Welcome to Libreture, the place that puts BOO! into e-book!
That's me practising for Halloween, and being on brand, and doing "the marketing". Well, that's enough of that, on with the updates.
What we're up to
Since starting Libreture in 2017, I contracted a development company in Norwich to build, maintain and add features to the site. It was going quite well, but late last year they made the move away from client work, and I began the search for a new development partner.
A few months ago I hit gold. Libreture has a new development partner who is busily updating our infrastructure, codebase and hosting. We're even in the process of moving hosting providers that will include 'managed hosting' as well... ooooh!
I feel a lot more confident in our plans now and and VERY excited for the future. More updates on the specifics and details on the migration very soon. And more changes to our roadmap!
Oh, and the branding is getting a big refresh too!
Yes, we have a roadmap! All the cool sites have them.
It's over here, if you'd like to take a look. We've had one from the beginning, and as you can see, we've managed to tick a lot of new features and changes off it.
A roadmap tells us where we're going and what we have to do to get there. Well, that's only partly true. It tells you what you have to do to get where you want to go today. Tomorrow that could all change.
The Roadmap as it stands today is up-to-date and correct, but some of the items I have crossed out as no longer needed may be back in the mix. For example, if we're going to introduce reading stats and help readers record how long it took them to read a book, the feature to Pause Reading will need to be re-introduced.
Recording the time it takes to read a particular book needs to include the period where you stopped reading it, and know when you eventually came back to it to carry on reading. The Pause Reading feature would help with this.
So, I'm re-evaluating everything, and checking it lines up with the Big Idea.
The Big Idea
Even before starting Libreture, I firmly believed that readers would benefit most from a healthy e-book ecosystem, rather than the monopolies and silos we have today.
The 255 DRM-free bookshops listed on Libreture are testament to a somewhat healthy (or at least 'still alive') e-book retail sector, right? Many of these bookshops are independent, and many are shops run by publishers themselves.
Libreture's goal is to provide readers with the infrastructure that these bookshops simply can't provide to them. That includes e-book storage, reading activity recording, favourites, recommendations, and marking where you bought each e-book to help others find new bookshops.
The goal, in turn, supports independent e-bookshops. Readers can visit Libreture, discover a book they'd like to buy in a DRM-free format, and follow a link to an independent bookshop that sells it.
Readers and bookshops both benefit from a closer relationship. A relationship that supports readers in buying widely, instead of from a single e-book supermarket.
We have to get back to buying from a variety of shops, ones whose aims are to sell us good books we love to read, and pay the publishers and authors well for them. Libreture's only a part of this. I've been working on other parts too:
Scarlet Ferret is my independent e-bookshop with extras!
Stocked with hand-picked e-books, predominantly by indie authors, Scarlet Ferret is about discovery, fair prices, and multiple DRM-free book formats. Each e-book comes with exciting digital extras, such as short stories, artwork, recipes, music, guides or maps!
Discover books and authors you haven't met before.
The Epubizer helps you discover indie e-books!
A magazine format site, The Epubizer includes reviews, features, serials, and lists. It also contains a Guides section to help readers get started with buying independent e-books and move away from the large retailers. The Epubizer is also home to the Bundle Tracker, helping you keep on top of all the e-book, comic and RPG bundles out there.
These two sites, along with Libreture, are part of an approach to support indie readers, authors, publishers and bookshops. And they ALL need your help!
I want to talk more about the ideas behind these sites. Please subscribe to the Libreture newsletter so we can keep in touch!
In the meantime,