Create a visual reading list, suggest titles to friends, or just get a taste of books you might like.
A local Sooke couple has created a social media site for book lovers. The site, BookNibblr, allows users to make lists of books, suggest titles to friends, and share books they’ve read, in an easy, visually appealing way.
It’s essentially a place where people can share their library with others, according to co-founder Philippe Lajoie.
“It’s a really visual way to share books on the Internet with friends and family,” adds co-founder Jessica Champagne, who is also Lajoie’s wife.
Lajoie and Champagne, both 30, came up with the idea for BookNibblr in response to hearing people complain about wanting an easier way to share their reading lists.
BookNibblr provides users with a simpler, more elegant way to browse books and keep track of their reading lists, says Lajoie, who is a web developer with the Greater Victoria Public Library.
“A lot of sites you go to for book reviews and things like that, there’s so much content that they throw at you,” he says.
“The idea was just to try to make it zen… make it simple and let the user see exactly what they want to see.”
As a graphic designer and writer, Champagne says she finds other book sites intimidating and not as fun or easygoing as they could be.
She thinks the visual aspects of BookNibblr will appeal to a lot of people.
“When you can’t pick up and feel a book, cause you’re on the Internet, it helps to have some other kind of stimulus,” Champagne says. “The visual nature of it helps to make up for not holding the book in person.”
The couple collaborated with GVPL to create the site, allowing users to connect to local libraries to find and place holds on books.
The site currently links users to more than 100 libraries across Canada and the United States, as well as Amazon, so people can browse new books and purchase them if they wish.
The site isn’t just for bookworms though. The couple hopes the site attracts casual readers, teens, and even kids.
“I hope people will just connect with each other, have fun with it,” Champagne says. “You don’t necessarily have to be a bookworm to get something from it.”
BookNibblr users can suggest books to other users, “like” books, as well as follow users, books, lists and even categories or genres.
While the site is currently only in beta, or test, mode, the couple hopes to have most of the site complete by the end of summer.
“We’ve been launching in increments because you find a bunch of new bugs everytime you invite new people,” Champagne says, adding that they just opened the site to the public last week.
The site currently has about 80 users; mainly family, friends, and librarians.
“Right now it’s still small,” Champagne says. “We just… opened up the option of even letting (users) invite friends, so who knows what that’ll bring.”
The goal is for BookNibblr to spread nation-wide, but Lajoie says, they’d like to find ways to keep it local.
One way the couple plans to do that is by keeping users up to date with information about the writing scene in their respective cities.
“We’d still like to find ways to encourage local writers,” Champagne says.
Users will soon also be able to write “bite-sized” reviews of books on the site.
“We want to make it so that people can add mini-reviews… little snippets, kind of like the Twitter of book reviews,” she says, adding that they would, however, like to keep the atmosphere positive.
“It’s a site to talk about books you like and not obsess about books you don’t like,” she says.
BookNibblr is currently only accessible by invitation. To learn more about the site or request an invite, see booknibblr.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.