Your Ideas from the LitRate Twitter Chat


As some of you know, on Thursday I hosted a #LitRate Twitter chat! We talked about ideas for the site, what happens if we don’t raise enough money, and I have a list full of new features all from YOU!

I thought I’d do a quick recap of what we discussed just in case you couldn’t make it. 🙂

What happens if we don’t raise the $16k we need? Is there a plan B?

I’ve thought about this A LOT! Honestly, as it currently stands, we’re behind on the money we need. This isn’t 100% accurate by any means, but there’s a site called Kicktraq that tries to project how much money you’re trending towards on Kickstarter. At the time of writing this post, we’re trending towards $12,700. So the question is: what happens if we don’t raise the money?

To be honest, I don’t see this project moving forward if we don’t raise the $16k. If we don’t raise the money, the only other choice is to use a free option for data. I’ve looked at all the free options and I KNOW them to be inferior to what Goodreads currently has. Maybe the $16k data subscription won’t immediately make us as good as Goodreads, but we’d have a pretty good fighting chance. We’d have a database immediately starting with 13 million books, all containing reliable data. We’d have access to upcoming releases. And we’d have several million book cover images.

But if we use a free option, the site won’t stand a chance against Goodreads. Yes we can have “Librarians” who add books and fix spammy/incorrect data, but they can’t add millions and millions of books in just a few weeks. And if the book data is significantly worse than what Goodreads has, why would people use LitRate instead? I use Goodreads to see the cover and synopsis of books I’m interested in. If LitRate doesn’t have that data but Goodreads does, I’d probably use Goodreads. If that’s how I feel, I imagine other people feel the same way.

I REALLY want this project to happen, but I know that if the book data sucks, the site won’t have a good chance of succeeding. I don’t want to halfass this project. If we’re going to do it, I want to do it right.

The ability to “pause” a book you’re currently reading

Sometimes you start a book, but don’t keep reading it. You’re not marking the book as DNF, because it wasn’t bad and you’re not stopping forever. It’s just that you started reading, got distracted with another book, and want to put the book down and continue it later where you left off.

Introducing: pausing!

You’ll be able to mark a book as “currently reading”, set your progress to page 50 (or whatever), then a few days later you can click “Pause”. Your progress will be saved, but your book will not appear in your “Currently Reading” list. Then at any time you can “Resume” the book and your progress will be right where you left off.

Also, when we calculate how long it took you to read the book, we won’t count the period when the book was “paused”.

Deter people from rating books they haven’t read with “liking”

On LitRate we don’t want people rating books they haven’t read. Rating a book should be an indication of how good the book was. If you haven’t read the book you’re not in a position to make that judgement. We don’t want any of this “5 star because I’m SO EXCITED” or “1 star because the first book sucked” nonsense.

So, we were given two ideas to help combat this!

“Liking” books

All books will have some kind of “Like” button. So if you haven’t read the book yet but you’re SO FREAKING EXCITED or if you ADORE THE COVER then you can “like” the book instead.

If you rate the book, it gets moved to your “read” shelf

This was actually suggested because one person found that she’d rated a bunch of books they’d read on Goodreads but forgot to mark them as “read”. It was annoying for her to have to go back and fix that and she thought it would be cool for rated books to be marked as “read” automatically. But, I also think this will deter people from rating books if they haven’t read them. Win win!

(We’d have to figure out how to deal with this in regards to books you DNF. Because those would presumably be marked as DNF instead of Read… confusing!)

More sorting, filtering & stats for “My Books”

On Goodreads a lot of people have shelves for genres or shelves for book formats. This results in loads and loads of shelves. We’re hoping to do away with this!

When viewing “My Books” you’ll be able to filter the results according to genres. So you can see how many “Science Fiction” books you’ve read/shelved without having to actually create a shelf for “Science Fiction”. We’ll keep track of all that data for you.

Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same with book formats.

Other bits & bobs

  • Official DNF support
  • Cool stats on book listings, like how many people have read the book, how many DNF the book, how many want to read the book, etc.
  • Spaces and capitalization in shelf names!
  • Create sub-shelves
  • When viewing a genre page/archive have a sidebar item for “Books you have in this genre”.
  • Mood icons/statuses with updates
  • Awesome badges, titles, and rewards to almost give the site a “gaming” feel

And so much more!!

I can’t guarantee that every single item will be available at launch because we have so much to do and our hopeful launch date is January 2015. But I’m creating a big list of all your ideas so we can work on integrating them both before and after launch!

