Thursday, June 07, 2007

Early Reviewers books ship

We ran the algorithm, picked the winners and now Random House is shipping out Advance Readers Editions of five upcoming titles to 95 lucky LibraryThing members. We've sent notes to everyone who won or lost.

This first batch was a big success. As of this morning, 844 members had enrolled in LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and 547 requested one or more books. (The rest are mostly non-US members waiting for the program to open up, although I think some people didn't understand you needed to request individual books to get them.)

Being 475% oversubscribed gave our matching algorithm a good work out. (Man, that was a fun algorithm to write!) Books went to the people most likely to enjoy them, which was the whole point. All this interest and LibraryThing's novel approach drew a story in Publishers Lunch and notice of a half-dozen publishers. We think this is going to help Random House and its authors—Jonis Agee, Ellen Barker, Amy Bloom, Lisa See, Amanda Eyre Ward—make the most of these books. With luck, this will expand, and more publishers, authors and members can benefit. (How can you help? Pester your favorite authors and publishers!)

Random House will be unveiling a second batch of Early Reviewers books in July. We'll post about it here when it goes live.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us signed up for the program and understood how it works, but didn't want any of the books on offer this time around.

6/07/2007 3:08 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh fair enough. I was worried that the UI didn't communicate right. Makes sense.

6/07/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though some of us are non-US members who requested a book anyway just in case there was a last-minute change in the rules :)

6/07/2007 3:42 PM  
Blogger Aquila said...

Yeah, wrong country and wrong book country. Have signed up just in case you start getting scifi or young adult books and work out whether you can send 'em south. I think it's all pretty cool.

6/07/2007 6:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not quite sure about the idea of getting books to people who you think will like them most. Isn't literary criticism about criticism? Shouldn't (statisticaly) some of the reviewers dislike the book?

6/08/2007 8:11 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Oh, I'm sure some will dislike them. But it makes sense to send the books to the people who are its real audience. If you're not into literary fiction, for example, you're not the right person to be reviewing it. Professional reviewers don't work that way too.

6/08/2007 8:16 AM  
Blogger Felius said...

Only tangentially related (by way of matching algorithms), have you guys seen the Netflix Prize? Seems like your cup of tea, and I guess you've developed a bit of expertise in this field already. ;)

6/08/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just found LibraryThing, and I am in heaven! Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating a web site I've been hoping for for years.
This is my newest favorite website, and I'll be here daily.

6/08/2007 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The algorithm must have worked - I would have been shocked to get picked for this batch. Fiction about strong-willed women dealing with social issues in an historical setting is not my thing. Real-life strong-willed women dealing with social issues during their time in history are vastly more interesting. :)

6/08/2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger Melissa Wiebe said...

I am just wondering if the catalogue will be up tonight at all; its about 10:30 PT and the catalogue is still not up and I would really like to add a book to my collection. I appreciate all you guys do. Thanks

6/11/2007 1:42 AM  
Blogger Melissa Wiebe said...

Um, where is my catalogue? I want to do something but because it is still down, I am unable to go there. Could you please not do this to me, especially since I am a paid customer?

6/11/2007 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too think it is not tolerable to have unannounced downtimes that long, in fact, I think downtimes are not tolerable at all, when you have costumers paying for that service.
Quit playing around so much. Get professional and stable, dudes.

5-10 Minutes. What an estimate!

6/11/2007 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For $25 for life I'm not invoking "I'm a paid customer," but I do have to quibble with your statement, "Books went to the people most likely to enjoy them."

First, books went to reviewers who matched LT's algorithm, which may or may not be a good indicator of whether they will "enjoy" the books; LT is a very skewed portrait of my reading life, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it is designed around book ownership, not book readership.

Second, while reviewing is a far less esoteric art than some would pretend it to be, I wonder (in fact, I hope) if you mean the books went to people most *qualified* to review them... a significant distinction.

6/11/2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're complaining, the "5-10 minutes" thing is really annoying when it's not at all accurate.

I think the downtime itself, while unfortunate, is at least understandable. We're paying an incredibly low lifetime price, and the service does claim to be beta. But we at least deserve to know what's going on.

6/11/2007 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, at least an update on the downtime status would be appreciated...

6/11/2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is they can't get to the page that promises they'll be back in five to ten minutes... reminds me that for my next job I'm going to advocate for a separately-hosted emergency status blog. Good luck getting going again, LT!

6/11/2007 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this downtime is annoying. I just hope my catalog will still be there when they fix whatever is broken.

6/11/2007 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if they can't update that page, they could still post something here to let us know what's going on.

6/11/2007 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously, WTF !!??!?

6/11/2007 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iknow you have Bigger Concerns at the moment, but when you can turn your attention to the Early Reviewers thread, help me out here:
I am puzzled by the statement that you sent "notes to everyone who won or lost". Since I requested two of the books available, doesn't that mean I should have "heard" whether I'm to get one or not? Via e-mail, or a private comment on my profile, or something? I did not.

6/11/2007 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received the "wrong" (because really, can a free book ever be wrong?) book from Random House---the Lisa See instead of the Amy Bloom I was notified about. Since htis is all unchartered LT territory and mistakes are bound to happen I'm assuming I should just read/review the See novel?

6/12/2007 1:07 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

bookjones: Sorry. You were notified wrong. You're on the Peony in Love list, not the Amy Bloom list.

6/12/2007 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification Tim.

6/12/2007 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bookjones, Lisa See is fantastic. I read her other book Snowflower and the Secret Fan and it was really good. :)

6/13/2007 1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, I too got a different book than I was notified I would receive - I got Away instead of Follow Me, but I'm not complaining, I loved the book!

6/13/2007 9:13 PM  
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7/11/2007 4:15 AM  

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