Book Notification Newsletter: Bye, Bye Beta

By: Graeme, June 26th, 2023 7:06 pm.


Hello everyone and welcome to our June newsletter!

I’m excited to announce that as of today, June 26th, Book Notification is no longer in “beta”. We’ve added the base features we wanted to, fixed all reported bugs, and have ripped off that “Beta” stamp.

We ran a contest in the last newsletter with a $500 prize pool to guess the date.

Congrats to the 9 winners:

Debbie F, Debra C, Janis W, Kelly J, pgronek, Phil S, Sharon J, Sharon K, and Toni F.

You split the prize pool with $55.55 each. I’ll be sending you an e-mail momentarily.

I’m running another contest with 10 $25 gift cards available to be won. See the end of the newsletter for that.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the site so far, since our beta launch on January 1st. It has been a great six and a bit months, and I’m looking forward to the next few years, and seeing the evolution of Book Notification into hopefully the best website for readers.

Graeme


What Does “End of Beta” Mean?


It just means that we have launched the core features of the site and fixed all reported or discovered bugs. Now it’s a case of looking at our features “wishlist”, and starting to work on those features while also consistently working on our database and adding new books and new authors. This week I will be sitting down and planning everything out, and hopefully coming up with a schedule that involves at least one major new feature per month being added.

A lot of work will be done on the backend over the next month or so. Our database has grown substantially since the beta launch on January 1st, and there are so many things that need done to help manage it all better.

We are also putting additional processes in place to make sure we never miss out on any new books as hey – that’s the whole purpose of the site!

We’re also going to be looking at expanding the biography data of authors, incorporating a lot more information. For example, data related to their books on best seller lists and if they were a book club pick. Not things that will affect you too much, but work that has to be done for the future of the site. I think it’s important to keep everyone updated on what’s going on, even if it is behind the scenes.

However, the majority of our focus is still on adding authors. To give you an idea how big a task this is: we launched in beta on January 1st, 2023 with 11,000 authors. We’ve now hit over 23,000 authors – more than double that – 6 months later. We still have a backlog of Goodreads imports files we are going through, plus various new author requests that come in. For that to be considered “complete” I estimate we have to add about 20,000 more authors to the site. And that’s not including any new requests or Goodreads import files. So that is still where a large amount of our time is being spent and will for the next month.

This also adds work to other areas of the site, such as new books coming in. As the more authors we have listed, the more new books that come in that we have to sort etc.

So don’t expect too many updates on the front-end for the next couple of months. I’ll be sure to send out a newsletter when the next features are added to the site. But a lot of the work from now until September will likely be in the backend, and on the database.


The Next Phase:


The next phase of the site is something you can help with: ratings and reviews.

There are many ideas on the list that will rely on user ratings and reviews, and the more ratings and reviews we have, the more helpful it is.

So if you want to help us out in a big way, head to your library and click on the “My Books” tab. Sort by the “Rating” tab so that any books you have read but haven’t rated, will show up with this button:

Click that, rate your books. All of that data will be extremely helpful for the next phase of the site.

If you have the time to write a review, that would be very helpful as well and you’ll be entered in a contest. See below for more details about that. But if you could take the time to rate the books you have read, it would be incredibly helpful. Thank you!


New Features Launched:


Since the last newsletter, here are the new features added to the site:

Your / Avg Ratings: If you have read and rated a book, your rating will now be shown in green next to the checkbox for easier access. A books average rating is also displayed in blue beside it. Quick note that we also plan on the ability to hide the average ratings if you don’t wish to see those.

My Reviews: Now when you write a review of a book, along with eventually seeing it on the book page when they are built, you can also see it in My Library. Click on the “My Reviews” tab and any reviews you have written will now be displayed there. There is also an “Add Review” button for any books you wish to add a review for. See the contest section below for more details about that.

F.A.Q. Overhaul: I have been compiling every question I have been asked since launching the site, and have created a much more comprehensive F.A.Q. covering them all, as well as with instructional videos when necessary.

Table of Contents: Each author now has a table of contents button in their header area. If you click on that, it will bring up a list of all of their book series so that you can click on one and be taken straight to it. Very handy for authors such as Michael Anderle or James Patterson.

Display Name & Profile Picture: If you wish to change your display name and profile picture, you can now do so easily in the settings page of your account.

More Bookstores Added: We have added many more bookstores that you can set as your default bookstore, if you don’t wish to shop at Amazon. These include Thriftbooks, ebay, Alibris and more. We also added a separate option for Audible, so that if you click on a book it will run a search for the audible entry, and take you to it if it exists.

Social Media: We have slowly started to branch out onto social media. We are going to use social media at the moment purely to share any new “lists” articles or blog content, as well as any book news. I’ve also been using our Tik Tok and Instagram accounts to post updates on what book I am currently reading and just posting fun book related videos.

If you wish to follow Book Notification on social media, here are the links to do so:

Facebook: /BookNotification
Twitter: @BookNotify
Instagram: BookNotificationDotCom
TikTok: @booknotification


Contest:


Ratings and reviews are going to be important for the next phase of the site.

So if you could write up a quick book review for any books you have read and rate them, that would be appreciated. Ideally, make it unique. Don’t just copy and paste from your own blog or from an Amazon review you wrote, if possible.

As a thank you for everyone who writes a review, we are giving away $25 USD gift cards to 10 random reviewers. You can only win once, but every review you write gains you an entry into the contest. So the more the merrier.

This contest will run until our next newsletter which will likely be in August.

And as mentioned, we have made it extremely easy to leave reviews for books you have read. Visit your library, click the My Reviews tab, and you can sort the table by “Review”. Click that title and any books you have read but haven’t written a review for will have an “Add Review” button where you can quickly leave a review.

Cheers, and thanks for supporting Book Notification. It’s much appreciated.

Graeme

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