I was very excited to click on BookBrowse (a guide to reading material for ages 9 through adult) the other day and find that the website has been redesigned! The new look seems far more appealing and user-friendly. Read further to learn about what has changed.
The goal of this redesign was to improve both the form and function of the website. BookBrowse’s search tools are now more powerful, and there are also enhanced features in the book club section.
I recall thinking (and probably mentioning) when I first wrote about BookBrowse, that they offered a lot, but that it was all crammed together in a dated web design. Very valuable tools (like the Book Finder) were completely hidden in the menu along the top, and the busy-ness of the site made it hard to focus on any one thing. That has all changed!
Major points of interest are laid out in horizontal boxes along the page. One of my favorite features, The BookBrowse Review, is now one of the first things you see. Remember, this is a great way to learn about books that are about to be published, read reviews, and catch up on book-related news.
The Book Finder is another item now readily visible at the top of the website. It appears in a square on the right-hand side of the page and is called “Find a Book.” Users can select between Fiction, Nonfiction, Mysteries & Thrillers, and Young Adult genres. The Book Finder now operates slightly differently as well. Now, when you select a category, you are instantly offered a huge selection of books that you can then whittle down using the filters along the right hand side of the screen. The filter options seem to be the same from what I can recall (options to limit by genre, time period, setting, theme), but now you can see the number of results in each section before you click. The whole search process is much more transparent and easy to follow than before.
In the middle of the webpage you can scroll through the week’s top picks as well as search for Read-Alikes both by title and author. Finally, at the bottom, you can find the features directed toward book club members. Before you select your next book for book club, search through genre-organized categories to find the titles that already have prepared reading guides and questions to make your life a little easier! Now you can also get advice on how to moderate meetings, stay on topic, handle a dominator, and select books, etc. There are also some recommendations for games you can play to break the ice. If you’re looking for a casual book club to take part in or if you just read a book and you’re frantically trying to find someone to discuss the ending with, check in with BookBrowse to see what books they are currently discussing. There are five active discussions at the moment, and you can always look back at previous discussions to see what peoples’ opinions were.
If you haven’t noticed, the green menu bar still exists along the top of the screen, and this is another way to find what you are looking for. Check out the “Free and Fun” heading! Library members have two chances to win a free book! Solve the wordplay puzzle or simply enter your email address into a random drawing in the Book Giveaway section. These two contests typically run for about two weeks.