Hardcover Report for March 2024

Adam FortunaAvatar for Adam Fortuna

By Adam Fortuna

9 min read

Hi book friends!

It’s March already and it feels like this year is flying by. I grew up living in Florida, where seasons are more of an idea than a reality. Now that I’m living in a place with actual seasons (Salt Lake City, UT), I can’t wait for spring to be here!

There’s a lovely park near our apartment that’s perfect for reading. We can bring a book and a blanket, find a spot under a tree and enjoy the day while getting some sun. That (and hiking) are what I’m looking forward to this spring.

February was a busy month for me personally. Being a techno-optimist and an avid Apple user, I picked an Apple Vision Pro when it was released. While I don’t think most people will have a use for something like this today, it does have some strengths other devices don’t. I have enjoyed how much it can help me focus when I need to get something done – which for me has been watching videos learning iOS and Swift development (more on that later).

The rest of this month was filled with a combination of being sick and my wife being sick with Valentines Day and our 18-year anniversary somewhere between. ♥️

One of the fun things we did this month was to go to a Broadway Rave. Imagine a few hundred musical theater nerds – many dressed up – all singing and dancing to song after song from everything from Hamilton and Dear Evan Hanson, to Little Shop of Horrors and Hairspray. I’d highly recommend it if you’re into musical theater.

What’s New On Hardcover?

The focus this month has been bugs, UI Fixes and time vampires. We’ve been focusing on consistency, and having a great experience on Hardcover – while also working to fix things that divide our time.

It’s immensely satisfying to look back at the end of a day and see 6+ bugs fixed. Quite a few days this month have looked like this.

We’re getting closer to having all known bugs handled. We’re down to 25 open bugs, with only a one with high priority (the iOS app sometimes needing to be restarted).

☑️ The State of Hardcover Survey

Last month we sent out the 2024 State of Hardcover Survey. We do this each year to better understand the problems, wants and needs of everyone using Hardcover. This is just one input amongst many, but it’s a chance for everyone to have their voice heard.

We recently published a new blog post, 2024 State of Hardcover Survey Results, which goes over what we learned this year.

The results have been exciting to explore. You can read the blog for a full breakdown, but I’ll share a few highlights here:

  • Hardcover readers read more Ebooks than Physical or Audiobooks.
  • Bugs, UI issues and a desire for more community features were mentioned the most in the write-in section.
  • The top 5 new features that drew the most votes were:
    • 1. A dashboard that shows an overview (ex: Currently reading, your goals, current stats, friends activity)
    • 2. Find better book recommendations (ex: genre specific recommendations, similar to a book)
    • 3. Be notified of upcoming book releases (ex: Notifications for the books on your Want to Read list, or next in Series)
    • 4. Advanced stats and graphs (ex: author demographics, list stats, more graphs)
    • 5. Smart lists based on saved filters (ex: Status: Want to Read + Genre: Fantasy)

We’ve explored the Dashboard idea some, which you might’ve seen on Discord. If you’re interested in a Dashboard, I’d love to get your take on it what you’d most want. Please help us out with this 2-minute survey. It’s fast, I promise. 😂

👉 How would you use a Hardcover Dashboard? (2-minute survey) 👈

Once we have a bit more information about how people are thinking about this concept we’ll be more confident in creating a prototype. If you’d prefer to have a chat with us about Dashboards, please check out Ste’s Calendar and schedule some time to chat!

💬 Linked Discord Roles

We’re rolling out a new way of linking your Hardcover account to your Discord account. Previously, Ste or I would need to manually add the Supporter or Librarian roles on Discord for you to access those channels. Anything that requires us to do something for every member doesn’t scale well. 😅

Just today we rolled out a new way of adding these roles using Discord’s Linked Roles feature. It only takes a few seconds and after that your Discord account will be linked to Hardcover.

👉 How to Link Hardcover Roles With Discord

We have three roles that can be added in this way today: supporters, librarians and members.

Supporters are anyone who’s currently a supporter – whether paid, or earned through referrals.

Librarians are anyone who’s applied and been accepted into the Shush (our collective noun for a group of librarians) 🤫.

Members are anyone who has completed onboarding. This role is one anyone can add to get access to a verified members channel.

There’s still a lot we’d like to do on Discord, but none of us on the team are what we’d call experts. If you consider yourself a Discord Administrator, I’d be very interested in talking to you! If you’d be open to a chat, please let me know (adam at hardcover.app), or schedule a time to chat.

🔴 Hardcover Live

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

In February we released 3 more episodes, which can be watched on YouTube, or downloaded through your podcast player of choice.

The reading journal idea is one we’ve been thinking a lot about and it’s still on our shortlist of larger-scale projects. However there are some easier wins we learned about from the survey that we’d like to work on first while we continue to design the Journal/Notes/Quotes concept.

If you’d like to tune in live, we record every Wednesday at 12pm PST on YouTube Live, Twitch and with chat on Riverside.

🧙 Characters on Hardcover

We’re still rolling this one out, but we’ve started including characters on the book page!

