Comments: 75
Moonlight Reader 5 months ago
I'm pretty sure that one of those was mine (the Open Road kindle edition) - and it looks like I did it right! Woohoo!

If I screwed it up, you can tell me the truth!
Murder by Death 5 months ago
No, it was right - I swear. :)

I tried to screenshot examples that weren't readily identifiable because I don't want anyone feeling singled out; I'm incredibly relieved that if someone was able to identify theirs, it was one that was done right.

PS: Check your PM's... :)
Lillelara 5 months ago
Oh, shoot! I didn´t realize there was a difference between an ebook and a kindle edition (at least I´m not aware that I have seen both options in the dropdown menue) and I´m 100% sure that I made that mistake :(. I´m so sorry and I promise that it won´t happen again now that I know about this.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
No worries (though, for the record, I don't *remember* you doing it). :)
pareidolia 5 months ago
I didn't know that either.
And to be fair: ISBN 10, ISBN 13 and ASIN all have an asterix marking them as required fields. To me as a newby when it comes to adding books here, it looks like I'm supposed to add all three. That's not very intuitive.
isanythingopen 5 months ago
pareidolia: It will accept with only one of those fields filled in. The few times I've added a book, I was allowed to add only the ASIN. And I'm hoping to god I didn't make any extra work for anyone. LOL
pareidolia 5 months ago
Yes, I've learned that much :) But I'd think a few mistakes could be prevented if not all three numbers were marked as mandatory. Or maybe rephrase the little info-box; it tells me to enter 'at least' one number, which still sounds like adding all three is okay.
Same with the eBook/ Kindle thing. It's needlessly confusing. Ebook and Kindle aren't formats. The actual formats are called epub and mobi/AZW, so why not call them that on the entry form? It would make the distinction more clear.
isanythingopen 5 months ago
As far as I know, and someone correct me if I'm wrong,
ASIN is specific to Amazon/Kindle.
All the other ebook formats, even mobi, should have an ISBN.
So, if it's not a Kindle book from Amazon, use ebook with ISBN.
Correct. The ONLY editions that should have an ASIN are (1) Kindle editions, and (2) Audible audiobooks. Everything else should be listed by ISBN.

Kindles are sometimes imported with an ISBN in addition to the ASIN -- if so, the ISBN needs to be deleted.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
@pareidolia: I agree, the 3 asterisks (*) confuse things. I've thought about suggesting to booklikes that they clarify that, but I can't figure out how to phrase possible statements that don't in themselves sound confusing. I feel like it can't just be "complete at least one of the fields" because then we'll end up with the same issue: people using ASINs when they should be using ISBNs, or vice versa. That's when my efforts at sentence structure go pear shaped - trying to come up with a statement that basically says 'you can fill in 1 field, but make sure it's the right field'. :)

And if we changed format to emobi/epub it would make things worse; most people don't know what those are, or which is which. If you're buying digital books from Amazon, you're buying kindle editions; everything else is an ebook. (This isn't just a pedantic issue btw; it helps with people needing to buy the book, allowing them to be sent on to the right place - assuming that BookLikes ever fixes that bug.)
isanythingopen 5 months ago
The only thing I can think of is to have ASIN linked specifically to Kindle so it won't accept it if ebook is chosen.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
That would be ideal - but I doubt we could get BL to make that big a change in the scripting of the add book page any time soon.
Something like a notation under "ASIN" saying "use ASIN instead of ISBN for Kindle and Audible editions"?
Thx for this MbD.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
You're welcome. :)
BrokenTune 5 months ago
Thanks for this post MbD.
And thanks to you and all the librarians for giving your time to making the database better.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
You're welcome. For me, it's fun and WAY better than cleaning house. Same sense of satisfaction, but better because I know my book records are going to go getting dirty again. :D
meeplemaiden 5 months ago
That is a fair rant and a good some good points. I'm glad you guys are there and appreciate all your hard work.
+1 to anything MbD said -- and MAJOR THANKS to everybody helping make the DB better!

