Here at Lendle, we love stats. We’ve learned a lot just by looking at the numbers, and one of our earliest goals was to provide information to our users that would convey useful and honest information about our site and the books that have been made available.
For instance, we make a point to tell our users that we only have one copy of a book if we only have one copy. We also tell users when we have 500 copies of a book. We’re open about it even if we don’t have any copies of a lendable book.
The alternative would certainly shield us from having to publicize certain numbers, but we’d also put our users in a position of never knowing whether someone actually owns the books they’re requesting. Mystery novels are great. Mystery requests aren’t.
We take this a step farther by telling our users exactly where they are in line for a book they’ve requested. Waiting is never fun, but waiting without having even a vague idea of how long the line is can be infuriating.
There are also practical benefits to transparency: Some users may decide they’d rather buy a book than wait. Others may realize they’ve got enough time to put in another request without worrying about whether they’ll get two books at once. Some may decide they don’t want to wait at all, which shortens the line for everyone else.
There’s no more important number on a lending site than the number of books that are actually available to lend. We display that number whether you’ve signed up for Lendle, or not.
As of right now, we’re at 7,049 available books. This means that 7,049 unique titles have been made available to lend. On the other hand, we have 22,085 available copies of lendable books, because many of our most popular titles are available from hundreds of Lendlers.
Our members know this, because we provide that number for each and every lendable book we’ve catalogued, alongside historical data about how many times a book has been requested and how many requests have actually been fulfilled.
Book detail pages include an activity timeline, which gives a real-time indication of how often a book is added and how often it’s lent, as well as how quickly the queue is moving.
We think that’s incredibly useful.
We could also list every book we’ve ever catalogued, and try to impress new users by saying we have over 150,000 books in our system. What might not come across is that most of those books aren’t owned by anyone on Lendle, and of those that are, a large percentage aren’t lendable. If we ran a brewery, we wouldn’t lay claim to 600 beers if we only ever ordered 20 at a time from our distributor. Sadly, we do not own a brewery.
It’s never been about presenting the most impressive number, for us.
We’re well aware that we may miss out on potential Lendlers by being honest about our numbers, but our hope is that transparency leads to a better user experience and a better service.
We’re betting that informed users are happy users and, in the long run, we think that’s the most important metric. The number stuff will take care of itself.