We went ahead and rolled out the new version of Lendle, last Thursday, and the response has been really positive, thus far. We wanted to provide a bit more detail about some of the new features, and some of what it still to come, and the thinking behind our redesign.
First and foremost, we hope everyone has noticed some speed improvements. Both the book lists (what we’re now calling carousels) and the timelines have been optimized to load faster, and with less lag. Timelines now start loading new content before you get to the end of the list, which should make for a more seamless scrolling experience. Search results should now be faster and much more accurate, as well.
Book covers are now bigger, and we’ve reintroduced Amazon’s editorial reviews. These are available by clicking on any book cover or by visiting any book detail page on Lendle. We’ve also made it easier to submit soundbites by featuring the form more prominently on book detail pages. (Don’t forget that adding soundbites is another way to earn extra borrow credits!)
The big new feature we’ve added is a Book Club implementation. As of right now, anyone can join an existing club, if it’s public, or request to join an existing club, if it’s private. New clubs can only be created by our Patrons. As they exist today, clubs are a great way to engage in discussions with other Lendlers. We realize that there’s a lot we can still do to make this feature even better, but we wanted to provide a playground and then add features that will fit the way you play.
There are some obvious additions coming: Moderation tools, a notification system, and the ability to associate specific books to clubs and discussions are all around the corner. And, of course, we’ve already taken note of some excellent suggestions that we’ll likely implement. One of the groups we started, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, has already pointed us in the direction of some great books that we’d not heard of and there are also clubs centered around Christian books, Erotica books, and Young Adult books, to name just a few.
Book Clubs will evolve over time, as more and more are added. For now, we just hope everyone enjoys our first giant leap into social territory.
MORE TO COME
We have a few other features that we’ll be launching that didn’t quite make it into the new version of Lendle, and we’ll be taking all of your suggestions into account for overall usability improvements.
WIN A KINDLE FIRE!
There’s still time to refer new Lendlers for a chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch 3G. Get your unique referral code and tweet it, shout it, text it, email it – however you want to get it out there – and both you and the person you refer will have a shot to win! There’s no limit on entries, so the more new Lendlers you refer, the better your shot of winning.
You’ve got until the end of the month to enter and you can see all the details and contest rules over on our FAQ.
Patrons remain our primary source of revenue. All the money we pay out via Amazon gift cards, the ability to keep the servers running, our giveaways – all of this is tied to the generosity of our Patrons. As more Lendlers sign up, we can afford to pay out more for lends, we can come up with new contests and, most importantly, Lendle is more likely to be around for the long haul.
We think Lendle is a great free service, unmatched by any of our competitors. We have a bigger selection of unique titles than Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (10,000 vs. our 14,000 – and Amazon’s newest service only allows for one lend a month!) and it’s often faster to get books through Lendle than it is via OverDrive and your local library. We also think that $25 for all of the great Patron features we offer – and all the new features you’ll automatically get as they are added in the future – is an amazing value.
Is Patron worth it? Yes, for Book It: Patron level is worth it for one reason, the ability to ‘book’ and not ‘reserve’ books. Everything else is nice, but extra… The ability to ‘book it’ reserves you a place in line. And once you move to the front of the line, you have to option to get the book, or wait until you are ready to read it. I currently have over 100 books ‘booked’. Many of these books are books that no member now has ready to lend. But I am booking for the point when someone joins with that book. I am essentially treating these books as a future wish-list. If I have any interest, I book a place in line and make a decision to actually read the book later.
We agree: Book My Spot is worth $25, alone. We’ve also changed up the way we display advertisements, so it’s worth noting that, as a Patron, you’ll never see any ad, anywhere on the site. These are just two of several great Patron-only features…
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