And, btw, MbD wouldn't ever say this, but of the "combined 100,000 edits" she mentioned, 4/5 are hers alone.
Also, in fairness, sometimes the "bad" data originate from how they're imported from Amazon. But if you do import via "shelve it", it would really be a great help if you'd check immediately whether they've been imported correctly or not ...
meeplemaiden 5 months ago
Ok, forgive me if I'm having a blond moment here but you just mentioned +1 and there has been something I have been meaning to ask about that. Are the +0/-0 figures next to the 'reply' button used for likes? Or what is their purpose?
Yes -- "+1" is what BookLikes provides instead of a "like" symbol. In commenting, it's a shorthand for "I agree with".

Though especially in the early days on this site, people would also use it to just check off the comments they'd read, to keep track (especially in longer / more extended discussions).

Also, the "plus" version ("+1") is used much more liberally than the "minus" version. "-1" doesn't simply mean "I disagree" -- it's more like "I disagree very strongly." Personally, I reserve "-1" for spam / shameless advertising and trolls. If it's simply a statement I disagree with on substance, I'll engage by commenting -- not by marking it "-1".
meeplemaiden 5 months ago
Thanks, that clears it up.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
@meeplemaiden: I always forget about those +0/-0. But they are useful when I remember them - the + one anyway. :)

@TA: Your efforts are nothing to sneeze at. If your job was as boring as mine can be, you'd blow my efforts away, I have not a single doubt. For starters, you're SO much better organised. :)
Thank you in turn -- and you'd never have said "organized" if you'd seen the current state of my office. (Or my apartment, for that matter.)

As a colleague I work closely with recently observed: "This *used* to be an office once. What did you do to it?" (And yes, he's allowed to say this sort of thing. Because I'm allowed to say this sort of thing to him, too -- it's part and parcel of how we operate.) Currently, as a matter of fact, my office and my bookshelves are aspiring to be at least halfway as well-sorted (in every respect) as your library ...
Murder by Death 5 months ago
::snort:: at the moment, given my losing battle for shelf space, that's not a very high aspiration. My library is rapidly sprouting books in random places - sort of like watching those time lapse things of nature reclaiming old urban spaces. Only with books. And it's only going to get catastrophically worse in about 6 weeks time. ;p
Sounds like our libraries are on a similar (and similarly destructive) course ...
Emerjas 5 months ago
Thanks for all the work you do with cleaning up the database! It’s greatly appreciated!
Char's Horror Corner 5 months ago
I will try to be sure to do things properly now that I know all this information and have started using the Shelve it button.
I just wanted to say thank you to all the librarians here for everything they do.
JL's Bibliomania 5 months ago
Thank you all! Behind the scenes work is crucial, though often unseen and unappreciated.
Debbie's Spurts 5 months ago
Yes, thank you for the work and for all these posts. Aspirin? Naw, you need bookstore gift cards and chocolate goodies for the painkilling effect.

It was driving me nuts trying to figure out how to request editions be combined (and why audiobooks never combined with print/digital books) until I read one of your posts, nevermind the apparently now fixed ASIN bug not accepting correct ASIN ...
Tannat 5 months ago
I just wanted to throw in a thanks for all the work you do. I'm not sure I'd have your patience.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
There's a lot of swearing involved. (At the system, not the users.)
Casual Debris 5 months ago
Thanks for this--very useful.
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
Thank you to the librarians who work so hard. :) Your work is definitely noticed and appreciated. I apologize if I contributed any errors to the database.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
You're welcome everybody; as I've said, it's fun - more fun that frustrating - and as long as it remains that way, I'll happily peck away at the records. THANK YOU ALL for continuing to submit improvements to the records AND for reading this post. :)
Obsidian Blue 5 months ago
Will keep this in mind in the future. I think I have been careful when adding new books (new releases). And I just often grab whatever book is closest to what I am reading when looking for it via the DB.
Sorry for my ignorance - I've been following you for a while, but I didn't realize all the work you do for this site - are you doing this on your own, or do you work for BookLikes? I have added books to the database, probably erroneously now that I look at your detailed and very helpful notes. I have written to them multiple times because there are so many books/editions that I find missing. I review mostly fiction on this site (for fun), but I also review business books for an academic journal - when I try to put up teasers for that on BookLikes I usually have trouble finding those books, despite the fact that I only choose from mainstream presses. Anyway, I was concerned about putting in data, for fear I would make mistakes (as you know), and was recently told to use Amazon UK (I am in the US) and the "shelve it" button. This has worked, for the most part, but now I am wondering if I am messing things up more for you? Please let me know, so I don't cause you extra work! Thanks for your efforts and clarification, very much appreciated!
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Hi BBB Book Blog! I am strictly a volunteer librarian here at BookLIkes, as are all the other librarians (you can spot them because they have a paper airplane (?) in the corner of their avatar picture). None of us are employees of BookLikes, and we do what we do because we enjoy it, and because some of us (me) don't get out much. :D

