s-GOODREADS-largeSocial reading site Goodreads is changing the API it uses for pulling book metadata to the site, PaidContent reports. It had been using Amazon’s public Product Advertising API which allowed it to import title, author, page count, and so on. However, Goodreads finds the terms of use for the API have become too restrictive for the site to continue to use it.

In particular, Amazon will not allow sites using the API to link to the book on any other on-line retailer except Amazon, but Goodreader provides links to titles on multiple retailers. Also, Amazon will not allow content from its API to be used in mobile sites or applications. Goodreads will switch to paying to license data from Ingram, and will also use information from the Library of Congress and other sources.

The change is causing concern amid a number of Goodreads users that data about some of their books might be lost in the shuffle, but Goodreads is hastening to reassure users that their data is “100% safe” and it is taking measures to safeguard any books that are in danger of losing their information.

The moral of the story is to be careful about relying too much on “free” services provided by a company out to make a profit. You never know when their needs will come into conflict with your own.


  1. I found it interesting that when the announcement was made a few days ago, a lot of Goodreads members were yelling at Goodreads and threatening to quit. Apparently, they didn’t read far enough or the details weren’t available at that time. It’s to every writer’s (and reader’s) benefit for the books to be available in a variety of formats. Amazon is once again trying to shut out all other retailers. Good for Goodreads, that it didn’t bend the knee. If it had, it would have been severely crippled in what it does.

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