Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Goodreads is getting rid of Amazon info (PS: They still need your help!)

Hi everyone!

I'm posting again on Goodreads to try to explain more about what I think is going on as well as another plea for people to help out.

What's been going on with this is that from what I can gather, Amazon has been getting more and more restrictive on what Goodreads can do with the information from their site. I've heard that GR is paying Amazon some amount of money (not sure if this is true or not), which would also factor into all of this.

Whatever the restrictions were, they were obviously getting to the point where Goodreads just couldn't deal with it anymore. I have a suspicion that Goodreads listing book availability on several merchant sites rather than just Amazon might have had something to do with it as well. (No basis for this, just common sense that a big merchant site would like to be the only option listed for purchases.)

In any case, there's still thousands of books that are in danger of getting deleted. One of the areas that I've seen is most likely to be in danger are foreign language books. I'm a huge fan of Japanese manga and I've noticed that much of the manga I'd reviewed came up as "rescue me". ESPECIALLY those series that haven't been officially translated into English.

I know that some might be figuring "oh, you can add them afterwards" but aren't realizing how much work it is to add a book that isn't on the system. It's a difference between filling out about 12 fields versus only having to fill out 3-4 at most. (The rescue books do have more fields, but at most you only have to verify 3 fields, one of which is a link to whatever source you're using.) It's just time consuming, plus you have to figure that hundreds of reviews are going to be lost for whatever book you're going to add after the 30th. I hate guilt tripping people, but there's a huge amount of work left to do. (Wish that Goodreads would offer one big list along with the smaller, more user oriented lists!)


I found a blog by Abel Keogh that gives a little more information (click here).

One of the users posted this:

My understanding is that Amazon has changed its terms of service for use of its API (the bit of code that allows third parties to access its database) and have basically forced GR into this new stance – a similar thing has also happened with Barnes and Noble. I guess Amazon has built up intellectual capital in its database construction and it is under no obligation to allow others to mine that data (and it doesn’t much matter where amazon gets its data from as presumably they have an arrangement of their own for that)

I followed a link to this page (here) and it looks like my hunch about the possibility of Amazon wanting to be the only site Goodreads linked to might be spot on.

Under (C) Linking and Diversion

2) You may not link any of the Amazon.com Properties presented on your Web site to (a) any commercial page of a Web site other than the Amazon.com Web site, or (b) direct traffic to any commercial page of a Web site other than the Amazon.com Web site; and

3) You may not utilize the Amazon.com Properties in a way that could divert sales from the Amazon.com Web site, including but not limited to, merchandising products not offered on the Amazon.com Web site.

This does seem to explain a lot. Neither side has mentioned anything, so I do have to stress that all of this is purely hypothetical.

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