Do you have more ideas that weren’t mentioned? Share them!

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  1. i like the genre “shelves”, and I especially like the idea of better searching. 😀 I’ve really got my fingers crossed you can get this up and running, it would be so excellent. One thing, if it does come to pass…will you create a plugin so we can automatically post our blog reviews to Litrate, like you have the one with goodreads? *grin*

    1. I hope to add that eventually, but it probably won’t be ready for a while. We have to create an entire API, which is basically code that allows third party sites to communicate with our site. And we want to have the normal site up and running first for launch, so the API isn’t an immediate priority! But eventually it would be nice. 🙂

  2. I love the idea of LitRate and I think you as a bookworm are perfect person to create it. 🙂

    Some things that bug me on Goodreads:
    – I set the date read and book does not automatically change status from currently reading to read…
    – I set the date I started reading the book and the status of the book is not automatically changed from to-read to currently reading.
    – I would love to have more options for books I own. Like to fill info for source (where I got the book), date downloaded/bought
    – Also for books I own, to be able to change status to borrowed and to whom I borrowed that book.
    I’ll add more ideas if I remember…

    1. Thanks for your ideas! I am hoping we’ll have a lot more optional fields where you can specify source, whether or not you own the book, whether it’s signed, etc.

  3. I really hope this project becomes successful. I really like the “Like” feature when the book isn’t released yet. Ratings will be more accurate if the users can only read the book when it’s released/ they have read it. The “pausing” feature is really cool too.
    I have one suggestion: I don’t really give half star rating but a lot of people do, do you think you can add the half star feature to the ratings? 🙂

    Farzy @ Books Keep Me Sane recently posted: REVIEW: Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake
  4. These are all really great ideas! The sorting thing would be especially handy for me! (I have over 100 shelves on Goodreads and it’s kind of a mess!).
    And I don’t want to sound stalkerish, but I was on Twitter the other day and saw that you were thinking about including cover artist info. I think that this would be such a great idea! I would love to see who designs the book’s cover and be able to see what else the artist designed!
    Good luck on making this site!

    Jessica Jackson recently posted: Stacking the Shelves (August 9th 2014)
    1. Yeah the cover artist info should be cool! The one downside is that we’ll have to add all that manually since it isn’t included in book data, but with everyone’s help we can definitely add in a lot!

  5. I sat down that night and read the entire chat because I was so bummed I missed it and loved the ideas discussed. Question – when I DNF a book, I still consider it read and DNF is something I consider a rating. How are you envisioning DNF?

    Also – if we don’t reach the goal by the end of august is it possible to change the kickstarter end date? or is there a way for people to setup payments for later dates? For example – I’m currently donating $300. That’s all I think I can do this month (I’ll know better when we get to the end of the month), but when I get paid again in September I could do another few hundred. So I just wonder if more time or some creative payment options could help?

    1. Well I wouldn’t consider a DNF as read since you haven’t finished the whole thing. I imagine having stats for things, like being able to see how many pages you’ve read and stuff, which would be based on books marked as “Read”. But if you DNF a book, you haven’t read ALL those pages, so it shouldn’t be marked as “Read”, you know? But by having the distinction we can also show stats on the book listing, like how many people have read a book vs DNF it.

      It isn’t possible to change the Kickstarter end date. 🙁 We could have initially made it longer but didn’t because Kickstarter highly recommends that campaigns last no more than about 30 days, because the longer they get the less a chance they have of succeeding (according to their data).

  6. I hope that LitRate becomes a reality pretty soon. I love all the ideas shared here, especially the “like” feature and the better search engine. I also listen to a lot of audibooks and Goodreads kind of sucks for this; I’m not able to save my progress in “time remaining” and also, I almost never find narrators here.

    Genres in Goodreads are usually based on user’s shelves not on publisher information. It will also be very helpful to have a link to the author’s website without having to click on the author’s link first and then see if the link it’s there.

    Keep up the good work!

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios
    1. Yeah our genres will definitely be based on what the data has it listed as, rather than what users have shelved the books as. I always thought that was a bit weird on GR.

  7. I didn’t read the other comments, so I apologize if this question was already asked.. Will there be any way of integrating or migrating our Goodreads books to Litrate? I’ve been using Goodreads since 2010 so I would hate to have to start over fresh or move everything over by hand. Thanks!

