At the beginning of 2016, we started down our path by overhauling our book pages and book cards. This followed by even more changes, both internal and external in the code base. We’ve introduced member blogging, added a newsletter system for authors, updated member profiles, quickened site response speed, upgraded author storefronts, improved security, and even lowered prices.
It’s pretty safe to say that the current version of ThirdScribe is a vastly more capable platform then we could have ever dreamed of back when we first launched in 2014.
Today we finished pushing out the latest update to ThirdScribe, completing our ThirdScribe 3.0 initiative. It is, to put it bluntly, a significant addition to the ThirdScribe system.
These many changes allowed us to achieve two longstanding goals for ThirdScribe: an Open Book Catalog and Book Clubs.
We’re Opening the Book Catalog to Everyone
Since our launch we've only allowed authors to enter books into ThirdScribe. Until now.
Books in ThirdScribe are intertwined with author pages and websites, linked by our Enter Once system. Because of this, the book’s author has the final say on a ThirdScribe Book Page, not us. Authors set the purchase links, update the cover art, and manage the meta-data. This is why we’ve only allowed authors to enter books into ThirdScribe since our launch.
With this latest update, all members can enter books into ThirdScribe while still preserving authors’ rights concerning their books.
Our intent here is for ThirdScribe to be the most capable, open source, user generated library/bookstore on the web. Able to power everything from a reader’s personal library to an individual author’s website.
When a ThirdScribe member adds a book to the catalog, they will be prompted to select whether they are the author or not. Reader created books will remain unclaimed but available to all. When an author becomes a ThirdScribe member, they can claim any of their existing books in the catalog. Once claimed, the author’s profile pic will show on the book’s home screen and the author will be able to assume managerial control of their books.
As an extra benefit, now members can easily tell if the author is on the network or not directly from the actual book page (always a pet peeve of ours on other book networks). If the author is showing on the front, they are a member. If not, not (but hopefully someday soon!).
Book Clubs Bring It All Together
ThirdScribe’s mission is to bring people together through books. We started with giving authors a better online presence that was more effective and easier to manage than traditional website platforms. Our book pages are, literally, like nothing else out there, providing members with unprecedented control over content, purchase links, and presentation.
Book Clubs are the next step.
Book Clubs are a social concept based on our book pages, but not tied to any specific book. They have all of the tools of a book page: social stream, calendar, messaging, forums, and extra pages. Extra Pages are blank slates and can be used for all kinds of purposes: editors picks, book lists, sales, even newsletter signups. In a lot of ways, they’re like a Facebook or Goodreads Groups, just much more flexible and without the advertising.
They can be used to tie together a book or comic series with multiple runs and authors, like the Aquaman group pictured above (I’m a huge Aquaman fan, so I created that one). I activated the forums and created custom pages to provide a list of the Aquaman titles by series run, as seen below.
They can also be used as a powerful, yet low overhead, space online for both traditional and virtual book clubs. The calendar can be used to schedule meetings, the messaging for communication, forums for discussion. Extra pages could hold both the current book for discussion as well as all earlier books. I started the SoCal SciFi Society as a virtual book club and we’ll be reading a new book each month.
Or, a Book Club could be used by book stores, podcasters, or book sites to have a presence on a book network that helps them engage their followers and grow their business. The forums could be used for book discussions, messaging for news and announcements, the social stream for posting pics, comments, sales, event information, or just friendly conversation. Custom Pages can be created to help promote sales, feature books, or gather newsletter signups. The possibilities are wide open.
Members could create Book Clubs to focus on their favorite authors or series. To discuss books in movies and television. To explore core topics in cooking, science, exercise, history, politics — anything that crosses multiple books and authors.
A Bright Future
Connecting through books is what Thirdscribe is all about. I’m thrilled to announce these new features and the opportunity they bring. I hope you are, too.