Hardcover Report for April 2024

Adam FortunaAvatar for Adam Fortuna

By Adam Fortuna

8 min read

Hi book friends!

My wife and I have a tradition every April. We peak out from our apartment that we’ve holed up in for the winter and finally start to spend more time outside. One of my favorite things to do is to head over to the Utah Capital building and wander through the cherry blossoms – and usually bring a book and a picnic to enjoy hanami.

However you enjoy your spring (or fall if you’re south of the equator), I hope you get a chance to find some nature, take a deep breath of fresh air and slow down some.

That’s advice I’m hoping to follow this month! We’re very excited to be traveling to Seoul, South Korea for two whole weeks (!). We initially planned this trip for March 2020, which obviously didn’t happen. 😅

We’ve never been to Korea before, but I’m excited to explore somewhere new and eat everything I can. We’ve scheduled a few things: historical sites, night market food tours, a visit to the DMZ and a folklore hike to hear more history. We’re staying in the Hongdae area, which is close to everything. If you have any recommendations for Seoul, please let me know!

Sakura blossoms in Ueno Park in Tokyo, one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.

What’s New on Hardcover

March flew by! We continued focusing on bugs, UI Fixes and time vampires and also some Librarian Tools and processes.

👬 New Hardcover Team Members

We onboarded two new team members: Cole and Luca who have already made notable contributions to the app and helped fix some annoying bugs.

✍️ Edit Authors & Series Pages

Librarians can now edit authors and series finally! This is exciting – as not authors and series can start seeing more love from the community – including custom avatars for authors.

We’re also tracking author gender and if they are BIPOC and LGBTQ+. In the future this will allow us to create stats and even set goals based on this. (ex: Read 50 books by women authors).

🔴 Hardcover Live

Earlier this year we launched the new Hardcover Live, our weekly live show where we build Hardcover in public.

In March we recorded and released 4 more episodes, which can be watched on YouTube, or downloaded through your podcast player of choice.

A big focus this month has been finalizing the designs for the new list page updates (more on that in What’s Next).

What’s Next on Hardcover?

April will be a bit more of a quiet month. I’ll be traveling the first half of the month and not bringing my laptop for once (!). Ste, Jeff, Cole & Luca will be holding down the fort in the meantime and working on a few exciting new updates that are already in the works.

Code Reorganization

“Wait, I thought you said exciting.” 😂

Ok, it’s not a flashy change, but we’re reorganizing a bunch of the Next.js app to adhere to a team standard which we’re basing on Atomic Design (with a few changes). Much of that will happen when we work on a feature and update it, rather than just updating to update.

We’ve started planning out a list of things we want to complete before making the app open source, and this is one of them. Having a clear coding standard and team practices in place will move us one step closer to accepting community contributions.

Your Dashboard

The top polled new item for us to work on from the State of Hardcover Survey was a dashboard. We’ve done some initial designs for this and have a plan in place for it.

The plan right now is to create a customizable dashboard where you can add and remove widgets – both ones we’ve created and ones that the community can create (eventually).

An early prototype of the dashboard.

Say you want to see what books you’re currently reading, your progress towards your goal, some upcoming book releases by authors you’ve read, what books your friends are reading and more. You could pick and choose those widgets and resize them however you want.

We’re also hoping to create some librarian-specific widgets for the dashboard that can help highlight missing book data – which will help all around.

Updated Navigation

Can you tell our navigation structure was created by a developer and not a designer. 😅 It works, but it’s not the best.

Ste’s taken on the task of updating our navigation, and is already almost done! It’ll be smoother than the current setup, while giving us an area to add “Lab Experiments” – projects we’re still working on but want to share.

New navigation prototype.


Letterbooks are the new lists we’re planning to use across Hardcover to replace Airlists. Two years ago we released Airlists – which we built after a bunch of interviews with readers.

The hope was to build on them and add more functionality. But in reality the user experience of them has never felt right. It’s mostly worked, but it’s not smooth like butter – which is what we’re going for.

Letterbooks are inspired by Letterboxd’s lists. After two more years of using them we have a LOT more of an idea of how people are using them and the gaps in it today.

