LitRate – The Next Big Thing in the Reading World!

LitRate

I am so nervous and excited to be finally announcing LitRate!

In June, I briefly hinted at the possibility of wanting to make my own book review/cataloging site. This idea has been in my head for MONTHS! Really, it’s been there ever since I founded BookBlogging.net, but I kept brushing the idea aside. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for it or I was scared… I don’t know. But finally, in June, my husband and I started talking about this idea together. That’s right! The Coding God wants in!

I call myself a web developer but really, I’m nothing next to Coding God. And with him on board, I really feel like we could tackle this immense project and turn it into something amazing! We both got so excited straight away and started coming up with names, designs, and my husband even got a working search prototype that’s better than Goodreads! It took him less than a day to create a search that works better than theirs (you can even include words like “by” without screwing it up!).

I’ve also started coming up with cool new ways for discovering books:

Discover exciting new books based on your preferences

Now here’s where we ran into a slight hitch. Where do we get book data? You know how on cataloging sites you can search for a book and immediately see all the details about it? Like cover, author, synopsis, publication date, etc.? Well that data has to come from somewhere. My husband and I asked around and got in touch with several companies for quotes to license their data. We’ve narrowed our choices down to one company who offers exactly what we’re looking for at a yearly cost of about $15,000.

Ouch.

My husband and I can cover the server costs for a site like this, but we don’t have $15,000 to spend on book data. πŸ™ In order to help get this project off the ground, we decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money we need. We’ve set up several rewards in exchange for backing the project, such as a unique ‘Kickstarter’ title on the site, participation in a private group chat with my husband and I, guaranteed access to the beta, and more!

If you’re excited about LitRate and want to work with us to create an awesome new cataloging/book review site for the reading community, then please consider helping us out! We have the skill set and the motivation to get this project off the ground; now all we need is the money. Even a $5 donation can go a long way towards helping us reach our goal. πŸ™‚

Become a Backer

Support LitRate on Kickstarter

Show Your Support

I’ve created a few badges and buttons you’re welcome to put on your blogs to show your support for LitRate! πŸ™‚

LitRate Kickstarter Backer

LitRate - Coming Soon - A community for book lovers

LitRate - Ready to rate books

We’re ready to hear your ideas!

My husband and I don’t want to just create this site for you—we want to create it with you. We’re here and ready to listen to all your ideas! We really want to turn this into a community project so we can build our future bookish home together!

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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81 comments

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ˜€ And absolutely authors can use it! The only thing we’ll be limiting more than Goodreads does is marketing. Like, on Goodreads I often get authors recommending their own books to me, or posting on my profile saying “Check out my book”, things like that. We don’t want LitRate to be a marketing platform. We definitely want authors there, but we want it to be more of a social place for authors and readers to connect personally. πŸ™‚

      1. AWESOME!!!!! πŸ˜€ Yeah, I don’t like using GR (so unfriendly and also what’s the deal with authors not being able to make changes to their own books and series???!!!) to market my books much. I mostly use twitter or facebook for that, it’s easier for me. GR is mostly to just add my books and set up events and such and talk to other authors and readers about books and books and books and … well books LOL πŸ˜€

        Hoping to see LitRate soon!!! πŸ˜€

    1. Absolutely! Creating a really good Goodreads importer is one of our highest priorities. We know how important it is; people don’t want to start over.

      Everything in your Goodreads export file that has an ISBN will be imported. Period. Along with your rating and review. It gets trickier when there is no ISBN in the export file. I don’t know about you, but I have a surprising amount of books in my export file with no ISBN (even though there is one on the Goodreads listing). But we’re still going to try to match those books up in our database using the title and author fields.

      We’ll have a slightly different “shelving” system than Goodreads does, but we’re also going to try to come up with a way for people to “map” their Goodreads shelves to our system.

      We’ll definitely put a lot of work into this to make it as seamless as possible.

        1. Yeah I really don’t think it would be worth creating a Goodreads alternative if there was no import option.

  1. Ohhh I would have so many ideas for this!!! Don’t get me wrong I love GRs and it seems to be the most popular book-site out there at the minute, but I think we’re crying out for a fresh, modern, user-friendly and more “social” site! I really hope you get funded Ashley, 31 days?! Eeek!! Will link-up for support and will also do a post next week (I’m scheduled til then!). R x

  2. Oh Ashley, I’m just always amazed with these amazing ideas you can come up with! I’m a student, and I can’t really help with pledging a sum of my pocket money, though I’ll try to save up because I want to see this site live! πŸ™‚ But for now, I’ll try my best to promote it; I’ve already placed a button in my sidebar, and I hope more people will step forth to see LitRate come to life! I love this, and I do hope I can help to pledge a small sum to help! πŸ˜€
    All the best Ashley! <3

    1. Thank you so much for your support! Doing a Fun Questions post would be awesome. I need to come up with more topics though! πŸ˜€

      1. Great! Well one idea would be a “What Could Litrate Do?” post that focuses really heavily on the features – and (most importantly IMO) on the fact that you want to hear from people about what they need/want from a site. The chance to be heard & taken seriously – even if ultimately told no that won’t work or the majority hate that – is probably one of the biggest reasons I’m so excited about this. No more forcing three sites to almost do what I want by working around their quirks. One site that actually does what I want!

        Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout | #COYER Audio Review
        1. That’s actually already on my to-do list! πŸ˜€ That’s something I think we’ll definitely offer, but I’d also like to talk to my husband about being able to schedule reviews (like on WordPress!). I can’t promise that one until I talk to him, but that would be awesome too!

          1. Oh my gosh, being able to schedule reviews would be seriously awesome! This site sounds like such a great idea, Ashley! I just wrote a post about all the things I wish that Goodreads would change…it sounds like you guys would actually be listening to that kind of stuff instead of just ignoring it like Goodreads does!

  3. So excited about this! Heading over to make a pledge and I’ll put a badge up and a post about it, once we get our hard drive situation figured out and I get my computer back πŸ˜› Can’t wait to see where this goes!

    finley jayne recently posted: Quick Update
    1. Thank you so much!!! πŸ˜€ You rock!!

      (Eeks—hard drive situation! Not fun! I thought my hard drive had died the other day, but luckily it was a false alarm.)

  4. Oh, how exciting! I pledged what I could and after my next pay cheque I’ll try and put some more in. If I were rich I’d pledge the whole damn thing for you because I truly believe it will be an amazing hit! I hope you get what you need to get this thing on the road. It sounds amazing! I can’t wait! I’ve put the buttons on my site as well so hopefully it’ll spread the word to a few more people.

    Keep us posted on the progress! I want nothing more than this to be a success for you guys… and me to be honest! hahaha

    1. Thank you so much Carrie! That means a lot. πŸ™‚ If I were rich I’d totally just pay the whole thing myself too! I really wish money weren’t an object, because I don’t really care about getting rich off this or anything. I just feel like we could truly make something FANTASTIC and I want the community to have that and be part of it!

    1. This is a request that I’ve seen a lot! I’d have to go over the logistics behind that with my hubby, but I’d definitely like to see that integrated too. πŸ™‚

  5. I haven’t visited too many book sites to know what I like and what I don’t, but one thing for sure on GR that I don’t like is that when you batch edit… you can’t batch edit and show multiple books as being “owned”. You can do just about anything else, but to mark a book as owned you have to click on each one separately. Very annoying when you purchase like 10 or 20 books at once, or wait to update that many or more at once.

    Carrie recently posted: Unbearable, Sherry Gammon
    1. I’ll keep that in mind! I’ve actually never ever used Batch Edit on Goodreads, so I definitely think I’ll need other peoples’ help and input when coming up with a good system for LitRate.

  6. Just made my small contribution. I wish I could contribute more. But anyway, I am so excited about this project, Ashley. Thanks to you and Peter for initiating this one. I have no doubt that Litrate is going to be the best book cataloging site ever. Thank goodness that the transfer from GR to LR would be hassle-free. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one will take off because I really want to experience the awesome features that you’ve mentioned in your post.

    Just a question, Ashley. If this project comes to fruition, is there a possibility that we can automatically send our blog reviews directly to the site just like what the Goodreads UBB add-on can do? Or is there going to be a separate plugin for this?

    Good luck to you and your hubby, Ashley! And I’ll see what I can do with the promotion part since I am not really the most sociable person in the world. πŸ˜€

    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday {2}: Authors I Own The Most Books Of
    1. Thank you Charlotte! πŸ™‚ Every bit counts!

      We’d definitely like to implement that feature at some point down the road, but it’s not something we can guarantee for launch. We’d have to code a system on LitRate to support a feature like that (called an API), which takes a bit of time. Our first priority is getting all the main features off the ground and once we have that solid foundation we can start working on little add-ons like that. πŸ™‚

  7. Yey, I’m of course ridiculously excited still and omg I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when I slightly mess up a title and Goodreads returns no results…. I just wanted to mention that it is nice that Goodreads has Librarians that can fix things on the site when they do end up wrong for some reason and put series together etc. Hopefully the good book data will be correct, but I think a lot of us are happy to be able to fix anything we find wrong πŸ˜‰

    1. We’ll definitely have some kind of “Librarian” rank! πŸ™‚ I’m hoping to have it straight at launch but if not then shortly after. πŸ™‚

    1. We may or may not have groups. You can read a post I made in more detail here: Guest Post: How LitRate Can Improve Bookish Discussions from Ashley @ Nose Graze

      Basically, on Goodreads the primary way to talk about books is through groups. I’m sort of trying to reinvent that idea by taking discussions to a forum instead. So there will be different sections with different topics and then you can create discussions within those topics. But instead of segregating people into groups, which can be harder to find and keep up with, everyone will be together.

      I may add a group function in addition to that but really I’m going to try to drive most of the discussions to the forum. The thing that I find a bit annoying about groups is how you can end up with like 50 of the same group (for example: 50 groups all for “readers who live in the UK”). Then there’s the question of: which one do I join? It just gets confusing.

      Right now I’m thinking we’ll stick with just a forum and see how that’s received during the beta. If people still feel like something is missing and like they need a group feature, then we’ll look into that!

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