Changes to Goodreads

Are we having fun yet?

For those that don’t know/haven’t realised, anyone used to be able to add a book on Goodreads & would have a limited time to correct any mistakes. & most people did a good or at least reasonable job. Unfortunately the ones that did a bad job were spectacularly bad & often quite prolific!

So I do understand why Goodreads has decided to restrict adding new books, to Librarians, Support (Staff) & Authors, (& the bulk of books added to the GR data base are added by bots) but I am puzzled why they have picked to do it now! Numbers of Librarians responding in the Librarians Group are noticeably down. A lot of reasons for that, other than COVID. (although I believe that is a big one.)

All Goodreads Librarians can ask is;

Please be patient. We are unpaid volunteers. What may have take a few hours to get added in the not so distant past, may take a few days. Just keep bumping up your request every couple of days. Someone will get to you eventually. 😊

Another change, due to start taking effect in July (& they will be fully removed in September) is our lists of our Favorite Authors. Goodreads suggests we follow them instead – but most of my favorites are dead & I find the idea of following deceased people a bit creepy to be honest.

If you object to this change please use GR’s Contact Us link to voice your disapproval.

These are just the main changes – there are more, but to be honest they aren’t issues I care about.

This is the link on Goodreads Help but it may only work for Goodreads Help members.

https://help.goodreads.com/s/article/Why-are-you-removing-multiple-features-on-Goodreads

& finally, please don’t take out your frustration on Goodreads Librarians. We have little to no influence on anything Goodreads decides to do.

Goodreads Choice Awards

Have rolled around and for me as a New Zealander they have become even more meaningless with write ins no longer allowed and Cookbooks no longer a category.

I’ll explain. Write ins meant that there was a miniscule hope that one day a book by a Kiwi author would be published in the States and (a big and) I would like the book enough to nominate it. No chance of that now.

Cookbooks- I just like the eye candy of outsize cookbooks.

While I’m on a roll I’ll mention that combining Picture Books with Middle School books seems very short sighted on Goodreads/Amazon’s part. These are the readers of the future after all.

So this year I didn’t vote at all. I am expecting at some point to get around to reading The Plot and The Wife Upstairs but I’m not in any rush. Many of my Goodreads friends felt a bit meh about all the fiction nominations.

Thoughts everyone?

The Future of Work: Compulsory

by Martha Wells

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m starting this review with some exciting news! Edit; well, it was exciting two months ago – I’m waaaay behind with my blog!

Goodreads has had a change in policy on some items previously considered Not a Book (NABs) You can read about it in the Librarians Group Please read the whole thread before commenting, as some things won’t change. (for example no, Goodreads isn’t going to remove old books that don’t have ISBNs, stories like Cat Pictures Please that haven’t been published individually will still be merged into the magazine or anthology they originally appeared in) but little gems like this particular short story will be able to be reviewed. The catch is, when a librarian who does these sort of edits comes across them, the author will be changed to NOT A BOOK until they are published individually or in a collection. But I think this is a step forward as reviews will be preserved.

Martha Wells & her Murderbot series has long been recommended to me & this wonderful little story The Future of Work: Compulsory appeared on Wired. You can read it
https://www.wired.com/story/future-of-work-compulsory-martha-wells/

I loved this story that did remind me (a lot) of Naomi Kritzer’s Cat Pictures Please. Quirky & funny is a science fiction sub genre I can definitely get behind. 5★

My library system doesn’t carry any of Ms Wells books. I’m seriously considering requesting that they start!

How Goodreads Has Changed



About a week ago a new author on Goodreads, Twitter & her blog showed her lack of understanding on how Goodreads, NetGalley and…how the internet works. In the old days she would have been booted off the site.

Now on Goodreads?

Granted Goodreads Author while she was still trying to bully a Goodreads Author and blogger.

Just checking the total rating on her book ( around 1.69 at the time, although it has dropped further) should have alerted staff to a problem.

I checked a previous spectacular case from 2015, where the author tantrum went on for days/pages. Author booted off Goodreads. I’m not going to name him, as I presume he has moved on with his life.

Just saying.

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Supporting Little Free Libraries

Goodreads this week has been promoting Little Free Libraries which are such a wonderful scheme! We do have an unofficial free library in our small town, but I thought I would visit the nearest official one.

This is a bus stop in the coastal village of Ngarimu Bay.

Gorgeous, right? Not immediately obvious that this is a Little Free Library as well. I drove past it for years without noticing. But when you do…

Cute huh? I found so many good books to pounce on (including the very topical A City Possessed by Lynley Hood) that I forgot about taking photos! But this is one of my donations Moon Over the Alps by the late Essie Summers. it is such a nice community – there is often free fruit or seedlings on the bench seat as well.

Afterwards we went for a walk.

A local artist’s home.
Our local beaches aren’t as grand as the ones on the east coast of the peninsula, but this is still pretty – and deserted!

I’ll show you my “local” next week!

Do Book “Awards” Influence Your Reading Choices?

Maybe they shouldn’t!

