Yet more new features

October 14, 2007

Yesterday, I went through the “to do” database I maintain for BookMooch. I write every suggestion (that isn’t totally brain damaged) in it.

Here’s what I found:
* I have 957 items on my todo list
* I marked 74 high priority items as completed (yay)
* my “highest priority” list has 101 items on it

For the next few weeks, I’ll be focussing on getting that “highest priority” list down to a manageable size, so you’ll be seeing a lot of blog postings from me, with lots of smaller changes. Virtually all of these ideas come from the BookMooch community — as I said about, I write everything down, but often I can’t get to it for a while, but I do eventually get to many of them.

Here are the changes that went up on BookMooch today:


BookMoooch in Japanese is now live and launched. A special thanks to Ben Gerdemann and Benito Cachinero-Gorman for correcting a lot of the translation

Language detection

The BookMooch home page redirects you to the Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese or Japanese version of BookMooch if your TCP/IP address indicates you are from there. I’m using a database from and it seems very accurate.


BookMooch is available in several localized versions: – Italian – Spanish – German – Portuguese – Japanese

If you want to use the English version, click on the word “English” on the bottom right of the BookMooch home page. Or just re-enter in your browser

Also note that I depend on you, the BookMooch members, to spot and correct bad translations. The 1st pass of all translations is done by Google, so it’s usually pretty bad, and then people can click the “correct this translation” button and fix it themselves.

Note that the this auto-detection-and-redirection only happens the first time you come to BookMooch, as I give your browser a cookie to indicate that you’ve been auto-detected already. I hope this auto-redirection on the home page won’t confuse any long-time BookMooch users, but I suspect new users will appreciate it.

The reason I did this auto-detection is:

* I get a surprising amount of email from people who don’t even know that the BookMooch web site is available in their native language, because they don’t notice the links on the bottom of the home page (which is the only place it’s mentioned)

* most big web sites, such as Google and Yahoo, also do this. When I was in Stockholm this summer, Google always came to me in Swedish. Unfortunately, Google didn’t make it easy to switch to English (sigh), which is why on BookMooch I try to make it simple.

* for many non-English speakers, when they go to BookMooch and it’s in English, they don’t even bother reading the page: they assume it’s not available in their language

Who am I Smooching?

The “give a smooch” page now displays who you’re giving a smooch To:

Picture 1-5

Wishlist notification order change

People with less than 1 point, are now notified last of a book on their wishlist.

Hmmmm.. I just realized that people on “vacation” should probably also be notified last of the availability of a book on their wishlist.

Books to send

On the member main menu, if you have any books you need to send, this has always been displayed in bright red:


As of today, if you “delay” all the books you need to send, the message isn’t in bright red. It’s a very small thing, I know, but since I’m sometimes carrying books back with me when I fly from the UK to the USA (and back) I wanted a way to get nagged only if I had un-attended books to send. Now it looks like this if you only have “delayed” books to send:


Mooch confirm security test

Tech support received several emails recently from people saying there was no security test on the “who do you want to mooch from?” page. The was there, but the reason they couldn’t see it, I think, is that it was at the bottom of the page, after the choices of people to mooch from. If the list was very long, they didn’t notice it at all, especially since the “mooch” button was at the top of the form.

I’ve now moved the “security test” field to the top of the “who do you want to mooch from?” page, though in many cases it won’t appear at all, as it is unneeded, thanks to a change recently.

Date joined

The date the person became a member of BookMooch is now displayed in their bio page:


Chart data fixed

My “statistics charts” at collect data each night for the previous day. Over the first year of BookMooch, there were various bugs, and sometimes the stat missed a day, and sometimes a stat didn’t work for a while, and missed a few months (whoops!).

This is why some charts had very steep lines like this one:


If you look at the X axis, you’ll notice that the labels are evenly spaced in 2 month increments, except for the last one, which shows five months. The reason, is that the “total books mooched” stat wasn’t being collected for 3 months, so when I fixed it, it showed a huge jump.

Yesterday, I wrote a program to fill in the missing data points, with the average between the two points we do have. This fixes the charts and gives a now realistic picture of BookMooch’s growth:


Note that the down blip on this chart is real: it was caused by the database crash we had at that time, and we did “lose” a small number of mooches because of it.

16 Responses to “Yet more new features”

  1. Heather said

    Wonderful features/changes! I noticed the “date joined” thing a few hours ago, and I love it!

  2. melissasyd said

    Thank you for all you do and continue to do for bookmooch. I have a serious geek-girl booklover crush on you 🙂

  3. pafcu said

    Don’t get me wrong, I really love bookmooch, but…

    I think it’s a really bad idea to redirect people based on IP location. Just because I happen to be in country X doesn’t mean I actually understand the language used there (and even if I did, it might not be my native language. There are many multi-lingual countries).