These will be an important part of discussions, reading journals and quotes, so having them available in our database will enable a bunch down the line.

If a book has characters, you’ll see them on the book page, the a book characters page, and the standalone page for each character.

We’re pulling these from OpenLibrary right now and will only be shown for books we’ve linked with them.

What’s Next on Hardcover?

There are three things I’m hoping to focus on for March.

Clear out Remaining Bugs & Time Vampires

Working through the top issues readers have and the top things that are taking away from our time to work on new things is the top priority.

Create new Librarian Tools

We mentioned this last month, but I’m still working through the “Librarian Tools” part of this list, and have a few parts left before moving on:

  • Better reporting for Librarian changes
  • Librarian tools for managing user-added books
  • Fiction vs Nonfiction indicators
  • Create new authors
  • Edit Author, Series Character pages

User Interface Improvements and List Updates

Ste has set out to do a bunch of user interface normalization and improvements, and I’m excited to completely revamp the way our lists work.

When I say lists, I mean any group of books on Hardcover. Trending books, books by an author, books in a series, books in a specific status for you (want to read, read), books in a prompt, books in a goal, and of course books in a list.

We’re working to normalize how these lists behave with consistent options. For example: being able to filter any list by a book genre, by your status for the books, or even sort a list by match percentage.

We learned a lot when building the lists we have today, but they’re not hitting the mark quite yet. My hope with this is to simplify them while focusing on the most widely used and wanted features.

We’re also kicking off a native iOS app! More on that later. 😉

Behind the Scenes at Hardcover

January was our highest revenue month yet! That’s the third month in a row I’ve said that. 🥳 Here’s how the numbers broke down this month.

  • February Revenue: $588
  • February Expenses: -$2,028
  • February Profit: -$1,440

Our subscribers increased from 72 to 86 this month – that’s one every other day! At that rate we’ll be profitable before summertime. Let’s see if that holds out. ☀️😎

We had a few yearly expenses come up this month including Termly and BugSnag, which we use for error tracking. Every time you see “Something went wrong” message, or see a red error toast message, BugSnag tracks it and sends me an email. It’s also been helpful in seeing improvements to the number of bugs as we’ve fixed some of the most common issues.

I’ve updated our Income & Expenses page with February’s numbers too. Even though we made less revenue this month, we have more members joining yearly – which is exciting. 🥳

Featured Prompt for March 2024

This months prompt is a fun one. If you’re using Hardcover, chances are you’re an early adopter of new technologies. You don’t find and use an indie project on accident.

With that in mind, we want to know what books you recommend to new readers? That’s the focus of this months prompt.

What are your favorite book recommendations for new readers?

New readers often struggle to find books that they connect with. It often takes exploring different genres and writing styles from a many points of views to understand your own tastes. If you’ve managed to find that sweet spot, what books would have helped you get there faster? What books do you wish you knew about when you started reading?

Prompt description

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

Februray’s Prompt

Last months features prompt was What are your favorite books by black authors?

The top book so far is The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin the first book in The Broken Earth series. Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood is in second place and is a hilarious read.

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 February 2024

Side note: I’ve previously used a rolling 3-month period for most read books. Since we’ve grown and more people have started using Hardcover we’re now able to track this over a single month!

So, here are the books that the most people marked as read with an end date in February 2024.

  1. The Shadow of the Gods (#1 in Bloodsworn Saga) by John Gwynne
  2. House of Flame and Shadow (#3 of 3 in Crescent City) by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Fourth Wing (#1 of 2 in The Empyrean) by Rebecca Yarros
  4. Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes prequel) by Travis Baldree
  5. All Systems Red (#1 of 7 in The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells

The Shadow of the Gods was the book of the month for the Sword and Laser Podcast for Februray, launching it to the top spot. If you’d like to give it a read, I’d encourage you to check out the last few episodes of S&L where they discuss it.

In March S&L are reading Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao – who has an hilarious, informative and fun TikTok. Iron Widow has been on my list for years and I’m excited to finally read alongside them as well.

If you’ve been to a bookstore in the past month, you probably have seen a table full of House of Flame and Shadow (or three, as was the case at the B&N near me). After the massive success of A Court of Thorns and Roses, House of Flame and Shadow, was the most anticipated book of the year in the 2023 Year in Books. Many of you have jumped at the new release and have finished it in a hurry. (I’m on book 4 of ACOTAR, but I might check out this series soon).

Most Saved Books To Be Released in March 2024

  1. How to Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin
  2. The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste
  3. Murder Road by Simone St. James
  4. Baby X by Kira Peikoff
  5. The Great Divide by Cristina Henríquez

Murder, poison, murder… are you’ll all right?

But really, who can resist a good mystery? How to Solve Your Own Murder and Murder Road both seem like investigative, Agatha-Christie inspired tales, while The Poisons We Drink edges into Fantasy with in a world of humans and witchers.

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 500 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 March. Talk to you soon. ♥️

← More from the blog