3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 11, 2013 7:23 AM by bobstro

    Shelving Issue Discussion

    bklvr896

      I thought of tacking this on to one of the numerous "I hate the shelving" threads, but decided not to.

       

      I wish the shelving was better, way better than it is.   But as I was adding books to Calibre this morning, and I noticed the metadata I had this thought.  For some of the issues, such as sorting series books in order, it seems as though the first step is that there needs to be some standards and consistency set up for the metadata.  BN and the other retailers can't and shouldn't be altering the metadata.  First and foremost, they don't have the resources and shouldn't be expected to.

       

      The publishers should set up standards so there is consistency in the metadata, which could then be used for sorting and shelving options, because without consistency, there is no way the software can be programmed.  Series names and series numbers should be in a separate field, not part of the title and then those fields could be used to sort and to shelve.  Authors names should be in a consistent format, some seem to come down as first name last name, others last name, first name.  What to do when the book is anthology and has multiple authors? 

       

      What I noticed today in Calibre was that books by the same publishers in the same series are not necessarily consistent.  Some downloaded with series information, some with partial series information, some with none.  One series, apparently when the author changed publishers, they also changed the name of the series.

       

      I agree there are some areas that BN could and should improve, even with the existing inconsistencies in the metadata, but other areas, the publishers need to make changes, then BN the retailers could use that to make shelving and organizing our books easier and more efficient.

       

      BN is certainly lacking in some areas of shelving, but blaming BN for the series number being at the end of the title, that's a publisher issue and needs to be addressed to and by the publishers.

        • Re: Shelving Issue Discussion
          MacMcK1957
          There are issues with even trying to figure out what the sequence is supposed to be. If you check the Chronicles of Narnia on B&N you will find that The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is listed as #2, with The Magician's Nephew as #1 and A Horse and His Boy as #3. Even though that is the chronological sequence, it is not the way they were published and certainly not the way I read them.
            • Re: Shelving Issue Discussion
              bklvr896

              MacMcK1957 wrote:
              There are issues with even trying to figure out what the sequence is supposed to be. If you check the Chronicles of Narnia on B&N you will find that The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is listed as #2, with The Magician's Nephew as #1 and A Horse and His Boy as #3. Even though that is the chronological sequence, it is not the way they were published and certainly not the way I read them.

              I checked Amazon and they have it listed this way also.  So it would seem that the publishers need to have some consistency and then perhaps the retailers could design software to take advantage of the information.

            • Re: Shelving Issue Discussion
              bobstro

              bklvr896 wrote:

              [...] I wish the shelving was better, way better than it is.  

               

              Sorting is one aspect of shelving, but the biggest problem I had is how cumbersome it is to tag and shelve even a modest collection of 100 titles.

               

              But as I was adding books to Calibre this morning, and I noticed the metadata I had this thought.  For some of the issues, such as sorting series books in order, it seems as though the first step is that there needs to be some standards and consistency set up for the metadata.

               

              Even if the ebook metadata is consistent, B&N doesn't seem to provide any way to use it. Other ebook readers (e.g. Mantano) do allow sorting by series data. If it's there, you can use it. There are also sort options not based on metadata, such as books without collections (shelves), recently read, unread, annotated, shared and favorites.

               

              If trying to design the ultimate device for readers, how those readers want to sort and find their books would be something to focus on.

               

              BN and the other retailers can't and shouldn't be altering the metadata.  First and foremost, they don't have the resources and shouldn't be expected to.

               

              There are plenty of sorting options that aren't dependent on metadata accuracy (addition date, last read), and while B&N can't modify the metadata of DRM-encumbered ebooks directly, they already track things like reading position separately. Some additional sort and shelving options wouldn't require modifying the epubs directly.

               

              The publishers should set up standards so there is consistency in the metadata, which could then be used for sorting and shelving options, because without consistency, there is no way the software can be programmed.

               

              Agreed that the publishers should get on top of this. They're also very sloppy with things like cover images. However, there's not reason a few more user-customizable sorting and shelving options can't be provided in the meantime.

               

              While the results Calibre finds may not always match between titles, you at least have the option of overriding that data and "fixing" it to suit your needs. Calibre also allows pulling of metadata from preferred sources, so instead of using individual publisher-provided metadata, you can opt to use another single source for (better) consistency.

               

              [...] I agree there are some areas that BN could and should improve, even with the existing inconsistencies in the metadata, but other areas, the publishers need to make changes, then BN the retailers could use that to make shelving and organizing our books easier and more efficient.

               

              I was surprised at how sloppy the publishers, what with their years of experience ensuring quality and so on, are when it comes to ebooks. Still, we could use a few simple on-device sort capabilities, even if only a manual sort option.

               

              BN is certainly lacking in some areas of shelving, but blaming BN for the series number being at the end of the title, that's a publisher issue and needs to be addressed to and by the publishers.

               

              It should be addressed by publishers, true, but there are things that can be done to make the paying customer's experience better.

               

              In the meantime, Calibre does provide the means to use existant metadata to add series info to epub book filenames if anybody does want to do so. If you're fighting with DRM, your options will be limited, unfortunately.