    Lauren @ Bookmark Lit recently posted: 30 Day Book Challenge – Day 8
  8. Yes! *twirls in rainbows and glitter and butterflies* I get more and more excited every time you post something new! It’s sooo amazing that you’re actually taking our ideas seriously and finding a way to make them happen! And I was totally serious when I said I’d add/edit book data for you if you do decide to go free if we don’t make the goal. I really will sit there for hours per day, everyday for however long, if that’s what it takes! I want LitRate soooo bad! Plus I just really like data entry. *science geek*

    Anyway, I did think of two more questions after the chat. Well, one is a question, and the other is an idea…

    1) How will editions with the same ASIN/ISBN but different covers be handled? I find it kind of annoying how on GR I can either have the correct ASIN or the correct cover, but not both. Is there a way to make this work, or is that just the way it has to be for some fundamental reason? Could there maybe be an “Alternate Cover” feature, so we can choose which cover to display?

    2) Box sets. Would there be a way for a box set to also link to the individual books (assuming they were published separately at some point)? Or even the option to automatically add the individual books to our shelves, so we know exactly what books we do have. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to mark books as To Read after buying a box set and then promptly forgetting which books I owned because of it!

    Angie F. recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #142
    1. #1 – I think we’ll have to have time to thoroughly review the data we get before we can really answer to this. I would kind of like to take a LibraryThing approach if you can. I believe on LT you can select whatever cover you want for a book and then that’s how it will show up in your books.

      #2 – I can’t really answer this without seeing the data. There would have to be something in the data linking the box set to the original books, and I’m not sure if there is!

      1. 1) I do like the option of choosing a cover. I don’t use LT, but it sounds like a useful feature to have. Especially for readers who would rather show the prettiest cover, rather than the one they actually read, while still linking to the proper edition for everything else.

        2) I kind of figured that’d be the case. I still thought I’d ask though.

  9. Ashley, is there a way to extend the kickstarter? Because I REALLY want to see this site happen, and I think it will be just beyond awesome and all the cool stuff you’ve talked about having in it make me giddy, and I think a little more time might give it the extra needed to reach 16. So, is there such a chance?

    Nitzan Schwarz recently posted: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  10. I like all your ideas! I like the pause (or whatever word you will use) to indicate taking a break from a book.

    Would you have the capability to improve on Goodreads search engine, so if you put in most of a title or left off words like “The” and “An” that the book will still show up? Sometimes Goodreads frustrates me because, unlike Amazon, it doesn’t try to guess what you are trying to say.

    How much of a window do you have on this project? If the money is not raised soon, can it just be strung along until the funds do come in? Is there anyway of getting some small-time business to give a loan or a grant, since books fall into that sort-of educational field?

    Thanks for all your hard work and dedication!

    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted: Weekly Wrap-Up 8/9-8/11/14
    1. We actually already have a search engine prototype that’s already better than Goodreads! It excludes “stop words” like “the”, “an”, “for”, etc. so those won’t affect your searches at all!

      The Kickstarter cannot be strung along. 🙁 There’s a set end date and if we don’t reach our goal by that end date then we don’t get any of the money and the backers get their money back.

      The problem with taking any kind of loan is that we then have to pay that money back AND raise more money to renew the subscription next year. It kind of adds a lot of strain. I’m not sure where we could get a loan anyway. 🙁

  11. CRAP I missed the Twitter chat :((

    I love the idea of pausing! I do this a lot. Dreams of Gods & Monsters has been on my “currently reading” section for about 4 months, and I haven’t touched it in almost 3 months. So now it’s going to say it took me 4-5 months to read it! We need a pause option!

    I hate hate HATE when people rate books they haven’t read! I like that there’s a solution to that. Sorting would be amazing! I hate that you can’t do that on Goodreads, and you have to manually search for each individual book. Also, it drives me nuts when I go to someone’s profile and they have hundreds of shelves.

    AHH so many good ideas!!! I love them all! If I had a few grand laying around I would totally pay for this project!

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: 2014 Prequel & Sequel Challenge: July Wrap Up
    1. Yeah I currently have like three books on GR marked as currently reading but I’m not actually reading them right now X_X

  12. Ashley this idea sounds so amazing! I can’t wait to see where it goes. 😀 You and Coding God can work magic, and the more features I hear about the more excited I become! 😀

    I was thinking about it, and wondered if there was a way to transfer your Goodreads books to Lit Rate as a feature at set-up. I love the idea of using LitRate instead but the though of putting all my books in again feels like such a hassle, I wondered what you would say about that!

