you follow an author, you know at a glance which of her series the new book is a part of.


message 14: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Harkness (deborah_harkness) | 4 comments mlady_rebecca wrote: "Deborah wrote: "Here's my question: what do you do when one edition (US) has it but another (UK) doesn't? Does this screw things up when you try to combine editions under a single list? and if so, ..."

Thanks! appreciate the clarification!


message 15: by Shelleyrae (new)

Shelleyrae at Book'd Out | 31 comments I delete it because it plays havoc with the search function - very often if you search for a book that has ':A Novel' in the title and/or seaerch field it will not find the book when you simply search on the title. As a rule I think very few people would search for a title and add 'A Novel'


message 16: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 | 358 comments Shelleyrae wrote: "I delete it because it plays havoc with the search function - very often if you search for a book that has ':A Novel' in the title and/or seaerch field it will not find the book when you simply sea..."

I do it too for the same reasons that you do. Moreover, "a novel" is really subjective since what does that mean exactly? 30k or more words? Or is it 50k or more words? "A novel" doesn't tell you anything except that it's fiction... but is it necessary? I mean, you can just read the description and look at the bookshelves/genre box at the right sidebar.

If it is really that important, then use the original title box to place it.


message 17: by Cheryl is busier irl atm. (last edited Dec 09, 2011 08:51AM) (new)

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 362 comments just a note - my husband got to about page 600 of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All before he realized it was fiction (he assumed it was a biography)...


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael | 262 comments Some books do have "A Novel" as a subtitle given by the author, and they should be left as that. It's the author's title.

If it's simply been added by the source website as an identifier, then it could be removed, but you'd have to know that it was just an identifier.

Obviously, all just my opinion.


message 19: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Dec 09, 2011 12:48PM) (new)

Experiment BL626 | 358 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "just a note - my husband got to about page 600 of Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All before he realized it was fiction (he assumed it was a biography)..."

If your husband had looked the "Genres" box on the right sidebar, he would have known it was a "Historical Fiction." If he had the book (or ebook) and bothered to look at the cover-art or the title page, he would have seen the "a novel" subtitle. And if he had bought or borrowed the dead-tree book, he would have been well aware on which bookshelf of genre he took it from.

I fail to see how Goodreads have deceived him into thinking his book was Historical Nonfiction when all the relevant information were right there on Goodreads and on the book itself.

Michael wrote: "Some books do have "A Novel" as a subtitle given by the author, and they should be left as that. It's the author's title."

Not all subtitles should be kept, even if it is given by the author. For example, when we edit the book's title, sometime it includes the series' title as its subtitle.

Example 1: Among the Living: A PsyCop Novel

Example 1 is not acceptable for Goodreads. This example is direct from the Goodreads Librarian Manual. "Among the Living" is the title, "A PsyCop Novel" is the subtitle. We must correct that example and make into the following:

Example 2: Among the Living (PsyCop, #1)

Example 2 is now acceptable for Goodreads. Again, examples 1 and 2 are direct from the Goodreads Librarian Manual.

Moreover, I would place "Among the Living: A PsyCop Novel" in the original title box.

Some subtitles should be kept, but the "A Novel"? I don't think so. And it's not always "A Novel" there are variants such as "A PsyCop Novel." If we delete the "A PsyCop Novel" variant, why not the standard variant "A Novel"? That's why I think we should.


message 20: by Joe (new)

Joe (joereaves) | 28 comments Also the 'A Novel' subtitle is listed in the original title on goodreads and it says that it won the Ambassador Book Award for Fiction (1990), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (1991),and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1990).

I would have said those were all pretty good clues that it's fiction without needing it spelt out by putting 'A Novel' in the title field as well.


message 21: by Peter (last edited Dec 10, 2011 09:36AM) (new)

Peter (pete_c) | 388 comments Having the subtitle A Novel is sometimes important. It can sometimes differentiate 2 different book titles (although the difference in author would do so as well).

I have also personally seen books where the same author contributed in some way to both the fiction (A Novel) and the nonfiction titles (and so would be on the author list for both books).

I would say to keep A Novel if and only if it appears as part of the title on the title page and/or in the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on the copyrights page. Just my opinion, though.


message 22: by Sandi (new)

Sandi I usually remove additives to the title, whether it's "a novel" or "3 cds" for audiobooks. I mostly edit German language books though, and the German word "Roman" is even more annoying than "a novel". Is there no official guideline to clarify what librarians are supposed to do in this case?


message 23: by Paula (new)

Paula (paulaan) | 7027 comments In respects to the word Novel - see mgs 147 in this thread - its about as close as we have to official policy - I am sure rivka will review this thread and comment Sunday or Monday

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

In regards to the 3 cds - this should be removed - you an add to the description field but the format should be set to audiocd or appropriate and the pages field set to the number of hours for audiobooks


Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) | 362 comments Experiment, I'm not saying GR was deceptive. I'm just saying that it's not always obvious that something is fiction vs nonfiction, and clues of some sort are good. That's all.


message 25: by Scott (new)

Scott | 18511 comments Of course there's always Humpty Dumpty: An Oval. :)


message 26: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 | 358 comments Scott wrote: "Of course there's always Humpty Dumpty: An Oval. :)"

... *speechless*


message 27: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 42444 comments Mod
It has been generally-agreed-upon practice for quite some time now to remove "a novel" or "roman" from the title and sort-by title lines.


back to top