Please make the site easier to use

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I love the concept of bookcrossing, but hate the implementation on the website. Having released over 160 books, only one or two of which were ever officially 'caught', I cannot help but think that the clunky and arduous way the site works is one of the big reasons for why the book book tracking element of bookcrossing fails so miserably.

It's mindbogglingly complicated to 'release' a book. First, I have to add it to my library to generate a BCID. Then, I have to write a journal entry. Then, I have to add release notes, which is a multi-step process involving a second journal entry.

WTF. Journal entries? Four-page web forms?

When is someone who happens upon a registered book supposed to use bookcrossing anyway? When they find a book? When they have read it? When they release it again? Are they, too, required to make multiple journal entries?

Almost everything should be optional. A book needs a unique identifier (the BCID), maybe a QR Code, and then the only required element should be the location and an indicator for "picked up at Location" or "set free at location", ideally with a nice Google Maps integration, and perhaps even a mobile app.

Bookcrossing should be fun, quick and intuitive. It shouldn't feel like a bureaucratic chore. Please, please, please fix your site so it doesn't make potential users give up in frustration. Making it mobile friendly is nice (the web design feels about 15 years old by now anyway), but really, you need to fix the obsessive bureaucracy and make the website simple and fun for impatient users.

 

It shouldn't feel like a bureaucratic chore.


You're right, if it didn't feel like such a bureaucratic chore I might have been able to register 46,323 books in the last 16 years.

 

Almost everything should be optional.


I understand your complaints, but almost everything *is* optional already! You agree that registering the book for a unique BCID is not optional - and that's all you have to do, really. You can release books without making release notes at all, or you could edit the initial JE to add a line about where and when you dropped it, or make a new JE for a quicker version of a release-note. You won't get the books-released stats, but if that doesn't matter to you, you can save yourself some aggravation that way.

As for finders, they don't have to do anything at all, which is why so many books travel around un-logged {wry grin}. But finders can add a single JE if they like, and it doesn't matter whether it's when they found it, when they read it, when they passed it along, or all of the above.

Could things be better? Of course! But I'm just glad that the site's still here after all this time, that Reno's making some long overdue changes to help the mobile-device users, and that the many volunteers who put in time and effort to keep things going are still able and willing to do so.

Some of your specific requests would be nice, and have been requested in the past; and perhaps, once the current changes have had a good shakedown, some of those requests will be revisited. Hang in there!

 

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