Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rescuing Books On Goodreads (Urgent)

(UPDATE! A Goodreads librarian on KB is saying that the books published by the KDP program -- that is, self-published on Amazon -- will not be affected. However, Goodreads IS marking KDP books as in need of rescue. It might be good to wait for the rescue until next week at least. -- but it would still be a good idea to set up that page on your own blog.)

One of the many reasons you might want to be on a site like Kindleboards is that the writer's grapevine is fast and furious. Even though I stopped hanging out there, I pause back to check to see if anything exciting is going on in the indie world.

Today I discovered that Goodreads is going to delete a whole bunch of books as of Jan 30 (but you can "rescue" your books by entering new data).

This has caused much panic, paranoia and anger, because Goodreads has only said that they will delete all books which have their data entered from Amazon. And they don't say why.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and guess that Amazon just accused them of data theft, and they are no longer allowed to get data from Amazon. I suspect this because they require you to swear you got the data legally. They wouldn't say that if they weren't suddenly paranoid about being accused of stealing the data.

This may actually be a good thing (depending on how the new system is implemented). If you set up book pages on your own site, you can use that as the source, which means people can have links to all possible purchase points. And that means maybe you can have a little more control over how your book appears on the site. (The question will be whether you can update and correct mistakes, or if you have to a 'librarian' to do it -- which was always a problem with Goodreads. Maybe it's good that not just any user can edit data, but the author should automatically be considered a "librarian" for the work.)

If you have books on Goodreads, you can check to see if they need rescuing by going to your author page and clicking on the link to each book. It will have a banner over the books that need fixing. Click on that and write down all the data you're going to need to re-enter the book.

They will want the following information:

  • Book Title (required)
  • Author Name (required)
  • Source URL (required)
  • Cover Image
  • Description (I notice this field is not available for all books)
  • Format (hardback, mmpb, ebook, etc.)
  • Publisher
  • Publication Date

As far as I can tell, that "Source URL" must be a NON-Amazon link, and it should be the verifiable sourse for your info. You could just use Smashwords or B&N, but I'm going to make my own page for it all. This is something we all should have anyway -- a central repository for all the info, including all those links for all those different stores. It would be a good idea to have a different page for each book, but just one detailed catalog page would do.

Or you could just let them delete it, and re-enter it anew later later. I think, though, that if you want to keep all the ratings and review data, you may have to rescue it by the deadline.

Me, I'm going to use this as incentive to update my blankety-blank webpage.

See you in the funny papers.


Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

My book has two editions listed, an ebook edition with info pulled from Barnes & Noble, and the Kindle Edition. The Kindle one was marked in need of rescue, so I just went ahead and did it. I did find out that you don't actually need a source URL if you check the box that says you have a physical or ebook source copy of the book. I've got that, of course, so I tried it and it went through fine.

The Daring Novelist said...

I've been meaning to do a landing page for each of my books -- with links to all the different vendors -- anyway. Maybe an excerpt.

I'm glad folks don't need a source URL.

Unfortunately, if it's true that KDP authors don't have to worry -- only traditionally published authors will be affected. And the grapevine for these sorts of things isn't as fast for them.

Angie said...

So either Goodreads is overreacting like whoa, or Amazon is threatening sites that link readers who might want to buy books to the Amazon page where they can buy them. Either way, it sounds like someone is being an idiot here. :/


The Daring Novelist said...

From what I've read, it isn't even as dire as Amazon threatening them. Amazon is just changing how they handle feeds of info.

It apparently has to do with negotiations Amazon is having with publishers -- and maybe the publishers are getting pissy about something (again).

In any case, Goodreads didn't handle this very well. I think they intentionally let people get alarmed in order to make them feel urgency to "rescue" their books. But they should have given more information up front.