Just over 10 months ago in December 2013 my co-founder Marius and I were sitting nervously in front of a computer. We’d just pushed the first version of BitLit to production on Android, and I was about to hit send on an email to about 500 people who’d signed up on our landing page.
I pushed send…Nothing happened.
Over the next few weeks a few people downloaded the app and took pictures of random books, but none were from the two dozen publishers we’d signed up. It was over a month before somebody randomly tried a book from a publisher we had on board. We celebrated, but it was obvious we had a discovery problem. We needed to find a way for users to quickly check their entire library to find books eligible for download.
We considered barcode scanning, but we all felt that asking somebody to scan all their books was only a minor improvement over scanning covers. Then we noticed that readers were already taking pictures of their shelves and tagging them as #shelfies on twitter… what if we could accurately identify books from a picture of somebody’s shelf in the app?
The Shelfie feature in BitLit is a quick way to get an inventory of your entire bookshelf and find out which of your paperbacks are eligible for digital bundle upgrades.
Shelfies in BitLit are simple: take a picture of your bookshelf and let BitLit do the work cataloguing every book on your shelf. Once the images are done processing, you’ll get a list of all the books on your shelf and a shortlist of any books that might be eligible to download through BitLit.
Over the next few months, we’ll be rolling out lots of fun features for your Shelfie. But to start with, we’ve created a fun way for you to know your shelf: a word cloud based on the genres of all the books you’ve read. Here are some #shelfies from our team.