New search results

June 6, 2009

Books returned by a search used to be ordered alphabetically, but as of today they are ordered by a book’s availability and popularity.

This change is in response to comments that people aren’t happy with the search results page, namely that they often have trouble finding the books they want. I don’t think that an alphabetical list of books is all that helpful.

Here is what the new search page looks like:

Srchnew12

compare that same search (for “herbert”) to the old results page:

Serchold12

the first thing you’ll notice is that results are (mostly) sorted by the number of copies available. My assumption is that most of the time you’re searching for something you want to mooch, and so listing highly moochable books first would be helpful.

The sort results are a bit more complicated than that, in that they take several variables into account:

* the most important variable is how many copies are available
* the next most important variable is how many people have the book on their wishlist
* after that, the next variable is how many times the book has been mooched
* and finally, the amazon “sales rank” is included as the least important variable

In practice, all this complicated stuff means:

* if your search is for books that are generally available on BookMooch, the most moochable titles will be listed first
* if you search for books (or authors) who are generally not available on BookMooch, the most desired books will be listed first.
* if you search for books that aren’t traded on BookMooch yet, then Amazon’s sales rank will order the books, with best-selling first

For example, if you search for books by author “Michael Pollan“, which are in huge demand on BM (but rare supply), here is what you’ll find:

Newsrc13

there is nothing by Michael Pollan available on BM. However, the books are ordered with the most-in-demand first, so it’s likely that’s the book you intended to find as well.

Another change that I made was to change the order of the “search categories”, such as “Author”, “Title”, “Topic”, so that “Topic” is now displayed first (it was previously last). The reason I made this change was that I was looking at “related searches” and saw that about half the searches are for topics, and not for authors or book titles. However, you’d have to go several pages into the search results to see the matches in the “topic” of a book. Now, topic matches come first.

Furthermore, while Amazon’s topic data is sometimes imperfect, it is often quite good, such as the topic hits for “herbert” above, which listed books with a topic of “Frank Herbert” for the Dune-prequels that are in fact written by his son.

However, I’m certainly aware that the Topic data is not always great, for example on this book “Clash of the Titans”, every actor involved with the movie seems to be listed as a “Topic”:

Clash2134

which causes my first search for “Michael Pollan” to bring up an odd list of books, because actors with those names have appeared in films of these books (among other reasons):

Plla23

on the old search results page, the “Limit your search to: [author] [title] [topic]” option was at the bottom, and many people didn’t notice it.

I moved those buttons to the top right of the form, because it’s *really* useful to be able to redo the same search, but only match against the “author” field if you were typing in an author name, or a book title if that’s what you were doing:

Newbtn112

I made two other small changes as well, relabeling the button:

Showall123-1

to now read:

Showunmo

I think that “Show all” wasn’t very clear, namely it didn’t convey the idea that the search results you’re currently looking at are limited to books that are moochable, and you may want to see all the search hits, such as (for example) you are searching for a book to add to your wishlist.

Finally, this button:

Showdtea1-1

is now:

Showcov1

I thought that the most common use of the “show details” feature was to see the covers, so why not make that the button name?


Of these changes, I think that the sort order change is a good improvement, the button labels are a small improvement, but the putting-topic-matches-first change is debatable.

What do you think?

It’s really easy for me to go back to the “author matches first, then title, then topic” that BM previously used. I can also tweak the sort order calculation based on how well it works for you.

If people like the new sort order, I can change the browse-books-pages to use it as well, such as the “browse by topic” pages, which today aren’t very useable, since they list thousands of books in alphabetical order.

The new search sorting takes a lot more computer time to figure out, so search results might be a bit slower now. I have the new server machine ready to go, which has 3x more memory, and twice the number of CPUs. I plan on moving BM to it in a few weeks: that should speed things back up again.


n.b.: I decided to go ahead and change the book-browsing pages (such as browsing topics) to sort books in this new way. I think this makes these pages much more useful, as the results are all very moochable books, and since the amount of wishlisting, previous mooches and amazon sales rank are all taken into account, books that you’re likely to consider are shown (the browse pages also now show the number of copies available in BM):

Newtops1223

60 Responses to “New search results”

  1. Cheryl said

    I’m glad you’re working on the search function, but I don’t get why my topic search for “yoga” includes items like SHakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Arthur and the Race to Read by Marc Brown.

