Wikipedia talk:Notability (books)

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Bestsellers as an indication of notability[edit]

Over at WP:NAUTHOR I'm trying to have the notability guidelines expanded to make it slightly easier for authors to be included in Wikipedia. The current debate is over whether or not a bestseller list could be used to help establish notability for an author and someone mentioned that it would be something that could/should more apply to NBOOK.

I'm proposing that the guidelines be expanded to allow selected bestseller lists to be used as a reliable source to assert notability. This would be in keeping with policies like the ones for WP:NALBUM and WP:NBAND where placing on a notable music chart can help assert notability for an album/single and/or a performer. This guideline would not include all bestseller lists and would instead apply only to those lists that are consistently referred to by reliable sources. For example, the New York Times Bestseller List is a list that has achieved enough notability to where it has its own article. However there are also others like the USA Today Bestseller List and the Wall Street Journal's Bestseller List that are also very well thought of, enough to where their lists are reprinted in multiple media outlets. I'm not as familiar with foreign language lists, but apparently the bestseller list for Corriere della Sera is fairly well thought of as well.

As with any other source, rankings in places that would not be considered a reliable source (Amazon, social media outlets like Goodreads, blogs, etc) would not be usable. Most of this is because many of these outlets have an almost limitless amount of categories for "bestsellers" and because they're essentially self-published sources because they rely on random user accounts/purchases to judge the rankings. There's no true oversight to these lists.

This would not be used in the exact same way as the chart rankings are for albums in that a bestseller list would only give partial notability akin to how a RS review would only give partial notability. I wouldn't mind it being used as a sign for total notability, but I'd settle for it as something that would give partial notability. If approved, this should also only count for people who have placed within the top 20 spaces of any given list. I'm gauging this by the New York Times lists, which only rank up to the top 20 titles for any given list.

My idea is that this would be added to the first criteria, which would (if approved) read as follows:

The book has been the subject of two or more non-trivial published works appearing in sources that are independent of the book itself. This includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, other books, television documentaries, notable bestseller lists, and reviews. This excludes media re-prints of press releases, flap copy, or other publications where the author, its publisher, agent, or other self-interested parties advertise or speak about the book.

The footnote would read as follows:

"Notable bestseller lists" are bestseller lists where the list passes notability guidelines on Wikipedia or is published by a notable media outlet and is republished or covered by other reliable sources. Bestseller lists on merchant sources like Amazon or self-published sources like personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, wikis, and similar media are not considered to be reliable. Social media review sites like Goodreads and LibraryThing do not qualify for this criteria.