There has been a rise in the number of book awards I fondly call The Shonkys. Since the term shonky is baffling my North American friends, here is a definition;

Shonky (ˈʃɒŋkɪ  )adjectiveWord forms: -kier or -kiest

Australian and New Zealand informal1. of dubious integrity or legality2. unreliableunsound

Word origin of ‘shonky’C19: perhaps from Yiddish shonniker or from sh(oddy) + (w)onky

From the Collins English Dictionary

They are run by (mostly American) companies eager to separate authors from the funds in their limited promotional budget.The authors in turn want to make the reading public think these awards are worth something. Short answer – they aren’t.

A Checklist for Authors and Book Buyers.

If an Award has some of these attributes it may not be A Shonky, but if it has all or most…put your credit card away, Dear Author or Reader.

❏ The Award Title includes the word Indy/Indie or Festival (not every award that has these words in their title is dubious, but check further)

❏ Author can nominate their own books

❏ Author pays an entry fee, often quite hefty

❏ Author even has to pay for their winning certificate

❏ Lots of merchandise

❏ Books entered can be from any year.

❏ Judges aren’t named – or there is no mention of judges at all!

❏ A very short period of time between entries closing and the prizewinners being announced

❏ A huge number of categories – often, as a friend of mine says, very “niche.”

❏ A huge number of “winners, honourable mentions, & finalists” – up to 700 in some cases. No, I’m not kidding.

❏ The company emails the author urging them to enter

❏ You can only find the previous year and the current year’s winners on the award company’s website. (sometimes only show the current year.) This means if you win A Shonky in 2015, Goodreads Librarians can’t find proof to enter it on the award field for your book page if you decide a few years down the track you want to display the award. Or a journalist can’t find a record if they want to write an article about the book or the author.

❏ A difficult to navigate website

The biggest clue of all – you never hear of a book being unplaced!

This doesn’t mean every book covered in Shonky stickers is a bad one. I reviewed two excellent books on Goodreads and I’m very sad the authors became desperate enough to try the Shonky route.

Some authors genuinely think these awards mean something, but an increasing number of authors, desperate for success in a saturated market, are trying to mislead the reading public.

I don’t have many friends who admit that any awards influence them. I asked a friend who is a popular reviewer on Goodreads which awards influence her. She wrote back “Nebula, Hugo, Locus and World Fantasy Awards in SF/Fantasy, the Booker Prize, Newbery, etc.”

Not a Shonky amongst them.

As a Goodreads Librarian I have entered many of these awards in the Goodreads system. But the cynical manipulation by the latest award and concerns raised by another Librarian made me think about what my desire for order was helping to create. Putting it simply – having these awards in the award field makes them appear legitimate. I’m not entering them any more.

I’m not proud of myself but this blog post is an attempt to put things right.

All Sorted With Goodreads

I’m not sure how to edit my post about a Goodreads staff member removing the original title of And Then There Were None, so I’ll link to my original blog post here
https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/carolshessonovel.wordpress.com/178 I’ve heard back from Goodreads and it was staff error. Support have apologised, for some baffling reason they left the error for me to correct (another librarian did it before I got to it, thanks lethe!)

My concerns about how vulnerable our reading records are with Goodreads remains.

And my puzzlement on why they don’t offer jobs to some long serving volunteer Librarians rather than let inexperienced Staff loose on important data.

Anyone Still Think Goodreads Can Be Trusted With Your Reading Records?

Take a look at this.

A staff member has removed the (admittedly highly offensive) original title from Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Also in the changelog (so not visible to most members, but I am a GR Librarian) is this mildly threatening note

librarian note for this book (last edited by Goodreads at Apr 16, 2019 09:58AM) 
Please do not change this book’s original title field. Failure to comply may result in the loss of your librarian status. Thank you, The Goodreads Team

So anyone who tries to make the book record more accurate may lose the privilege of working for the world’s wealthiest man for free.

I have no idea what has changed between July 2018 when a staff member thanked me by email for correcting the records when the original title was deleted or changed to another racist title that was used for a while. Staff turnover is pretty high in GRLand, so I’m hoping it is a poorly trained new staff member acting off their own bat.

Stay tuned.

It’s Scary But…

I think I’m ready to start!

I’d really like to thank my beautiful daughter Chloe for all her help setting up this blog – especially the lovely header with the stylised pohutukawas. Or book pages. Or whatever you want it to be. Wellington, she is heading for you, so if you need a talented Graphic Designer you can contact her at chloeffill@gmail.com.

This blog will be my reviews, with maybe a few pot shots at Goodreads (done with love of course!) Goodreads has become my internet home. I always pictured Goodreads as a huge rambling house, with libraries in many of the rooms and friends coming over to share their book thoughts with you. Recent changes have blurred that for me, & of course Amazon owns Goodreads and is entitled to keep turning it more into a book store rather than a library.

So I thought I would set up a room of my own over here on WordPress. From time to time I may review short stories that shouldn’t be on Goodreads database. So… I’m rambling and this is Chloe and her partner Hannah’s last night with us. Chloe is making Tom Yum soup and it is starting to smell really good, so I may sign off for now.

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