bookfilter. no, really.
March 20, 2003 8:45 AM   Subscribe

A New Friend in the Neighborhood: In these day of high blood pressure and massive alcohol consumption, perhaps what we all need is to sit down and read a good book, instead of endless op-eds and political commentary. And then maybe we could sit down and talk about it afterwards. Yes, friends, the rumors are true: BookFilter is open for business.
posted by kaibutsu (41 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Awesome! I just read this great book about some ham and eggs that turned verdant (apparently due to some kind of improper storage).

[this is good]
posted by ColdChef at 9:02 AM on March 20, 2003

First thoughts on this post:

New boy in the neighborhood
Lives downstairs and it is understood.
He’s there just to take good care of me,
Like he’s one of the family.
posted by smackfu at 9:06 AM on March 20, 2003

Wonder how long it will take this site to get up and running. Not long, I hope. I read two to three books a week and the thought of having a community to discuss them with leaves me wiping drool off my keyboard.
posted by orange swan at 9:15 AM on March 20, 2003

Outstanding idea for a site. I wish it had an "about this site" page or something, though. I'd like to see some guidelines for the site. For example, if I link to a book at Amazon, is it kosher to do so with my Amazon associates ID?
posted by jdroth at 9:16 AM on March 20, 2003

I tried to post a link, but it said I needed to log in. I tried logging in with my MeFi info (for fun) and it worked, but every time I click something it tells me I'm not logged in. Is BookFilter related to MeFi at all?
posted by verso at 9:23 AM on March 20, 2003

For example, if I link to a book at Amazon, is it kosher to do so with my Amazon associates ID ?

Why not have all Amazon links from bookfilter, have the referrer the creator of the site.

The referrals could pay for the bandwidth.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:24 AM on March 20, 2003

Are you somehow implying massive alcohol consumption and reading are incompatible? I usually read at least a few books a week, and I usually have at least a few (sometimes more) drinks a day. Reading while drinking is a fine, time honored activity.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 9:26 AM on March 20, 2003

I wish it had an "about this site" page or something, though.

yeah, I hope that the guidelines sort of determine themselves. Self-policing and all. A metatalk might be useful ("booktalk?" "metabook?" "metafilter?"), to keep such discussions out of the, um, white. There are also some features I'd like to see implemented, like a linking button when posting comments. but I suppose this isn't the place to talk about it.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2003

Yes, I agree that it's a nifty idea and I'd like to know more as well. FAQ, perhaps?

Come to think of it, I'd also read MusicFilter and MovieFilter. But by that point, I might need a FilterFilter.
posted by vraxoin at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2003

Is BookFilter related to MeFi at all?

bookfilter is registered to the hidalgo trading co. don't we have a mefi member by that name...? or is that spelled hildago
posted by t r a c y at 9:38 AM on March 20, 2003

Why not have all Amazon links from bookfilter, have the referrer the creator of the site. The referrals could pay for the bandwidth.

This is a keen idea. Where is interrobang, anyhow? He sets up this site and then isn't around to answer questions about it...

I'd also read MusicFilter and MovieFilter.

Imagine if somebody created WarFilter; there's one I'd never read. :)
posted by jdroth at 9:39 AM on March 20, 2003

Speaking of book sites, does anyone remember the late, great, a site listing millions of used and rare books for sale, before it was bought by, and essentially obliterated by Amazon? Originally, it was a largely text-based system, with a simple interface, and thousands of participating dealers. You could search by author, title or keyword, it was lightning-fast, most of the listings had great descriptions of the books and their condition, and it worked. The URL today takes you to the Amazon used books marketplace, which is not one-tenth as good, and seems to have lost most of the interesting dealers.

Unfortunately, in April 2001, Bibliofind's security was compromised and exposed user credit card info to hackers. A month or so later, Amazon announced it was going to absorb the operations rather than keep them separate.
posted by beagle at 9:40 AM on March 20, 2003

Bibliofind was a great. I found many inexpensive rare books through that site.

After Amazon swallowed Bibliofind, rose to fill the ensuing void. I haven't used abebooks except for a few brief searches, so I can't comment on its utility or its interface, merely on its existence.
posted by jdroth at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2003

Bookfilter is the best news I've had all day. Excellent.
posted by Prospero at 9:57 AM on March 20, 2003

Beagle: Try Abebooks results are included in Bookfinder (which is sort of a meta search of other used book sites).

