Hardcover Report for July 2023

Adam FortunaAvatar for Adam Fortuna

By Adam Fortuna

8 min read

Hi book friends! With summer month, July, in full tilt (for the northern hemisphere at least), we hope you’re finding exciting and interesting reads to improve your summer.

As we mentioned in our recent blog post, we’re striving to work in public and share all of the cool stats from the Hardcover community with the world.

That started last month with our June 2023 Report which showcased what’s popular with Hardcover readers, spotlighted members and shed light on what we’ve been up to.

This past month has flown by. I’ve noticed that the times that pass the fastest for me personally are when I’m the most busy (or sometimes just stressed ๐Ÿ˜…). I’m mostly recovered from my ACL surgery last year, but that has meant more time in physical therapy than I ever expected. I’m glad to have regained 90% of my strength between my surgery leg and good leg. More time in the gym and hikes will help move that up to 100% (if you’re in SLC and want to go on a hike, let me know: adam at hardcover.app)

Spans of intense activity can be exciting! It can mean change and growth. Or perhaps that you’ve had your head in a book that you can’t put down. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Either way when you get around to putting your head back up, you may see the world with new eyes.

What’s New On Hardcover?

Last month we announced the Hardcover Librarian program. So far we’ve brought on the first 10 librarians of what’ll be the librarians!. This will be an ongoing and changing group, so if at anytime you feel like you’d like to be more involved please apply. We plan to hold the first Librarian meeting this month for the initial “shush” of librarians (that’s an unofficial collective noun for librarians that I just love ๐Ÿ˜‚).

Hardcover Live

Earlier this year Ste and I started recording our weekly product meetings for Hardcover and streaming them on YouTube and Twitch. We stream every Monday at 12pm PST, 3pm EST, 8pm London time for an hour. (although we are skipping Monday July 3rd since I’ll be out on a camping trip for the Forth of July weekend).

We catch up on each others lives, spend some time talking about the state of Hardcover and then go deep on a specific topic. These topics have included the new book page, improving search, the librarian program, Ask Jules/AI Bots, what does it mean to be a “Book Influencer”? and a bunch more.

It’s a combination of building in public and book-community adjacent discussions. You can subscribed to the Hardcover Google Calendar to keep track of when we’re meeting or watch after the fact on YouTube. We record on Mondays and post the video on Wednesdays.

What’s Coming Soon?

Last month we teased that Search 2.0 is coming soon – and it still is! ๐Ÿ˜… It turns out that our update to the site is going to be a little larger than expected, but I think it’ll be worth the wait.

I recently started reading Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier about the reality of making a video game today. One anecdote that comes up over and over again is how no one remembers that a game was delayed a few months. They remember if the game was great or not.

When I’m working on something that takes longer than I expected it to I often feel the urge to get it out. Having a clear vision in mind of how someone will experience what you’re working on involves not just having it be usable, but having it be fun!

In Product Management there’s an analogy that’s often used: staying in a hotel. When you stay in a hotel you assume certain amenities: a private room, a bathroom, a bed. Other amenities aren’t always assumed but are nice to have: a coffee machine, a refrigerator, a nice view. Then other amenities aren’t expected at all, but if they’re available you’re delighted: a mint on your pillow, fresh flowers, heated floors.

At Hardcover we have a bunch of the core amenities and some of the nice to haves, but we have more work to find what those “delighters” are. Finding them involves talking with readers, discussing ideas and feedback on Discord and trying to find those moments that will make people smile. If you think of something that would delight you, please let us know on our Request a Feature board.

Upcoming Changes

Sometime this July we’ll roll out a number of changes that are in the works. Here’s a sneak peak at what’ll be in this release:

๐Ÿ” Search V2 – A completely revamped search experience that’ll allow you to find books faster, search by author, ISBN, or more to route you to what you’re looking for.

โ˜‘๏ธ Book Button – The button you use to mark books as Want to Read, Read, track your rating, update your past reads and manage lists is getting a refresh. We’re also adding the ability to set the edition for your reads – something long requested!

๐Ÿ“š Book Page Update – We have big plans for the book page later this year. This first update is a step in that direction that you can see in the above gif.

๐Ÿ“ธ Sharable Images – When you share a link to your review (or other pages) you’ll see a beautiful image preview. (don’t mind the mismatched text, that was us trying to break the layout with a long title ๐Ÿ˜‚).

Side note: when you share your review, you can earn referral credits! For every two people you refer you receive a free month as a Hardcover Supporter. You’re supporting us by sharing Hardcover just as much as supporting us with your wallet.

Other updates in this phase are less public: faster rendering, better SEO, various fixes for mobile and light mode.

Look for all of this later this month! ๐Ÿคž

Behind the Scenes at Hardcover

Something that’s always fascinated me about projects I follow, and specifically bootstrapped ones, are how the business is doing. Are they making loads of money? Or are they going to go out of business tomorrow? For us the answer to both is the same: no. ๐Ÿ˜…

  • June Revenue: $65
  • June Expenses: -$614
  • June Profit: -$549

Our revenue is entirely from members upgrading to Supporters. We don’t sell data or have ads. Hardcover is a community project and we want to create it for the community.

