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Building Shepherd - Progress, Shelves, and Browsing Books

193 authors have now committed to writing a best book list for Shepherd’s launch (or have already turned one in). The response has been amazing 😃.

Feb 8th - Feb 19th.
Upcoming Launch News
We are working on the frontend and everything is on track for an April launch. Here is a screenshot of a very early version of the front page.
Very early screenshot of the frontpage as we work on it.
Very early screenshot of the frontpage as we work on it.
What's next?
I am working with a very talented designer to figure out how to show related book lists. We want readers to follow their curiosity so getting this right is very important. Here are some early mockups as we play with different ideas.
A very basic version with two lists sorted by strength of connection.
A very basic version with two lists sorted by strength of connection.
Integrating it into the book list feels distracting.
Integrating it into the book list feels distracting.
What else? Shelves!
I finished the spec for a feature we are planning to launch in the Summer. It is called a “Shelf”, what does it do?
Shelves allow you to browse through the website like you are walking through the aisles of your favorite bookstore - along with little notes on why each book is recommended.
A Shelf is a big collection of books and book lists around similar topics. So we would have a shelf for “World War 2”, “Norse Mythology”, and “Philosophy”. Then, under each of those Shelves, you would find a list of books recommended by experts in that field.
Categorizing books in a way that can be scaled is HARD. So I hope that the way I’ve designed Shelves will scale to thousands of topics. I spent a lot of time looking at BISAC and other book categorization methods. I do not think they are designed with readers in mind so I am going my own route.
Over the next four weeks, I will be working with a designer to create mockups of what it will look like. I will share those as I get further along.
Have a great weekend, thanks for listening to my rambles,
Ben
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Ben Fox

Follow along as I build the Shepherd book discovery platform (updates every 2 weeks).

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