The Tangled Web that is Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, and Consumer Self-Education

This morning, when I looked up reviews about This Way Home by Wes Moore and Shawn Goodman, I discovered the following:

  1. On Goodreads, the book is linked to Goodreads Author Wes Moore who wrote and self-published? books The Maker and Forcefully Advancing — both with 4-and-above star ratings (with 5 and 2 ratings each.)  Upon close examination, the actual author Wes Moore of This Way Home is not tagged as a Goodreads Author and on his author page This Wawy Home is not listed along with his three other titles. This could be the reason why the book was attributed to the wrong author.  Goodreads seems to rely on Goodreads Authors’  to actively remove books not written by them from their books list.  I sent a message to the Goodreads Author Wes Moore and will report back if he takes action to correct this mistake.
  2. On Amazon, This Way Home was linked to the correct Wes Moore.  However, an author search of Wes Moore brings up both This Way Home and Forcefully Advancing.  Navigating to Forcefully Advancing page, I saw that this book is frequently bought with The Other Wes Moore, a powerful and popular book (so ironic and confusing since there is a third real person Wes Moore whose story is told in The Other Wes Moore but is not either of these two authors.)  According to the book summary of Forcefully Advancing, r eaders will “learn how to make friends, start conversations, understand spiritual background and barriers, overcome objections, and share the message of Jesus” and “see what America could be like if the Great Commission is implemented across the nation.”
  3. Barnes & Noble also show that these two Wes Moores’ books are often viewed/bought together. `

What I learned today is:

  1. Goodreads or Amazon system administrators probably would NOT easily have caught or fixed these mistakes.
  2. The big consumer sites system designers sure will not make it a priority to report this kind of “small” mistakes.
  3. Even if it were easy to report, I wonder what they can actually do about it — manually remove “bought together” or “viewed together” data? Create a warning label that says, “Hey, there are more than one Wes Moore author up here, proceed with caution”?  Probably not!
  4. What it comes down to is for me the consumer to be more aware and vigilant of what I am reading and buying.  (Which kind of applies to all the discussions over online discourses about children’s literature, doesn’t it?  We should always be vigilant about what is being said, who says what, and why they say what they say.)

Here’s what I encountered and the process of determining for myself if I were to purchase a book by Wes Moore who wrote The Other Wes Moore which my upper middle school students gobble up and find compelling:

Definitely read the book description carefully.

This Way Home is about basketball, sinister street gang, courage to take a stand against the gang and that in the end, hope, love, and courage are our most powerful weapons.  Examining the other titles by this Goodreads Author Wes Moore, I realized that there must have been some confusion.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.11.10 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.11.23 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.11.34 AM

I also took note how the number of ratings/reviews given to each title and evaluate the true meaning of the STARS.

Here on Amazon, Forcefully Advancing has a high-flying five-star rating (with 1 review) and The Other Wes Moore that is “Frequently Bought Together” has 4.5 stars (with 773 reviews).

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.10.21 AM

The bottom line – as a librarian for young consumers of both material goods and information, I shall focus more and more on how to educate my students to be clear-headed, detail-minded, and persistent when navigating the extremely tangled and confusing world of information.


Filed under Field Reports, WIWWAK

2 responses to “The Tangled Web that is Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, and Consumer Self-Education

  1. fairrosa

    The Goodreads Librarian Discussion Group was really helpful — now This Way Home is attributed to the correct Wes Moore!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s such a good point (and example) of how we need young people to learn digital literacy, too!
    thanks for sharing,


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