So that's my proposal. What does everyone think? Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 07:08, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I'm in full support. A precedence has been set with musicians and I don't see a reason why it shouldn't apply here.plange (talk) 12:17, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Same here — Support. I've not got anything to add. — Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 12:45, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Simply put people are not books and the wider community through BLP have made it clear they expect articles about living people to be held to a higher standard than inanimate objects. Consequently, unless there is reasonable expectation that notability can reasonably be assumed from this standard it falls short of wider expectations. I simply haven't seen evidence that people meeting this can be inferred to pass GNG. Spartaz Humbug! 13:04, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
  • My argument here is that it can be used to show notability for books and to be honest, it should be considered a RS. A book landing on the New York Times or one of the very major book lists is the equivalent to a singer/band charting on the top 50 for Billboard. It's not a small thing in the slightest. Something else to take into consideration is that this is also not intended to turn into a situation where someone would establish notability for a book or an author by only listing bestseller lists. The expectation is that a book that places within the top 20 on the NYT lists (for example) would also have coverage in other sources that could back up notability for the book. The same expectation would be placed on authors: if an author's book is on the lists then it'd be extremely likely that they have other coverage as well. The idea of adding this is to make it easier for WP:COMMONSENSE cases of notability to be established, where the author/book has a handful of sources and is treading that thin line of notability. The book/author is known and the books have landed on the bestseller list, but has only received about 1 review and 1 article that can be found. It might not affect more recent authors that much, but it would absolutely help out older authors who have received coverage but the majority of it is now lost to the pre-Internet wasteland. This is intended to eliminate the obviously unusable lists like Amazon and Goodreads, so it isn't something that some self-promoting SPA could use to back up their claims of notability. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 09:45, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • We could probably add "Achieving bestseller status without other forms of coverage (reviews, articles, etc) will not be enough to satisfy notability." if this is a particularly huge problem, though. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 09:55, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Why is it desirable to have this as a standard for inclusion above the GNG? I'm sorry, I can't see the logic why we want BLPs that are not sourceable to something that meets the GNG? Spartaz Humbug! 19:47, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Because it's a common sense issue. While we don't know the entire process that the NYT uses for its rankings, it is based on sales and someone has to sell a lot in order to get on this list. It's not like Amazon, where there are thousands of categories where it'd be easy to manipulate your way into the top rankings. Selling that much is a pretty big indicator of notability- enough to where books, authors, publishers, and other outlets will have this prominently displayed. It's not a Pulitzer, but I'm not asking that it be treated as such. I'm just asking that notable bestseller lists get treated akin to a review or article in a reliable source. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:06, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. I absolutely do not understand Spartaz's objection. We're discussing books, not people. What is the point of mentioning BLP? I think it's something of a scandal that as it stands now, we cannot have articles on most of the works of Catherine Cookson. (Just to clarify, she's been dead for 17 years already.)
  • I also see no problem with leaving things as is, supplemented with more aggressive consensus-driven IAR exceptions. We're not some Supreme Court agonizing over articulating principles that are going to carry consequences, but can indeed leave things in a mostly-good-enough formulation. Choor monster (talk) 11:27, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
  • It's because right now it's extremely, extremely difficult for common sense keeps to happen. It used to be that two sources were enough to show notability for a book or author. Anyone who has participated in an AfD will openly say that this is far from the case in today's articles and most articles need at least 3-4 sources to really assert strong notability. The problem with saying that community consensus will take care of the common sense cases is that in most cases it doesn't work that way. It's far more likely that people will vote according to the guidelines and it's also more likely that people will follow the guidelines in order to give a sense of equality. You're more likely to find people forming a community consensus based on exact wording of the guidelines than not- the idea of "ignore all rules" isn't really all that commonly used around here and people who do state it end up getting relatively solidly ignored or in the minority. There are a lot of people who accuse Wikipedia of playing favoritism and point towards articles that have survived deletion, as the articles had such poor sourcing that they should have been deleted per the guidelines. Adding this to the article helps make it easier for common sense articles to be kept but it also helps show more transparency to the process. In other words, it helps show that we're keeping an article based on obvious signs of notability and not because we prefer a book because it was published through publishers that we like. It helps make it more clear for newcomers and let's face it- we NEED people to stick around. We lose far too many newbies because our rules are pretty confusing. I know that many feel that if they can't understand the rules then they should leave, but we need to stop thinking along those lines. I don't want spammers to stick around, but it would help if the rules could be changed to be more transparent and obvious. Adding bestsellers lists to the criteria really won't change much, to be honest. It might spark a small flood of articles, but it wouldn't start any Mad Max style chaos because articles would still require multiple sources to show notability. It'd just make it slightly easier and clearer. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:17, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. A book in the top 20 of the NYT Bestseller List or the USAToday Bestseller List is notable, and inclusion on the list should be considered a reliable source. Currently, in AFDs this is not always the case. I know of romance novels, for example, which do not have articles although they made both the NYT and the USAToday bestseller list and won one or more of the second-tier awards in the industry. Because those books aren't often the subject of in-depth reviews, the articles don't get created. This change would at least allow a stub. Karanacs (talk) 21:36, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Being on a legitimate bestseller's list, makes the book and its author notable. Dream Focus 21:41, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm pinging @Piotrus:, as he expressed interest at this AfD. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:26, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per succinct explanation by Dream Focus. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:34, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. Initially I was going to support this proposal but after reading the criticisms and controversies at The New York Times Best Seller list I am not so sure; it seems as if you only need to spend around $200th to manipulate the list to get to no. 1 and they are not objective but it is editorial (read arbitrary)? Also, we may as well allow Oprah endorsed titles, because don't they all become bestsellers? Why not allow Publishers Weekly's lists - we currently use their book reviews? Also, what about lists from other countries, can't think of any just now (London times?), but how about including words like 'notable bestseller lists from any country' to preclude possible reader perception of US bias. Coolabahapple (talk) 17:31, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Hmm... we could probably counter that by maybe only including the top 10 of each list on the NYT and/or only using the lists from the combined lists. It's possible that someone could buy their way onto the top 10 of a more specific list but it'd be way more difficult for them to accomplish this with the top 10 of a combined list. I'd support using lists from foreign countries and the main reason I haven't put as big of an emphasis on them here is because I'm not really aware of all of the equivalents overseas. My general rule of thumb is if the list is reprinted in enough secondary, reliable sources then it should be considered a usable list. For example, the NYT list is frequently published in other newspapers, as is Forbes and the USA Today list. I think that even the PW list is published as well, although I think that if the list is notable enough for an article then it'd be considered usable as a RS. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 09:12, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment It should be similar to WP:NSONG which allows for the "chart" (best-seller lists) to be a factor in determining whether it is notable, yet defer to the "album" (the author, or the franchise if it's an adaptation/novelization) per "Notability aside, a standalone article is only appropriate when there is enough material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album." AngusWOOF (barksniff) 16:19, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
  • In my view, a book is notable if it is verifiably a bestseller. I would not require the source that calls the book a bestseller to be notable, I would merely require it to be credible (many bestseller lists may not be credible). I would treat as notable a book that verifiably satisfies an objective definition of "bestseller" proposed by a credible source (probably an academic source). So I have seen academics define a bestseller as a book that sells X number of copies (I think it was one million), that accounts for X percent of all sales (it might have been one percent) or even as a book which, within a short time of its initial publication, far exceeds what are at the time considered good or even large sales. My approach would be to add a new criteria that read "6. The book is a bestseller", and leave it to AfD to decide what a bestseller is. That said, I will support any proposal that allows us to include more bestsellers, so I probably support this one. James500 (talk) 19:30, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Please read, this is important: @User:Tokyogirl79 in particular: On second thoughts, I notice that we are proposing to insert "notable bestseller lists" into a list of "published works in all forms" (my emphasis). But that already includes all bestseller lists, not just notable ones. Even if we wanted to exclude certain bestseller lists, the word "notable" does not belong in that sentence, as it makes no sense in that context. Accordingly I support the inclusion of "bestseller lists" in that sentence, but I oppose the inclusion of the word "notable" in that sentence, as it would be an error of sense. Any such restriction should go somewhere else in the guideline. I suggest instead rewriting the proposed footnote so that it begins "A bestseller list is non-trivial if it is notable or it is published by a notable media outlet and is republished or covered by other reliable sources" (emphasis added). (The inclusion of the words "non-trivial" in that sentence will produce the desired exclusion without a grammatical error). James500 (talk) 11:01, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I heartily agree with the way you've phrased this since it allows for things to be more inclusive without being a little too overly specific. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 07:06, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. The consensus of this discussion has been implemented. James500 (talk) 23:53, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - My belated, I guess, comment is that I support the proposal, but "bestseller list" should be better or more narrowly defined. Such as specifically limited to the top 10 or 15 of the NYT Combined Print/Ebook Fiction list and the NYT Combined Print/Ebook Non-Fiction list. The point or indicator should be that the book is popular, not the list. While Publishers Weekly's use of Nielsen BookScan or the NYT's various lists are probably the best reflection of the American market, the best reflection of the Canadian market is the Globe & Mail list but they have "hardcover fiction", "paperback fiction", "hardcover non-fiction" and "paperback non-fiction" (all of which is Booknet Canada sales data). Which, if any, of these G&M lists would qualify under this?
  • I would say that the main lists would be notable, meaning that the lists that compile all of the fiction or non-fiction books would be the ones that would show notability. I do think that we should probably include paperback on this since some books were never released in hardback and were only available via paperback. (For example, Adam Nevill's work has never been in hardback from what I can remember.) I'd like to use the other lists on the NYT, but I am worried that it could become a little too inclusive that way. In any case, of the main lists I'd agree that only the top 10-15 spots should be the type that would give notability. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 05:52, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I do think that we should also clarify that if a book lands on a bestseller list, the list will only count as one reliable source - meaning that multiple weeks will not count as multiple sources, although landing on multiple notable lists would count as multiple sources. I think that this is somewhat implied in the wording but I wanted to state that here in case anyone tries to pull something like that. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 05:54, 18 July 2015 (UTC)


