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Topic: Fake Cover Images From Amazon

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Subject: Fake Cover Images From Amazon
Date Posted: 11/23/2013 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2005
Posts: 60
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On several occasions I have commented on how PBS picks up cover images from Amazon, and I have received denials in response.  I'm not sure why it's such a sensitive issue, because PBS partners with Amazon on book sales.  But recently Amazon (and only Amazon) has been creating pseudo-images for books that don't have an image on their Amazon page already.  These are beginning to show up on PBS.  For example, see


Date Posted: 11/23/2013 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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No one really cares about this obsession. Why this matters to you is beyond me. If you actually have a question about where the images come from, you can use the Contact Us link in the lower right under Company and send in Feedback. What the site has said to anyone who has asked is that they source the images from some of the same places as Amazon. If that isn't a good enough answer for you, nothing anyone can do about it. No one in the forums can tell you anything other than what the site has told them.

Many, many of the Data Image Team pull images from Amazon and other sources and upload them to PBS manually, that could easily be the explanation for why some of Amazon created images end up here. But, you aren't going to accept any answer other than the one you have already concluded. So I don't see a question in your post. Only a continuation of your mission to get someone to agree with you.

Date Posted: 11/23/2013 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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So, are you submitting edits with the actual covers?  Or do you really prefer the blue boxes?

It is my understanding that the computer search loads these images, and our volunteers work very hard to update the system.   

So, are you mad at the computer?  Or the volunteers?   Do we really know where computers search?  Do we really want to know?

Date Posted: 11/23/2013 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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I've pulled images off Amazon to submit for some of the books I've posted.  I have noticed the new pseudo images.  They are no worse than the blank boxes.

Date Posted: 11/23/2013 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2011
Posts: 100
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Wow, tough crowd, these book swappers.

Stand down soldier, stand down.

Date Posted: 11/24/2013 12:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,343
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The image team is newly aware of them.  They're sprouting like mushrooms.  At least they clearly say that they aren't a real book cover, but they make it more complicated to add a good image to a listing.  (It takes longer to replace an existing image than to replace a PBS blue "no image available" box, so the blue boxes are much prefered if there's no good image.)

Subject: Fewer Blue Boxes
Date Posted: 11/24/2013 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2005
Posts: 60
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The use of Amazon pseudo-images can be considered an improvement.  There are now fewer stray books that don't show up on the home page, where recently listed and recently swapped books are shown, because solid-blue-box images are banned from there.  Now we get to see them because of the  "this is not the real book" image from Amazon.  I am sorry if my question offended anyone.  I will continue not to pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 11/24/2013 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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PBS has always had images for the same books that Amazon has images for. Nothing's changed except possibly the originating data source (be it Amazon or some shared source) is providing images for more books.

As far as I can tell, PBS doesn't add images automatically for existing listings. If a listing starts out with no image, then it'll remain with no image until a volunteer manually updates it. If Amazon or its source is starting more listings off with images and that makes your PBS experience better, then it's a good thing for you.

Date Posted: 11/24/2013 11:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,876
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I'm with you, Karen.........tis the season.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 11/25/2013 2:26 AM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Speaking as an Image team volunteer, the fake cover Amazon (and other sources) images are NOT an improvement over the blue boxes. Here's why: Book details with the blue box will show up for volunteers looking to help out as needing an image, whereas book details with a fake cover image in place will not show up to volunteers helping out, and it will therefore take that much longer for a real cover image to be posted (if one is added at all to replace the fake image).  Also, as mentioned earlier by another member of the Image team, it takes a longer period of time for a replacement image to show up on the site than it does for a new image.  So someone adding a correct cover to a blue box listing will see the correct cover show up quickly, while someone adding a correct cover to a fake cover listing may not see the correct cover show up for a couple of months after it has been submitted.

Bob, I'm curious: you state "There are now fewer stray books that don't show up on the home page, where recently listed and recently swapped books are shown, because solid-blue-box images are banned from there."  I have never heard this, where did you hear it and what is your source that says this is true?

(And I will add, just for the record, that as far as I've always been told, PBS does NOT obtain images directly from Amazon. Instead, we get images from our book data sources, which are also used by Amazon. Also, members here often submit images they got from Amazon site.  And that is why some of the same images appear both places.)

Last Edited on: 11/25/13 2:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/26/2013 1:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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First, I am also a volunteer with the Image team and found  the statement <i>"There are now fewer stray books that don't show up on the home page, where recently listed and recently swapped books are shown, because solid-blue-box images are banned from there,"</i>  to be confusing.

Although the statement is not clear, I am assuming that "stray books" means books without images. If so, it is saying that more books without real cover images are now showing up on the home page due to the presence of fake covers. I respectfully disagree. Furthermore, I am not aware of PBS "banning" images from ANY page on the site. Where does this idea come from, and is there any evidence to support the claim? The images displayed on PBS are what they are, whether good or bad, correct or incorrect, blue boxes or fake images, and none of these are banned.