    Furthermore, a search for “sudoku” has these as the first several books listed:
    97 Ways to Make A Baby Laugh
    How to Kazoo (Shrink-Wrapped With Kazoo)
    Splitting the Atom: And Other Yo-yo Stuff
    Weltbild’s Mathematische Denkspiele
    The Official Koosh Book 2
    Themed Baby Showers : Mother Goose to Noah’s Ark: Hundreds of Creative Shower Ideas

    The German mathematical games one is the only one that has any chance of relevance to the topic.

    Popularity as a sort measure when the topic keywords are as messed up as this may make results less useful, not more, IMO.

  2. Stephen said

    Good, welcomed, improvements to the search functionality of BookMooch. But why do we have to have alphabetical search results (prior to now) OR results sorted by availability? Why can’t the results page be sortable by whatever method best suits the user for their needs at that moment? For example, being able to click on the author column heading to sort alphabetical by author, or clicking on the title column heading to sort alphabetical by title, or clicking on the number of copies column to sort by the number of available copies. Would this be ideal for providing the greatest flexibility and functionality? I know its what I’d love to see.

    • Mary said

      I agree with Stephen. I would totally love to be able to search based upon my needs of the moment. For example, being able to search for “hard cover” vs. “paperback” versions of books. Or maybe being able to combine different aspects such as “paperback” plus “children”. By the way, I am totally impressed with how fast you responded to people’s suggestions. You are on the ball! Thanks!

  3. re: suduko

    If you look at the books that the search is returning:

    97 Ways to Make A Baby Laugh
    http://bookmooch.com/detail/0761107363

    How to Kazoo (Shrink-Wrapped With Kazoo)
    http://bookmooch.com/detail/089480605X

    Splitting the Atom: And Other Yo-yo Stuff
    http://bookmooch.com/detail/1898591164

    and look at the “Topics:” listed for each book, you’ll see that “Sudoku” is listed as a topic for each of those books, by Amazon.com.

    Now, that may seem baffling, but evidently each of those books has a connection to Sudoku in Amazon’s opinion.

    The fourth one:
    Weltbild’s Mathematische Denkspiele

    is in German, but it’s about mathematical thinking games, which is a good match for Sudoko.

    If you click the “title” link, you’ll get books that have the word “sudoku” in the title:
    http://bookmooch.com/s/sudoku/Title/0/50/0/

    which is perhaps what you want.

    -j

    • Cheryl said

      I realize that it’s Amazon’s keywords that are the problem. I just think that their database keywords are sufficiently, well, silly, that sorting by popularity can have some hilarious results (such at All’s Well That Ends Well listed at position #3 in a search for “yoga” under topic).

  4. Brian said

    What about letting users sort by column? Even with the Herbert example, various Dune books show up throughout the list. Sorting by title would let people group which edition and volume they’d like to request. Sorting by author would let users who are after a certain writer group his or her books together. Sorting by availability would put the list back in default order after trying other sort-orders.

    Of course, pagination becomes an issue with sorting. (e.g. If I’m on page 3 and then decide to sort by title, which page should I be on after the sort?). Google New solves that by putting the user back on page 1 after sorting.

  5. bookel said

    I’m all for improving search, though am kind of sad I can’t see all results of a single author grouped together now, and search results are just as confusing sometimes. For eg. I search for all books available by “Lynn Hall” and it displays them with other authors interspersed (Lynn Quitman Troyka, Lynn Kyle). Why I don’t know. Even restricting by author (great the buttons were moved to the top) shows the odd mix. I only want books by “Lynn Hall” to show and yet it shows the others still. So it doesn’t show all results with both words in the author, only both or one word? It would be nice to see the results list of most available by author, rather than by most copies. Or maybe an option?

  6. bookel said

    Hmm, I don’t like seeing topic first in the search results as I never use it. I’m either searching for author or title and I’d rather see either of those first.

  7. MurdererDelacroix said

    I’m accustomed to searching by author, but just today I noticed that the results were much more organized when I searched for the title of a series. Thanks for the improvements! (Ah, my wishlist grows already!)

    I think “sort by” options for search results as “most wishlisted” and “most mooched” in addition to most available may be useful too. It would be helpful to see what books relevant to my search are doing the most coming and going, even if there aren’t any copies available at the moment.

    May I also suggest user tagging, similar to librarything, to make searching easier? (You can also do this on amazon, but it doesn’t affect the “topic” a book is listed under). That may prevent some of the “topics from amazon” problems mentioned in previous comments.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  8. CAN YOU TWEEK THE SITE SO THAT THE USER DETERMINES WHAT HE OR SHE WOULD LIKE TO SEE? IE ALPHABETICAL BY AUTHOR,TITLE,TOPIC,PUBLISHER OR NOT…USER JUST CLICK ON A BUTTON.JUST A THOUGHT…..THANK YOU.

  9. Helena said

    Just wondering why ‘Neil Gaiman’ shows up under related searches for everything.

  10. SqueakyChu said

    It’s better but doesn’t really help me all that much because I don’t like the popular books that others gravitate toward. Since I seek books that are less well known, I’d love the option to skip many of the pages which load first. Is there any way I’d be able to do this (i.e. by listing the page numbers as clickable links?).

    • SqueakyChu said

      I retract my previous statement. I just discovered out how to get to the pages of the lesser known books. I’m thrilled! Thanks!!

      • SqueakyChu said

        Back again. I’m neither sad nor thrilled. I looked through many, many pages and found no books I want. Perhaps I’m too picky. I do like the new option of how the pages are arranged, however. I’ll find something I like…eventually!

  11. Lethe said

    Thank you for all your thoughtful attention to improving the site! I like the idea mentioned above of letting each user decide on what column they want to sort on, depending on what their needs are at the moment, if it is feasible to implement.

    Regarding those non-sudoku books mentioned above, if you look at the actual Amazon.com listing for each of those books, none of them have “sudoku” anywhere in the record. Amazon does not think they are related to sudoku. So has anyone alerted Amazon to this issue, that it looks like their api is giving bad topic info? Given that goofy topics makes topic search in BookMooch very difficult, which is off-putting to potential new members, it seems worth trying to get this fixed.

    Thanks again for BookMooch!

    > If you look at the books that the search is returning:
    > …..
    > and look at the “Topics:” listed for each book, you’ll see that “Sudoku” is
    > listed as a topic for each of those books, by Amazon.com.
    >
    > Now, that may seem baffling, but evidently each of those books has a
    > connection to Sudoku in Amazon’s opinion.

  12. Andrew said

    John, kudos on the refresh. For the subject pages, it improves the discoverability of books waiting for homes. For search results, it increases the likelihood that the right book will be found.

  13. Joel said

    I like it. It turns browsing by topic from a complete waste of time to a fairly useful function. The way it was before, depending on the topic, I had to wade through pages of completely irrelevant listings to even get to the beginning of the alphabetized listings that were relevant.

    Thank you.

  14. tennantfamily said

    I don’t know whether I’ll find it useful or not until I’ve experienced it, but thanks for the work John. I suspect it will be swings and roundabouts. You can’t please all the punters all of the time!

    1. I love Cheryl’s email.
    Obviously the topics are chosen by someone with a weird sense of humour (or a humour bypass). Your email “made oy larff!” anyway and that is a worthwhile reason in itself!

    2. Helena- it is called free advertinsing. Perhaps Neil Gaiman is John’s best buddy? ;-))

    3. Can we add photos/scans of covers and/or pages as I often do on Amazon? If anyone knows a simple explanation would lead to more cover illustrations being available.

    4. Would it be possible to list a title and author and have ALL editions of the work recommended by email when available. Listing all editions is something I’ve recommended to others as I know otherwise many are missed, even clicking “related editions” often fails to show editions I have which may be older, or published by a different company. Sometimes too there are several pages of related editions so a wishlist of 24 books may be 24 editions of a single book.

    Please don’t forget my request of a language button for books. Others have told me of mooching a book only to receive it in a language they don’t speak. I put it in the condition notes, but not everyone reads those.

    Gill

  15. Joel said

    The new search listings are somewhat better…it’s taken browsing by topic from completely useless to marginally non-useless but frankly I don’t need listings (under horror) for example, that lists pages and pages of VC Andrews and Stephen King. I know where to find them and I know that they have dozens of copies of everything available. No instead of going through pages and pages of useless and irrelevant listings every page is filled with a bunch of common books that I’m not looking for with a few others interspersed.

  16. flossiepots said

    What I find very annoying as someone from a small country is how you can only set ‘my country’ as an option, but not ‘my country’ alongside other options such as my language, or most popular books etc. So you have to sort through them if you want to be more specific.

  17. Leela4 said

    re complaints that Amazon’s topic associations are bizarre and virtually useless:

    This problem is not going to go away unless Amazon should suddenly decide that being able to browse effectively by topic is important to their sales. –Don’t hold your breath. As long as BookMooch relies on Amazon, BookMooch is not actually trying to do anything about the problem.

    What BookMooch needs is to rely on a system that gets its topic designations from librarians–you know, *professional book classfiers*. How does one’s public or school library know what subjects to list for a book, hm?

  18. Connie said

    I like all of the new changes. Thanks very much!

  19. SqueakyChu said

    I’m also frustrated that the topics (i.e. tags) have nothing to do with the books listed. It is virtually impossible to find books according to topic based on the current tags/associations. Can you get tags/topic associations from LibraryThing instead of Amazon?

  20. Eliza K. said

    What everyone was complaining about (in the PBS versus Bookmooch discussion) was not the search function but the browse function. Many many people said that is IS easy to search for something specific on Bookmooch – an author, a title – but it is NOT at all easy when you want to merely browse books by topic/language/genre etcetera. Frankly, the Amazon-provided topics are quite useless and I can never find a book I might be interested in on Bookmooch unless I know exactly what that book is. That is the major difference between Bookmooch and PBS – and if I was a US member I would switch instantly to PBS just because of that. But I can’t. I love that Bookmooch is International but it doesn’t take advantage of that fact at all, nor does it make it easy for us International moochers to find what we want. For example,I read in English and Spanish but live in Greece. The browse function doesn’t even allow me to see which users from my country have books in English. I have to look at either all the books from Greece OR all the books in English from all over the world. There’s no way to browse genres or topics (topics are a joke) or specific subjects like WWII. So basically one can never find a book one might find interesting unless one knows EXACTLY what book he is looking for. So, what needs improving is the Browse function and not the search one.

    • materialgirl said

      And that is why we need to be able to read any details/reviews, not just look at a picture of the front cover.

  21. Margot said

    Left-brained Moocher wants her alphabetical listings back. Searching for Robert B. Parker, of which there are plenty, results in a real mess.

  22. Brian said

    I commend you on making these changes so quickly! I’ve been intrigued by your last few posts, especially after seeing the first one pop on one of my library related news feeds.

    I wrote a post myself commenting on your bookmooch vs. pbs match, but I threw libraries into the mix, making it an ultimate last man standing brawl.

    Thanks for the expedient updates!

  23. Kailey B. said

    My two cents:
    I usually type an author’s name into the search engine, so I would prefer to have that first in the search results. However, I’m not opposed to the topic-first search. I’ll just have to narrow my searches every time. No big deal, but if there were a vote I would vote for authors first, book title second, and topic last.
    Smiles,
    Kailey B.

    • Kailey B. said

      Oh yes, forgot to say that I like the alphabetical listing better. Much easier to find things that are alphabetized, and most of the books I look for are not generally popular and not in high demand. So I’d vote for alphabetical, if there were a vote.

      • leanne said

        I agree, if something has 12 or 25 copies moochable, it is probably something I can pick up at a local garage sale or Value Village for 50cents. It is very hard to search through a list that isn’t alphabetical: one might be looking for a book by an author and then thrilled to find instead another hardtofind book by the same author. Not to replace that want with the most popular widely available pop fiction.

  24. Dara said

    When I am looking for Large Print books for our library, it is totally useless. Is this Amazon? I can’t begin to find what I want.
    It was much for helpful to me the way it was.

    Hopefully, with some tweeking it can be more useful.

  25. Helen said

    Dear John,
    Please, please, please answer Helena’s question (about 13 inquiries up) about Neil Gaiman. I’ve ALWAYS wondered that!

    • Brian said

      I always thought that was because Neil Gaiman was awesome and everyone should be interested in his books. But it’s true for Vonnegut too and I see Murakami pop up a lot. The books I was searching for was non-fiction science related too, so there’s no direct correlation. But again, their prose is so far-reaching, it encompasses all.

