Byzans, online book clubs

just saw this because i was browsing bookriot, a site that is new to me. sounds like a goodreads replacement. i’ve been halfheartedly thinking about divesting from goodreads because amazon, but have taken zero steps toward it.

questions i should answer before using it: who runs byzans? what’s their business model? what’s their community like? do i want to sign up for more centralized services? (i do all the time, who am i kidding)

is this a quest?

I’m gathering things. What is gathered in Goodreads/Byzans? Maybe I have ideas. :slight_smile:

I ask, because I don’t know why folks use Goodreads. Please explain their use and model, from the user perspective.

what i use goodreads for

  • tracking books i read, when i read it, what i thought of it.
  • quotes. if i use kindle on iOS or my kindle paperwhite handheld to read a book (whether i got the ebook by giving money to amazon, or am borrowing the ebook through san francisco public library/libby), i can highlight passages i like and leave a comment if i want. they show up on goodreads as private notes (to me). i can toggle a switch and make them public (on goodreads). i can also copy-and-paste the text here, which i’ve done for a few books. i could manually type out quotes i like instead, but i never have.
  • i like reading the quotes i’ve pulled out of books i read months or years ago. it reminds me of how i felt when i was reading it.
  • metrics (# of books in X span of time, books by an author, books by subject or genre)
  • books i want to read
  • it makes me feel a dopamine hit when i move a book from to-read to read
  • it makes me feel happy to see the graphics for the book covers on a shelf, like? i’m proud of the books i read (sometimes. sometimes i’m ashamed of the books i used to read or of the books i haven’t read lol)

yes, i could do those any number of other ways. pencil and paper, talkgroup, my blaugh. so this leads to… why do i use goodreads?

  • my friend worked there years ago pre-amazon and had a good experience for a while
  • social features, i follow a bunch of friends and acquaintances and have a feed of what they’re reading and their reviews
  • they pay employees (well i assume it’s not all unpaid interns but that’s a dangerous assumption) to drive user engagement by posting blog posts encouraging us to participate in yearly reading challenges and making us think that using their product is “good for us” the way that any capitalist has to convince us of that to get us to give them money or attention. so i happily comply by selecting a yearly goal of number of books read, and the goodreads ui prominently shows me a progress bar based on how many months have passed this year and how close i am to my goal and how many books i have to read per month for the rest of the year.
  • i can see meaningless statistics that nonetheless make me feel less lonely, like the number of randos i don’t know also reading some book
  • i like firing up the goodreads iOS app and webpage because i think the brown and tan color scheme is cute and as mentioned above i already buy into the perhaps-falsehood that engaging with the product is “good” for me because encouraging me to read is good

like anything else, it’s convenience, and nothing i “need,” and mostly things i didn’t even know i “wanted” until a marketer got its claws into me and convinced me i wanted it.

i have zero defensible justification for using it. i just do.

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I built a survey platform, and one thing I’ve been figuring out is how to store arbitrary flags on a given object in WordPress.

I finally found a plugin that did it, and they just give each user a post tied to a given object (say a book), and then use tags to use as the actually flag.

So you are reading The Exploits of Moominpapa, and you “own” it and are “reading”, you’d create a non-public record with those tags, and the page is built by polling all the related posts and their tags.

Which means that I fucking know how to arbitrarily tag anything for anyone, personally!

I was planning on building this thing so I could drop all those games I’m tracking. Discourse is great for very simple structure, but the benefits of freeform text are not making it easy for me to track stuff the way I want.

Also I plan to make a game that loads books and video games and cannabis strains as other stuff, including creatures to defeat (cannabis is basically real life herbal Pokemon, with somehow sillier names).

Almost too easy, though I wonder how to export them. I did this once, years ago: I exported the bookmarks from a devices as XML, and converted it to RSS and imported it to a WordPress instance just for my book quotes (searchable, it was great). I imagine now we have easier format conversion options.

Flag. :slight_smile:

My idea is to create a queryable database, where a person can generate their own bookshelf. And I can make ready-made templates. I mean, I guess I can even make like, JS snippets that pull in data, but that’s so boring.

Incidentally, I use these storage metaphors in my naming of collections: gamebox, cardbox, bookshelf… @judytuna, do you have a GOG account? They do “shelves of games”.

Thanks for the run-down. I’ve a much better idea of how I want to gather books. :slight_smile: