The Making of Coverlist: Part 3

I’ve been thinking about these posts (read the first two here) and how to make them more useful for others and less of myself rambling. So, I’m going to include more links and lists. 

That said, I’m at my parents’ house in southern California enjoying an endless supply of perfectly brewed coffee and helping them clean out the fudge supply. Love the holidays!

Goals For Last Week:

I wanted to stop coding and start working on user acquisition. But, my imagination got away with me and I solved a few more problems instead. 

I wanted to track down names and contact info of people in the publishing industry to do Q&As for the coverlist blog and pull together resources for my planned Pinterest programming – both of which I still need to do. 

What I Accomplished:

I asked my first-ever question on Stack Overflow – two people answered and a combination of their responses worked!

Afterward, I came to another epiphany – I didn’t need to create a new controller for each of the voting actions – I could have the top action add 3 points, the second add one point and the third add zero. That way I don’t have to worry about negatives. 

Now, if I were to A/B test a book cover, I’d be able to keep score. Score 🙂

Goals For This Week:

– Test Assumptions: I’ve had a few new ideas. What if the site behaved like Medium rather than Pinterest – users collaborate to create Collections rather than making their own shelf? I might run a survey with a Facebook ad (targeting book clubs) to gauge interest.

– Experiment: If I were to A/B test book covers perhaps I can clone Coverlist to a separate Heroku app at, where I would stage books (25?) according to a theme. 

– Fix Olark

– Put books in order of score, not id

One Thing I Learned:

I had the opportunity to show Coverlist to a few relatives over the holiday. I’m lucky in that several people in my family are longtime employees of their local library, and also in book clubs – so I was able to get another perspective. 

People complain that they prefer physical books because of book ownership – if they bought the book they want to be able to resell, lend or see on a shelf. I think identity and ownership are two separate things. If you check out a book from the library, you don’t get to keep it on a shelf – but you’ve still read it and identify with it. 

Coverlist can own identity. 

Maybe I don’t care if I direct people to Amazon or iBooks to buy a book and whether they keep the book forever or it’s lost with a device. If they’ve read it, it is part of them and is on their Coverlist. 

Perhaps someday Coverlist will create an interactive map of the world with all the libraries plotted out with tips on selection and best times to go and more. Maybe we’ll make an app for finding local bookshops. 

If someone finds a book to read on Coverlist, perhaps we don’t need affiliate income every single time they decide to buy – there could be a business in not caring how people acquire and read books, just celebrating them.