Graeme here. Welcome to the latest Book Notification newsletter, as I provide a quick update on everything that is going on with the website.
First off – in the last newsletter, we had a contest with a $25 gift card for the person who could come closest to predicting how many authors we had on the site when we next sent out this newsletter.
That number is 20,480, and the closest guess was Kent B.. with 20,550. Congrats Kent, you’ve won a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
I was overjoyed with the number of responses, so I’ve decided to give an additional two $25 gift cards to the next two people who were closest. So Celia A. (20,552) and Monique R. (20,579) – you have won $25 Amazon gift cards too! I’ll contact you each individually.
We have another contest where you can win between $25 and $500. See the end of the newsletter for that.
June is going to be a big month for the site, as we finally get to rip off that big “BETA” stamp. We’ve fixed all discovered bugs, added a lot of key features, and feel comfortable making the site completely live and official.
Since the last update, here is what has been accomplished on the site:
Default Bookstore: To use a real-world example (thanks Michael), we use geo-targeting on the site. So if you live in Canada and are on mobile, all book links would go straight to Amazon Canada. But if you are traveling in France, all book links would go to Amazon France. Not ideal if you want to use our links to order an ebook, or to buy physical books for when you return to Canada.
Now under your settings, you can choose a default bookstore, and no matter where you are in the world, you will be directed to that bookstore.
Non-Amazon Bookstores: Since launch, we’ve only offered different Amazon stores by the country where you can purchase your books. We know many people order their books from other sources, and so we are working with those retailers to list them as an option on the site. We’ve now added Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop.org. This is all tailored to the country that you reside in, so as Bookshop.org don’t currently ship to Canada, a Canadian wouldn’t see that in the drop-down. In saying that, the default bookstore option in settings allows you to choose any bookstore you wish.
We have a healthy list of online bookstores to add and am adding them when we can. Expect that list to fill up over the next month.
Date Read: Now when you mark a book read, you can choose the actual date that you read a book. You can click on the checkbox at any time to change that, and you can also see the dates in the “my books” section of your library, with an easy option to add a date to a book if one is missing. This will be something that comes into play down the road when we start on the reading challenge section and start displaying lots of cool statistics.
Awards Pages: We’ve now started the book awards section of the website. Just two awards are listed at the moment, and I aim to add one award per week. Again, we feel this can come into play later in regard to statistics and recommendations. If you’ve read 8 books that were nominated for “Best Mystery Novel” for the Edgar Awards, and rated them all between 8-10? Well, that will factor into book recommendations for you when we launch that, and any Edgar Award-nominated mystery novels would be given a slight “bump” in your personal recommendations.
New Author Requests Backlog: Since launch, we have received literally over a thousand e-mails with requests for authors to add. With everything going on with the site, that built into quite the backlog. I’m happy to report that is now clear, and any author requests now should have a turnaround time of no more than a week. I’m actually trying to have a turnaround time of a few hours, but I’ve stated a 7-day turnaround max just in case life gets in the way!
Pseudonyms & Real Names: Now at the top of an author’s page, if an author writes under any other name, it is listed there.
Anthologies: Minor update to anthologies – any that aren’t marked read by you will be hidden by default. It just makes the author pages that much cleaner, and it’s a quick click to expand. I have a lot of cool plans related to anthologies in the future where we indicate the actual story title that an author read, whether they were a contributor or an editor etc. Looking forward to getting to that someday.
While not 100%, prior to beta launch this is what we are hoping to have on the site:
Ratings: Currently, you can only see what you rated a book by clicking on the checkbox of a book, or looking at your library. Soon, you will be able to see both your rating for a book, as well as the average rating from all the ratings compiled on the site. As a couple of people asked, down the road I also plan on allowing you to turn off that feature if you don’t wish to see a book’s average rating as well.
Book Reviews: Currently, you can write a book review but it doesn’t show up anywhere! That will change, and any book reviews will be shown on an author’s page. We’re just determining the best way to actually display those.
Those are the two big ones. We’ve got a few other minor changes to make, but those are the two key features we’re looking to have prior to ripping off that beta stamp.
We’ll also be adding instructional videos to explain each process of the site, and also building a very comprehensive F.A.Q. thanks to the e-mails received since beta launch.
As it is now June 1st, we are no longer accepting entries for the contest. Thank you to everyone who participated, and I can’t wait to announce the winners sometime in June!
As mentioned at the beginning of the newsletter, in the month of June we will no longer be in “beta” mode. We’ll be ripping off that stamp, as all discovered bugs have been ironed out, and all the features we wanted to have on the site for the official launch will be on there.
We have the date set in stone as to when we will remove the beta stamp (and thus, send the next newsletter).
All you have to guess is :
What date do we leave the beta phase?
All I can say is it will be sometime in June. So you have a 1 in 30 chance of being correct.
We have a prize pool of $500 USD to be distributed among the winners. So if only one person guesses the correct date, they will win $500. If 10 people guess the correct date, then it will be $50 each. And the minimum prize will be $25 USD, so even if 40 people guess the correct date, all 40 will still win $25!
Guess away – just hit reply. I’ll e-mail you back just to confirm I received your guess. Only one guess allowed per person.
Cheers, and thanks for supporting Book Notification. It’s much appreciated.