There is an RfC on the subject of whether Wikipedia:Notability (publishing) should become a guideline, which is taking place at Wikipedia talk:Notability (publishing)#Should this become a guideline?. James500 (talk) 19:30, 8 July 2015 (UTC)


There is an RfC on the subject of whether Wikipedia:Notability (history) should become a guideline, which is taking place at Wikipedia talk:Notability (history)#Should this become a guideline?. James500 (talk) 19:54, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Criteria for Notability does not reflect current consensus[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
N Not done and not likely to be done. Esquivalience t 04:35, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was a paid editor on an AfD'd book article, this RfC discussion is not paid.

A recent AfD, (closed -- latest article article revision here [1]) has revealed that the notability expectations of the community is not represented in NBOOK/NBCRIT. This failure to communicate is likely causing extra work for AfC and AfD and causing new editors to write articles that cannot get published.

My reading of BKCRIT/NBOOK #5 indicates that a thinly referenced book article should fall under the author's notability as a "discriminate collection" in WP:DISCRIMINATE. This was not my experience, the community adds the caveat that the author's notability must be for books.

changes proposed that reflect the information gathered from the AfD in strike/bold

WP:BKCRIT A book is notable if it verifiably meets, through reliable sources, at least one of the following criteria:

  1. The book has been the subject[1] of two or more non-trivial[2] published works appearing in sources that are independent of the book itself.[3] This includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, other books, television documentaries, bestseller lists,[4] and reviews . Or six professional reviews. This excludes student and college newspapers,[2] media re-prints of press releases, flap copy, or other publications where the author, its publisher, agent, or other self-interested parties advertise or speak about the book.[5]
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. The book's author's books are is so historically significant that any of the author's written works may be considered notable. This does not simply mean that the book's author is notable by Wikipedia's standards; rather, the book's author is of exceptional significance and the author's life and body of written work would be a common subject of academic study.

The five preceding criteria do not necessarily apply to books excluded by the threshold standards, and do not apply to books not yet published.

Other considerations

Threshold standards

A book should have, at a minimum, an ISBN (for books published after 1975 in a country where ISBNs are normally used), and should be catalogued by its country of origin's official or de facto national library (if that country has such a national library). For example, in the United States books are catalogued by the Library of Congress; in the United Kingdom at the British Library; in Australia at the National Library of Australia; in Canada at the Library and Archives Canada; in France at the Bibliothèque nationale de France; in Singapore at the National Library Board; in Brazil by the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional; in Argentina at Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina; and in India at the National Library of India. For a complete list, see List of national libraries.

