Some small changes

October 27, 2007

A few small features went up on BookMooch today.

Most of these changes come from comments on the blog. I really do read every comment, but because there are so many, I can’t respond to them (sorry). I mostly don’t have the time to read the bm-discuss forum, since it runs from 100 to 300 messages per day, I just can’t keep up. If you’ve got an idea for an improvement, post it on the blog, or just send me an email.

Next/previous buttons on the “points” page, the wishlist page, and the save-for-later page.

A lot of people complained that these pages could get very large, and their web browsers or computer could crash or just take a long time to show the page.

On the saveforlater/wishlist pages, I’m showing 20 books at a time, and on the points page, I’m showing 50 items at a time. That corresponds to roughly a 100k sized page, which I’m setting as a rough max benchmark for any single page, so that they load quickly and don’t stress out people with not much memory on their computer, or a slow internet connection.


UPDATE an hour later

As you can see below, I received a bunch of feedback from people who don’t like having to page through their wishlist.

So, I’ve now added to the inventory/points/wishlist/saveforlater/recommendations pages an “all” button that will show you everything for that page, no need to do next/previous. I’m *not* offering that on the “browse topics” and other pages where there could be 100,000 books in the ‘all’ view — that would be bad.

The “all” button will only display on page 1 of the data, and only if there is a “next page” button being displayed:


Also, the problem with “related editions” that is mentioned below in the comments should now be fixed.

Recommendation page small improvements

Your “save for later” list is no longer used to build recommendations, as someone correctly pointed out that since that list is private, seeing books recommended because of it could be a small invasion of privacy.

In changing this, I also noticed a bug, where your wishlist was *not* being used to build your recommendations. That should help improve the accuracy of the recommendations page.

The recommendations page now hides books you’ve previously mooched, but only if you’re looking at your own recommendations. When looking at books being recommended to other people, neither your history nor the person being recommended are suppressed from the recommendations. I hope this makes sense.

Change in mooch request email

I was told that the following sentence in Mooch e-mails appears to cause much confusion: “It is always a good idea to review a moocher’s history, bio, and inventory before sending your book.”

this has been changed to:

If you have any questions about the person requesting this book, feel free to email them by replying to this email message. If you suspect something isn’t quite right, click the ‘report abuse’ button on their bio page and a BookMooch volunteer will look into it for you.


A few people didn’t know that the word “ASIN” is Amazon’s term for “ISBN, when there is one, otherwise it’s Amazon’s own made-up number”

The book details page now makes this clear:


and about 40 other really tiny things that I won’t bother writing about here…

28 Responses to “Some small changes”

  1. Leah said

    Thanks for the continual work, I truly appreciate your time and efforts. In this case, however, I HATE that I can’t load my wishlist on one page. I have to page and page through to see if anything has come up. Instead of a quick peek during the day, I have take time to page and page and page through. I understand the reason for the change but for me, this one was a dud. Thanks.

  2. Leah said

    One more comment, related editions no longer works on my wish list. I click it on but they aren’t coming up. I liked that and could often find books in other editions as I usually am not hung up on what edition a book is. So, this is disappointing.

  3. Taneli T said

    I like the way the recommendations page shows how many copies of a certain book are available.

    It could also be fun and useful, if it also showed (maybe in parentheses) how many copies of those are available in my own country.

    The way the points page has been spread over many pages is great, since I usually only need to check what’s been happening in the recent past. However, maybe the wishlist and saveforlater pages could have an option to show all the entries at once (or maybe build same kind of url syntax that you use for inventory pages, so users can decide for themselves how many lines per page are shown).

    Thanks for the tweaks.

  4. Mawrteresque said

    I have to echo Leah’s response above, loading my Wishlist of 300+ items on six separate pages is a real drag. Is there anyway to set a user-defined preference as to how this page is displayed (in increments or as a whole?)

  5. Margaret said

    I too have noticed that ‘related editions’ is no longer working in my save-for-later. I love that feature!
    But your continual tweaking is what makes this great.

  6. Only showing 20 items per wishlist page is a big reduction in functionality. The old way one could quickly check to see if any of his wishlisted items were available by going to the wishlist page and just noting the spacing of the columns. Now each page of the wishlist must be displayed to perform the same check.

    Maybe that was part of your intent — making it harder to check wishlists manually so that people would rely on the notification system more. However, if that wasn’t your intent, here are some possible solutions.