And bookfilter is very cool indeed.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:01 AM on March 20, 2003

I learnt about bookcrossing today also. Two new ways of using the internet to spread the love of books. Bargain. Thanks for this thread.
posted by walrus at 10:10 AM on March 20, 2003

Our very own Wren had a nifty little site up for a year or so, the now defunct GardyLoo! Sadly, the site and Wren herself seem to have fallen out as of late.... She has not updated her own site for a while now.

GardyLoo! was pretty much the same kind of site, with a book of the month, reading schedules, open areas for discussion of just about anything you wanted to talk about regarding books, and even had a little area for everything else.
I'm glad to see someone putting together a similiar site....I enjoyed posting to GardyLoo!, and have missed conversing with others who share an interest in discussing this kind of thing.
posted by bradth27 at 10:11 AM on March 20, 2003

There seems to be one flaw in Bookfilter (or the current (all-amazon) posts to it), namely that you can't comment properly on a post unless you've read the book.
posted by none at 10:11 AM on March 20, 2003

Yay for BookFilter!

I just joined and made a comment - ten seconds in all, no problem. It feels...right! Whom should we thank? Whoever you are...thanks!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:12 AM on March 20, 2003

Beagle: Try

Sample BookFilter troll: "Haven't read it."
posted by me3dia at 10:14 AM on March 20, 2003

Is something one would have to be literate to know about? Because I can't read.
posted by starvingartist at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2003

There seems to be one flaw in Bookfilter (or the current (all-amazon) posts to it), namely that you can't comment properly on a post unless you've read the book.

A. Not all of the posts are Amazon-linked. :)

B. Lack of experience has never stopped people from posting comments at Metafilter!

C. Still, you make a good point. There are many, many books in this world. Bookfilter might have a tendency to move toward a discussion of only those which have been widely read: Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Jordan, etc., if members could only discuss books they're read. My hope is that people will use the books as jumping-off points for further discussion. For example, I want to learn more about photography, so I posted a request for information on photography books.

I think the site shows great promise, as my enthusiastic posts probably indicate.
posted by jdroth at 10:33 AM on March 20, 2003

I'd also read MusicFilter and MovieFilter.

I'd quite like ImageFilter, something like a community scrapbook.
posted by richard m at 10:47 AM on March 20, 2003

kaibutsu! How did this leak out so fast? I made a mention on FreeFilter that I'd finally set up the site just a couple of hours ago.

Then I changed my MetaFilter user page to add a link to the MetaFilter Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time. Then lunch and a quick meeting.

A couple of hours later and the news is out, I find a Metafilter link and five links on BookFilter. I am amazed how fast news travels.

I figured I'd have a couple of days playing in the sandbox alone. Try a color here or there and then wait weeks for people to notice.

As for the questions about the site:

(1) BookFilter is in no way related to anyone at MetaFilter. God knows they wouldn't want to blamed for that crappy color scheme.

(2) I started it because I wanted somewhere I could find out about cool books in an environment similar to MetaFilter. FreeFilter was announced and I thought "Well, I need abuse."

No, I thought, "If BookFilter is available it is a sign from God." It was and, like Joan D'arc, I am soon to burn.

(3) I'm working on a "about BookFilter" page. I'm not a programmer and I'm trying to figure out how to add it to the code.

(4) You have to join BookFilter to post. We don't share MetaFilter's user base. We also don't have any way to limit posts right now. Please have mercy.

(5) For now I think I can manage the bandwidth fees. I'd like to keep BookFilter free of Amazon (or other company) links. Mainly, to keep it independent. No one can claim anything was posted to make me cash if I don't make any.

(6) t r a c y: Hildago isn't a part of the Hidalgo Trading Company. I'll not explain that for now. Maybe the MoJo folks can ferret out the meaning. :)

(7) none: That's a feature. You don't have to feel guilty if you don't or can't comment. Like a library you can just pass by the books that don't appeal to you. Or maybe a book reminds you of another book you have read. You could make that comment and help those look for "more of the same."

(8) me3dia and starvingartist You two deserve awards for fastest on the draw.

(9) Miquel: You're welcome.

(10) jdroth: Good points. I've always felt 3-4 good comments far outweighed the 100 "ditto" comments. I really hope that those making posts on BookFilter are happy if they have only a few comments.
posted by ?! at 10:52 AM on March 20, 2003

Sample BookFilter troll: "Haven't read it."

