How to make Mini Book Expo better

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  1. Better Coordination between Minibook and Book Publishers

    From my own experience I found the book deliveries are too long, and in one instance, book was never delivered to reviewer even after repeated requests. Good coordination is needed between Minibookexpo and publishers / shippers including online book tracking page. Also, it would be beneficial if the publishers / shippers uses Canada Post in shipping rather than using obscure shipping companies whose service may not to be on the same par.

    67 votes
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      1 comment  ·  Admin →

      The need for tracking is a good, albeit challenging piece.
      MBE sends the mailing addresses to the publisher as soon as we have them (the morning after a claim when we have the address on file already) and left it in the publisher’s hands to ship the books.
      Tracking once it’s in the publisher’s hands is problematic since they all have different processes & shipping deals.
      Maybe a way to come back to MBE and update that the shipment has been sent?

    • Frequently update Reviewers when there are delays.

      I don't think I am the only one who is wondering what is going on behind the scenes at Mini Book Expo.
      Weekly (at minimum) updates on the main page would go a long way to reducing our unease with associating with this site, because of all the mix-up, books that are more then 3 months delayed, miscommunications, etc.

      63 votes
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        I’m hoping that this issue is mainly due to the fact that we/I was unclear that MBE was in hiatus. http://www.minibookexpo.com/2009/04/on-hiatus.html

        Otherwise, we don’t know any more about the delays with the publishers or shipping than you do. Obviously, that is something we need to resolve though getting commitments or at least advanced info from the publishers on their shipping times and methods.

        I would like to see the site dynamically offer more info about what’s going on too.

      • Improve the organization of the content

        I'd like to see the available books and the reviews organized in a cleaner, more intuitive way. Right now, I find it difficult to browse books and extremely difficult to find reviews without scrolling through page after page of posts. I'd like to see books categorized (business, health, poetry, etc). Perhaps different pages for each category? A menu of available titles in each category with number claimed, number available, and links to reviews right next to each book would be great. It would save on clicking and digging.

        62 votes
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          1 comment  ·  Admin →

          We’ve been looking into this as part of the full revamp of the site. I’d love to hear more about how you think this organization would work best for you. There’s a comment section below where you could tell me more about what you would like to see.

        • The option to opt-out of a book request.

          When a book or books are delayed by more then two months, wouldn’t it be nice if there was an opt-out policy that permitted someone to pick a new book as a replacement?

          41 votes
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            When there has been an identified glitch and books were delayed for more than 2 months, we did give those specific bloggers an extra claim.

            In the case of books that simply haven’t arrived yet, how could we do a fair opt-out when the book is enroute? Ideas?

          • 41 votes
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            • Accountability from the publishers, re: sending books!

              If a publisher/publicist/publishing company, etc. promises to send books out to the people who have properly claimed books on Mini Book Expo, said publishers/publicists/publishing companies should be held accountable. If they do not honour the requests and/or there are many problems over a few months time (people are not getting their books) they should not be allowed to participate anymore.

              30 votes
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                I agree completely! We are looking into what guarantees and restrictions we’ll be placing on publishers participating in the future. E.g. we’re considering restricting the number of book & titles a publisher can offer as they start with Mini Book Expo, so we can get a feel for how quickly & reliably their shipping process works.

              • allow bloggers to post reviews directly to Mini Book Expo

                There's a form to submit reviews, can those reviews automatically be post to the site rather than needing someone to "officially" post them. It would get the reviews posted faster and would make less work for the MBE team.

                26 votes
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                • Books released

                  It would also be great if the books being made available could be released on a more consistent manner.

                  25 votes
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                    could you expand a bit more on what you mean by “consistent manner”. Do you mean the layout of the release post? Or the timing during the day? Or what days of the week? Or (since things have been kind of wacky lately) just more reliably?

                  • Allow users to track their accounts

                    I know two books isn't alot to keep track of but it would be nice if there was a way to track what books you have to review and what reviews you've made.

                    23 votes
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                    • Reviews on one side and available books on the other.

                      I would love to see the reviews on one side and the available books on the other. That way, if I want to see just reviews I can access those and the same with the available books.

                      23 votes
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                        planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
                      • remove the shipping category tags once all copies claimed

                        Often I search under the tag "will ship to US" and have to plough through many claimed books to find ones that aren't. I have a slow connection so it's not very easy.

                        Once all copies of a book have been claimed, could you not remove the category tag for that book that refers to shipping? That way anyone searching under shipping tags won't get all the claimed ones listed, only available ones.

                        If the available copies are all claimed, no reviewer needs the shipping information for that particular book any longer because they can't get it anyway. Hope that…

                        9 votes
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                        • Automatic update when books are all claimed

                          Often while viewing available books I'll see it says something like (2 copies left) say out of 5 copies only to go to the comments and see that there are more than 5 comments so they are obviously all claimed already. You need something that automatically changes the countdown as comments are made or it needs to be checked many more times a day

                          6 votes
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                          • add country flags to ease US & global shipping search

                            Perhaps the unclaimed books in the left hand column could have a flag label. Canadian flag for Canada only, US flag for books that have US shipping as well as Canada, and a globe for books that can be sent worldwide. That would provide the US and globally available books information at a glance.

                            5 votes
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                            • Advice from professional reviewer

                              Have books sent to you from publicists with SASEs included so you can mail them yourself (only post the books as available once you receive them). Also, make reviewers apply to work for MBE. Don't let just anybody join. You can install some sort of ranking system. The more reviews one does quickly, the more they are allowed to request at one time.

                              God bless,
                              Teresa Konopka
                              http://teresakonopka.blogspot.com

                              3 votes
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                              • 2 votes
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                                  planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
                                • extend the review period to two months.

                                  Sometimes one month just isn't enough. Reviewers often have the best of intentions, but sometimes life gets in the way. I think if publishers are going to be given leeway for never sending promised books and MBE is given leeway for not posting reviews to the site in a timely manner, than reviewers should be given some leeway, too. I believe a deadline is fine for reviews (as otherwise they might never get posted) but extending it a bit would be helpful.

                                  1 vote
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                                    This is a good idea, though in fact we’ve never penalized anyone for not making the 1 month rule. (Usually we’re just delighted when someone actually does the review). It has always been more of a guideline.
                                    However, you’re point is very good. If we need to put stricter rules in place around the reviewing process, we should give reviewers more time to get the books and with the books.

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                                  How to make Mini Book Expo better

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