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Odd Behaviour with Free Books Lists

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24 Jul 2013, 03:37 PM
Post: #1
I just wanted to let everyone know that I am aware of the erratic behaviour with the free books at the moment.

Kobo seem to be doing something with there website that keeps breaking our scraper (it looks like they are testing two different version of the site sporadically).

Hopefully it will settle down and things will get back to normal soon.

Did you try setting it to Wumbo?
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25 Jul 2013, 12:40 AM
Post: #2
They do seem to be running some sort of beta test with a new website format. I liked the look of the new version, but they've apparently dumped the star rating for books, and the new version doesn't render book covers are cleanly as the old. (Rather annoying for those of us trying to sell books to Kobo users.)

Author of -
The War of the Second Iteration
Book One The Luck of Han'anga
Book Two Founders' Effect
Book Three The Plight of the Eli'ahtna
and
Mr. Olcott's Skies
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26 Jul 2013, 03:36 PM
Post: #3
I agree, the new website (if they go with it) is terrible. The search is hopeless too.

If they do stick with that format, it may well be the end of the free books section as there is no way to extrapolate the required data from their listings.

It really isn't difficult to add a better advanced search on there - it's as bad as the Nook website.

Did you try setting it to Wumbo?
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26 Jul 2013, 06:19 PM
Post: #4
What about the APIs available through the Kobo Affiliate Program?

Another possibility might be to investigate the APIs used by the PC application to download information about the store contents. Although the UI doesn't give a way to list new free books by date it may well be that the underlying API does. It's probably RESTful and so might be worth running something like WireShark and looking at the HTTP traffic.
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29 Jul 2013, 09:00 AM
Post: #5
I have looked into it with the WireShark sniffer, but I think it uses an encrypted handshake, so looks like a no-go.

They do have a feed via the afflliate programme, but the size of the data file is absolutely insane (about 6gb I think when I last looked, and the affiliate server's feed throughput can be measured in kb so it was taking over a day to pull it in let alone process - hopeless. The feed just contains all books with no way to just download free ones.

That really only leaves scraping, but this again is going to be very difficult without the ability to filter adequately as a starting point. I don't think kobo would be happy if we had to hit every single book on their site and discard.

Did you try setting it to Wumbo?
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01 Aug 2013, 03:17 PM
Post: #6
Sad i like the free books list boo hiss kobo

Anyone know the way to readers anonymous...
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08 Aug 2013, 09:06 AM
Post: #7
Some further info about the free books list...

It looks like Kobo have settled on the new format, so for the time being we aren't able to update the listings.

I will look and see if there's a viable solution, but it may take a week of two to do.

Sorry about this everyone - the new Kobo site is beyond rubbish and I just can't understand why they've done it. It's like they are trying to copy the Nook site which is also rubbish.

Why, with a product so diverse and abundant as ebooks would you want to have the most cumbersome interface with the most limited search options? Whatever anyone thinks about Amazon, they sure know how to let a customer find their products.

Did you try setting it to Wumbo?
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