PBS sometimes inherits images from other sites when updating its database. In my opinion, there is no preponderance of images from Amazon, and it may well be that both Amazon and PBS use some of the same sources for updating book information and therefore may both inherit some of the same images. In addition, many members upload images found on Amazon if we do not already have an image for their book, so this is another reason why images on the two sites may overlap. As an aside, I have also seen images that I have uploaded to PBS show up on Amazon, so sometimes images originally uploaded to PBS can end up on Amazon. Anyone can do this, even if they are not members of PBS.

Personally, when searching for images, Amazon is never my first site of choice when searching for new or replacement images. This is because Amazon often has poor images that would not pass the approval process implemented on PBS. In fact, it often appears that Amazon has little quality control and will accept ANY image for a book, regardless of quality. Unfortunately, poor images do sometimes find their way onto PBS because inherited images are not moderated. Only member-updated images are subject to approval on PBS before they can be accepted on the site.

As already stated in this thread, images replacing the PBS blue boxes show up much more quickly, often within minutes,  than images replacing fake, poor, or incorrect images which may easily take weeks or well over a month to propagate through internet servers and display correctly.

It is worth noting that PBS displays a blue box when it has no image whatsoever for a book. Fake covers and images inherited from other sources that indicate no cover is available, are actual images in the PBS database, and these take significantly longer to be replaced with real images than it does when PBS has no image at all, ie.,a blue box. Therefore it is better to have the PBS blue boxes than to have fake images.

Date Posted: 11/26/2013 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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I apologize for the length of my previous post, but would like to add another cooment regarding fake, incorrect, or poor images on PBS.

As already mentioned, it takes significantly longer to replace such images with new ones than it does to replace the PBS blue boxes. One of the problems associated with this is that members may either become impatient when images they have uploaded do not show up within a few days, or may think that their images did not "take" or were not approved, and may upload the images again even though their earlier ones have already been approved.

In addtion, when replacement images take a long time to display correctly (from perhaps a week to over a month), this increases the likelihood that other members may also upload images for the same books. This can result in having more than one image in the works for a given book, and these may be different or in conflict with one another.

This is another reason why it is better to retain the PBS "no cover available" blue boxes until real image for the books are available rather than having fake images in their place.

Images uploaded to fill in PBS blue boxes will usually appear on the site within 1-2 days from their submission. Replacement of fake images will take much longer to show up.

Last Edited on: 11/26/13 1:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/26/2013 4:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2009
Posts: 4,581
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I'm not quite sure why you are so worried about where the image comes from?

Its not much different then these few I found that don't have real covers.  Images like these have been on and off the site for a while now:




And truthfully while I know they are trouble for the Image team to fix which really is awful because they do such good work.  They are soooo much better than the fake cover photos that were going around that had the 70's style coloful four block of some celebrity!  Those were really annoying when trying to scroll fast through your wl to find out what you didn't need on there any more.  At least now when I scroll through fastly I will see a title and not a weird art picture of a celebrity.  I'm so glad I have not seen one of those in a long time!

Oh wait I spoke too soon there seem to be a few still lingering!  This isn't the exact ones I complained about but similar :


Case and point Bob it could be much worse!

Also I'd like to point out to Bob that I sometimes like to take matters into my own hand and help by adding data to books too.  It does seem that books with cover photos and descriptions actually get requested faster.  I'd also like to say that I went back and read the posts in the other thread.  Any how in response to the post where you said "Hey, just look at it this way:  When was the last time anyone got thanked for uploading an image?". (why did you even drag this into the no thanks thread)  I'd like to say I have been thanked for doing a data edit that included a book image several times!!!!!  I was encouraged by several members of the Data Edit team to help as much as I have time to do.  I can also say that when I complained about the funky celb photos I got back a quick responses and the team fixed that photo on the book in question as soon as the could.  So its not as if they are ignoring you totally just to piss you off.

Here is actually a quote from a pm I got from Sianeka about some edits I did in february for a tbr swap "I just approved a slew of data edits you've submitted. Great job, this is really, really appreciated. Especially filling in missing descriptions!"  Several of those edits included uploading the book image so see yes people who are not a member of the teams do get thanked for doing edits that inclued uploading images!

Last Edited on: 11/26/13 4:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/27/2013 3:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 1,020
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Thank you for posting, Elizabeth (Bizzzy1).

I am actually not worried about where the images are coming from. My Amazon comments were mostly in response to Amazon references in earlier posts in this thread.

My main point is that, no matter where fake or pseudo  images come from, it is is better for the site to have PBS blue boxes to replace than to have fake images to replace. Image approvers have to deal with whatever images have been submitted by memebers or that have found their way into the PBS database through automatic updates from other databases that PBS subscribes to and pays for.

Also, thank you for your comments regarding the Data Edit and Image team volunteers. I often thank members for uploading good images and also offer helpful suggestions when images are uploaded that are not acceptable as submitted. Image approvers greatly appreciate the help we get from members uploading good images, and it is in everybody's interest when these efforts are acknowledged and encouraged.