Supporters who sign up for a year and have a US address also receive a nifty sticker + bookmark pack as a thank you. If you’re a supporter watch your email for info! ๐Ÿ“š

Sticker and bookmark pack

Featured Prompt for July 2023

Prompts are polls that Supporters can create, and anyone with an account can vote on. Think of Reddits “Suggest Me a Book” subreddit. Each month we’re featuring one prompt of the month. The more answers the better! This months prompt comes from Drews Book Reviews who asks:

How did you become a bookworm?

Tell us how you got into reading, what or who inspired you. Was it a book you read one day, a mentor, teacher? etcโ€ฆ

Answer this prompt, see the top answers or upvote existing books that stand out.

Last Months Prompt

Check out the answers from last months prompt: What Lighthearted Beach, Poolside or Park Reads Did You Get Lost In?

The top voted answer from last month? Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

If you haven’t heard, this book is being made into a movie staring Ryan Gosling, written by Drew Goddard (The Martian, Buffy/Angel TV, Lost, Daredevil) and directed by Christopher Miller (Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse, Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). It looks like an amazing team to capture the lighthearted, optimistic sci-fi tone of Weir’s original work.

What’s Popular on Hardcover?

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

Most Read Books for June 2023

This is based on books the most readers marked as completed between May 1, 2023 and July 1 2023. We needed to use two months in order to get numbers up high enough to have more standouts.

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  2. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Thanks Bigolas Dickolas!)
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  4. Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros
  5. Happy Place by Emily Henry

Both my wife and I read A Court of Mist and Fury this month, which made for a lot of fun conversations. ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ

Most Saved Books To Be Released in July 2023

These are the books saved to the most peoples “want to read” lists that are set to be released in July 2023.

  1. The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei
  2. Children of Memory (Children of Time #3) by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  3. Esrahaddon (The Rise and Fall #3) by Michael J. Sullivan
  4. Icebreaker by A. L. Graziadei
  5. Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong

I didn’t even realize there was a third book in the Children of Time series until just now! That’s on my list for sure. The first book in the series was my #1 book of 2018.

Community Spotlight: Hernando

Each month we’re spotlighting a member of the Hardcover community. This month we’re profiling Hernando, one of our first librarians!

If you’d like to be featured, please fill out this form and maybe you’ll see your profile show up here.

What’s your username on Hardcover?

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a family man born in Colombia but currently living in Hong Kong and working as a Platform Engineer for financial institutions.
Most of my meaningful time is spend playing with my daughter, talking about many topics with my wife, reading and listening to some extreme metal music.

Why did you join Hardcover?
I have been using Goodreads for years, but the lack of improvement drove me to find some alternatives.

I tried StoryBoard, LibraryThing and some others but in a hidden corner of the internet (Reddit?) I found about Hardcover. I pretty much liked the concept and the design but the constant iteration to improve it was what finally made me join the platform as a recurrent user.

What does your ideal reading environment look like?
Ideally is what can keep my body comfortable for more than at least 45mins. It can be a couch, the bed or a nice chair.

But nowadays, with the very small amount of free time that I get, I enjoy any place that gives me the opportunity to read.

What are a few of your favorite books of all time?
The Iliad (Homer): Growing up this was by far my favorite book, mainly due to my big interest in Greek mythology at the time.

Vacuum Diagrams (Stephen Baxter): Hard SF as its best. Not a single print work of Science Fiction can come even close in terms of scope and mind-bending ideas.

The Road (Cormac Mcarthy): This postapocalyptic book is just outstanding in all fronts.

The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro): Still have not found a book so incredible crafted where I can read any random line and instantly hook me.

The Measurements of Decay (K.K Edin): Philosophy + SF. An unknown guy called K.K Edin somewhere in the world managed to write a very strange book that became an instant favorite worth of many rereads.

What books to recommend the most often?
Usually, the short story “The last Question” by Asimov, any collection by Ted Chiang and “The Cosmic Machine” by Scott Bembenek .

The first one because is a fantastic short tale that is a good entry point for those interested in Science Fiction. The second one most of the time after recommending The Last Question because Ted is the current master of short stories in SF.

And the third one because it gives an excellent summary of all the things humans have accomplished (and how) since the scientific revolution.

Who should follow you on Hardcover?
Anyone in fact, but those with strong interest in Hard SF, Historical Fiction and Science enthusiasts will probably find my feed more useful.

Join us on Discord

The Hardcover Community isn’t just on the website – we’re also on Discord! If you’re not an expert in Discord, don’t worry – neither are we.

Join the over 300 of us to chat about books, hear about product updates and be a part of the community.

Join the Hardcover Discord

Want to Support Hardcover?

Being a fledgling startup we can use all the help we can get! Whether that’s becoming a Supporter, sharing Hardcover with a friend, or just following along.

We appreciate you for reading and hope you have an amazing June. Talk to you next month. โ˜€๏ธ

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