Advisory: The current consensus is that WorldCat entries should number in the hundreds for fiction and non-fiction titles.

However, these criteria are exclusionary rather than inclusionary; meeting these threshold standards does not imply that a book is notable, whereas a book which does not meet them, most likely is not. There will be exceptions—books that are notable despite not meeting these threshold standards—but good reasons for the notability of such books should be clear.

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference subject was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference nontrivial was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference independent was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference bestseller was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference selfpromotion was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

— [[User:009o9 (talk) 00:38, 15 August 2015 (UTC)]]

009o9 (talk) 00:38, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose suggested changes. The OP is a paid editor going bat$#hit crazy that his non-notable article is being AfDed. He won't drop the stick or accept the consensus at the AfD, and is trying to blame the WP:NBOOK guidelines. In particular, his assertion that the author of the book in question is notable ("historically significant") enough that any of his works have an inherent notability is delusional. The problem isn't the WP:NBOOK guidelines, but the OP's delusion of its author's level of historical significance. Softlavender (talk) 01:39, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
  • As far as I can tell the article is a goner and as the author my input is inconsequential in AfD. Just waiting for a neutral administrator to close the AfD. I'm done commenting there, but I did need to go through the exercise to learn the current expectations of the community. Thanks for your input. --Cheers-- 009o9 (talk) 01:53, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Since you bring it up, the author (Eringer) went undercover to expose and breakup the KKK (klavern) in Europe and again to expose the anti-semetic Liberty Lobby. He was fascinated with the Bilderberg Group and published some of the early work that proved their annual meetings -- way back when Bildergerg was a conspiracy theory. He went undercover in Russia, Cuba, France and elsewhere to meet and track the Unicorn Killer and CIA defector Edward Lee Howard as a private citizen working with the FBI. His work also exposed Cuban co-intel operatives working in Washington D.C. and when Senator Bob Menendez was falsely accused, one of Eringer's books had already documented a Cuban plot to spy on and discredit the man. There is also the public feud that Prince Albert caused when he refused to finish paying Eringer for services rendered. And a strange story that Salon gave a lot of ink to about a tabloid journalist that Clair George hired Eringer to ruse. And then wrote books about it all. Notable? 009o9 (talk) 03:22, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose and speedily close this pointed RfC. Suggested changes like "and reviews . Or six professional reviews" are clearly bitter attempts at proving a point, and Softlavender's response shows the provocation is working. Bilorv(talk)(c)(e) 17:33, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, there is a point to be made here WP:POINTy and I believe that it is being made in the proper forum, and not intended to be disruptive. From WP:POINT: If you feel that a policy is problematic, the policy's talk page is the proper place to raise your concerns. I do realize that technically NBOOK is a guideline, regardless, I still believe that this is the correct forum.
In the Afd, Softlavender stated that a handful of reviews like the Argus Observer might infer notability, and that college newspaper reviews (with nationally ranked journalism programs) could not. (I interpreted "handful" to mean six reviews, is six incorrect?) The need to exceed the NBOOK stated two reviews (from a narrow range of RS) was also communicated to me from another voting editor. I get it that the community does not want the lightly sourced book articles, but something needs to be done to inform future editors not to bother reading, researching, writing and submitting the piece.
Unless there is some other parameter, the NBOOK guideline does not reflect the (apparent) consensus I've encountered and citing the guideline(s) have proven fruitless, I can only conclude that the guideline must not be representative. I'm not certain that "a handful" is fairly interpreted as six, but the community seems to feel that two book reviews is too few to establish notability. --Cheers--009o9 (talk) 23:39, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Criteria 1 and inheritance[edit]

