Is Hardcover a Social Network?

@adamAvatar for @adam

By Adam Fortuna

3 min read

After a bunch of discussions with users we have an idea on what the social side of Hardcover will be. Want a sneak peak?

So, is Hardcover a Social Network? Yes – or at least it can be. We’re building Hardcover with three different social options for you to choose from:

  • Public – Your account is completely public. Anyone can see what books you’ve read, are reading, lists you create and activity on the platform.
  • Followers Only – Only people you follow can see your activity on Hardcover.
  • Private – No one can view your activity. You’re effectively a ghost. You can still follow people and see what they’re reading (if they let you), but no one will be able to see what you do on Hardcover.

These settings will also be available at an individual book or list level. If you’re reading a book you don’t want to show off publicly, you can mark it as private and no one is the wiser. (Side note: When it was crazy popular I read “50 Shades of Gray” but didn’t track it on Goodreads. On Hardcover I’d track it as a “followers only” book).

This is a similar social approach to Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. This isn’t a 2-way friendship like Facebook, but a follower model where anyone can follow anyone and see their public activity (or followers only activity if that user follows you).

We’re building a second setting as well that determines who can interact with your activity on the platform. You may decide to have a public account, but only allow comments and likes from your followers (or disable that altogether). We hope these settings, coupled with a code of conduct, a robust flagging system and enforced community standards will give people the security they need to feel safe.

Want a Sneak Peak at our new Social Features?

We’ll share them soon, I promise! In the meantime, we are ready to share these with a few readers who have time to chat with us! These chats will be entirely focused on the social side with prototypes – the new activity feed, updated profiles and a few more reader to reader interactions.

Want to see the full version? Book a chat with Marilyn!

In these 1-hour chats we’ll share these new pages and chat through them together. This helps us understand what’s working and what still needs more thought (or needs to be scrapped altogether. 😂). If you’ve talked to Marilyn or Adam before, feel free to sign up to chat with us again – this is a whole new experience and we’d love to get your feedback!

Want to contribute your voice to what we’re building? Book a chat with Marilyn to share your thoughts!

Social Features on Hardcover

After talking to dozens of people to understand what Hardcover’s social features could be, we’ve landed on a a few new things I’ve never seen done in a book website before. We even have a full out design that makes this scrappy project look like a major contender!

For the majority of people we talked to reading is a social activity. While relatively few people attend real-time book clubs, it’s much more common to browse thoughts from other readers for books that resonate (or don’t) with you.

Did other readers also love the chapters you loved? Did they resonate with the same characters? What did they think of the ending? Did others interpret that ambiguous part the same way as you? What happens next?!

One of our hopes with the social side of Hardcover is to provide a place for you to have these discussions with other passionate readers. The first steps to that are what we’re working on now.

Team Update

We kick off most weeks team meetings with an ice breaker question. This weeks question? “What’s a winter movie you watch each year?

And of course someone always says Die Hard. 😂 What’s a winter movie you rewatch each year?

This ice breaker activity combined with feedback from readers has led us to an idea we think is going to be amazing that we’re calling Prompts. This is one of the features we’re chatting with readers about before sharing the details. To see a sneak peak of Prompts, book a chat with Marilyn. 😉

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