I think the word, me3dia, is ROTFL. "Hey! There's a war on - who gives a shit about books?" is another one.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:01 AM on March 20, 2003

Interrobang: Sorry, I think I caught one the mention of it in the SciFi thread. Then I checked back at the site every single day to see if it was open yet. Because this is going to rock like the rock don't stop, yo. Sorry if I did bad...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:10 AM on March 20, 2003

I'd quite like ImageFilter

There are some sites, such as that have this kind of thing, though not in a MetaFilter type format. You might want to check them out, richard m.
posted by jdroth at 11:27 AM on March 20, 2003

kaibutsu: Not bad at all. Anything that makes me move is a good thing. PS: I love your introduction.
posted by ?! at 11:28 AM on March 20, 2003

Suggestion: an option to order alphabetically by name of book, perhaps? This is not a novelty driven thing IMO, and once there's a significant amount of books, it will be cumbersome to wase through the whole thing by date to find comments on some book you're interested in.
There should be a "title" field in the submission form, and the title of the book should be clearly stated in the post.
posted by signal at 11:29 AM on March 20, 2003

I hear Jonathan Franzen has already declined to have his book mentioned on BookFilter.

But seriously, folks. I'm already a member.
posted by tommasz at 11:48 AM on March 20, 2003

Great idea, ?!, and thanks for putting up the MeFi SF list!

Another good used-book site:
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2003

I have already read some Neil Gaiman and William Gibson because of the sci-fi thread, I can't wait to see what Bookfilter brings. What a great idea!
posted by allpaws at 1:03 PM on March 20, 2003

?!, I kid because I love!
posted by me3dia at 1:22 PM on March 20, 2003

I joined and when I rolled over my username, I was #1 (vanity, oh, vanity). Then I realized everyone was #1! Is this like some kind of stock option plan in case we turn around and decide to sell the userID on ebay?
So, will alot of bored early-30-something housewives now gather at a friends' house for their "Book Club", log on to BookFilter and simply commence with the wine drinkin' and gossipin'?
posted by chandy72 at 1:24 PM on March 20, 2003

Don't forget Singlefile Books: Singlefile Books is an easy-to-use web-based service that helps you organize (and share) the books you own, the books you are reading, the books you've read and the books you want to read.
posted by fried at 1:27 PM on March 20, 2003

Forget Singlefile Books: Singlefiles Books is a web-based service with average ease of use that charges you $40/year to organize the books you own, and which then uses the Amazon API to plaster links all over each book's page so that when your friends visit your shared library they're inundated with "related books" and "suggested reading", and when your friends click on a link, they're putting the book in their Amazon shopping cart instead of being taken to the book's page, and then any referral fee goes to singlefile and not to you.

Singlefile is a great idea that's hampered by greed.

Come to think of it, doesn't fried have a vested interest in Singlefile? Isn't this a gratuitous self-link of the worst sort?

Okay, okay. I'm being a little harsh. I still intend to find time to put all of my books into my Singlefile collection, and Jason's a good guy. I just think the link-spamming on each Singlefile page is a bit over the top. No: a lot over the top. And Jason's post is just an ad for a service he operates...
posted by jdroth at 2:08 PM on March 20, 2003

Okay, I was being a lot harsh. I regret making the above post. But what can I say? It's how I feel. I should have e-mail Jason in private (and I'm doing so now) instead of sniping in public. I apologize.
posted by jdroth at 2:20 PM on March 20, 2003

I just joined and made a comment. Easy as pie.

I've wanted something like this for awhile. It's been difficult not to post about certain books on MeFi just because I wanted to see if others have read them.

It'll be fun to watch the site develop and I hope everyone lends good support.

Best news I've heard all damn day. Thanks !?
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:03 PM on March 20, 2003

I liked yesterday's logo on bookfilter better [less screen space]. and I seem to recall there was a MeTa type place called Errata? Or did I just dream that? Nice work, in any case!
posted by jessamyn at 10:01 PM on March 21, 2003

You didn't dream it. It's there. I am working on putting the link at the top of the page.

Yes, the new logo is 97 pixels high as opposed to 49 pixels for the first. It was sent to me yesterday and it looked so much more professional I couldn't resist. I'm sure it will evolve as I redesign the site. I can never leave well enough alone.
posted by ?! at 5:01 PM on March 22, 2003

I may be flat out of my mind...

But I've thrown together a prototype MusicFilter running on the oh-so-snazzy FreeFilter engine.

I'm taking the fisherman approach. I've cast my line, so if anyone bites and it looks like a keeper, I'll investigate giving it an honest domain and it's own host.

( may be ruthlessly held captive, but nothing says it has to be .com...)
posted by grabbingsand at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2003

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