Distinguish Between a Work (the book in general) and an Edition (a specific version of the book)
As a reader, I usually want to act on a book in general (Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West), not a specific edition (ISBN 1604695536 or 1604697202).
- If I can represent only one of a book and an edition, I definitely want the book.
- For bonus points, make it possible for the same reader to review or recommend a book both in general (excellent content, learned a lot, 5 stars) and in specific (this ebook version has a lot of typos and formatting that covers up some of the text, 2 stars).
- When looking at the reader's review of a book, if there is a specific review, show their general and their specific review as one combined review of that edition.
- When looking at a book, show general reviews at the top, and edition-specific reviews next.
There is a proliferation of editions these days, perhaps as a result of ebook vendor incompatibility. The dominant book tracking site handles this situation very poorly. Specifically, all reader records are attached to specific editions. When adding a book to a reading list, a reader must select a specific publication format/edition as well as a book. Most readers then review whichever edition they happened to select when they decided to queue it, even if they read a different edition. It can be difficult to find the specific edition you read in a collection of 20 or more editions with similar names. To see all the reviews of a book, one must visit each edition individually. Indeed, different editions may have drastically different average ratings (in this case, 4.25 and 0), even though most reviews don't mention anything edition-specific.