Search usability improvements

October 31, 2007

I’ve added some usability improvements to the search results page.

If your search found no available-for-mooching books for your search, but there are some unavailable books that match your search, then the unavailable books are displayed. For example, search for “carding” and since there are no available books for that, you are automatically redirected to a “show all” search:


note that copies are zero in this search result, and also note the new “show available” button displayed on the top right:


this button will restrict your search to only show search hits for books that are available for mooching.

When you do a normal search that returns results, such as searhing for “Card” you will see a “show all” button on the top right:


this button will repeat your search, but show both moochable and unmoochable books.

If you are logged into BookMooch and do a search, a new button titled “My country” appears on the top right:


this button will repeat the search, but only show you books that are moochable by someone in your country. That is one way to avoid being told that “no-one with this book will send it to your country”, but it’s also a way to conserve your points, and only mooch things for one point, because they’re not international mooches.

Naturally, the opposite of “my country” is an “all countries” button, so you can toggle between the two views:


If your search finds books in multiple fields (such as “topic” or “publisher” or “author”), but you only want one, you can click on this new option at the bottom of the page:


so for example if you want to search for books in the topic of “cooking” you can first search for plain “cooling” then click the “topic” button and you will get books with “cooking” in their topic.

This feature used to exist in BookMooch, about 6 months ago, but I removed it because most of the time you would choose to restrict the search, and no moochable books would be found, and this was confusing and frustrating. Now, however, since BookMooch automatically will show you non-moochable search results if no moochable books are available, I’ve brought this feature back, as it works in a more intuitive way now.

If you search found books that were published in several countries, at the bottom of your search results, you will be find a button row to restrict your search accordingly:


such as this list of books that are published in France, and match the topic “cooking”. I got to this page by first searching for “cooking” then clicking on “topic” and finally clicking on “french”. This is a much easier way to get at the books you want than to use the advanced search form.


All these features were previously available on the “advanced search” page, but that page is complicated to use, and involves a lot of clicking, and I suspect most people never bother. I hope these changes help people find things with the plain old search feature, and do so more easily and quicker than before.

7 Responses to “Search usability improvements”

  1. Richard said

    Thanks, it’s great to see that Bookmooch is getting better all the time.

    One thing that has been bugging me a bit though is when you do a search through Amazon. If there isn’t any books available to mooch then there isn’t any link to the book details page even though the book is known to Bookmooch.

  2. Peggy T said

    Hey John
    I’m looking forward to exploring these new search features. Thank You!

    One thing tho

    In your blog area for comments..the title to the comments reads:

    No Responses to “Search usability improvements”

    Shouldn’t that be:

    Responses to “Search……”

  3. Ralph said

    wow, these are great. can really narrow things down now! thanks for your work.

  4. morineko said

    Thank you, this was something I’d wanted for months. I usually use the search to see if something I’m about to list is already on BookMooch available to be mooched or if it’s wishlisted.

  5. Not to be a wet blanket, but there are some weird elements to the behavior of Search that flat out make no sense. For example, there are books in the database by publishers for whom no books are returned when you search on their names. Chaosium, Inc. and Holistic Design, Inc. both are affected by this bug. Even odder, both bring up the same group of books by other publishers if you click on their Publisher link in a book listing. As an example, try the Chaosium, Inc. link on; none of the listed books are by Chaosium.

  6. tudorpot said

    I’ve been having varying results searching for audio books. Can the search feature be altered to show format- ie search for hardback, audiobook etc?

  7. Nanci said

    This must be why I was finally able to find a list–finally–of the “I Can Rea” series of books. Been trying for a month or so. I am elated.
    I thank you for all the improvements.

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