By Adam Fortuna
Apologies for the clickbait title. For the last 4 months we’ve been in a cave working on a new version of Hardcover. This new version is based on hundreds of user interviews and everything we’ve learned up to this point. On Tuesday, August 15th we finally released it! 🥳 🚀
As a software developer there are a few pieces of advice that are fairly common: don’t try to do too much in one release, don’t use cutting edge technology before it’s battle tested and keep your releases small & consistent.
We decided to ignore all of these and rebuilt the entire front-end interface and mobile apps based on everything we’d learned up until this point (!).
During these 4 months I’ve been actively using the new site every day. This constant usage has helped refine it to create something that I’d want to use. If something was difficult I’d iterate on it with Ste (and the Hardcover Discord) until it was both useful and beautiful.
This release includes bug fixes, new features and improvements to existing ones. I’m going to do a quick tl;dr of what’s changed, then jump into some specifics.
Whew, that’s a lot. Let’s talk through the top 5 most exciting ones.
The most requested feature on our roadmap was the “ability to search by author”. In many cases it’s just easier to include the author name to filter results. On top of that you can search by series, ISBN, and even alternative titles. For example, searching “cosmere” brings up just about every Brandon Sanderson book.
If you know you want to save this book for later, it’s only a another click.
Up until recently we had a search field in the top navbar that would autocomplete on top of the rest of the page. It worked, but we thought we could do better. Back in May Ste and I discussed a few ideas for how a new search could work. We experimented with using a modal instead of a dropdown. At this point people are used to looking in the top bar for search, so we wanted to keep that familiar association going.
The new search is also completely accessible using the keyboard. Try this out on this page:
If you spot duplicate books in search results you can help us out by reporting them as duplicates from the book page (available if you’re logged in). As more readers join Hardcover our book data will only improve!
Once you’ve searched for a book, what’s the next step? Deciding if you want to read it.
That’s the focus of the new book page: give you all of the information we can in order to help you make that important decision.
When we talked to readers about what they want to see, specific features kept coming up.
Readers wanted to know more about the high level book info – year, pages, genre, author. They wanted to know genres, moods, content warnings. They wanted a description about of the book without spoilers.
But one thing stood out: they wanted to know what others thought about this book.
The first way we’re tackling this is through Your Network. Here we show what readers you follow think of this book. This will show if they’ve rated it, reviewed it or if they want to read it later on.
We’ll also show ratings from readers with taste most similar to you who also read this book. Even if you’re not following anyone you’ll still be able to get a feel of what real readers with similar tastes thought.
One of my favorite additions to the book page is showing Prompts! Prompts are book polls where readers can upvote books they feel answer the prompt.
Looking at a book and seeing which prompts other readers feel it belongs helps understand the vibe of the book in a way nothing else can. I can’t wait to see how this evolves with more e
Exploring to find great books is one of the most fun experiences when done right. It can mean walking down a library shelf and stumbling upon something you might have missed. Or walking through a bookstore and looking over staff picks.
Side note: I just started reading Legends & Lattes today after seeing it here. I’m only 25% of the way through, but it’s just the lighthearted fun I needed.
Trending books are based on how many readers marked that book as “Read” during the given timeframe. This page is updated daily.
This page reminds me of Nintendo Powers most popular games in a given month. I can’t wait to find more new books from here.
Just by browsing books on you’ll likely find readers with similar taste in books as you. But if you’re on the lookout to make new book friends the Readers page is the place to go.
Sorting this list by “Similarity %” will show you other readers who rate books the same as you do. I’ve found a bunch of people to follow from here.
Writing good reviews takes a lot of time. We wanted to showcase your reviews on your new Reviews page!
This page does exactly what you’d expect – with some options for sorting.
This is one of those no brainer features that we finally got around to adding.
I’ve always loved sharing my reviews on social media, or sending them to friends. When I do this on some other big platforms I just see information about the platform itself.
When you share a link to a Hardcover review (like this one), here’s what your friends will see.
This is so much more exciting than a default graphic. The colors of the background are determined by the colors from the book.
I can’t wait to see people sharing these. If you do tag us on whatever platform you’re on so we can see!
These are some of my favorite things, but they’re just the beginning. Every single page on Hardcover was updated for this release.
Any update of this size is sure to have it’s issue. If you spot something off on Hardcover, please let us know. Either email [email protected], or add a message to the #bugs channel on Discord.