Thursday, July 31, 2008

FictionDB Welcomes LibraryThing Recommendations and Tag Clouds

We are happy to announce the inclusion of LibraryThing recommendations and tag clouds on the FictionDB book detail pages. LibraryThing is the leader among the book social networking sites and can provide us with a wealth of information from their dedicated members.

I have blogged before about the differences between FictionDB and the social tagging sites and I believe this is a perfect example of how the two systems together can provide great information for readers. Take for example Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. FictionDB provides the synopsis, series information, genres, time period, cover, awards, reviews and publishing history. LibraryThing gives further insight into the themes in the book through the tag cloud. If you’re interested in a particular theme, just click on the tag and you can search the rest of FictionDB for similarly themed books. LibraryThing also gives recommendations for other books that you might like if you liked Blood Brothers. We’re all looking for that next great read and here’s the perfect way to find it.

I’m on LibraryThing now, so come find me: Kelly's LibraryThing Profile. If you’d like to export your bookshelf from FictionDB to LibraryThing, just click on My Account and Export Books. Copy the link for the page into LibraryThing and they’ll upload your books for you.

We're very excited to provide our visitors with even more great book data, so check out the new features and let us know what you think.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Official -- I'm Not Interesting

I'm always on the lookout for interesting book sites and I found one the other day. is an innovative way to find new authors. You type in an author and it will show you a map with other authors that score similarly in their algorithm.

I'm thinking this looks fun, so I did some exploring. I was thinking about linking to their site, but I always ask permission before I do any deep linking. The site is part of a larger network of sites run by requires a login to dig deeper, so I filled out the obligatory form and waited for my login to be activated. This is what I received:

Sorry, but you have not been accepted into the Flork Community. To keep flork an exciting place, only people with interesting profiles are accepted.

Gee, I didn't know it was an audition. I guess FictionDB won't be linking to literature-map after all.

And I AM an interesting person. I am! I am! Sniff...sniff.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minor changes around the site

As we enter the dog days of summer, all I want to do is go hang out by the pool and read a book. Well, okay, I did that for a whole week at the beginning of July, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to do it again. Instead, we've been making huge changes behind the scenes (you don't care about these) and some minor ones you will care about.

Since we opened up the site to everyone, our traffic has more than tripled. Along with all the new traffic has come a lot of suggestions. For those of us who've lived with FictionDB for a long time, we forget what it's like to see the site for the first time. We know how to navigate through all the data and don't think twice about it, but our newbie friends aren't as savvy.

What's good for our new friends is also great for the rest of us. We've added a lot of links that tie the pages more closely together. Many of these changes can be found on the author pages, the heart of FictionDB. Here are a few of the changes:
-- From an author's main page, you can now see the multi-author series lists.
-- Hover your mouse over the series and anthology numbers and you will see the series name or the anthology name.
-- Hover your mouse over a book title and you will see if the book is part of a series.
-- Subscribers can now jump directly to the author's books on their bookshelves - previously you could only jump to an individual book.
-- We've also combined the book detail page and the buy the book page. You'll now find information on buying books at the bottom of the book detail page.

We've added a Google site search on the Advanced Search page. While non-subscribers don't have access to our premium search, they can now use the Google site search. Google has only indexed about 40% of our site since we opened it up, so the results aren't great yet, but things should improve over time. The Google search will never be as accurate as the premium search since it relies on Google's cached image of the site rather than going directly to the database itself.

If you have suggestions for the site, please don't hesitate to e-mail us. We're always happy to hear from our visitors. We add all of our updates to the What's New page, so check there every once in a while.