  26. Carol Mitchell said

    Hi all
    I’m looking for ideas about using the mooch function (the one where you can pick up ISBN numbers from other websites more efficiently. What I’d really like to know is if anybody has any suggestions for where one is likely to find ISBNs other than the ones listed, such as amazon, alibris, etc. or other bookswap groups. One reason this is a problem for me specifically is that so many books are either hardback only or binding unspecified, and mostly for reasons of space and portability, I’m only interested in paperbacks, or more specifically softbound books of any size. For anyone who’s not aware of this, the paperback and hardback version of the same title have different ISBN numbers, so those sites are of limited utility for me.
    Up to now I’ve only asked other posters on a book-related mailing list for suggestions, almost all of whom are librarians, and while they have the expected knowledge of good places to find lists of books, None of them are particularly good for the paperbound ones I want. I was a little surprised because libraries, probably for reasons related to the increase in book prices and the decrease in their budgets, are buying or at least circulating more paperbacks. On the other hand, I’ve also noticed some libraries on the bookmooch site, so it’s possible their money woes are leading them to the same solutions as ours are.(g)
    Thanks
    Carol

  27. Mary Anne said

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Apparently a lot of people are very happy with this change, but I find it absurd. What is “not helpful” about an alphabetical list? Isn’t alphabetical the way that names are listed in a phone book? Aren’t books in a bookstore shelved within topic alphabetically by author, then by title? Isn’t alphabetical the logical, straight-forward way of looking for something? If I’m looking for a specific book or looking for a book or books by a specific author, how does it help me to get a list based on “availability” or “popularity”? If a list is sorted on those bases, I would then be forced to look through the entire list to find the specific book I’m looking for; if I have some requirements for the book (paperback vs. hardback, version/publication date, etc.), I would also have to go through the list to ferret out the specific book I’m looking for, meanwhile keeping track of each of the places the book is listed. To me, that there are 10 copies of a book I don’t want and 8 copies of another book I don’t want couldn’t be more irrelevant. Similarly, what does it matter to me if a book that is not available on BM is popular or not at Amazon? What I need to know is whether there is at least one copy of the book I do want available or zero copies available. If the former, I can presumably go ahead and order it; if the latter, I can wish list it and/or find another way to obtain it. To get that information, I shouldn’t have to wade through a lot of irrelevant titles and authors.

    Of course, the best way would be for searchers to be able to specify in what order they would like the results to appear, but in the absence of that choice, alpha by author then alpha by title or alpha by title then alpha by author both make infinitely more sense.

    • mgpb said

      Must say this comment completely reflects my feelings as well. Society has (pretty much) standardized on alphabetical presentation of results for ease of use, not caprice. Presenting results other than alphabetically forces one to read every line just in case the entry you seek is farther down the list — takes much more time than scanning an alphabetical list. Thanks for always thinking of utility, but this idea is a miss for me.

  28. Jackie said

    I like the alpha title and alpha author idea the best and forget the popularity angle. I rarely mooch/read popular books (e.i. The Twilight Series). I also would like a language choice drop down menu in our pesonal profile so as not to get a bazillion foreign language choices when I do a search. For instance, I don’t really care if the book is available in the French and German language if I can’t read them. I do know about the buttons at the bottom for language choice, but get tired of clicking on Englist only every time I do a search to get rid of the foreign language titles. Thanks for working on the program. We appreciate you, John.

  29. Sandie said

    Thanks for working on making Book Mooch a better place. Change is our friend.

    Must say, however, I found the old way much more user friendly and helpful for my purposes. Sandie

  30. Ellie said

    I find it difficult to understand why people are getting pages and pages of results when they do a search. If I search for an author, I just get that author listed in the results and again with titles. I rarely use the BookMooch search though, instead opting for using the search Amazon function so I can find the UK editions and get more of a chance of getting a domestic mooch for them.

    The new ordering is great for when you want to find an available book to mooch there and then. If adding to your wishlists, just use the Amazon function. Personally I would like to see an option to choose whether to search BM or Amazon on the main search box at the top, especially as the Amazon search is usually quicker than the BM one.

  31. Chris Spaght said

    I LOVE DUNE!

  32. Gary said

    I’m not sure how “number of copies available” is useful — is it really better to find a book with 100 copies vs one with 5 copies? All you need is one, right? So maybe the switch used here should be the binary “any available?” vs “none available”.

