Introducing Airlists: Airtable for Your Books

@adamAvatar for @adam

By Adam Fortuna

5 min read

Airlists are more than just lists: they’re a tool for you to use to find or share that perfect book from.

I’m extremely excited to share what we’ve been up to over the last few months at Hardcover. We think this is going to be hugely helpful for readers in our overall goal of helping people find life-changing books.

Today we’re announcing the release of Airlists, our new list experience across Hardcover.

So what are Airlists? To put it concisely:

Airlists are a tool for you to use to filter collections of books to answer whatever questions you have.

When we talked to readers about how they use lists one thing stood out: there’s no single way to use them 😅. Readers wanted to use lists to share their favorites, organize their books and decide what to read next – amongst other reasons.

With that feedback in mind, we set about to make the best book list experience on the internet. Something simple enough for anyone to use but feature-rich enough for power users to have the experience of their dreams.

AirLists

Enough talk, let’s show how you can use Airlists!

Custom Views with Different Sizes

We’ve added three different views for your books, each with a different size: Shelf, Card and Table.

Shelf view will show just the covers. Card view shows a little more data including title, authors and your status for the book. Table view gives power-users the ability to control exactly what they see.

There are 3 views for Airlists: table, Card and Shelf view.

Custom Columns, Sorting and Filtering

Depending on what you’re trying to do you’ll want to see different columns. You can select which columns to see and in what order.

Once you have the data you want, you can sort or filter it by any column. Which columns you select will only be reflected in the table view, while sorting and filtering will also change the Card and Shelf views.

You get to decide which columns to see, what order those columns show up, the sort order and even filter the books down.

Looking for what to read from a list? Just sort by Match percentage to see what books Hardcover recommends.

Group Books Together

Long lists of books are impossible to understand at a glance. It’s difficult to pull out common themes and draw conclusions across the entire list.

That’s where groups help out.

Groups allow you to collect all books with a similar attribute together. Think of it like sorting by a specific column – then collapsing the results into a single row.

Video does a better job of this than I ever could explain:

Group authors on your “Read Books List” to see what your most-read authors.
You can group by any column. Rating is one of my favorits.

To be honest, we don’t know all of the ways this option will be used. If you’ve found a great use for grouping please share your list with us on Twitter (@hardcoverapp).

Save Your List View

This is the thing I’m most excited about with Airlists. We wanted to allow readers to express themselves through lists – creating the exact view they want to share.

We wanted something so exciting that when you share a list, people are amazed.

Here’s how that works. Let’s say you’ve created a list and added some books to it. You’ve decided which view, size, and data to show. How do you share it?

Just copy the URL!

The URL stays in sync with whatever you’re seeing. If you share that URL out, then anyone who visits it will see the same columns and data that you see – but with their own rating and book status.

If you’re the owner of a list, you have a few other options. You can also reorder the books within a list, change the view, columns shown, and anything else – then save it. Whenever someone visits the list they’ll see your custom view.

You can reorder a list and save it. Anyone else who views the list will see your saved view.

This means that no two lists will look exactly the same – even if they have the same books on them. One list creator might optimize for their own personal ranking of the books. Another might want to share covers to get a quick overview.

Oh, and one more thing: You can give a reason for why you added a book to a list.

The Card view pulls out colors from the cover to make books stand out even more.

You’re in control of how the list you share looks.

Where Can I Try Airlists?

Airlists are available right now for everyone. If you’re new to Hardcover, I’d recommend importing your library from Goodreads or StoryGraph. Within an hour or so you’ll start getting Match Percentages for books.

Our hope is to show Airlists whenever we show a bunch of books all at once. We’re using them in four places to start:

Your Books by Status – Your Want to Read list, Currently Reading list, Read list, and Did Not Finish lists.

Your Custom Lists – Lists you’ve created or ones you imported from Goodreads/StoryGraph.

Your Goals – The books that you read towards a reading goal.

Prompts – The books most answered within a prompt – along with the ability to upvote a book in a prompt.

In all cases, Airlists behave mostly the same. The only difference is additional controls if you’re editing a list you own.

Try Airlists Out!

Ok, that’s a lot. Our hope is that Airlists will be a part of how you make reading decisions by giving you one more tool in your decision-making process.

Here are a few ways you can try them out today:

Check out your “Want to Read” list and sort it by Match Percentage.

Find a Featured List (like The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time by Time Magazine) and use explore the Table View, Card View and Shelf View.

Look for a Prompt that calls out to you (like What fantasy romance books have left you spellbound?) and upvote or add some new books to it.

Look up your favorite book (mine is Hyperion by Dan Simmons) and check out some lists other readers have created with it.

And of course, create (or update) a list! We’d love to see what you create with Airlists. Tag us on social (@hardcoverapp on Twitter and TikTok or @hardcover.app on Instagram), or let us know on Discord.

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