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New LTER preference: Occasionally receive 2 books in 1 batch

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Edited: Mar 5, 2010, 6:12pm Top

We've added a new preference to Early Reviewers. You can now opt in to occasionally receive a second book.

If you want to opt in now do it here: http://www.librarything.com/er/profile

The reason why we're allowing for second wins is that because we're having such large batches of books (the February batch was twice as large as January's) with some books having 200-300 copies available, we're running into the problem of not having enough eligible winners.

The second books are only awarded once everyone who can win a book has.

See this thread for the longer explanation and conversation:

Mar 23, 2010, 8:26pm Top

Please elaborate on how you can have enough books to allocate two to some users when some users receive none.


Mar 23, 2010, 8:36pm Top

Neeva, did you read the thread in the link?

Mar 23, 2010, 10:34pm Top

Neeva, go read the 200+ post thread Mike links to. I was furious at first too, but they clarified that this WILL NOT mean anyone who is eligible to win a book will not get one who otherwise would; it will mean that people will get a second copy in very rare cases rather than having extra copies return or be given to ineligible requesters (like deadbeat non-reviewers.)

Mar 24, 2010, 12:01am Top

And if you want to be really lazy, just read the two UPDATE links mike points to in the first post.

Mar 25, 2010, 6:20pm Top

I really want to win a book. So far no luck.Should I just give up?
lil lyn

Mar 25, 2010, 6:51pm Top


If you're requesting books that are a good match for your library, sooner or later you'll probably get lucky. If you haven't finished entering your library yet, having more books entered can't hurt -- it means you're more likely to have some of the "similar" books that the algorithm relies on.

Mar 25, 2010, 8:53pm Top

It took me literally a year before I won an ER book in the February batch, so don't give up.

Mar 25, 2010, 10:05pm Top

It took me over a year as well, but now I win one every 5 months or so.

Mar 25, 2010, 11:55pm Top

I have never received an Early Reviewers book and have just given up tryng.

Mar 26, 2010, 1:37am Top

6> A large part of getting a book is reviewing it - and I don't think reviews show up for a private library (I just tried to look at yours and got "This is a private library"). I don't know - are there any private libraries whose owners have gotten ER books? The matching algorithm could look at private books as well as public (but I don't know that it does) but if your reviews won't show you may not be considered. I'm not certain about this, but it may be true.

Mar 26, 2010, 1:36pm Top

Without speaking to the mysteries of the algorithm, I can say that private libraries are welcome to participate in Early Reviewers.

We don't currently show private libraries' Early Reviewer reviews, but we plan to.

Mar 26, 2010, 3:09pm Top

6> I've found that I tend to win books on the more obscure topics in my library. For example, I have a fair (not huge) number of books on disability and nearly every time I've requested such a book from ER I've gotten it. On the other hand, I generally don't get mystery books from ER unless the author is less popular and I have several books by that author.

You may be more successful if you request books that are less popular.

Mar 26, 2010, 8:43pm Top

I joined the Early Reviewer program about a year ago. I just received my fourth book. I don't know why I have been so successful but I can venture a guess. I only request books of history not the more popular fiction titles and over 650 of the books I have are tagged history. I have written 16 reviews, 13 about books of history. The books that I received directly correlate to the books already in my library, WWII, civil rights, labor, and education.

I work full time and am nearly a full time student so sometimes I am slow with the review. It obviously has not hurt my getting another book.

Mar 27, 2010, 9:32pm Top

--> 10

I would venture to guess that the algorithm has not picked you because, although you have many books in your library, they all tend to be by just a few writers. In addition, your tags are not descriptive of the subject matter in which you are interested in so there is very little for the algorthim to use in matching the kind of books you like. For instance, instead of just using the tag "First edition" for Firefly, why not also include tags such as horror, fantasy, erotica, and/or science fiction. That gives the algorithm the "flavor" of books that you like to read.

Mar 28, 2010, 1:01am Top

I thought the algorithm used the tags that everyone applied to a work, not just the tags that one particular member had applied.

Mar 28, 2010, 1:15am Top


I was taking part in the Early Reviewers in order to expand my author base.

I use tags to keep track of my collection in ways that this site does not allow. Using tag in the way you give is what the subjects field are for.

If the algorithm only assigns book to people who have similar ones than it doesn't give the author or publisher a chance to increase their fan base.

just my opinion

Mar 28, 2010, 2:58am Top

In this case I don't think the authors are looking to expand their fan base. I think the purpose of Early Reviewers is for them to get their books reviewed, and who better to give honest, knowledgeable reviews than experienced readers of that genre?

The awesome thing about LibraryThing is that you can use any of their features in whatever way you want to. However, if you really want to get free books it'll probably involve conforming a little bit.

Edited: Mar 28, 2010, 9:32am Top

> 16

I don't think so.

> 17

I think the algorhithm is looking for good "matches" between a book and its reviewer. If neither author nor tags of an ER book match what you generally read, why should the algorithm choose you to review a particular book at all? It's not simply hoping that you might like the ER book; it's wanting you to like it. It can't guess what you might like to read, but it can be programmed to try to find matches of what you prefer to read (in other words, those books in your library).

That's one of the reasons the algorithm is better than random selection. However, there are other unknown factors (which keep changing) in the algorithm as well.

ETA: This is my guess only - as no one (other then TPTB) really know the intricacies of the mighty algorithm. :)

Mar 28, 2010, 9:03am Top

>16 jjwilson61:, That's how I understood tagging worked with the algorithm too, more like the tag mirror. If that is the case, it would only be helpful to add subject tags if the books in your library haven't been tagged by many other people.

Mar 28, 2010, 12:28pm Top

15/16/19: Your own tags do not play a role in ER, the tags people use as a whole affect ER. Like Tag Mirror

17: The ER algorithm is meant to match people to books if they have similar books in their library, as determined by a shortlist from the publisher that LT expands to a longer list.

The algorithm is not intended to match people to genres that they do not already have in their library. However, the ER list itself is free publicity, as people notice interesting books that they might not have heard of otherwise.

Apr 8, 2010, 9:57am Top

I wouldn’t mind getting more than one but more than likely I will get none because I am new to library thing

Apr 8, 2010, 12:12pm Top

Your newness is less of a problem than the fact that you only have 9 books in your library. This short list doesn't give the algorithm much to grab onto to see if you're a good match to the books being offered.

Go forth and catalog, my dear.

Apr 8, 2010, 12:17pm Top

22/23> And to add to what MerryMary said, you don't actually have to own a lot of books, just catalog them. You could put a lot of books in your Read but Unowned and Wishlist collections.

Apr 9, 2010, 11:27pm Top

I've only been on Library Thing for a few months and I've had great luck with ER books.
I started first with the Member Giveaways and now I've gotten an ER each month for the last 2 months. However, my library has over 200 books and I have reviewed all of the books I've gotten from member giveaways. I think that is why I've gotten books thus far.

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