    I’m also strongly with the “alpha by author (or whatever search term was used)” crowd — if I type “Herbert” to find Frank Herbert books, I’d want to see all the Frank Herbert books grouped together, not interspersed with the Herberts I am not looking for.

    So I vote that this is a major step backwards — you now need to be a lot more specific with your search terms in order to find what you are looking for, which, to me, means Bookmooch search is broken for now.

    And RE: Bookmooch now considering “Topic” to be the most important search item — if Amazon’s Topic feature is as broken as people are making it seem, Amazon must have determined that Topic is not an important way to search for books, and therefore you might piggyback off their market research and make the same conclusion. If you find more people using the Topic feature in Bookmooch, it may be because there are easier ways to get title and author results, or it takes fewer searches to do so. Because you have now changed the search environment to be Topic-centric, you may now find that author or title becomes the most used search item.

    • LaVonne said

      As the person who mooches for one of the recognized charities of this site, the number of copies available is very useful information for me. We often are looking for multiple copies of the same book. I love the new search features – it has made my volunteer work for the charity so much easier.

  33. Celeste said

    I love BookMooch and enjoy using it as well as PaperBack Swap. I just use the two sites differently, primarily because it is so much easier to find books on PBS, but easier to obtain them on BMCH.

    As a new user, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who is frustrated with the “Browse” and “Search” features. I was starting to wonder if I was getting so many seemingly irrelevant results because a title search containing, for example, the word “the” might return all entries containing “the”?

    Thanks, John, for all your hard work. BookMooch is my link to books since my local library was closed.

  34. Jordanna said

    Not really thrilled with the search change here.

    I search my favorite author’s name every day, and now I get considerably fewer results for him than I did previously. Somehow I doubt his French-language editions that have been listed for months were just coincidentally requested the same day the search was changed.

    Also, as others have said, putting “topic” above “author” just adds to the annoyance.

    • materialgirl said

      ‘Topic’ above ‘author’ is preferable for non-fiction books. If I am looking for available books on, say, quilting, I can’t possibly search by every known and unknown patchwork and quilting author.

      Thanks, John, for all your efforts to make the site easier to use. Obviously, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

  35. JAGMuse said

    I have to agree with folks that this new search method is even more frustrating than the previous version. As has been said, at least with alphabetical, the author I’m looking for is all grouped together, whereas now it’s interspersed with lots of junk, and there is no way to resolve that.

    I absolutely love BM, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into it, but I continue to find the user interface incredibly frustrating, and therefore do all my searches on other sites (LibraryThing mainly) so that I can be as specific as possible in my search on BM – browsing is something I don’t even consider doing on BM. AND, 9 times out of 10, I still end up having to do the search through Amazon, because the BM search doesn’t bring up anything useful on the first zillion pages of results. For those of us with more esoteric taste in books, it is now even harder to find those more unusual titles.

  36. Francoise De Smet said

    John, I am sorry for putting this here, but I don’t know where else to turn. For the past several weeks now, I have been unable to access the website. I tried both Internet Explorer and Firefox. I tried without my firewall (ZoneAlarm). I always get the message that the server at bookmooch is taking too long to respond. I even tried middle of the night. I have dial-up connection.

    Bookmooch is the only site I can’t access. Really weird!
    Is there any place I can get help? Thanks a lot. Missing you all!
    Francoise

  37. Grace said

    Seems screwy to me. When I search for an author, I only want books by someone with that name, not 47 different authors all jumbled together who *might* have some relation to the wished-for author. Case in point: if you search for Terry Pratchett and then hit English, you currently get 2 books by him, plus 17 books by other authors, including Tom Clancy! What the heck does Clancy have to do with Terry Pratchett?

    Another problem is titles disappearing when you hit Title. I searched for Christopher Stasheff and got 49 books, all available for mooching. When I hit Title to sort, the number dropped all the way down to 5, all with 0 copies available. What’s up with that?

    • Doug A said

      “Title” isn’t a sort button; it’s limiting the search to books with “Stasheff” in the title. None of the available books list his name in the title, so they don’t appear in a title search; since no available books appear, it instead lists unavailable books that do match the criteria (if you look, you’ll notice that they all have his name in parentheses after the name of the book).

