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Frequent Contributor
EltaninPub
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎05-08-2011

B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Barnes & Noble is making it very difficult for readers to choose which version of a public domain book to buy. In many instances, they are grouping together the reviews for ALL the books under each book. For instance, we have some wonderful reviews for OUR version of Ozma of Oz, particularly regardiing the quality of the images. B&N is listing our reviews under EVERY other publisher's version of Ozma of Oz - even versions that have no images!

 

Here's how you can see what I'm talking about: compare these two book's ratings (71) and reviews (5):

 

Ozma of Oz 

 

 

 

 

Ozma of Oz [illustrated]  

 

 

 

Both have 71 reviews. If you look at the reviews, they are the same! And most of the reviews are saying how great OUR images are - some of them even mention Eltanin by name. So why are these reviews showing up under Mobilereference's book? How are you, the reader, supposed to decide which book to buy if the reviews for all of them are the same? How do you feel about a review saying "great images" showing up under a book that DOESN'T HAVE ANY IMAGES?

 

Please tell B&N that you want accurate reviews for your public domain books. Tell them to stop grouping public domain books (especially reviews) together.

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RHWright
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

B&N has "cross referenced" reviews for some time, and it has always been annoying.

 

Sure, it's nice to have them for a contemporary book that is going through the usual hardcover to paperback life cycle.

 

But for just about everything else, it's a mess. I've seen different editions cross-referenced, audio versions, old editions, and on & on...

 

It gets even worse with e-books and public domain issues. Yours is a perfect example.

 

B&N needs to wake up and realize there are more inconveniences than solutions in cross-referencing. If I really need to see what people thought when the hardcover came out, I can go look for it.

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keriflur
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Amazon does this too.  Sometimes it's annoying, sometimes it's helpful.  I'm not sure there's anything that can be done other than to improve the algorithm they use to determine like products.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Amazon did it briefly for one of our books. I emailed them and they replied quickly and fixed it quickly. I've been going back and forth with B&N about this for a while. Their first response (after about 5 days) was essentially "This is how we intend it to work." Like I said, I do somewhat understand grouping the books in some way so that readers can find them all in one place, but combining the reviews is just plain wrong because 1) you have reviews saying "the images are great!" for books that have no images, and 2) there is no way for readers to use the reviews to choose which book to buy if all the books have all the same reviews listed.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


RHWright wrote:
...

 

B&N needs to wake up and realize there are more inconveniences than solutions in cross-referencing. If I really need to see what people thought when the hardcover came out, I can go look for it.


We have also published some books by contemporary authors, and I like that the paperback and ebook are linked so that readers can see the reviews for both (and fans don't have to post their review in two places). But this is totally different. I've even tried changing the title and author slightly (such as Lyman Frank Baum instead of L. Frank Baum) but it doesn't help.

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shadowcat80
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

As long they are reviews of a title I don't care if the reviewer read a book version or e-book the bigger issue is stupid reviews that few that post comments nonrelated to book and didn't read it all.
Help me down the crooked road. Lead me to the light. I'm not sure I know the way but with you beside me, I'm certain we'll make it through.
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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


shadowcat80 wrote:
As long they are reviews of a title I don't care if the reviewer read a book version or e-book the bigger issue is stupid reviews that few that post comments nonrelated to book and didn't read it all.

Shadowcat80, you misunderstood. I'm not complaining about B&N combining reviews of a paperback, hardcover, and ebook version of one book. That makes sense. I'm complaining about B&N combining reviews for two totally different books, such as Mobilereference's version of Ozma of Oz, and Eltanin Publishing's version of Ozma of Oz.

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shadowcat80
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Oh I see your point that would frusrate me as well
Help me down the crooked road. Lead me to the light. I'm not sure I know the way but with you beside me, I'm certain we'll make it through.
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HumbleCorrespondent
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

This is especially annoying for books that have no free sample.  The reviews are the only hint on whether the book is readable (literally) or not.

That's just my opinion, you can take it for what it's worth, or just leave it alone.
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1914ww
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Registered: ‎12-31-2009
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Is there a reason why you don't publish your book as "The Illustrated Ozma of Oz" or "Ozma of Oz: The Illustrated Edition"?  If the books had different titles, your book would have a distinct set of reviews.

 

As mentioned by some others, I happen to like having all the reviews (regardless of edition or format) in the same place.  If your version of a public domain book is better, maybe you could market it as such.

