Introducing Prompts

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By Adam Fortuna

3 min read

Prompts are polls. They’re a new way to ask a question where readers can answer to find the best books.

Today we’re launching a new area of Hardcover called Prompts. To put it simply, Prompts are polls. Someone from the community can ask a book related question and anyone can answer it.

Here’s an example with the question “What were your favorite childhood books?“:

The prompt of the week

Once someone asks this question, anyone can go in an answer it. Once you’re logged in, you can answer this prompt with any number of books. Whether one book comes to mind or a hundred, you can fill those in.

By default, the answer form will filter for only books you’ve marked as “read” on Hardcover (notice the little “Only show books you’ve finished” checkbox). This is helpful if you’re already tracking all of your books on Hardcover and want to see limited search results.

Add your answers to this prompt.

Once you’ve selected a book as an answer to this prompt, you have the option to write why. This will show up for anyone who looks into why this book is an answer.

Redwall is the first book that got me excited about reading.

Your answers to this will show up on the All Answers page for the prompt, but also on a page within your profile. You can link back to just your answers to this prompt if you want to share it, or check out someone elses prompt answers.

My answers to this question as shown on my profile.

By collecting a bunch of answers to this prompt from the community, Hardcover is able to see which books are answered the most often. This means we can show the top results from the across the community.

In this case we’ve only just launched the Prompts, so there are only 3 readers so far (from those of us working on Hardcover). As more readers fill out their answers the overview will change.

The overall results shows the top 10 most answered books for this prompt.

What’s most exciting about this to me is that this will be useful tomorrow, a year from now and beyond. For those who want a deeper dive into the answers, they can head over to the Books tab and see the top 100 answers.

There are always people looking for answers to this question, and the community as a whole can help people find an answer in a way that an algorithm can’t.

This is just the beginning of prompts right now. We have a bunch of ideas on what to do next. Show the most common answers in the last 10 years? In the last year? Books written by women? By POC? By LGBTQ+ authors? What about showcasing peoples explanations of why they added a book in more places across the site?

Today we’re launching Prompts! Each week we’ll have a new Prompt of the Week that shows up at the top of the Prompts page.

As with any beta feature, I’m sure there are going to be some issues with this. πŸ˜… If you run into a bug, find anything annoying, or have any thoughts on how to make Prompts better, feel free to email our team at jules@hardcover.app.

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