Forgive me if I'm telling you stuff you've already picked up on BL, but BookLikes is in EU (Poland) and the new GDP laws have affected them (at least we're speculating this is what has happened - BL neither confirms nor denies). Specifically, they lost the Amazon auto-import we had until March of this year, the one that allowed you to search here for an ISBN/ASIN and if it wasn't in the database, would automatically import it. So until further notice, the ShelveIt widget is the closest we can get to 'auto-import', and it's totally fine to use. It's much easier for a lot of users than adding the book manually. We do ask if you have time and the confidence to do it, to please take a moment to 'finish' the imported record off; the import doesn't come through with a cover, synopsis or ... something else - I can't remember.

You're also welcome to add a record manually if you have time and the data easily at hand (like the book itself). Either way, you're NOT messing anything up. And I hope you'll feel free to ask me or any other librarian any questions you might have about the database. If you have any problems finding/adding/editing books, just let one of us know and we'll figure it out too. :)

Hope that helps - I enjoy your reviews btw, and hope to see more of them here. :)
Tannat 5 months ago
When I tried it, it didn't come through with the format, so I had to add it manually.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
That's it - thanks! :)
Thanks so much - yes, they did explain the issue with Amazon imports when I asked the question, and I do try to add the covers when I add the book. I will make sure to complete the other parts when I add more. I did not know anything about the ASIN before I read your notes, so that was really helpful. I love reading your reviews and so many amazing tips! I have had some family things to deal with this year (all good now) — I kept reading, but I gave myself a pass if my reviews were later than usual... :) Hopefully you will see a lot more in the next couple of weeks. Thanks again!
Murder by Death 5 months ago
You're welcome - and welcome back! :)
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
I have a question. What do I do when I need to add another cover to a book? This is the book in question:

And when I searched the ASIN, I get this:,10499313

Different cover and different release date, but the same ASIN.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Ug. I hate kindles. (though, tbf, ebooks are no better.)

The policy with kindled and ebooks is, as long as a valid source URL is provided, we'll change the cover of the existing ASIN (and the pub date, I guess). There's no other way to do it really, and since Amazon updates everyone's kindles with the new covers anyway, there's no point of archiving the old digital covers; nobody will have them.
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
Okie dokie. I just wasn't sure what the policy on changing existing covers were, other than it was ok if it was a "final artwork not yet released" type deal. I'll edit and submit the changes in just a few. Thanks!
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
I submitted the changes. I tried to add the series info and position as well as the publisher, but it wouldn't accept those.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Why not? I mean, did you get an error message? Or is it just that you can't see the additions after you saved the record? Because you won't see them until a librarian approves them.
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
I got an error message after I hit submit. I had typed in the series name in the appropriate line and then added the number in the series. When I submitted, it told me to either add in the series name or remove the number and try again. The line where I'd typed the series name was blank. I tried again, got the same error, so I finally just removed the series number and submitted.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Ah, I know why that happened - the series field is actually a search field, like the author and publisher (though in the add new book page, publisher is not). So when you put the series name in, it was likely searching the database for it, and you were entering the other information in the other fields; when that happens the results don't always appear, because you're no longer actively 'in' that text box. So when you hit save, it recognised that field as being blank, hence the error message. (Happens to me often because I can get a bit impatient and tab my way through too fast.)
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
So be a little more patient next time, got it! Thanks for the help!
Also (and at the risk of redundancy), don't forget to confirm your entry in the search field by hitting "return" with your cursor still in the series search field. With pretty much every other field in the form, hitting "return" will make the system save the form as such and return you to the actual book page, but in the series search field, hitting "return" will make the system save the series entry and let you go on working on the form. If you don't hit "return" there, you'll get an error message all over again when you're trying to save the completed form.

