Here’s some of the latest information released on Goodreads in a thread within the Librarian’s Group (this group is free to join and almost anyone can do so if they would like to). Patrick, one of the Goodreads insiders, posted the following threads, word for word, in a forum:
“Thanks you all so much for your feedback on this. We knew that posting this information would result in a lot of concern, but we felt the time was right to share what we could. For years, we’ve used Amazon’s data, and while they have always had certain restrictions and requirements, those terms have gotten harder and harder to adhere to. We have been working as hard as we can to find a new, independent source of data. Ultimately, though, this deadline is Amazon’s, and they have told us that we must stop using their data by January 30, and we have to meet this deadline.
Looking at the bright side of this, we’ve never been able to use Amazon data in our mobile apps, and we’ve had to show Amazon buy links and only Amazon buy links on all book pages sourced from them. Obviously, that will now change. Ultimately, we feel that while we would have chosen a more relaxed timetable for all of this, having our own data will make Goodreads a stronger, more independent site.
Our new primary source for data will be Ingram, a major wholesaler of books and a powerful data partner—their database includes more than 14 million ISBNs. Our partnership with Ingram is different from the public APIs, such as Amazon’s, that we have relied on in the past; we have an official partnership with them that will provide us with top-notch, accurate data for the foreseeable future.
In addition to Ingram’s enormous database, we are supplementing our own site with book records from the Library of Congress and other sources, as well. Through these various sources, we hope to have most of the data required to keep every book record on the site.
First, please be assured that none of your reviews or ratings are in danger. Not a single review, comment, shelving, or rating will be lost in this transition. That’s the most important thing—your data is 100% safe.
Second, we apologize if you felt that we posted this too late or that we should have been more responsive. Please understand that we were trying to balance the search for new sources of data, much of which involved negotiations that demanded our silence on the matter, with keeping an open feedback loop with all of you. Running an open company has always been a priority of ours, but sometimes the realities of business mean we have to hold some information back, at least for a time.
In the interest of making sure that everyone understands the nature of this transition and what exactly will happen, we’ll try to address some of the questions presented in this thread. If we fail to answer your question, it may be because we don’t know the answer yet, or it may be because we cannot answer your question at the moment. We’re committed to giving you as much information as possible, and We promise to provide updates with new information as soon as we have it.
No, you can rescue your books! As the author, you are a valid data source yourself. Simply enter the appropriate information on the rescue page for your book.
If you’re an author, and you’d like to view your books in need of rescue, go here:
Those are safe. If you see a Kindle edition that still needs rescuing, please report it here.
If you have the book—either a physical or ebook copy—that would be best. If don’t have the book, you can try the author’s website, the publisher’s website, public wikis, and library websites. Please do not use an ecommerce site such as Alibris, Abebooks, Powell’s, or, obviously, Amazon.
If you entered the data for those books manually, they will not be affected. If they come from Amazon.fr or Amazon.it, then we will need to find an alternative source for data on those books. We will be adding data feeds from international publishers over the next few weeks and months, and we hope to have data for every book in the catalog, but if you’ve shelved books you own that are obscure or in a foreign language, please take the time to rescue those books.
First, let me repeat, your reviews and ratings really won’t be deleted. There’s a good chance that we will get data for your book from Ingram or the Library of Congress. If neither of those things happen, and you can’t find a copy of the book or a valid source for data, then that particular book might be removed, which means that your review or rating would be temporarily moved to a blank edition without an author or title, where they will be stored until we can find a new source for data for that book, which we’re confident we can do for every book in the catalog.
While each case is different, new data is our top priority at the moment and will remain so until we have records for every book.
No, you do not. We will not lose any of the data. While you are free to export your books, ratings, and reviews at any time, it is not necessary.
We must be completely free from Amazon data by January 30. We have already begun importing data from our new sources, and we hope to have those imports finished by the end of the week. One should be finished soon, and another will finish by Wednesday, at the latest. If there are any books missing once we switch off Amazon data (And we hope there won’t be), we will continue to work on finding new sources for that data until our catalog is 100% complete.”
“We have now finished with our imports from Ingram and ISBNdb. We will make another pass at those databases to get data besides author, title, ISBN, and ISBN-13, but all of the books in those databases should be safe at this point. It made pretty major progress, and we have high hopes for some of the imports that are still running to knock out many of the non-English works in need of rescue.
Keep in mind that we are continuing to import from other sources, and that’s likely to continue throughout the week, so some of the books on your rescue lists may still get rescued from a subsequent import. But our major import is now finished.”
Sites that are not acceptable to use:
Barnes & Noble
Baker & Taylor
all other bookseller sites
If you are a Goodreads Author and you are curious about your books’ data, please see the author-specific FAQ thread in the Goodreads Author Feedback group.
Brown, Patrick. “Goodreads Librarians – Amazon Is Going Away as a Data Source.” Goodreads. Web. 26 Jan. 2012.