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text 2020-11-07 06:54
Bookhype.com: It's no BookLikes, but it's better than GoodReads even in beta.

**UPDATE: The developer has just added a search function for your personal library!  Yay!**


While stalking the developer of my WP plug-ins, I discovered she was getting ready to launch a new book tracking website.  So by sheer luck I was one of the first people to join Bookhype.com.  It was basic, but it had potential right out of the gate for some interesting features, so I uploaded my data and started playing.


That was back in the beginning of September, and the site's feature set has grown enough that it seemed now was as good a time as any to update friends who have not yet joined, about the site's progress.


The most important thing to remember is that the site is still in beta.  So while a lot of features are missing, I don't know if they're missing because they haven't been added yet, or because they're never going to be added.  If I do know, I'll mention that below.



What the site has that's working for me:


A pretty easy to use interface; the UI is easy on the eyes and for the most part extremely easy to use.  You can log multiple reads and multiple editions (including purchasing information), but your shelves only display one edition, which can get confusing until you get the hang of it.


Some pretty good reading stats - with charts! - that include things like genres and page counts, as well as books acquired over time.


Series tracking:  It's pretty slick.  You can follow series, and if you opt in, new titles added to those series will be automatically added to your shelves, and also as an opt in, you can get an email notification.  The back end of the site has some nice logic built in, so series that have changed names mid-way through can alias the old/new name, and the librarian functions allow merging/deleting series, avoiding potential bloating.  What could be better:  it would be nice to be able to nominate how new titles are added to your shelves.


Librarian functions:  One of the first "big" features that were added after launch, and of course, I applied.  Because I guess I need more databases in my life.  The features are pretty well thought out and robust, though I'd still love to see the ability to bulk combine titles and bulk merge authors, something I hate to admit GoodReads got right.  What could be better:  while the site handles pseudonyms pretty well, there's no cross-referencing of pseudonyms on the author pages themselves.  Also, there seems to be no plans for handling multiple covers other than adding more additions.  This is going to cause wicked edition bloat, and at the moment, there seems to be no way to merge duplicate listings, though that may change.



What I think really needs addressing:


Personal library:  this is the part where I'm most critical.  At the moment there's only one way to view it and that's cover mode.  Which looks nice, but doesn't make my heart sing because I want to see the data, preferably in list view with the ability to sort by ALL the columns.  At this time you also can't search your books, which is HUGELY problematic.  You can filter by Read, Reviewed, Currently Reading, Wishlist but you can't just search out a specific title, and you can't see all the books on your shelves by author.  I've emailed the developer about this and I know she's thinking about it, but I don't know what her plans are, if any, for improving the ability to manipulate your own shelves.  I've also asked about creating personal shelves, which she's nixed, as she's going the tag route.  When I mentioned they weren't that easy to use, she immediately went about making them MUCH easier.  Now I'm hoping she'll move their location on the page to make them easier to access on the fly.


Social aspects - there aren't any.  You can follow people, but the lack of notification when someone likes or comments makes the following a moot point.  I'm guessing this is still something that's in development and as such I'm REALLY hoping she'll make the activity page one that's interactive, with the ability to comment on posts, and respond to other comments, directly from the activity page.


Generally the site has a lot of potential and seems to have a very dedicated developer intent on creating a book site that is completely independent of Amazon.  It's got a lot of nice touches, and with a few more could be a much better alternative to GoodReads.  Fingers crossed.

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text 2020-09-13 19:28

...this is the first time in almost a week I was able to get booklikes to load. It's just getting worse, isn't it? And if that's not bad enough, I finally created a post on Wordpress after the new update.  Typically my posts are crossovers from here or tumblr, or whatever.  So that block thing...OMG does it suck so much ass!  I tried to "switch to classic editor"  and you know what it did?  It took me right back to the block editor.  It's so...ugh!  It's frustrating and I now want to start looking for a new book blog spot.  I'm on Librarything, but it's not a blog spot and you couldn't pay me to go back to goodreads.  I've recently signed up for the beta site The StoryGraph, and though I haven't fully explored it, I'm pretty sure it's not a full-on blog spot like here.  I think it'll be a good site after some time, but right now, the only way to import your library is from goodreads, so that's going to make adding my library tedious.