    Keep it up Ashley! This is gonna be the bomb.

    1. Absolutely! We’re definitely going to have an “import from Goodreads” tool and it’ll transfer over all your books, reviews, and ratings.

  13. I love the idea of the badges. For some reason, they make reading so fun for me. That’s one of the main reasons I loved using the Kobo app. If you’ve never used it, they have apps for how many books you’ve read, when you read them. Plus they kept stats like how long it took you to read a book, how many pages read, how fast you’re reading, etc. It just made it fun.

    I also like the idea mentioned about genres being listed by what the book itself is classified as, not as user opinions. I don’t like how you can’t easily search a genre on GR. They don’t really make it easy to find NEW books unless you run across them from your friends. I’d like to be able to search through upcoming new adult paranormal releases if I wanted to.

    Something I’d like to see would be:
    Currently, on Goodreads, when you mark a book as read, it goes on your read shelf, then you have to manually enter the date you read it. I’d like to see it automatically be marked with the date you finished it, and if that’s wrong, then you can manually go in and change it. But it should be marked with the date you marked it as read.

    Also, not super important, but I think it would be awesome as a future idea… I’d love a little private feature where I could keep track of my library without having to have a public shelf. Just kind of a library inventory for me.

    I think you’ll do great things with LitRate, Ashley. We’re all fed up with GR and how they don’t ever seem to update, or move forward. They just developed a site that was good at the time, and it served the purpose, but they’ve never moved on after that. They didn’t keep up.

    Good luck! I really hope you make it!

    Echo @ InkBerry Books recently posted: Capturing my Attention - Southern Novels
  14. I love these ideas! My favorite one has to be pausing because so many times I want to stop reading a book (but pick it up later) and goodreads doesn’t have that function. I really hope LitRate will be launched, I am trying to spread the word as much as I can. Good luck and keep those amazing ideas coming! 😉

  15. I missed the Twitter chat! T_T I hate my internet provider for taking so long to fix my connection. Argh. But anyway, I love the ideas you’ve compiled above. I am so excited about the “gaming feel” that you’ve mentioned. I suck at challenges but I am still excited about seeing your ideas coming to a realization. Weee!

    I hope that this one will succeed, Ashley. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to spend more time on Litrate than on my blog.

    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted: Stacking the Shelves {29} + litRate
  16. Like the rest of us, I am super excited for this idea of yours to happen, and I join in on the pause option — I can’t wait to have that!

    But I’d also like one other feature, which is basically my bigget pet peeve on GR: a proper re-read function. Meaning, if I have read a book once and put it on “currently reading” again, it should not delete my old reading dates, but add a new one. And it should automatically count on. Seriously, what kind of BS is that on Goodreads where you can add a “number of times you have read this” but can’t do anything else with this statistics?? Makes me totally crazy.
    And the worst part, if you’re re-reading something, the pages count only once. So basically, if I set new read dates on a book, the number of pages will be deleted from the statistics it was formerly in. It feels like getting screwed over on a goal you have achieved.
    I hope you know what I mean in my little fit here. x)

    Caro @ The Book Rogue recently posted: Me, my Shelf, and I
  17. I’m surprised the bigger book bloggers haven’t mentioned LitRate. Have you sent info to Dear Author, Smart Bitches, ParaJunkee, The Book Smugglers etc? If more people knew about LitRate, the funds would pour in.

    1. It’s not possible to extend the campaign on Kickstarter. Once you’ve launched, you can’t extend it.

      But also I’m not sure if there’s much point in relaunching. 🙁 If we couldn’t raise enough money the first time around, we probably wouldn’t be able to do it a second time.

      We could have set the campaign to last longer, but I’m honestly not sure if it would have helped much. Kickstarter’s data shows that most of the projects that get funded do so in 30 days. If you have it set to last longer, the extra time most likely won’t help you reach your goal. If you’re going to raise the money, then 30 days should be enough to do it. So we might just have to accept that maybe there aren’t enough people interested. 🙁

      If it does get funded, then the whole website will be responsive. We won’t have an app at launch and probably not for a while, but it is something we’d like to do eventually. The problem is that we don’t just have to make an app, we have to code an API and THEN make an app.

      But I’m hoping the entirely responsive website would help a bit while we don’t have an app.

        1. I know a couple authors have contributed but so far no publishers seem to be interested. 🙁 They haven’t been responding to anyone.

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