I have further tweaked the My Reading List Facebook app. In this post a quick tour with printscreens of its new features.

featured image

This has been promoted to one of my favorite web/programming projects now :) The Google Books API does a great job in providing rich content for a wide range of books. With the integration of the Amazon customer reviews and the info My Reading List users are adding, it is becoming a powerful tool to share your reading and inform yourself about potential next reads and/or book purchases. With this new release, it is easier to find and add new books to your list. You can find much more info per book. And the overall look and feel have been improved as well. A quick tour what is new:

3-way autocomplete

When you search a book from the search box in the header you get a result devided in: 1. books already added and by who, 2. books not added but found by the Google Books API with a link to add them, 3. matching usernames for the search string sorted descending on the number of books added:

autocomplete gives 3 results back

The "adding book" autocomplete search box

... is always visible now. It was hidden behind an "add book" button. This was not necessary so I made it always visible at the top of the homepage:

add book always visible

When you select a book from the autocomplete a form slides down to add it to your reading list:

when selecting a book

Edit everywhere

Instead of one edit place, the app shows you click-to-edit buttons (nice jQuery plugin) everywhere it detects a book from you:

edit everywhere

Easier to find your books

After some time you can build up quite a reading list. When you click on "Edit Books", you get an overlay with your books. At the top you find a filter box that, when you start typing, show you matching titles on the fly:

edit iframe - filter box

New book pages

Each book has a page with more info than before, apart from the Amazon reviews, this data comes from the Google Books API:

book pages iframe

And as more people start adding books, sometimes you see multiple reviews from My Reading List users for the same book (Steve Jobs bio as an example here)

what my reading list users say about the book

Similar books

Google Books API can be queried for similar titles, that is what I integrated further down the book pages (example for a book about Git version control software):

similar titles

Easily add books to your reading list

... from the book page, if you click the "Add to My Books" button, you get an overlay identical to the "add book" form we saw before. When you add it with or without review, the overlay closes, the page refreshes and you are linked to that book.

add book from page
overlay to add book

Amazon reviews

Last but not least, and one of my favorites: integration of Amazon customer reviews. I really wanted this feature to be integrated! Today I had some time to check out the Amazon Product Advertising API. It had some nice technical challenges which I will dedicate another blog post to. If the app manages to get an iframe URL with reviews it is visible on the books page. There is also a link to the Google Books reviews (different sources is a good thing!) and a link to buy the book at Amazon:

amazon reviews are there (YES)

Where is it?

As mentioned in my last post I put My Reading List on its own domain now. You can subscribe to updates by following the My Reading List Facebook page. All new titles that get added are streamed to Twitter as well.

Previous blog posts

If you have doubts or questions, or you just want to know more about this app and its feautes, I have been blogging about it for a while now (descending order):


Bob Belderbos

I build useful apps and share my learning About me