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Tim40744
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Registered: ‎07-07-2010
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


EltaninPub wrote:

Amazon did it briefly for one of our books. I emailed them and they replied quickly and fixed it quickly. I've been going back and forth with B&N about this for a while. Their first response (after about 5 days) was essentially "This is how we intend it to work." Like I said, I do somewhat understand grouping the books in some way so that readers can find them all in one place, but combining the reviews is just plain wrong because 1) you have reviews saying "the images are great!" for books that have no images, and 2) there is no way for readers to use the reviews to choose which book to buy if all the books have all the same reviews listed.


Unless I'm terribly mistaken, it looks as though it's fixed. Perhaps Alex or Sam noticed your OP and checked on it for you.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


Tim40744 wrote:


Unless I'm terribly mistaken, it looks as though it's fixed. Perhaps Alex or Sam noticed your OP and checked on it for you.


Unfortunately not. If you use the links in the original post to view Mobilereference's (red border) edition of Ozma of Oz, you will see a review titled "Eltanin gets it right". So the worst aspect of linking - shared reviews - is still there. They have been partially un-linked, in that if you search for Ozma of Oz, you do see our book listed (whereas previously you had to click on Mobilereference's book to see us listed as another format of their book). Partial progress, but a long way from success. And our other two Oz books, Marvelous Land of Oz, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are entirely linked - sharing reviews and appearing as an alternative format of another book. I'll put a link to them here, because, really, there is no possible chance people will find them otherwise:

 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [Illustrated] 

 

The Marvelous Land of Oz [Illustrated]   

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Tim40744
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

[ Edited ]

I see what you mean. On Amazon, you can't just leave star ratings without leaving a review. I mistakenly thought the 71/5 split was the actual ratio of ratings between the two editions of the book but I see the ratings as well as the reviews are just dittoed. If I had to guess, I would imagine it's completely impossible to separate the past ratings between the two books. They can only do it going forward. That's the drawback in allowing simple ratings rather than requiring a review for a specific format...or in this case, a completely different edition of the book.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


1914ww wrote:

Is there a reason why you don't publish your book as "The Illustrated Ozma of Oz" or "Ozma of Oz: The Illustrated Edition"?  If the books had different titles, your book would have a distinct set of reviews.

 



We've tried giving them different titles and it doesn't help. We just published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and I originally gave it the name "Eltanin's Illustrated Wonderful Wizard of Oz" or some such thing, and had the author as Lyman Frank Baum instead of L. Frank Baum, and even put Eltanin Publishing as an author instead of the editor, and the book STILL got linked under another version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. So I changed the title back to something less crazy - "The Wondefrul Wizard of Oz [illustrated]". And this wasn't a case where I changed the title AFTER it got linked - I put a very different title right when I first published it, and it still got linked.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Seems like it must be a human that is linking them, rather than an automated process, if different titles (variations) are being linked. Very perplexing.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

B&N PubIT sent me an email weeks ago saying they would look into, and have done nothing. Our reviews, saying things like "great, well-formatted images" are showing up under versions that have NO images. How can readers choose which version of public domain books to get, when they all have the same (incorrect) reviews?

AlanNJ
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Have you tried PM'ing the forum moderators here?  I seriously doubt if venting here on the forum is going to get anything accomplished other than make yourself either feel better or get more upset.

►Without order there is chaos◄
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EltaninPub
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Registered: ‎05-08-2011
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books


AlanNJ wrote:

Have you tried PM'ing the forum moderators here?  I seriously doubt if venting here on the forum is going to get anything accomplished other than make yourself either feel better or get more upset.


I haven't tried that, Alan, but I will. I emailed PubIT several times and got no response. I did get a response from posting a few times on PubIT's facebook page - first they emailed me and said this is what they intended. I replied via email and got no response. So I posted again on facebook saying, "Really? You INTEND for the wrong reviews to be posted for books?" They emailed me again and said they'd look into it. That was weeks ago and nothing has changed. It just seems so obviously ludicris to combine the reviews for ALL versions of a public domain book. I'm surprised readers aren't more upset that they have no way (other than sampling EVERY version) to find out which version is the best. So, one reason I posted here was to let readers know that they can't trust the reviews for public domain books - it might have been written for a different book. Another tip, for illustrated books, is to look at the file size. If a book is less than 1000KB (1MB), it either has few images, or the images are poor quality.

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EltaninPub
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

Just an update - B&N is still screwing up the reviews for public domain books. Buyer beware! Always try a sample first!

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robertVA
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Registered: ‎07-19-2011
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Re: B&N inappropriately grouping reviews for public domain books

I've almost given up on samples. Many of them are about half cover, copyright pages, table of contents and refferences to the author's prior work. Often there's less then ten pages of actual content.