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 is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.