The first point in criteria states: "1.The book has been the subject[1] of two or more non-trivial[2] published works appearing in sources that are independent of the book itself". Now if the author has a previous genuinely award winning published book, or if the author is notable for other causes, lets say social work, singing, politics, etc. then it is quite obvious that the book written by such an author, lets say their biography, would receive these "two or more non-trivial" reviews. For authors notable in other popular cultures like films, TV and other mass-media, their books receiving reviews is quite natural howsoever lame the book might be or trashy the review be. Similarly, history of quality-books is bound to get reviews for new books. Such cases of inherited notability should be mentioned in the guideline. Currently the guideline says "at least one of the following criteria" should be met and this first criteria is damn easy to meet in case of inherited notability. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 05:08, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Unanswered since long I would like to ping some editors who have substantially edited this guideline page. @James500, Fuhghettaboutit, and Tokyogirl79:. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 09:45, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible oppose. This guideline is already far too restrictive. In view of our editor retention problems (because deletionism is killing the project by driving editors away), no further restrictions whatsoever should be introduced under any circumstances. This particular proposal is ludicrous. There is no such thing as an 'inherited' book review. 'Inherited notability' would be arguing that a book about, eg, tigers, which received no reviews, is notable because its subject matter (ie tigers) is notable, because Tiger is a valid article. Also, if a book is famous (or popular or influential), which it will be if it has prominent reviews, it does not matter if it is un-meritorious. What we should be doing here is reducing the number of book reviews required from two (which is pointless) to one. James500 (talk) 10:24, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are opposing if there is no proposal for change made. Anyways... I understand the gist of what you are saying but I guess you have misunderstood me. Lets take an example; a writer wins a Man Booker for some work and that would make his all books in future (and past also) to be reviewed. If the criteria is further reduced to one-review; which is ridiculous, you are actually putting many authors in the criteria 5 as "historically significant". And there are inherited book reviews in the sense that when pop icons start writing books or publish their biographies their books get so-called reviews; not because the writer is notable for writing but is notable for other non-literary stuff. That's what am calling here as "inherited notability"; as n notability inherited by writers from other non-literary works. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 10:48, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are talking about. Are you proposing to modify criteria 1 so that it will not accept what you are calling 'inherited' reviews? James500 (talk) 11:14, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
Am not proposing anything yet, just discussing this issue. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 11:19, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure why we can't have a Wikipage on every book, just like we have a Wikipage on every film. Anybody that reads the book might want to find out what information exists about the book. - Kautilya3 (talk) 11:33, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
We don't have a wikipage on every film although the criteria there too is quite lenient and a topic all together different for a different venue. For example we don't always have articles about all A certified films or the "B Grade" films. Going by our statement every issue of Grihshobha will have separate article and I know you aren't proposing to do that. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 11:54, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
We do have some television series where each episode or each season has a separate article. It looks like we are a liberal house, and the days of scholarly elitism are gone. Pretty much every book published will have thousands of readers. At least some of them might be interested to find out what third party information exists about the book. If we have an article that provides summary of what the reliable sources say, it serves a useful purpose. How much load this will put on the conscientious editors that care about the quality of the content is another matter. - Kautilya3 (talk) 14:00, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
In principle, the idea of a wikipage for every book ever written is seductive, a sort of virtual 'library of Alexandria' catalog. But, listing every possible thing (whether a book or something else) flies against the basic principle of this encyclopedia - that only notable works are included and that notability derives from independent sources. With books, the main problem is that there are many self published ones that sit unread on the shelves of family and friends (I have a few of those sitting on my self right now) with no external validity whatsoever. Authors then try to use Wikipedia articles as a device to promote themselves and their work and, in practical terms, cleaning up these articles takes time and is both frustrating as well as demotivating for the editors involved in the clean up. I'm not sure making a special notability exception for books is a workable idea. Re Dharmadhyaksha's question, I don't see why 'inherited notability' is an issue. A book doesn't have to be good to be notable, it just needs to be notable. If that notability is derived from the subject matter, then so be it. --regentspark (comment) 14:28, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
According notability to all books might be unworkable because of self publishing and vanity presses. On the other hand, it has been suggested that we should, in particular, accept as notable: all books with at least one review, all bestsellers, all books written/published before some date (suggested dates have included 1450 (introduction of printing), 1750, 1900 and 1923 (public domain in US)), all books by a notable author, all books published by a 'respectable' publisher, or at least the notable ones or the very big ones (Penguin Books is an example that comes to mind). We can also look at the number of editions, translations, library holdings, etc. None of these criteria are obviously out of the question. Notability is not the basic principle of Wikipedia, it is only a guideline, invented around 2006 or 2007. The core policies are V, NOR and NPOV. Non-notability is not an organic threat to those. James500 (talk) 02:25, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here. Are you asking for books to inherit notability from their author, if the author has published multiple notable works? Or are you asking for us to not use reviews as a sign of notability? I need you to explicitly state what it is that you want to change. I think that what you're arguing is this:
That if an author is particularly well known for whatever reason (popular author, award winner, celebrity, etc), then they will be more likely to gain coverage for a work because of their name value alone. Because of this, criteria should be made more strict in order for the site to be more exclusive and only cover works that are particularly noteworthy.
If that's the case, then I have to say that I do not support this. Reviews are an excellent way of showing notability for a work, especially as they're not always a guarantee. An author can be a household name, yet not gain enough coverage in RS for their individual works to pass notability guidelines. I can think of several authors who are extremely well known in their genres, yet their books never gained the needed amount of coverage to warrant an entry. Heck, I don't think that any of Snooki's books have articles and that most of them probably never will pass NBOOK, yet she's undeniably well known. My point here is that celebrity of any type is not a guarantee of book reviews. It can make it more likely, but it's not a guarantee.
