Comments: 10
Debbie's Spurts 7 months ago
Great post!

For the last bit about the ASIN bug workaround, I hope you've added that to a post in the librarians group (or hopefully even emailed or messaged your librarians about it) since not really clear a post with a title about favorite-wishlist-private-additional-shelving-options-for-your-books contains a librarian workaround for a known bug? Maybe the P.S. deserves a post of its own?

Maybe when reprogramming to correct the bug: instead of ASIN field having a validity check it should be converted to an invalidated "ASIN and other non-ISBN id" field to accommodate BNID numbers for Barnes and Noble's device proprietary pubit nook books (13-digit number starting with 294), kobo device proprietary ePub editions (13-digit number starting with 123), iTunes/iBooks proprietary ...

Not all of us use Amazon kindle for our ebooks.
BookLikes 7 months ago
Thank you for your remarks. We'll consider all of them, as we always do.
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Debbie - I'm betting that second suggestion wouldn't be possible because Amazon likely requires the specific ASIN field as part of their import agreement. I'm TOTALLY guessing, but it would be in keeping with things GR said over the years before their buyout and Amazon's known desire to promote themselves above everyone else.

Either way, I'd be hugely against allowing BNIDs/Kobo ids/iBook ids etc. for the simple fact that it's just too much to keep track of. There's already an international standard that has been accepted for decades: ISBN. We don't actually need any other ids (I'd love to get rid of ASINs completely too - they're as redundant as all the rest; but Amazon won't let that fly).
Debbie's Spurts 7 months ago
Eh...to the best of my knowledge, removing the validity check on the ASIN field doesn't violate the Amazon data feed agreement (which presumably still requires Amazon to be only vendor/retail purchase link on the book page).

Removing the check should repair the bug. Removing the check could allow that field to contain other id numbers.

Can still keep the field name ASIN for the sake of the mechanics for Amazon data import, current booklikes programming and Amazon affiliate links.

I don't like the way goodreads allowed the other id numbers in the isbn13 field because of the checksum and other programming features it blocked -- so many librarian hours spent there repairing truncated ISBN13 numbers mistakenly entered into ISBN field. So, I wouldn't want booklikes allowing other id numbers in those fields.

I'm suggesting to leave field names just as they are but remove the validity checks on that ASIN field, add appropriate text to the book page so just the book page said "ASIN / other id" , and allow readers who wish to catalog their non-kindle digital editions to do so -- without requiring librarians to add/track (although librarians would likely see later requests for edits to those added editions).

Amazon data feed does NOT require that the book page display only ASIN id. The affiliate/purchase ("see more" aka goodreads "get a copy" equivalent) links have to be solely Amazon to use Amazon data feed with other affiliate links displayed on a separate page (for example, fictfact shows two choices: "Amazon" and "Other" where clicking other takes you to other store options).

Currently I realize only Amazon and Amazon companies purchase/affiliate links seem to be in use (and the terms of use for the Amazon data import likely why that changed from when I first joined booklikes when more were available). But if amazon changes terms to allow -- or booklikes decides to do like other sites using the Amazon data feed to add an "other" link to choose more purchase links -- not letting us add those id numbers means the loss of data = some purchase link failures = revenue loss.

I'm very rarely encountering the other id numbers in my personal cataloging needs (usually my nook and kobo ebooks just use the regular publisher's ePub ebook isbn13 number rather than anything proprietary). In years of being a goodreads librarian, it was extremely rare I encountered the proprietary id (mostly exclusives or smashwords distribution at that) where I doubt librarians on booklikes would see a lot of 'em either.
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I wasn't referring to the removal of the checksum validation - I was referring to using the ASIN field for any other id number. That would end up resulting in chaos - librarians can't realistically validate every id number that might appear in the ASIN field and not everybody knows that, for example, numbers starting with 274 are bnids and wouldn't even know where to begin looking (because as much as I nag, people still don't use proper sources; if there's a number in these fields they don't have to use ANY sources). And we're not even talking about international vendors with their own ids.