We say lists, but what we really mean is any list of books. That could be a list, your Want to Read list, the list of books published by an author, the list of books in a series, the list of books read towards a goal, trending books, book recommendations and more. Whenever you see a list of books, we want you to have the same options on how to sort, filter and view those books.

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the functionality we’re building into Letterbooks:

  • Quick access to sorting, with options for Match Percentage, Date read, rating, and various book data.
  • A bunch of filters, all hidden away in a drawer (on mobile) or in a sidebar (on desktop). This should make it easier for power users to filter for just what they want (ex: An unread Fantasy book, released since 2020 with a Match Score > 80 by a woman author).
  • Bulk edit mode will allow selecting multiple books at once and performing an action on them all. (ex: mark as read, set rating, update tags, etc).
  • These will all be fully shareable. If you want to filter and sort a page then share it, they’ll see the same books you see.
  • We’re keeping Card, Shelf and Table views and making them easier to use.

There are still a bunch of things to figure out for this, but it’s coming along nicely! Seeing this same setup used on your books by status already looks amazing with Shelf view.

We’ve made the decision to use normalized book cover sizes for Shelf view. This is a change from the current Shelf view which maintains the proportions of each cover. We felt like in this view it ended up being more important to have consistency. If you click over to the book you’ll see the cover in it’s original proportions.

Behind the Scenes at Hardcover

I’m writing this a few days before the end of the month, so I won’t be updating our numbers officially until I get back from vacation.

Our paid subscribers increased from 86 up to 93 this month – which is headed in the right direction! Thanks to everyone who helps us make Hardcover better – whether that’s by becoming a Supporter, a librarian, providing feedback or using the site.

Featured Prompt for April 2024

One genre I wasn’t even aware of until recently is cozy fantasy. Unlike other fantasy flavors, cozy fantasy leans into the smiles and enjoyment of the worlds they live. Think less Game of Thrones and more Shrek.

This months Feature Prompt comes from Jazzy:

What’s your favorite cozy fantasy?

Your favorite cozy fantasy, low stakes story that made you feel content or warm and fuzzy.

Whether you’re on the lookout good cozy fantasy read or want to share your own, check out this months prompt.

March’s Prompt

Last months features prompt was What are your favorite book recommendations for new readers?

The top book so far is Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – the first book in The Mistborn Trilogy (and Saga) series. Harry Potter, Redwall and Ender’s Game have all received a number of votes as well.

What’s Popular on Hardcover?

Here’s a look at what was most read in the last month, and what readers are most looking forward to.

Most Read Books for March 2024

We recently added a Trending Last Month page to Hardcover which if you look at today should be about the same as this list. It’s a snapshot of what people marked as read the most in the last 30 days.

  1. Iron Widow By Xiran Jay Zhao
  2. Fourth Wing By Rebecca Yarros
  3. Bookshops & Bonedust By Travis Baldree
  4. Iron Flame By Rebecca Yarros
  5. Dune By Frank Herbert

Iron Widow was March’s Pick for the Sword and Laser Podcast – leading this 2021 release to jump to the top. It was helped along with some drama due to the Hugo Awards. S&L’s April pick is Cordelia’s Honor, the recommended first book to read in the Vorkosigan saga.

Fourth Wing & Iron Flame continued to stay in the top as more readers find it after it swept many best of 2023 lists (including ours).

I’m looking forward to listening to the audiobook of Bookshops & Bonedust. The author, Travis Baldree has 341 audiobook narrator credits (!), and the other book in the series (Legends & Lattes) was a great cozy fantasy read.

Most Saved Books To Be Released in April 2024

Last months most anticipated books were thrillers and mysteries. This month we go back to fantasy and romance – two of the most popular genres on Hardcover.

Leigh Bardugo follows up her popular series (Six of Crows, Shadow and Bone, Ninth House) with a new standalone work (or will it be a series?). With 52 readers waiting for it’s release, it’s clearly the most anticipated book of April on Hardcover.

A wonderful, transporting ride through a moment in history, where you can see the height of Spanish power but also sense the rot underneath. I really enjoyed it, it definitely made me think, and, of course, it’s deeply romantic.

―Review of “The Familiar” by Katherine Arden, author of The Warm Hands of Ghosts

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We appreciate you for reading and hope you have an amazing month. Talk to you soon. ♥️

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