Do I think that the guidelines are too loose? Maybe. Sometimes, when we have some decidedly non-notable works squeak in through the cracks. However at the same time, these guidelines also make it possible for a lot of books that should be notable pass as well. Making things more strict isn't really going to solve anything at this point in time because the book guidelines are a little strict as it is and there are a lot of books that should have articles but don't. The same guidelines that allow us to have books on seemingly fluffy, trite books also allow us to have books on more serious, academic topics as well. You also have to take into consideration that there are a lot of books that are extremely commonly used or well respected in their respective areas, yet they receive very little coverage because they're so niche. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 15:28, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Basically, notability for books isn't something that will be fixed simply by making guidelines more strict. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 15:28, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
  • @Kautilya3: Just the way you are complaining here that every damn episode has an article, someone at other wikiprojects might be talking similar stuff about every damn silly book being included here.
    @RegentsPark and Tokyogirl79: My source of deriving notability was not from subject matter like a Tiger but from the author's other notable endeavors. Someday Rakhi Sawant and Sunny Leone are gonna write books on Indian Politics and Role model women of India and these are going to receive "reviews" from tabloids and page 3 columnists and we are going to end up keeping these articles here. Kim Kardashian seems to have published a book called Selfish that has her selfies and it has been "reviewed" making it notable for a stand-alone article.[3][4] Check what The Guardian has to say about the business of celebrity publishings. I guess you have now understood my concern with these examples, which I should have given before.
    Anyways... If altering the clause 1 would hinder in writing about books which Tokyogirl talks about, with academic topics, then it should not be altered. But something should also be added in the criteria which would hinder writing about books that I am talking about. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 04:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • While I hate to say this since like many, I don't particularly like Kim Kardashian, if her book has received enough coverage to warrant an article then it should have an article. (Of course if no one writes the article then that becomes a bit of a moot point.) We shouldn't pick and choose what gets an article based on the merits of the author or the lack thereof, as this runs the risk of coming across as censorship to incoming editors. Initially selecting what should or shouldn't warrant coverage in Wikipedia may seem like a no brainer, but then the problem here is that choices like this are highly subjective. What may seem like a throwaway book by a sensationalistic person might actually be important or noteworthy to someone else. Not only that, but who makes these decisions? One person? Many? Saying that we should judge notability for a book based on the worth and infamy of the person (which seems to be ultimately what this is about at its core) could set a very, very dangerous precedent. With this in mind, someone could easily argue that we shouldn't cover any more of X's books because their work is overly marketed tripe or that so-and-so is just looking for attention, so of course this book will be covered. That's a situation that can easily lend itself to bias and censorship - two things that can be poison to an encyclopedia known for covering a wide variety of subjects - especially since Wikipedia does not have the limits that other encyclopedias have. Bluntly put, it's not a good idea to create a policy that calls for us to disregard reviews if someone is a well known public persona, regardless of how that person gets that media attention. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:53, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • That's not to say that I endorse us having a page for everything. If someone wrote something and it is already adequately covered in the author's article (like say, an autobiography) then there can be a good argument for not having a separate article. However even then that is something that should be done on a case-by-case basis and with common sense rather than more guidelines, as someone could easily argue that any biography or autobiography is fair game for being redirected into the main article. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:55, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
If common sense was so common we wouldn't need many guidelines. Our guideline here says that with 3 reviews a book's article is completely secured to not be merged or deleted and gains it's absolute notability and independent article space. Any case-by-case basis arguments in such merger/deletion discussions are instantly refuted by showing 3 reviews from gossip columns. And that's what I am hoping to get this changed somehow. I don't know how this can be done. Maybe the 3 reviews criteria can be moved out from the absolute-notable-guideline to a may-be-notable-guideline. Or maybe some other way can be worked out. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 05:27, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • However I again have to argue: if something has received enough sourcing to warrant an article then the article should remain. If something goes to AfD or is proposed for a merge/redirect then we could make an argument based on the depth of coverage in the sources, such as the sourcing only announcing that a book will release or that it exists. If the sourcing is something like book reviews and/or articles that go into depth about the work, then those would show notability. Basically, in these situations you'd have to argue that the author's article (or a series article) already substantially covers the work in question and that an extra article would be unnecessary, but this is difficult to argue in many situations unless there's really only enough notability for one single article rather than multiple small articles. This is something that's very, very hard to write effective rules for since it's just so easy for them to be misused because notability is something that's fairly subjective. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 05:39, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Well then maybe we should add "in-depth reviews" to our criteria. It does say "non-trivial" reviews but the footnote on non-trivial actually explains non-RS and non-independent and non-editorial-based-publications. It does not highlight a need for in-depth review. Also if we are adding in-depth as a clause criteria we would need to state that not all 3 reviews should be in-depth. Of course, addition of such a vague and volatile term of "in-depth" would also require a big footnote of explanation. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {Talk / Edits} 10:35, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • The two non-trivial reliable sources criterion is a site-wide criterion for reliability. There is no way we can change it here. On the other hand, I think the footnote for "nontrivial" is not doing much. It is explaining reliability but not nontriviality. It should state things like the source should directly address and discuss the book, and not merely mention it. I am sure I have seen such explanations of notability in other places. - Kautilya3 (talk) 10:55, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

