Ellen B

duplicate books

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Hello all,

 

I've noticed lately (over the past year or so) that there are numerous multiple versions of books. For example, tonight I was looking for the book Watership Down by Richard Adams. When I typed in Watership, I found 3 versions of the book I wanted, plus 2 versions of Tales from Watership Down, the sequel. I downloaded two versions of Watership Down to compare. One of them, added to the Bookshare site just this year, had 480 pages and the text seemed fine, but the glossary at the back was missing. The second version, added in 2014, only has a single page with numerous navigation headings -- which I have found seems to be the norm with many of the books on the site -- but it did have the glossary.

After this experiment, I have a couple of questions: First of all, why are there so many duplicate versions of books on the site, and could a volunteer assist in identifying them?

Second*, why are there both paginated and unpaginated forms of books? I, for one, much prefer my books with pages, both so I have an idea of how long the book is, and so I can skip more easily around a chapter on my Victor Reader, for instance.

 

*Perhaps this question belongs in a separate thread.

 

Thank you very much for any assistance.

Ellen B

Edited by Starry

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Hi Ellen,

The duplicate book issue is an interesting one for us, and one that's harder to solve than it seems.  The duplicates are almost exclusively books given to us by the publishers directly, it's generally not a volunteer submission issue.  I have to admit, it was one of the things that very much so impressed me a few years ago when I joined this team, given our scale, our volunteers do an amazing job at adding books we don't have.

However, here's where the interesting issue comes into play, each publisher only has rights to distribute a book to specific countries.  So for instance one publisher might be distributing Harry Potter to the US, but it may be a completely different publisher that distributes it to say India.  On top of that these rights may be different per book, and can change over time, so regions may be added or removed from the distribution rights for a specific book from a publisher, and just to add even more confusion sometimes these rights can still overlap.

At Bookshare we want to make sure every book we receive is available to as many people as possible, so when we receive a book from a publisher we do check to see if it's a duplicate, but one of the criteria is that the distribution rights match.  If we receive a book that we already have in the library but the distribution rights do not match we'll publish it, even though it's a duplicate, so that individuals in those new regions can access it.

So all of that said we are always working to better the experience of Bookshare members, which includes a system that will handle this issue better.  Essentially some way for these duplicates to not be exposed like they currently are.  However I don't have any information on when such a system will be made available.  

 

For the page number issue this again is related to the books provided to us by the publishers.  Sometimes they provide us their ebook version that many don't include page numbers.  We of course always working with our publishers to try and have the best possible version of the book in our library.

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Hi Nick,

 

Thanks for the explanation; that makes things a lot clearer. I don't know how it would be arranged, but perhaps have a list of editions of a book within the info page for the book? (I know Goodreads does this, but I don't know how. I could possibly find out though.)

 

Thanks again for the info, and have a great day.

Ellen

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I don't think duplicates is as bad a problem as it might first seem. If you go to a used bookstore like "Half-Price books" you often find multiple, but slightly different copies of the same popular book. You might find a paperback, a hardcover, a trade paperback and a second edition. With textbooks, there is often a compact, a complete, a value and a standard edition, all which  have different pagination, sometimes different wording, and certainly different pictures.

 

Same issue for libraries.

 

So, for me at least, I like finding multiple versions of a book and picking which is best for me. If it's for a class,then the page numbers are helpful. Multiple headings are always great. But sometimes that version, scanned by a volunteer, with minimal navigation markup turns out to be best because the volunteer has helpfully reformatted tables, or added pictures descriptions.

 

Remember this is a community effort, so it's always good to be flexible. In the long synopsis, it would be good if bookshare staff added the note that multiple versions/editions are available. You can always add that yourself in the link to improve book quality, thus notifying staff of the need for that note.

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