I’ve been spending the day working on my books page, to make it a better place to go for readers looking to easily download some sci-fi, or some fantasy or horror because I’ve written a few of these types of novels as well. In my quest to create a truly great books page I started by looking at some pages created on other writers’ sites. I started with one of my favorites, Alastair Reynolds. The book age on his site is surprisingly sparse considering the large number of novels he’s written. It was sure inspirational to look at just based on the sheer number of books available, but not because of the design. You need to know a little about the books he’s written to understand it, which is fine for a famous author like him, but probably not so much for a relative unknown like me.
Next I went to Cory Doctorow’s Craphound.com. It has a shop page that is a very different experience. Where Reynolds’ book page is all text with buy links hidden at the bottom, Craphound’s page is dominated by giant book covers and buy buttons. The page seems to assume you know all about the books before landing there. I’m aiming for something between, I think, with a chunk of text and a picture of the cover for each book.
I’m working on it right now, and the first part is getting an Amazon iframe to float left. This was a little tricky, and involved some googling and experimentation, but eventually I got the Amazon picture links to play nice. What I did was I added an align left style atrribute. The add went to the left of the screen and the text wrapped round it, just like I wanted. The problem was, it wrapped too tight, so I added 16 pixels to the width and height parts of the code, then filled that space with padding and border attributes of solid white . After all that, the iframe floated left and the text didn’t push right up against it.
Then the next part will be to write nice, short blurbs. As soon as that’s done, the page will be a lot better already. Then I’ll start thinking about what other tweaks and improvements the page might need from there. Such as, I have been toying with the idea of making all the covers look the same style, even though there is quite a range of genres in my books.
Whether that’s a good idea or not, it’s a problem for the future, because all I want to do today is get a link and a blurb on the page for every book, including the box sets.