No, no, no, that's not right Dharmadhyaksha and Kautilya3. The guideline already contains a restriction relating to depth of coverage. Footnote 1 says "The "subject" of a work means non-trivial treatment and excludes mere mention of the book, its author or of its publication, price listings and other nonsubstantive detail treatment." So there is no need for an extra criteria relating to depth of coverage. It may be that the separate notion of a "non trivial work" (footnote 2) is confusing because it uses the same name for a different thing, but note that footnote 2 is an exclusive definition, and anyway the most that could be required is cosmetic changes to terminology. No one doubts that "non trivial treatment" in footnote 1 excludes coverage so wafer thin as to be useless. That said, bearing in mind the amount of space that a plot summary, and other straightforward bibliographic information, that can be sourced from the book itself, takes up, we don't need a huge amount of coverage in reviews to write a fairly detailed article. We could, in truth, write a very lengthy article using a book as a primary source for itself (and the preface of a textbook often looks a bit like a review and tends to be quoted by reviewers) though there are technical rules against that. I'm not opposed to all 'brief' coverage: inclusion of a book in a sufficiently important and selective bibliography should certainly suffice by analogy to the 'selective database' criteria of NJOURNALS. James500 (talk) 11:53, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

As an example of "wafer thin" coverage is "Books received" or "Recently published" or "Recommended library purchase" lists that some journals and newspapers have. While that's way more coverage than most books ever get, it's utterly useless for content. Like James500, I would not be opposed to allowing some of this.
Meanwhile, the last thing we want to do is to second-guess what reviewers had in mind. A book gets reviewed because the author is a celebrity? Or because the book received a blitz ad campaign? Or because the reviewer owes the author a favor? Or maybe, sometimes it happens, because the book is actually worth reading? None of our business, ever, unless the story behind the story makes it into RS, at which point this detail simply becomes more information and more coverage (and we don't negate the "poisoned" reviews).
I would also favor liberalizing in favor of some inherited notability, something like all non-self-published books of an author are notable once three, say, pass the current level. Or a wee bit tighter, require six current criteria notable books, but for an author with three to five, lower the standard to one non-trivial review. Or some game like this, but the simpler the better. I think it ludicrous that we can't include most of the works of Catherine Cookson, one of the best-selling novelists of all time (100 million), or any of the works of Nicholas Seare, a very obscure pen name of an incredibly famous best-selling novelist. Choor monster (talk) 16:13, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Trying to categorize what is in-depth in a review is pretty difficult because the definition of this can greatly differ depending on the publication. A review in some place like Booklist will seem short to many, however for its type of publication the review is pretty lengthy. Saying that we shouldn't use trade or short reviews isn't entirely a good solution either, since these publications do not review every book out there and some of them are very highly thought of like Booklist (the official publication of the ALA), School Library Journal /Library Journal (LJ was created by the guy who made the Dewey Decimal System), and the Horn Book Magazine (the oldest magazine of its type in the US). Heck, the content from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books could be considered fairly brief and that's a fairly well respected academic journal. Basically, it can be difficult to really argue what is or isn't in-depth, which is why some of the shorter reviews are still considered usable. Of course in many instances it depends on where something is published, as a short review in a newspaper will rarely hold the same weight as a short review in the SLJ. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:40, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

My idea of 'significant coverage' includes any decent sized paragraph or passage, so I suspect I would accept anything that could be reasonably be characterised as a review rather than a mere listing. My idea of a trivial mention is an entry in a telephone directory. In view of the relative difficulty of merging works that are anonymous or have multiple authors, and the fact that notability does not preclude merger, I am inclined to keep the minimum level of coverage as low as possible. James500 (talk) 11:06, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Footnote 4 formulation[edit]

I proposed a slight rewording of footnote 4, as it can be misinterpreted that the listed sources are considered unreliable across the board, which contradicts WP:RS allowing inline citations "to e-commerce pages such as that of a book on a bookseller's page" under certain strict conditions (see WP:RS#E-commerce sources). proposed update

This resulted from a discussion at WP:RSN#Merchant sources as a source. In order to avoid fragmentation of the discussion, please contribute to the discussion there, not here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:50, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

Add something to the self-published section[edit]

Hi guys! I wanted to add something to the self-published section. I basically wanted to add something like as follows to the end of the section to make it a little more clear for incoming users.

"In short, books are not inherently notable for existing and self-published books are very unlikely to gain the coverage necessary to pass notability guidelines."

The section is somewhat clear already, but I think that putting it in slightly clearer language would probably help out a bit when pointing this out to people. There's always some confusion on this part and this would make it just a bit easier. I don't mean this to come across as a slight to self-published authors, but not everyone that tries to add their book is particularly savvy with the English language (for various reasons like it's a second language, they're particularly young, etc) and they might not otherwise really get the gist of the phrase "Self-publication and/or publication by a vanity press do not correlate with notability." Writing it like this would just help clear it up. Of course we can't guarantee that they will read this section, but at least this way we can ensure that it's as clear as possible.