So...suggestions?  I know I should probably suck it up and figure out how to make the new wordpress update work for me, but I don't have a ton of time to blog as it is.  And when I have the time, I'm usually exhausted and sore from work.  Life is stressful enough right now, and book blogging is supposed to be fun.  I barely have a handle on wordpress as it is.  Again, UGH!!


If anyone is/has been blogging somewhere else that they like and find (at least a little) user-friendly, I'd love a heads-up.


Also, I hope everyone is doing well,  I know I've been absent from here for a bit and only part of that is because the site only works half the time I log on.

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text 2020-07-14 21:38
Farewell, my wood-paneled lovely

It should go without saying, but it feels weird to walk away without some acknowledgment. If only as a benchmark for when I come back after the site rises gloriously under new management and I can plug in all my new reviews....sigh.


I fled Goodreads later than many, but this was a better home than I could have dreamed of. I loved the games, the sense of community, and the freedom to talk and read not just about books, but everything from the news, memes, our lives...anything at all. Thank you all for that.


I've made the mistake of deleting-and-walking before from online communities, but I want to keep up with what everyone's reading, so here's where I'll be:




I couldn't escape Amazon completely, so I've been keeping my reviews backed up at LibraryThing for awhile now, and will post new reviews there and what I'm reading. Cataloging is a DREAM on that site.




I've made a new account on GR and will follow group discussions in the Outpost, but I won't be posting reviews there. I went through and followed everybody who's already a member (I think) last week, but follow back/friend me, please! I want my feed on GR to be as much like here as possible.


Thanks again, everyone!


Edit: There's a dozen or so reviews through the end of the year that I have scheduled, I probably won't delete them. So, don't be startled.

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text 2020-07-14 16:58
BookLikes (and Legimi), is this really all you've got?

"The site is live and running again. No other features are planned in the nearest future. The performance will be looked into depending on the problems and the availability of resources. Sorry for any inconvenience."

Comment on BookLikes' Facebook page, last night (July 13, 2020).

Sorry, but that just isn't good enough. 


Not any more.  Not by a long shot.


It's not about "new" features.  It's about fixing problems that have existed for years -- in fact, ever since Legimi acquired BookLikes four years ago --, that have grown progressively worse over the course of time, and that have been brought to the attention of BL management time and again, always (as we all know) to no avail whatsoever.


A serious commitment to fix those problems would require immediate action: no ifs or buts.  Not "depending on the problems and the availability of resources."  Not just "looking into" the performance of the site.


Not just a canned response that couldn't possibly say "we really don't care" any clearer if it had shouted as much in neon letters a foot high or higher.




After last night's statement on behalf of BookLikes, I won't create any content here anymore.  In fact, if that statement had been posted about 45 minutes or an hour earlier, I wouldn't even have created the new post(s) I did still create last night.  I will instead continue to do what I already started doing when BL crashed for several days back in January of this year; namely, back up and salvage all that content of my BL account that isn't already backed up elsewhere anyway (such as, fortunately, most of my blog posts, my library and most of my book-related data).


To those who want to stay in touch, as of now you can chiefly find me here:


Wordpress: This is where I will continue posting my reviews and other blog posts.  In the past, my WP blog has been primarily -- though not exclusively -- my back up site for BookLikes posts, so it will take some tender love and care to be made truly presentable, but some projects are already under way; and other than salvaging my BL content, that will be my focus over the rest of the summer.


Librarything: Far and away the best online library system; you can really tell that the site was created by people who are librarians (and techies) first and foremost.  LT's book database -- and librarian / editing features -- were superior to those of BookLikes by a magnitude of several galaxies even at the best of times: I've been willing to put up with the standard that BL had to offer for the sake of its blogging features and, most importantly of course, the BL community, but ... no longer so.  There is no question that LT's social / communication features are unwieldy and in need of a serious overhaul.  And no, I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that Amazon holds an indirect minority ownership interest in LT, which it very likely could increase to direct / sole or majority ownership at any time if it so chose.  But at least LT (unlike BookLikes) lets you export your book data -- and I am not planning to post any reviews there --, so if it ever comes to that point, it will be easy enough to pull out.  And its social features are "learnable" and, like everything else, get easier to manage with increased use.