    1. Let each user select the number of items to display to display.
    2. Let each user choose between one page or multiple pages.
    3. Create a new page that only shows available wishlisted items.
    4. Let people with wishlists so long that it crashes their computers or takes too long to load, delete wishlisted items until their computers can process them.


  7. Abbie said

    Ditto for me on the “related editions” for the wishlist page. I’ve found this to be really useful, so hope it comes back! THANKS!

  8. FYI, I’ve added an “all” button, and fixed the “related wishlist” problem, as per the comments below. I put info about the “all” button in my original blog entry above.

    Thanks for the feedback!


  9. Delania said

    Yay John i love you, just don’t tell my husband though i think he suspects. lol.

  10. Heather19 said

    Thank you John! “40 other really tiny things”… Thank you sooo much for all you do here for us! It is wonderful to see updates and new things and easier things, and know that you care so much about this place to do all that and take action about feedback. You are wonderful!

  11. Lethe said

    You mention above that the (very useful and fun!!) recommendations page will hide books that you have previously mooched.

    It would be worth also hiding books that have ever been in my inventory, and books that I have previously given. (Yes I can hide them myself, but this could be a problem for those with much more activity.)

    Thanks you for BookMooch!

  12. Lethe said

    Recommendations is showing me books that I have previously mooched, related editions that is. Don’t know if it is too much of a computational pain to supress listing related editions of previous mooches, as well as inventory & gives that I mention above.

    It would be cool if there could be a fiction / non-fiction button on reccommendations. For me the recommendations are dominated by novels, but right now I’m more interested in mooching non-fiction, which is hard to find through the recommendation page.

    Again, thanks.

  13. Taneli T said

    Wow, you are quick.

    That new All button works great and helps when needed.

  14. Hope said

    Shiny! I’m very glad of the capacity to load my save for later list in chunks, as it is very long, and my connection is slow. Thanks!

    I’m just testing out this recommendations tool…. It does indeed show me books I have previously mooched – I guess they are related editions – and it also shows me books I have on my inventory (usually a book I’ve mooched and then decided to relist because I felt reading it once was enough).

    One thing I can’t seem to see is an indication of just how long my recommendations list *is*. Every time (so far) I think I’m getting near the bottom of the list and that I’ve edited it down to what is really of interest, I find something else appears at the bottom of the list!

    I’ve kept my wishlist small and my save for later list large; I hoped that recommendations would be somewhere in between to be manageable. I haven’t found too many clunkers in the recommendations lists yet. Although there are some books on there that I’m not sure why they feature – I suspect this is like Amazon and that it only takes a couple of books to distort the recommendations because the computer can’t know that what I saw in the book is not what the cataloguer saw in it, and that those books were atypical for me to read. (Sometimes it can be fun to find a LibraryThing Unsuggested book in my collection, that I enjoyed, possibly for the wrong reasons – I suspect in those cases I have found comedy where none is intended, or have enjoyed the language in preference to the plot).

    I’m not clear how, or how often, the recommendations refresh. What I’m worried about is that I might think I’ve hidden a book permanently, but BookMooch refreshes and checks to see if I’ve added something to my wishlist or looks for new mooches, and then promptly adds some of the books I’ve previously hidden back on to my recommendations, just because my latest wish or mooch points to that hidden book again.

    Anyway, thanks for the recommendations tool; it’s nice to have some suggestions for what to read next. I never like to feel I might be in danger of running out of things to read.

    Thanks again for this great site! I’m off to fine tune my recommendations some more….

  15. Denise said


    re: Recommendations – I think there are a couple thousand books recommended to me. I’m sure there are many I would be interested in but I’m trying to cull out ones I already have, the repeats , books I have no interest in, etc.

    Each time I click Hide so a particular book will be removed, it then jumps back to the top of the list. There are many I want to remove and its extremely time consuming to do it individually in addition to the jump back to the top of the list.

    Could a box be put next to each entry then we can check ‘delete’ and I could get this list down from a couple hundred or thousand to maybe 25 in about 2 minutes? I’ve spent over an hour trying to get rid of all the books I want to delete. This isn’t working out and I want it to work out.

    Its hard to follow the recommendations with so many but I like getting them. I am not sure it will be worth going through all that to find what I’m interested in.

    I love the ALL feature on everything! Thanks:)

    Denise S.

  16. Just wanted to say thanks for all you do. I’m going to enjoy trying out some of these new features now… ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Mawrteresque said

    Talk about speedy service, John, thanks so much for the simple & elegant “all” button on the wishlist. I appreciate all that you do for our happy nation of Moochers. Cheers!