      Tom Clancy appears in the Pratchett search because someone, probably Amazon, thought he was related somehow, and so “Terry Pratchett” is one of the topics listed for some of his books. The unrelated books only appear in the “Topics” section, however; if you click “Author” they’ll go away, and only books with Pratchett as the author will be left. (This has nothing to do with the new sorting system; searches for Pratchett have always turned up unrelated books where he’s listed as a topic.)

  38. Sam said

    Hi John,
    I too think that your doing great stuff in improving bookmooch. I’m a fairly new user but I’m impressed of the website and the folks behind.

    I would like to kick start an idea (maybe someone sometime wrote about something similar already, who knows…) basically it is about this:

    Let’s say I have 10 books in my inventory since a while but nothing is happening. So I asked myself, what can I do to recommend some of my books to people on bookmooch which might be interested in these. I tried out the “recommendation” button but there you need to know a user name or ID – which – I don’t.

    So I had this idea. How about a recommendation tool. Let’s say, I want to recommend to someone a book from the author Lee Child to someone else. (This someone else is probably someone who has already read one of his books or genre, or, other variables).

    I know – there is the wish list. But the wish list is passive – a recommendation tool would be active. It would be a single request and not a database list. See, teh thing with the whishlist is, taht someone has to know the book he wishes. With the recommendation tool he would get recommendation of books he already read (or similiar). This also would bring some interaction of the users moving.

    Just soem brainstorming here.
    What do you think?

    cheers
    sam

    • Sam said

      Also,
      I read a few times now that users think that the actual interface is “frustrating”. I need to admit that we could do a better job here.

      I’m a webdesigner and would love to help improve booksmooch interface in my spare time. As charity obviously.

    • amberlianne said

      There’s a function already where you can go through your inventory and send “book available” emails to anyone who has the book wishlisted. You have to do it one at a time, but the function is there. 🙂

  39. bookel said

    I’d also like to see alphabetical order back please. Trying to find authors who use initials (eg. N. L. Ray, H. M. Hoover) and when entries only show the last name or initials when they don’t normally (Allan, M. E. Allan) it makes it very difficult now to find those books among the ones available. I don’t want to have to keep clicking author all the time to go to another page. The wishlist and inventory are alphabetical. Why not search results? Then we won’t have to look at every single result in case it is missed…

  40. Janice said

    New method works for me. Thanks.

  41. Terri said

    i think ive read every comment on every topic tonight.. wow
    people certainly want alot for nothing..
    being a former designer i have sympathy..
    i love it here because of the community feel and not the “i want more.. i want more” tone of the pay sites and just wanna sell you something sites..
    been there done that.
    simplicity and honest effort appear totally unnoticed these days..

  42. Sandra said

    Strange how I just had an issue with the Search function and I come on here and there is a posting from John about changing the Search results. I guess great minds really do think alike. My problem is still unsolved though. I am about to become a first time grandma (thank you, I am way too excited) and I wanted to search for books to read to my new grand-daughter and I went to Children’s books, (0-2 years old.) Go ahead and try it yourself and see how inappropiate the listings are. After the first couple of pages of very adult fiction and no childrens books at all, I gave up. What is the answer? I don’t know.

    • leanne said

      I have this problem too. I mostly want to mooch children’s books for my 3 yr old (and I’m also a children’s illustrator). Like the “suduko” problem above, the categories are just inappropriate to the titles that come up when you check it. “children’s” doesn’t seem to bring up books for kids, “gay and lesbian” has everything but, etc.

      And yes, Terri, people are expressing their frustration etc with a free site it is true. I have also noticed however that people are involved, appreciative, and very much notice when changes are made… And yes, it is free, but also, it is our time and if one offers a site with 300 pages of search results of books for kids ages 0-2, it would be nice if those books weren’t the Kama Sutra, 300 Indonesian Recipes, Modern Christianity on Abortion etc… when that is the case, it would be better NOT to offer those 300 pages to the public (or registered members who volunteer their own library contents, sending them off at cost to themselves). It really isn’t “free” to use bookmooch… I’ve spent way more here than on amazon or abebooks in the past six months. (yes I understand it doesn’t go to bookmooch, but they are the ones offering a service, actively soliciting members, working as brokers for us to spend our $ in return for points)

      cheers.

  43. rise said

    I hope that we will return to the alphabetical listing of search results. It’s easier on the eyes.

    Thank you.

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