Goodreads: I left GR behind as my main book site back in 2013 and have no intention of reversing that decision.  However, I understand that not all of my friends from the BookLikes community feel comfortable creating a blog elsewhere or navigating Librarything, and at this point many have already made the move to the Outpost and / or (Mostly) Dead Writers Society groups on GR.  So to the extent that discussions and community activities are hosted there, I'll participate.


Twitter: This is not an account I use to actively participate in any discussions, at least not outside the rare book-related convo or other; but I can be reached by PM there if necessary.  If you do have a blog or a Librarything or a Goodreads account, though, those are the paths of communication that I prefer.




Buddy Reads

There are two buddy reads to which I had been looking forward here on BookLikes in the near future.


For Hannah Arendt's The Origin of Totalitarianism, BT has already created a thread in the Outpost group. (@ Mark, I hope you've found us there!)  As she said in her first post, please join us -- everybody is welcome!


As for the planned second French buddy read (and possible "buddy watch" of the TV adaptation of the Nicholas Le Floch novels), @ Tannat and @ Onnurtilraun, please let me know your preferred venue!  You can comment on this post -- I'll still be around for a while, so there is every chance I'll see it -- or reach me on any of the above-mentioned sites.  (Tannat, I know you're on GR, LT and WP ... not sure about Onnurtilraun, though?)




Like so many others who have posted something similar in the past couple of days and weeks, it breaks my heart to be making this decision.  The BookLikes community is, without question or comparison, far and away the best book community I've ever belonged to.  The basic setup of BookLikes -- a blogging community with an integrated book database -- is, as such, unique in the online world.  But while I've always said that I'll be here until the end, I feel the end has now indeed come -- not because the community has given up on the site, but because its owners and administrators have.  Their statement on Facebook couldn't possibly make that any clearer.  So:


(You didn't really think I could do this without a cat meme, did you?)

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text 2020-07-14 00:44
Drastic Measures

I hate to do this. I've dreaded the day that I would have to write this.


It's taken seven minutes for this text box to work, just so that I could type out the words that I hoped I'd not have to write: I can no longer consider BookLikes my primary home for bookish chat and updates.


Over the course of this year, and especially the last weeks, it has become clear that BookLikes is running on the barest minimum of functionality. 

It takes forever to load posts. It takes forever for comment boxes to appear. It takes forever for comments to load. The search no longer works. The book database has been abandoned except for the valiant efforts of a few BookLikers. The place has security issues and is overrun with spammers. Hell, I can't even block spammers anymore because the page does not load.


So,  in preparation for Doomsday, aka the BookLikes Apocalypse, or just in case you want to connect on another platform, I am moving the bulk of my activity to other forums for the time being. I will still check in and try and catch up as often as I can but I just don't have the time and energy to put up with a non-functioning site.

I could spend that time and energy reading!


So, for the foreseeable future, I'll posting updates and reviews and non-reviews etc. in the following places in the first place:


Goodreads - I am not keen on returning to GR, but drastic measures are needed. I'll be mostly hanging out in The Outpost and The (Mostly) Dead Writers Society, two groups that are excellent homes from home.


Library Thing - I've gotten to grips with LibraryThing's quirks and really like it. The database is excellent and users seem to be friendly, too, even tho the forum does not lend itself to socialising as much as BookLikes or GR. If you're on LT, get in touch!


WordPress - I set up my own blog years ago as a back-up for BookLikes. In other words, I export posts to my WP account but I need to spend more time there to make it look pretty. I am keen to spend more time on the blog, tho. I would really miss the blogging activity if BookLikes went bust, and I love the place as a home for my reading projects.


As I've said so many times over the past few years - literally every time that Booklikes took a wobble - I really hope that BookLikes will get their act together, but if not please feel free to get in touch elsewhere.




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