  18. kathyP said

    John- I was one of the new moochers from the NY Times article- PLUS I wrote about Bookmooch in my local library column- there were only a few bookmooch subscribers in the column’s zip codes. Thanks for all you do!
    I LOVE this web site. THANKS! ONLY a librarian could get so excited about getting books to people. I am using Bookmooch to beef up our book club in a bag kits or books for our library book clubs. ALSO- great art work! NOW you just need to put it on MUGS and T-shirts! merchandising! Can you tell I am in charge of my library marketing? Kathy P. MN

  19. LGagnon said

    The same problem is happening with the saved for later list. Only related editions for page one are shown. This is quite detrimental for me, as my wishlisted books are not as often available as my saved for later books.

  20. Rebecca said

    John, I’m loving all the changes and can’t believe just how dedicated you are to this. I love this site and tell everyone about it, and working in a library, I see lots of people who love to read! Now to the nitty gritty of this post…I was wondering if there is a way to check to see if a book is wishlisted anywhere before i list it in my inventory. I have access to tons of really good books through my library but I don’t want to have to store all of these if no one will ever want them. I thought there was a search wishlist button before but I may just be having a blonde moment. It would be helpful for me in getting books to people that want them instead of letting them sit in our booksale unwanted and lonely. Just a suggestion. Thanks and keep up all the excellent work John, and know that we are all loving this site!!

  21. Adam said

    I don’t think that this phrase was confusing, โ€œIt is always a good idea to review a moocherโ€™s history, bio, and inventory before sending your book.โ€ It always reminds me to check if they have good feedback or not. I’m not trying to cause any problems as you have already changed the phrase, but I just wanted to give you my opinion.

  22. Caitie said

    I like looking at my wishlist all in one go, so am glad there’s the “all +” button. But, just wondering if you would consider moving the “remove all -” button further away from this one. I have this inkling fear that one day I’m going to click it instead of the all+ which would be awful. Unless of course there were a confirm screen to remove all books? I’ve never tried removing all books, so don’t know if you’ve already got one in place, but it would be reassuring to hear that there was!

    Thanks for all your work, John ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Sharon said

    Re: Wishlist Add button request:
    When a book is already listed as available and I go to the detailed page, it would be great if there were a Wishlist Add button on the detail page… it is kind of annoying having only Save for later button on that page and needing to go either to the save for later list to send to wishlist or pressing one of the options on the page after hitting save for later. Is there some reason why Wishlist Add is not on the detail page of a book that’s already available on BookMooch? I prefer to add to wishlist first, as I decide later what book I want to get next (trying to save up
    points first as a lot are overseas). Thanks for all your hard work! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Lyn Cohn said

    Dear John,
    KathyP beat me to it, but if there was a bookmooch book bag, I’d be the first to buy one. And then another half-dozen as Christmas presents for my bookclub members.
    Obviously, you’re busy enough just maintaining the site, but there must be someone you know who could work on merchandise.
    It doesn’t seem you’re the materialistic type and you wouldn’t make a fortune anyway, but everyone has to eat, right?

  25. Kathi said

    I had been having problems getting notifications at my email address. Then poof! This morning, I am getting them again. Whatever happened made my only glitch with the system work. Thanks!

  26. David said

    I’m (the) one who suggested that the privacy of the SaveForLater list was compromised by the Recommendations. I now wish I had kept quiet!

    John wrote above that he’s removed the SaveForLater books as a source for the Recommendations. Personally I would have preferred that it remain as it was, OR change the Recommendations to private only.

    It seems to me that there is very little benefit to looking at someone else’s recommended books. On the other hand I see a lot of benefit to getting recommnedations based on what is SavedForLater.

  27. tudorpot said

    Thanks for this great site. Is it possible for emails sent from the site to be copied to the sender? Often I email about a book and get back a post that does not list either the user name of the person responding- they use their RL name or the name of the book. It would also help me keep track of requests and if they have been responded to.

  28. Jeff C. said

    I love the site, and I’m continually surprised at the intelligence of the options offered. But I have two small suggestions – basically of very little consequence.

    1. Is there a way to place the “ALL+” button at the top of the page, and/or is there a way to have the member have the “ALL+” option as the default?

    2. Is there a way to search for title AND author at the same time? And search for the ISBN?

    I’d also like to add my vote for copying emails to the sender.

    John, you are doing an amazing job.

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