Hardcover Internal MVP Released!

Adam FortunaAvatar for Adam Fortuna

By Adam Fortuna

3 min read

After 5 months of building a team, user research, and book data, we’ve reached a big milestone – our internal MVP!

This phase is a big step for us. It means that the application is in a state for the team to use it. Right now it’s still very rough, with plenty of bugs. The goal of this internal MVP release is for the team that’s been working on Hardcover to hit it with everything they have – and create bug reports in GitHub for everything that doesn’t work as expected.

So far all of the bugs have been quick ones to fix. Like most products at this phase there are also some interactions we realize didn’t “feel” right once we started using them.

One example of that is our List page. A reader can make a list of any books organized into a list. This can be favorites, books they want to read in a genre – any grouping the reader wants.

To simplify things from a code standpoint, we created a separate edit page for lists. You head to the edit page, make any changes and can reorder the books in the list from here.

Using this though, we quickly realized that this should all be on the list page readers see, but with additional options for the list owner.

Those recommended enhancements are relatively few – something I credit our awesome research and design initiatives with.

What’s in the MVP?

We’ve tried to limit the scope of the MVP to only the basics. There’s still a ton we want to do, but this is a good foundation to build on. Here’s a list of what we’re including in this first release (all on the website):

  • User accounts – Basic ability to sign up/in (Google, Apple, Facebook, Email), reserve a username, set your avatar – the basic account setup you’re used to.
  • Import from Goodreads – Upload a CSV from Goodreads to import every book from there. Our aim is to map every single book you’ve ever entered in there into Hardcover. You can even flag individual book imports as incorrect and we’ll use whatever was in your file.
  • Your Book Statuses – Ability to set a status on any book – Want to Read, Read, Currently Reading or Did not Finish. We’re also enabling you to track how you read a book (read vs listen).
  • Book lists – You can organize your books into lists based on whatever strikes your fancy. Within a list you can sort and filter however you want.
  • List stats – Elaborate stats on your lists based on genres, release years, formats, author info and more.
  • Book Ratings & Want more – We’re using a 5 star rating system with the ability to set half stars. The lowest score is half a star, the highest is 5 stars. We’re also pairing that with a “want more” option that indicates if you want more books like that or not.
  • Reading Goals – Create reading goals for yourself based on reading a set number of books or reading a set number of pages.
  • More than 400,000 books and growing – To kickstart our database we have almost 400k books, with more added every time someone imports a new one. Our hope is to have every single book you want to track in every language and every format.

As we move into a Public Alpha release, we’ll share more screenshots soon. This phase has been all about basic organization – being able to track what you want to read, what you’re reading and what you’ve read.

So what’s next? We’re hoping to fix all bugs in the next week or two then start letting people use the app! For now we’re going to allow anyone to sign up to use Hardcover, but require a promo code to unlock the app after signing in. This is simply to limit the number of people using it until we can work out the most pressing bugs and make sure it’ll be an experience we can be proud of – or at least one that actually works.

If you’d like be notified when we open up, please join the Hardcover mailing list down below!

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