Kobo Suspends Usage of the GoodReads API

kobo goodreads api

Kobo is one of the largest online booksellers in the world and currently has over 3.5 million titles available. Over the course of the last few years, the company has been depending on GoodReads for book reviews and ratings. This has populated millions of titles with user generated data that influences peoples buying decisions. Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer at Kobo, has just confirmed that the company has suspended the GoodReads API.

The main Kobo online bookstore has undergone a severe revision and can be considered a major upgrade. It features a new responsive design that optimizes it for small or large display screens. During this transition, they have suspended the use of the GoodReads API. Tamblyn did mention that they were evaluating re-adding the API at some point in the future, but was cryptic on whether it would actually happen or not.

The suspension of reviews and ratings is not a problem relegated only to the companies main website. Their entire line of e-Readers is also not being populated either. We have confirmation from hundreds of users that this problem is happening on their entire product line, including the Aura HD and Kobo Glo. The only device that seems to be working fine is the Android app, which relies on user generated data directly within the app.

Relying on a 3rd party for all of your data is not the smart play. With GoodReads being acquired by Amazon a few months ago, investing in that company in the long-term for reviews and ratings might be shooting yourself in the foot. It might be more effective to straight from scratch and Kobo develop their own system for user generated content. It might be slow going at first, but would be the correct business path for long-term sustained growth.

Michael Kozlowski (5146 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to michael@goodereader.com

  • jmnsnow

    That’s my biggest negative on Kobo, a lack of diversified reviews. Plus Amazon just provides more info on the book and author.

  • http://amundsen.com/blog/ Mike Amundsen

    What is needed is an alternative to the GoodReads API. one that is open and not owned/operated by any single market participant. Publishers, eReaders, and the reading public all would benefit from an open API in this space; one that everyone could use freely.

  • Rick Carufel

    Nice work trolls!! This week you’ve driven several thousand members from badreads and Kobo has stopped the badreads feed because of the bogus reviews costing Amazon millions in revenues. Maybe this is the kick in the butt Amazon needed to realize the trolls on both sites are a serious liability. No forums have survived a serious troll infestation like the one now in the happy little Amazon family of websites. When they all get back to work on Tuesday and see the losses caused by you trolls I suspect there will be big changes, changes that will root out the criminals who have just this week caused huge damages in members and revenues. Got a new sub title for my book “Suffer Not a Troll to Live.” The Stalker Troll Purge of 2013. Like it? Enjoy your last weekend of Stalking losers.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    This does not even make sense.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    I agree. I mean Goodreads uses their own, but also does business with Ingram and 2 other companies to fetch book meta data. The same problem Kobo is having, is the same one goodeads had in 2012, when it suspended pulling book data from amazon.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    I agree.

  • Rick Carufel

    If you knew what was going on with goodreads and Amazon you would. The Goodreads group Mysteries and Thrillers, 4000 strong, left en masse and set up shop on Facebook because trolls invaded their group and when the mods for the group complained Goodreads did what they always do, ban the victims of the trolls, so they all left.
    The Troll use reviews to launch personal attacks on authors and thereby destroyed what little value the amateur reviews there had, compelling Kobo to drop them. Therefore the resident trolls have cause huge losses in membership and revenues for Amazon this week.
    Up until now Amazon refused to address the troll problem, I think now the troll have proven themselves a liability they will. Same gang of stalker trolls on both sites.
    The last bit is about a book I’m writing, “Suffer Not A Troll to Live”.

  • Tome Keeper

    This was a very predictable move from Kobo; it was not going to use a competitors api. Not a great move for Kobo readers who have lost easy access to a large number of reviews and it is unlikely a Kobo only ratings system will generate anywhere near as many reviews as Goodreads/Amazon.