- Preview the site developments we have planned for the coming months,
and let us know what you think. Add a comment
I started this page in July 2006, I imagined that it would be a
convenient place to discuss the development of TheBookGuide. A lot
has changed since then, but most of these developments have ended
up being covered in the news section of the appropriate guide page,
or in the Shelf : Life blog. All these pages receive much more traffic
than this one, so I will discontinue posting here, and the page
will be removed in the next site rewrite. Add a comment
site development continues to be handicapped by both the lack of
time and money. On the other hand, our users and advertisers mostly
seem to like the site, the reliability of our listings continues
to improve, and the site's popularity steadily grows.
particularly encouraged by the high level of user and advertiser
involvement, and their enthusiasm for contributing often turns a
chore into a pleasure. However, in order to develop the site any
faster, I simply need more hours in the day ... Add a comment
I hope that at least some of the changes made to the site over the last few months
speak for themselves - I've just been too busy doing it, to write about it.
On the database front, we have all but finished migrating
over 1,000 bookshop listings to their new home. It should be up and running in
December, and in the new year we will start to introduce more advanced search
features. All that remains is to make the news sections and Shelf : Life blog
database driven, and finally the tyranny of the static page will be banished.
have been many occasions when I have questioned the wisdom of taking the open
& PHP route
but it will allow us to have complete control over the data. Coupled with CSS
& XHTML it
should cut site maintainance time dramatically.
from a lot of the time-consuming drudgery of maintaining the site, I can devote
much more time to developing both the editorial and user-generated content.
challenge for next year will be to give TheBookGuide the promotion it now deserves
After numerous delays the Bookbinders Directory will return at the end of the
month. The on-going process of checking old entries and adding detail will take
a little longer, but the end is in sight.
Diary is growing by the day, with nearly 60 auctions which include books, listed
for July. I'm confident that once the auctioneers realise the value of having
their auction listed here, they will cooperate by improving the detail they supply
for the Book Section headings.
We are about to start
transferring the bookshops to an online database, and when completed it will have
a major impact on the amount of time we have spend updating the site.
the database work is completed we will be able sharpen the look and functionality
of the site, and hopefully spend more time developing the editorial content.
What's New? Well for once the answer is quite a lot. The fairs database is now
bedded in, and the auctions database should go live this week. I'm managing to
keep on top of the bookshops listings in their current form, so we have decided
to do the bookbinders database next, and populating it should start in the next
few weeks - Colin's work load permitting.
is starting to look different, I've simplified the logo and produced a library
of image based links and ads, some of which I hope you've noticed. :)
beginning to see how the site can be rewritten in a fully standards complaint
CSS form - and recently working on the site has been a pleasure, rather than the
chore it had become. Lets hope I can continue to find the time and money to keep
up the momentum.
Although we are only
just starting to test the new databases, I have managed to get the existing site
up to date - apart from the Bookbinders Directory, which was so out of date, I
decided to temporarily suspend it.
I've had a number
of offers to help with data entry and testing, for which I'm most grateful. If
you could spare an hour or two, the time could be well spent here.
also been talking about the site's development with a young design graduate who
is keen to increase the size of his portfolio, and it looks like he could provide
some standards compliant templates, at an affordable price.
short, all the elements in this long overdue rebuild finally seem to be coming
together, and in a few months we should have a site that might not immediately
look all that different, but will be functionally transformed. Add a comment
Apologies for the continuing delays in updating and adding new listings. Rapid
growth in the site's popularity has pushed its capabilities to the limit, and
it is now a nightmare to maintain. The new fully interactive, database driven
site we're working on, is desperately needed.
I'm extremely gratefully to all of you who send in updates and reviews, what I
most need at the moment is help in getting the new site up and running. If you
can spare a few hours, we can find a task for you. Simply agreeing to test the
new site, for example, would be enormously helpful. Add a comment
Summer's end always seems to be a quiet time for auctions containing books - but
I have to confess that we have not yet persuaded enough provincial auctioneers
to notify us of sales that might be of interest to book collectors.
of the problem is that the smaller auctioneers often have little notice of the
content of their next sale. However, the new book auction database - which we're
currently working on - will make it a great deal easier to keep in regular contact
with auctioneers and should produce much improved results later in the autumn.
The new database will also mean that you will be able
to search much more precisely by region, town or sale content. It should also
enable me to give you more timely news of up-coming lots.
Add a comment
increasing number of readers are asking me to announce their events in our news
sections. I'm perfectly happy to do this, but pressure for editorial space means
that any news item may only be visible for a few days before being archived. Not
a lot of use, if what you really want to do is "advertise" your event.
personally find most advertising on the net intrusive and irrelevant to my needs
- and our readers have commented on how much they value it's absence on TheBookGuide.
However, it's clear that our readership is attractive to a number of advertisers
and that closely targeted advertising could actually help readers find the information
they are looking for.
currently trying to develop a low impact but high profile approach, which I hope
will satisfy those who wish to advertise, without alienating our readers.
Add a comment
I hope you will find the addition of Google site search useful, and would appreciate
any feedback. It's not intended as a substitute for a fully database driven site,
but as a tool to help navigate an aging site, while we make the transition.
Add a comment
Within weeks of Barry Shaw's announcement that Bookdealer
was to retire, two initiatives seeking to perpetuate its For Sale and Wanted sections
have been launched. We wish Bookdealer Fortnightly
and Books Wanted well - but it can't be too
long before the last computer-challenged bookdealer chooses to retire.
closure means the loss of much more than a largely outmoded business model, we
are also losing our trade paper. Bookdealer was simply … there. Non-subscribers
could always borrow someone else's copy to make comments or advertise, and everyone
kept a copy of the London Fair's Issue. How in future will we find each other,
or know what's going on? Where will we discuss new business models that might
help us to survive? Who will mark the passing of time, friends and colleagues?
most UK bookdealers now use the internet - to some extent - in the buying and
selling of their books, comparatively few contribute to its online communities.
A tiny proportion of us participate in the ABE forums, or the other online discussion
groups and mailing lists. Why? Well, it could be because they are seen as complicated,
time consuming, boring, American-centric, or loony dominated … but what they all
are, is unstructured.
has a clear purpose, and one of its greatest strengths is the growing number of
readers who participate in updating the site, and who increasingly want to debate
the future of the used book trade.
We are currently
looking at ways of developing the site to better reflect this, and at the same
time turn it into a more efficient tool for finding places to buy and sell old
books. Add a comment
The August issue of Book & Magazine Collector includes the first "Out
and About" column provided by TheBookGuide, featuring fair and auction dates
for the coming month. Add a comment
announcement that Bookdealer
magazine is to cease publication at the end of July, brings to a poignant and
emphatic end many of the UK book trade's traditional, but increasingly arcane
phrases such as "Wants Adds" and "Report Slips" have an almost Dickensian ring
to bookdealers who embraced the internet nearly a decade ago, Bookdealer's closure
will mean the loss of the de facto home of the UK's secondhand and out-of-print
nothing will replace Bookdealer, I hope that TheBookGuide will continue to develop
in ways which will better meet the needs of both bookdealers and their customers.
do let me have your comments - particularly about usability
- as well as suggestions about what else we should (or shouldn't) be doing ...
Add a comment