Graeme here, and welcome to the October edition of the Book Notification newsletter.
We now have over 31,000 authors on the site. As mentioned previously, adding authors continues to be our priority. I estimate once we get to about 50,000 authors we should be able to focus on various other aspects of the site a lot more. Much of that effort will be focused on enhancing author biographies, adding descriptions to book series, and listing more book awards.
However, we are still launching new features on the site, and I’m excited to announce the What’s Next? feature. When initially planning this site many years ago, this was one of the top features I wanted from a readers perspective, and I’m over the moon that we have it now. More details below.
We also made some solid changes to the navigational and menu system. We went very basic with that when we beta launched in January. The reason was the full vision of the site was still unclear, and so we wanted to wait until the time was right. The time is now right! It’s similar to how Amazon works. The top left with the “hamburger” menu is all the general site navigation, and the top right is all navigation related to the user. The key to it all was future proofing it for the many, many new features we have planned!
Thank you to everyone who e-mails us with any ideas to improve your experience on the site, big or small. It’s great seeing ideas for little things that we’d never even think about. For example, we had someone mention that when they view their authors or books in “My Library”, they always switch the list to display “all” on one page, as opposed to 20 or 50. They asked if it could display “all” by default for them. I always use the pagination and search function, so that’s something I would have never considered. That’s a small life improvement that we are hoping to implement this weekend. It’s neat getting all those little ideas to further enhance the user experience of Book Notification.
Thanks also to everyone who e-mails us to notify us of any missing upcoming books, or any bugs or issues to the site. A quick shoutout and thank you to David H., who has reported a couple of bugs related to iOS and has taken the time to send videos showing the issues, which is much appreciated. And to Elaine M. for all of your help and feedback lately.
Last month, I ran a contest where every comment you make on an authors page will earn you entry into a draw with 10 $25 Amazon gift cards as a prize. This time, we received over 200 comments! Thank you so much. This is so good for the sites health, and it’s truly appreciated. I will continue to run that contest for the next couple of months I expect. Quick note that each comment earns you an entry and you can win multiple times.
Winners of the contest:
- Angie F.
- Beverly F.
- Cindy M
- Cindy M
- Deborah Ba—
I’ve sent you all an e-mail.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to comment. It’s truly appreciated and helps the site so much.
What’s Next?: This was a feature that I loved at the now defunct site Fictfact. Based on the books you have marked read in a series, it would list the next book to read in that series. As someone who reads a lot of book series, I often lose track. I was so excited when this feature launched on Book Notification, as in the beta tests I was discovering multiple series that I had forgotten I was reading. Here is an example of how it looks:
The formula behind it is quite simple. If there’s a 12 book series, and you have marked 5 books as read on Book Notification, then it will list book 6. If you mark book 6 as “not interested” or “did not finish”, then it will move on and list book 7. There may be book series that you have given up on reading, or aren’t interested in at this time. Rather than having to mark all the books as “not interested”, you can simply click the icon to hide those series and they will appear in the ‘hidden series’ section.
We’ve received some neat feedback in regard to that entire section. A few people would like to see a list of series they have “completed” – as in they have read every book in the series, and there are no new books coming out. That is on the list to add.
Authors with The Same Name: While not a massive feature but helpful nonetheless. There are authors who share the same name. If you searched Book Notification for “Elizabeth Bright”, it would list two Elizabeth Brights but with no way to differentiate them. We now have added a unique identifier to any authors who share the same name to make that clearer.
FAQ Form On Author Pages: We already have an FAQ on authors pages dealing with general questions such as what awards they have won, and where they were born. This section also offers personalized FAQ, such as “Does Titus Welliver narrate every Harry Bosch audiobook?”. We’ve now added the Have a Question? section below the FAQ, to make it easier for you to ask questions relevant to that author, and we will do our best to answer them.
Back To Top: A highly requested feature is now live. At any time when on an authors page, if you wish to go back to the top of the page, there is an arrow on the bottom right so you can instantly go back to the top just by clicking on it.
Book Manage Screen: Based on feedback, we made a few edits. We’ve now changed it from just a “Save” button plus the X to close it, to a “Save & Close” button. One less click. On top of that, we have added the button to the top as well as the bottom, to make it easier if on a mobile device.
Series Description: Some feedback I have received since launch is that some of you would like to know what a book series is about. We’ve now added the ability for us to add a series description for every book series on the site. You can see how it functions on The Survivalist series by A. American.
However, this is where the focus on adding new authors delays things. As all the focus is on that, we’re not currently doing work such as this. Once the entire new author process is complete, then we’ll tackle projects such as this writing up series description for every book series on the site. Which is over 114,000. So it will take some time, but great to have that functionality in there at least.
New Content Added
At Book Notification, we do more than just add authors – we post news and write some fun blog content too! Here are posts in that category from October:
Having quality content and discussion is always beneficial for our website. This month, I am again asking you to write a comment on an authors page. It can be whatever you want. You can write about how they are your favourite author, or what their best book or series is. You could write about an adaptation of their book. Any and all comments are welcome.
We will give away ten $25 USD gift cards to random people who have submitted a comment from the day this newsletter was published, up until the beginning of the next newsletter. Every comment earns you a “ticket” into the draw and you can enter multiple times.
You can find the comment form at the bottom of every authors page.
Thanks to everyone for your support.