ETA: UNLESS, as Tannat notes, you actually do get a search result -- I frequently didn't lately. If there is a series name matching your requirements, all you need to do is click on that.
Tannat 5 months ago
I'm always afraid to hit return mid-form, so I think I just click on the appropriate selection that pops up.
If you do get one or more search results, true, that's enough. If you don't get any search results, though, and have to complete the field yourself, it will only take your entry if you hit "return."

Though I do hear you on hitting "return" mid-form.
Debbie's Spurts 5 months ago
I'm pretty sure -- I'm not a librarian and it could be browser, device or particular books I was adding/requesting-edits -- that "return" caveat also applies when author isn't found. Meaning that as you type author name in author field and it's found in database you click/select it from the dropdown choices that appear. If author name is not found and you need to add a new author, you'll need to hit return/enter to add it.

It has caused me to save an incomplete edit by hitting return/enter at wrong time. Then have to wait -- assuming I remember and real life doesn't interrupt -- five minutes before editing again. I wish booklikes would reduce or remove the five-minute wait; not unlikely I would have some edit on clipboard ready to paste into appropriate section and tabs with proper sources open that I wipe during the wait.

Happened once too often for me where now I put garbage/"placeholder" in ASIN field so that a return/enter saving the book is halted by an invalid ASIN error message. A final review, remove or correct ASIN, then press return/enter key until saved. I think a garbage ISBN number, removing language or other required fields might also work -- I landed on using ASIN field because of past and current bugs making it so cranky it often gave error messages even when accurate ASIN making me positive garbaging that field would work to halt the book save.

In the event a correct ASIN on kindle/audible editions gives an error message, I note it to librarians in the URL field along with URL source.

While not booklikes' fault, some device browsers also will refresh while making edits for librarians to activate. That's caused me to lose work as well (so often on one of my tablets that after garbaging ASIN, I hit return/enter to save after each field I edit which forces booklikes to retain new edits safe from the refresh while saving book halted by ASIN error message -- I love the booklikes community so want to help database but if I had to wait 5 minutes between every field corrected because browser refreshes would mean three changes on one book could take 15+ minutes ...)
Murder by Death 5 months ago
I don't know anything about a 5 minute waiting period? This is a thing?

Adding new authors for users is problematic; I think, based on performance, that the users aren't supposed to be able to add authors (because we end up with too many duplicates). It DOES work once in awhile, but more often than not I get reports that the system ignores the request (no errors, just ignores it).
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Also, please don't use garbage ASIN/ISBN numbers.
Tannat 5 months ago
I thought that new authors had to be added via a report rather than an edit because booklikes will just merge the new author with the existing author with the closest spelling (less than ideal). So if the author search doesn't return an entry, we should be submitting a report immediately afterward in order to correct the author (and prevent weird merging).
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Something like that - it almost always ignores the request to create a new author, then just assigns the closest found author to the record instead. No actual merging of authors takes place, though the result might look as though it has.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Once in awhile though, it will create the record, but act like it didn't and still assign the wrong author to the record. I don't know what that's about, because I can't recreate it myself.
Jennifer's Books 5 months ago
TA, thanks for the additional information.
Tannat 5 months ago
I meant that it'll merge the book with the existing author's books. Something like that happened with Peter Newman (fantasy author) and Peter C. Newman (history? author who came first). Actually, I never checked if that got fixed....(it took me a while to realize what was going on).
That's happened to me in the past, too, but if I go back and redo the author entry (as in "I really, really mean this name and not the one you substituted"), it usually sticks. May be because I'm a librarian, but I seem to remember being able to get the system to accept a new name that way before I was made a librarian, too.
Debbie's Spurts 5 months ago
@Murder's "...please don't use garbage ASIN...": Booklikes won't actually let me put in garbage ASIN numbers (the book record will not save if I enter "placeholder" in the ASIN field for example) -- but putting something invalid there temporarily just means my work doesn't get wiped out while in progress due to a booklikes or browser refresh. The error message for invalid ASIN keeps my partial edits intact so I have a shot at adding the rest. At least for us non-librarians, booklikes refreshes a lot while trying to edit where frustratingly you keep inputting same data/corrections repeatedly and what does save (for example if you press return/enter at wrong time/field) has a five minute wait message (and it does make you wait that five minutes) to get back in and finish your edits or correct that typo that flashed past when saving.

