Panic-Mode: I have a new cover, but Goodreads doesn’t allow changes… EVER.


So if you’ve seen an older version of your Indie book on Goodreads with a dreaded early edition cover that you wisely changed at some point (maybe you had an error on the cover, upgraded a sub-par cover with a better version, or just plain wanted a change,) you will have likely realized that Goodreads does not allow cover art changes. It’s probably the biggest fly in the ointment as far as author tools go. When you put your book into the Goodreads library it has a warning about that restriction. You might not have ever seen it though—someone else may have put your book into the library (perhaps a reader or fan who really wanted to shelve your book and show it off to his or her friends.)

Never fear, there is a way around it! You can use what’s called an alternate cover edition. The above reasons are exactly what Goodreads’ help file describes. They also talk briefly about Advanced Review Copy books and note that some users might upload the cover from an ARC. The process for correcting is different for both instances (cover revisions and ARC entries.)

If you are updating your cover for any reason other than the current entry being an ARC cover you should manually enter the book into the Goodreads system ( and leave the ISBN fields on your new edition blank in the Description field; an ISBN can only be used once in the database. Llist the ISBN of the original cover edition and state that this new entry is an alternate cover edition. (You can also use the Librarian Note feature found near the top of the book edit page to attach a note to the book. This helps prevent the book from accidentally being deleted by a librarian who thinks it is an invalid entry. Do not use the edition field for information about alternate cover editions.) The publication date for an alternate-cover edition should be the date the book was released with the new cover, not the date the book with that ISBN or ASIN was originally published

If you need to alter an ARC or galley copy, delete the ISBN number from the ARC edition. Then add a Librarian Note stating that this is the ARC cover and the ISBN number is being moved to the published edition. You can then add the ISBN number to the published edition when manually adding the new version. Please note that this is the only case where an ISBN or ASIN should be removed from a published edition.

There’s usually a work-around for even the stiffest regulation. I would also recommend getting involved in a couple boards on Goodreads. It can often prove helpful to know a few folks who have Librarian status—sometimes it’s the only way to fix the issues that we Indies often make before we’re proficient with a system.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s