We have adopted a new service that we felt fits well into our SFBA community: BookWyrm – An activity-pub powered book review/management open source software.
Join the SFBA Book Club at https://sfba.club !
Setting up this new service was a fun project that filled empty time during our holiday break and it worked out great. We now have 78 active users, who have added more than 10k works/books!!!
How is that even possible? Well, some of our Book Club Members imported their book lists from other services like GoodReads. And with its latest release (which we installed yesterday) you can now also migrate from one BookWyrm instance to another one, so you don’t have to ever lose your meta-library again.
And then there is the federation functionality: When you search for a book, it also searches a bunch of indexes as well as other BookWyrm instances, which almost always brings up the book cover with its metadata already filled out. All you have to do is add it to your lists. Here are some stats from our very young BookWyrm instance:
The most useful feature of BookWyrm is probably its Discover page. It lets you scroll through the various books that have been interacted with (added to library, started or finished reading, reviewed, quoted) within the SFBA Book Club. It is a great way to discover new books that you might want to add to your list of books to read.
Overall, the BookWyrm federation is still rather small in comparison. FediDB tracks it with 25k total users on 99 servers right now. Not sure how relevant tracking MAU is for a service that tracks reading of books 😉
In terms of the effort it takes for the SFBA Team to keep this up and running it seems to be a rather light lift. The installation is fairly automated, using a well-written docker compose file and even updating the instance to the latest version was done via one command.
Moderation is very low effort at this point also. It blocks new URLs to unknown domains by default until an admin has checked the URLs to a new domain and has whitelisted it. Very clever!
The required hardware resources are also low, so the costs for running this one extra VM within our SFBA environment are rather negligible.
We are excited about this new service and are already talking about additional services we can make available to the SFBA community. Stay tuned!