Introducing Letterbooks: Advanced Lists for Power Readers

Adam FortunaAvatar for Adam Fortuna

By Adam Fortuna

3 min read

We’ve completely reimagined what a “list” of books on Hardcover can do – starting with your library and lists. The name LetterBooks is taken from Letterboxd lists, which were a major inspiration to us.

If you’re the kind of reader who likes to discover new books from lists this update is for you!

For starters, we’ve made sorting and changing the view to find the data you need simple.

Your library contains books in each status. We’ve also added an “All” page that shows all books.

I love that it shows your icon here to make it clear which sorting options are specific to you. We also added a Shuffle sort, which Jeff has long wanted. 😂

We’ve redesigned Shelf View and Table View to be more usable. This meant restricting covers in this view to all be the same size – which results in a beautiful tiled look. Try this out on your own profile (I’ve sorted by Popularity).

We’ve updated each book to show up with context awareness. For example, your “Read” books will show your rating and your “Currently Reading” books will have an easy way to update your progress.

You can update progress with the slider, or manually by clicking on the page number.

Table View works similar to before, with the ability to add new columns. This view is wider to give you extra room for more data.

Table View

We’ve rolled out LetterBooks for your Library and Your Lists to start. We plan to add them everywhere

So what can you do with LetterBooks lists? Here are a few of my favorite ways to use them.

  • Sort your Want to Read List (or any list) by Match Percentage to see which books are the most recommended.
  • Check out someone else’s read list and sort by their rating.
  • See how many books you’ve read in a list quickly and clearly.

Every time you look at a list the URL will be updated. Meaning you can bookmark or share anything you see!

This is still the first phase of LetterBooks. Keep reading to see what we’re doing next.

📚 LetterBook Phase 2 & 3

The first phase of LetterBooks is what you see today and described above. It’s a huge improvement, but more than that it’s a complete rewrite of the code used for how we show a list of books.

Phase 2 of LetterBooks will involve a few more updates to your Library and List page to support filtering (which will be a huge feature), custom header images, reasons for why a book was added and bulk edit mode.

Once all of this is done we’ll start on Phase 3: adding LetterBooks functionality to all other lists on Hardcover!

When I say “list” what I really mean is any collection of books. That could be showing books an author has written, books in a series, books in a goal, books in a prompt, books similar to another book, trending books – you get the idea. Anywhere there’s an array of books we’ll turn it into a LetterBooks list.

Once this is done, you should have the same familiar sorting, filtering and view options everywhere across the site.

The Tech Behind LetterBooks

Forgive me while I geek out a little bit here. Building this has been a ton of fun, and I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned while building this.


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