Additionally, those affiliate links rely on using the id number in a specific field to find the book (Clicking on Powell's, for example, would pass on the value from one of the ISBN fields) - so if any vendor id is accepted in the ASIN field, those affiliate links would fail more often than not because the id number in the ASIN field wouldn't necessarily be a valid id for the affiliate link you're clicking on.

And again, it's not necessary - the ISBN works as a valid query for every single vendor including Amazon (and if Amazon isn't requiring that field, why, for the love of cheese, don't we just GET RID OF IT??). The only instances where an ISBN isn't the answer is on pre-1970 books and it seems, Italian books published pre-~2000, some self-published/Amazon exclusive e/audio books, and single-issue comics. (I'm not including online-only shorts, fanfics, etc. because they are the exception to all id rules in general.) In the case of self/Amazon exclusive and single-issue comics, yes, the ASIN field is a useful and/or necessary field so that users can easily find those items.

I'm dead set against removing the validity checksums (although I've been tempted to ask for it temporarily until this bug is resolved) because it will just make it harder on librarians, not easier. And again, except for those few exceptions above (proportionately speaking), there's no need for proprietary ids at all: we have ISBNs.

I would be ALL FOR removing kindle specific editions of ebooks with ISBNs, btw.
BookLikes 7 months ago
Thank you for the insights. For the time being no changes in the books' id numbers fields are planned, apart from fixing the existing bug(s) of course.
Debbie's Spurts 7 months ago
Not a huge issue for me except that it's data I have in books in hand that is potentially lost (when I could have added it when adding books or requesting edits). I'm also one reader who is still disappointed that booklikes dropped all but Amazon owned site links on the book pages.

I personally buy more kobo and nook than kindle editions (when borrowing library ebooks via overdrive those do show ISBN numbers so aren't an issue for me nor lost affiliate-link revenue for booklikes).

I'm still hopeful that booklikes will reinstate non-Amazon links on the book pages even if have to work around Amazon's data feed/use requirements.

I would support booklikes by using those links even if more awkward to get to. I'm not sure how much I would backtrack to add the data necessary to help those links (I would for books I later ran across or wanted to buy).

[Off topic for the bug and really not a huge issue because so infrequent -- but, I don't agree that "...the ISBN works as a valid query for every single vendor including Amazon ..." just because that's not true of all vendor/retail sites and clearly assumes all currently-in-print ebooks for sale on vendors/retailers (like iBooks, Barnes and Noble, lulu, smashwords, kobo, etc.) have an ISBN number (often the indie or the proprietary device ones do not).

For kindle editions with ASIN number it's only recently that Amazon search started working with the ISBN and not all retail sites support. (I know it's a moot point that it's a very recent because Amazon now does support ISBN search for kindle editions even though not displaying the ISBN on the page -- meaning for example with a book like "Leaders Eat Last" that now if you search via the ebook edition's ISBN of 9781101623039 on Amazon.com you'll successfully pull up the kindle edition with ASIN B00DGZKQM8 but that that was not always true.)]
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Quoting this part: "[Off topic for the bug and really not a huge issue because so infrequent -- but, I don't agree that "...the ISBN works as a valid query for every single vendor including Amazon ..." just because that's not true of all vendor/retail sites and clearly assumes all currently-in-print ebooks for sale on vendors/retailers (like iBooks, Barnes and Noble, lulu, smashwords, kobo, etc.) have an ISBN number (often the indie or the proprietary device ones do not). "

I addressed this in my comment above Debbie, which I'll repeat here:
"The only instances where an ISBN isn't the answer is on pre-1970 books and it seems, Italian books published pre-~2000, some self-published/Amazon exclusive e/audio books, and single-issue comics. [...] In the case of self/Amazon exclusive and single-issue comics, ***yes, the ASIN field is a useful and/or necessary field so that users can easily find those items.***

As far as out of print books that are pre-1970s, I think most people know they'll have to search those out by other means anyway (especially since we do not keep marketplace seller listings in the BL db.)
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I need to use the Wishlist feature more - the last few years I've been printing out a list of books as Christmas ideas; my letter to Santa, so to speak. :) If I'd remember to use this feature, it would make things a LOT simpler!
BookLikes 7 months ago
We highly recommend using the additional shelving features :) We'd love to see your wishlist!