Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{January 22, 2012}   Why Goodreads Is Making The Switch And What That Means For You

Thanks to my many readers, I’ve been pointed to some more information released by Goodreads that is running in a forum in the Librarians group.  This group is free to join and almost anyone can do so if they would like to. The Chief Architect of Goodreads posted the following, word for word, in a forum:

Amazon is going away as a data source

“Amazon’s data has been great for us for many years, but the terms that come with it have gotten more and more restrictive, and we were finally forced to come to the conclusion that moving to other datasources will be better for Goodreads and our members in so many ways that we had to do it. It may be a little painful, but our aim is to make it as seamless as possible for all our members.

Amazon data that we will stop using includes data such as titles, author names, page counts, and publication dates. For the vast majority of book editions, we are currently importing this data from other sources. Once the imports are done, those few remaining editions for which we haven’t found an alternative source of information will be removed from Goodreads.

Member ratings, reviews, and bookshelves are safe, but your data may be moved to a different edition of the book. If we can’t find a matching edition, then your review will be attached to a book with no title or author. But the good news is that there’s a way you can help.

Today, we are announcing new tools to help Goodreads Librarians source data for the books that need rescuing.

To view these new tools, click here and click “rescue me!” next to any of the books on the list. You will then see a form with data to fill in and some helpful guidelines for where to locate said data.

Early next week, we will be importing a database of 14 million ISBNs from a new source, so many of the books that seem to need rescue today may not actually be in jeopardy. We won’t know until we import this new data source. So please don’t spend a lot of time rescuing books—we don’t want you to do unnecessary work. What we really need is for everyone to try rescuing a few books to see if the tools are working as we hoped. That way, once next week rolls around, we’ll be ready to get down to the business or rescuing the books that actually are in jeopardy.

Thanks for helping Goodreads remain the amazing resource and special place it is. Hopefully all of this work will result in an even more robust Goodreads database, a database that, with your help, is already one of the best book databases in the world, and will last the ages.”


Now, I have in fact added the bold to the second to last paragraph, and my reason for doing so is because this statement really sticks out to me.  As of next week, Goodreads “WILL be importing a database of 14 million ISBNs from a new source,” so it is possible that nothing will happen to our books because of this import.  That would be fabulous and would assuage all my fears, but again, we won’t know for certain until the switch is made, so authors, I implore you to check your books anyway.

Another wonderful tidbit of news I found was the rescue link that shows my individual books in danger!!  Remember in my last post when I said that I didn’t have time to go through over 800 books and try to figure out which were in danger?  Well, Goodreads has made that step so much easier, for which I am very thankful!  Only 58 of my 800 books are in danger for the switch, and for me, that’s much more manageable for a rescue mission.  The link I used to see my personal books in danger is below… I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but I’m under the impression that it should take all Goodreads users directly to their own books in danger, so I hope I’m right–not sure if you must be a Librarian for it to work or not.  Try it and see:

The rescue link:


To read the original letter (about this switch) from Goodreads, click HERE 


Chief Architect, Otis. “Goodreads Librarians – Amazon Is Going Away as a Data Source” Goodreads. Web. 22 Jan. 2012.


jan says:

I’m curious as to where you’re getting all the info from now? It just seems like noone else besides Amazon has all that information.

This is the information that Goodreads gave me as a librarian on the site back in January. To maintain the site, they imported data from other sources. I am not privvy to the names of those sources, though, and I never thought to ask. I know, for a majority of my books, I personally entered the information based on the cover, title page, and book jacket summary for the physical copies I owned. They could also get the information from the publishers websites, etc.

A new thread in the Librarians Group states that Amazon is forcing Goodreads to make this switch. Amazon originally gave the deadline on January 30. Interesting:

.Ambur. says:

The link worked for me, so I think you’re right about it taking everyone to their list if they’re a librarian. Hopefully there won’t actually be many that need to be rescued. I’m going to wait until they do the import, then I’ll check my list again. :)

Thanks for sharing this info! :D

Thanks for this post! I’m an independent author publishing through Kindle and I don’t have an ISBN. I tried the link you posted to ‘rescue’ my book but I, too, get a message that I’m not authorised to perform that operation. Any thoughts as to what I should do now? Thanks so much! X

When I look up your novel on Goodreads, I do not see anythink about it needing to be rescued. Fingers crossed…

Thanks so much–fingers crossed, then. I did put it all in manually–perhaps that makes it ‘safe.’ I initially understood that Goodreads wasn’t going to feature books without ISBNs at all anymore; that would be a serious blow to Kindle authors, but perhaps I misunderstood?!? x

Everything is still very much up in the air, but I believe it is more so to do with Amazon restricting other sites from using their information–so for instance covers that were imported from Amazon, or synopsi, etc., will be removed. As many books were completely imported from Amazon, those are the ones in danger of disappearing. If you entered it all manually and didn’t import, then I think you will be fine. But… I’m not expert. I’m just attempting to read between the lines and figure it all out. But, I think you novel is safe. :)

Jenn S-Y says:

Shana, THANK YOU! My own book indeed was in need of rescuing. Done! Thanks very much for your timely and helpful posts! You rock.

Just as an FYI, I tried the link (I’m not a librarian) and I got the following message: “You do not have permissions for this operation.” Thanks for the heads up!!

Thank you for the information, it is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks for the timely info and follow up, Vacation. I’m almost more disturbed by the fact that Goodreads feels that Amazon is becoming “too restrictive”…so much so that they’re moving to new sources of getting basic information like matching titles to authors. Following on the heels of KDP Select, this feels…disturbing.

Your link took me to the Goodreads home page, btw. My own books (I.e., ones I’ve written, not just reviewed) appear to be safe, but I believe I entered their info by hand rather than imported from Amazon.

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