Also, I was thinking that we could probably justify having a redirect to this specific section, given that we almost always have someone trying to add their self-published book to Wikipedia. Maybe we could have it as WP:SELFPUB-NBOOK and then have a note about this at WP:SELFPUB? Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:02, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

  • Support, excellent addition to make it clearer (possibly with an apostrophe after the word "existing"?). Coolabahapple (talk) 05:11, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Speedy criteria for books[edit]

I've opened up a discussion about a speedy criteria for books here. The basic gist of this speedy criteria is that it would only cover works that were self-published, issued through a vanity press, fanfiction, or were released as a podcast novel post 2000. Works where there is a credible assertion of notability (akin to how A7 works) and where the author has an article would not qualify under this criteria (akin to how A9 works). I figured that this would help keep us from having to bring myriad obviously nn works to AfD or PROD, where it'd eat up more time than what really needs to be given. It's just so easy to release works via these venues nowadays and we've seen an increase of people adding works of this nature to Wikipedia that it seems reasonable to open up discussion on this again.

The main discussion will happen on the speedy page, so I hope to see some of you guys there. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 06:45, 12 August 2016 (UTC)

Library Journal and CHOICE[edit]

Library Journal and CHOICE run cursory "reviews" of books—a short paragraph, a few sentences. I'd call them blurbs. I've seen AfDs where they weren't "counted" towards notability since they weren't full reviews or really any more than a summary retread plus, hopefully, a sentence of analysis and recommendation. Do reviews from these sources count as "non-trivial" works for NBOOKS#1 or not? czar 15:57, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

  • I'm kind of halfhearted on this. On one hand, they are pretty short and they're not really what I prefer for sourcing for articles. On the other hand, they do give opinions on books and they don't review everything that they're sent - they can be pretty discerning. For example, I've seen NYT bestsellers (main list, not the side lists) not get reviews from the LJ or other trade journals. I've asked similar questions here before and the general consensus tended to lean towards short reviews of this nature being usable since they're still technically reviews and the outlets themselves do have editorial oversight and are generally well respected, with the exception of Kirkus Reviews. There's also the potential of what not using these outlets could eliminate, such as Booklist, which is run by the ALA. Like I said, I'm pretty halfhearted on this. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 06:17, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I've used them both as sources in articles before, and I have no issue with that, but I am asking about whether they "count" towards significant coverage (GNG). For instance, would blurbs in LJ and CHOICE and another similarly small paragraph in another journal together count as sig cov? Because I see no way we can write a detailed article on the subject with that as the sole source material. czar 18:58, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I'd actually include Publishers Weekly and Booklist with these two as well, though they tend to have a little more meat than LJ and CHOICE. Each of these periodicals tears through thousands of books a year as a matter for librarians and other collectors to decide what is worth purchasing, not necessarily with discretion for only including the most important books of the year. When I look through Book Review Digest & Index and think about which can have WP pages—it doesn't make sense for us to support WP articles about books that have only received coverage in two or even three of these four sources, and no outside coverage. We can't do the subject justice with that little material. czar 21:56, 18 November 2016 (UTC) For posterity, wanted to add that they are all trade publications: Booklist, Choice, LJ, PW, and with the possible exception of PW, they are usually less than a paragraph and indiscriminate in terms of the choice to review, hence why they shouldn't be used as a sign of significant coverage. PW/Kirkus are a bit longer than the others, but I still look to three major reviews in other reliable publications as an indicator that there is enough reliable, secondary source content to do encyclopedic justice to the topic. czar 19:10, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

Audible bestseller lists as a sign of notability?[edit]

I was wondering if we can or should add Audible bestseller lists to the list of bestseller lists that would give notability per this guideline. This would be the only e-commerce site that would be allowed to exist under this criteria and would be specifically highlighted as such.

The reason it could be added is that notable media outlets reprint these lists, specifically the New York Times, SF Gate, and Star Tribune. I'm aware that some of this is Associated Press type stuff, but I think that this is one instance where the list being placed in so many newspapers would be a good sign that it's one of the more important lists. You also have lists like this one, which lists the top audio books, where the list is entirely taken from Audible. You also get places like Bustle and The Bookseller listing the site's 'best of' type lists for the year.

If we have it, the guideline will be changed to something like this:

Bestseller lists in retailer or e-commerce sources like Amazon or self-published sources like personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, wikis, and similar media are not considered reliable. The only exception is, whose bestseller lists are republished by multiple notable and reliable media outlets.

What do you guys think? This could open up the playing field for some of the books that might not get heavy sales in print or e-book formats, but sell well enough (or are at least downloaded enough) in audiobook format to be included in a bestseller list. The only thing I can say would make it slightly difficult is that the company is owned by Amazon, which could cause some to argue that Amazon bestseller lists should be included. I'm not too worried about that, as the Amazon lists aren't republished even nearly to the degree the Audible lists are and they're so loosely defined and so dynamic that it would be easy to say why they wouldn't be included. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 14:44, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Growth_Hacker_Marketing[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Growth_Hacker_Marketing. It may involve interpretation of NBOOK#4. TigraanClick here to contact me 17:12, 10 July 2017 (UTC)