It seriously took me three hours to get one book added once. Admittedly, that was a before-putting-error-trigger-in-ASIN discovery where I'd maybe be typing in description, refresh would lose it, edit again, type again, refresh lose it, stray enter save it accidentally before finished, wait five minutes to edit again, lose it again, get frustrated so deliberately edit one or two fields then save- -wait-5-edit-another-field-edit-save ...

I assume librarians don't have the five-minute wait (boy would that make no sense).

I thought about adding books to a goodreads shelf, exporting that and clipping to wanted books then reimporting here to booklikes as an alternative. But that's slow to import and frankly after five years I still haven't corrected my first goodreads import.
Elentarri's Book Blog 5 months ago
FYI - there might be an issue with the shelveit feature. I used shelveit to import an ebook and ended up with the wrong format and both ISBN and ASIN. That might be the cause of a lot of your headaches if no-one checks/edits the information.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
I don't think it's an issue with the widget, but an issue with Amazon - quite a few of us have noticed lately that even if you search for a specific edition, Amazon will take you to a different edition's page. I usually end up searching for a print edition and get sent to a kindle edition, but others have reported being sent to another, better selling print edition.

But Amazon does like to piggyback their ASIN numbers too...
Murder by Death 5 months ago
Also - when the auto import was working I DID have a couple of instances where I searched for a specific ISBN and got a totally different one come through, but it only happened 2 or 3 times and I couldn't replicate it on demand, so never reported it. Also probably Amazon trying to flog an edition they have a higher margin on.
Elentarri's Book Blog 5 months ago
It is probably Amazon. That site/company is a pain in the rear-end.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
No argument from me on that score. I'd like to see them gone.
Tannat 5 months ago
I believe records imported from Amazon whether from shelveit or the older feature come through with either the ASIN or the ISBN10 under the ASIN field, depending on which Amazon uses to refer to the page.
Debbie's Spurts 5 months ago
I'm still having issues when submitting edits with it telling me an ISBN or ASIN is a duplicate. Even if I had just searched by ASIN, ISBN, title and author without finding a book. I've been removing the ISBN/ASIN, checking the box to say there is no isbn/ASIN yet, and noting correct ISBN/ASIN along with source URL in the URL field for lack of an easier/clearer way of communicating to librarians (other than locating who is a librarian on the dashboard and bugging one individually who may or may not be the one to get that book's edit, may or may not be online soon, and may or may not have wanted to do edits during that booklikes session ...).

Admittedly, that could sometimes be because another bookliker just added it.
Murder by Death 5 months ago
I've seen these, but I don't know what to tell you - I can add the ISBN or ASIN without trouble and without getting any errors.
Peregrinations 5 months ago
I'm having the same trouble as Debbie. Search for ASIN, told it isn't in the database, add book, told it is a duplicate. That was my first attempt to add a book to the database. Most of what I read is audiobook. Most of the time, the edition is impossible to find, a simple search on the author or the ASIN always come up dry. Audios are rarely properly linked to the other editions. I have learned that I have to shelve a title from and that itsn't usually a problem but there are editions that aren't available on

HOWEVER, hats off to the Librarians. They are embarked on a Sisyphean effort to repair the DB; it is a rear-guard action. It will never be perfect nor will the job ever be completed. There will always be books that cannot be found. There will always be records with incomplete and wrong information.

Thank you, Librarians, for your willingness to try to get things fixed..
Debbie's Spurts 5 months ago
Another thing I learned from Murder's past posts -- in case it helps anyone reading this even if not completley on topic: if you shelve a book "currently reading" but it does not show as, look to see if author is missing. That's usually why so needs edited (and likely combining with other editions since system looks for exact title and author match to signal "editions of same book").