    Besides, why reinvent the wheel? The HTTP protocol already supports content-negotiation, meaning you can choose (in your web browser) what language you want to use. That way you only have to set your language once, and you will get all websites in the correct language. If everyone implemented the same method that bookmooch now uses, users would have to choose the prefered language separately for every website.

    So, please, use the standard HTTP protocol, instead of some strange IP-lookup method.

  4. Wendy Stines said

    Thanks for all of your hard work John. The site really reflects the time and effort that you put into it.

  5. Dawn said

    “Hmmmm.. I just realized that people on “vacation” should probably also be notified last of the availability of a book on their wishlist.”

    Oh, please don’t! When I move in March I will have to put my inventory on vacation, but I’d hate to miss out on something wishlisted!

    The other changes are great! Thanks for your hard work to make the site even better.

    Dawn (alphasunrise)

  6. Esther said

    I love the attention you pay to the details. And of course I like that you implemented one of my suggestions, and you needed less than a month!

  7. Liz said

    Thanks a bunch!

  8. Caitie said

    Wow! Thanks for all your hard work 🙂
    One thing though – I’m not such a big fan of all the dropdown menus now…even if it is more cluttered, I did prefer to see all the previous givers/moochers, just so they could be glanced at in case anything stood out, as opposed to now, when they have to be dropped down. Particularly, I find this more challenging on the available copies, which is now a dropdown, but I did like it better the other way in general, topics included. Just my 2 cents worth 🙂

  9. Teresa said

    Thanks also for the hard work. That to-do list sounds scary.

    And sorry for being negative but I also hate the drop down menus. The regular listing was useful because at a glance you could have an idea if a book was swapped frequently, or if it was in a lots of wishlists. Also just for curiosity it was also fun to see how sometimes a book got relisted and moved along. And it was useful when a book kept getting mooched and the request cancelled/mooched. With the drop down menus, it´s not so easy to check that.

    I hate getting language redirected, usually translations suck or are in the wrong variant, but that is just a personal quibble and I agree it is a good idea for the arguments you presented. I managed to redirect myself to familiar english site easily enough, so that is good enough for me.

    And while I feel guilty for pushing things with that huge to do list, count me in a somebody who would love a “reserve” button while people ask if somebody will ship a book to them. As it is right now concerning newly listed books, it´s depressing, if you mooch offering to cancel it still feels and might be interpreted as rudeness, if you go by the rules very often book ends up with somebody else who just mooched.

  10. Kathy S. said

    I said it before when you were considering drop down lists, but I must say it again now that I have actually used them… I don’t like the new drop down lists.

    – the drop down lists may look cleaner to a programmer’s eye, but they decrease the connected, community feel of bookmooch –

    I really miss being able to see, at a glance, the long lists of people who wishlisted a book, previously gave/mooched a book. It gave you a feel for how many people wanted a book that you also wanted or how many other people have read a book you are interested and it made me feel more connected. We got all this with a glance of the eye because the degree of “noise” communicated this information instantly. I think the efficiency of conveying such information should win over a ‘neater’ looking page.

  11. Leah said

    I love all the changes but what is even more important to me is that there are continual improvements. This site is certainly not static and I appreciate all your time, energy and effort. So thanks. One more change I noticed, however, is that the listings have boxes of books mooched/previously given etc, instead of a long list of these. It makes the page easier to manage and I like it. Thanks for that one, too. Take care John and keep up the great work. We love it.

  12. Myrna said

    Well John
    I for one like the drop down menus. I find them easy to use and they do help unclutter the page. Thanks for all the great changes and work you do on this site.

  13. nderdog said

    I too LOVE the new drop-down menus! They really do make things look much nicer. I’m not quite sure about the complaints above where people can’t tell how many people have wishlisted or traded a book, since the number is clearly visible right next to the drop-down list.

  14. rachelsmdai said

    Well, I’m really new and loving this! I cannot believe the amount of time you put into this. One thing I would like to see is way to look at a list of books by topic either alpha by author or as newly listed. Or maybe there’s already a way to do this?
    Also, how does one get friends? I feel like I’m in kindergarten looking at the merry-go-round with this question but…

  15. Tia said

    I’d also like to know about the ‘friends’.

    And, everyone else probably already knows this, but how does BookMooch operate? John, are you just a great guy giving all your time to this project that you created, or . . . ???

  16. Melissa said

    I love the way this site has grown! Doing a good job, John! The wishlist thing has made it more tricky for me, considering I have now only been notified via email one time, but have managed to still mooch 2 other books that were wishlisted. People, you better hurry to your books, cause I am still checking my list twice daily!

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