We've been asked what the differences are among the various language sections of the new BookFinder.com site (currently in beta at beta.bookfinder.com).
The overall concept is pretty simple. Each language site (e.g. BookFinder.com French) searches for books in a different language. Language, not country. For example, BookFinder.com French pulls up French books from places like Belgium or Canada. It doesn't matter where you're located. Looking for a book in French? Use BookFinder.com French. Simple, non?
So how do the various language sites vary from each other? Many of the differences are behind the scenes. Here's the rundown.
- each site searches a different set of bookstores and listings services, optimized for that language.
- searches are more accurate, based on language-specific filters
- books are bunched and sorted appropriately for each language
- inline book jargon is interpreted correctly for each language
- different colors, whee!
Why don't we search all bookstores and listings services at the same time? We have to consider technical and usability issues.
On the technical side, we have to deal with resource concerns. A bookseller who sells books only in Swahili doesn't want to have BookFinder.com search her inventory database every time someone's looking for a book in Chinese. Booksellers from around the world are more likely to work with BookFinder.com if they know that we're not unnecessarily burdening their technology resources with searches for books they couldn't possibly carry.
On the usability side, we have to deal with the fact that many authors are frequently translated (e.g. Stephen King, Karl Marx) -- there may be copies for sale in every language. If we keep adding booksellers from around the world to our search, then dozens of editions in other languages would keep popping up every time someone ran a search for a well-translated author. That makes the site hard to use, and gets very annoying very quickly. Better to have multiple language sites; good fences make good neighbors.
Finally, we come to the issue of English language searching. The "normal" BookFinder.com site has always been optimized for English, but we never advertised it. We've now made the default search the official English language search. We could have renamed it "BookFinder.com English" and made the URL http://beta.bookfinder.com/english/ (instead of plain old http://beta.bookfinder.com/), but we decided to keep it on our home page to maintain consistency and optimize for the fact that most of our users are looking for English language books.
We plan to add more languages to the site (Spanish and Portuguese are on our list), and add more booksellers to the languages we already do support.
Hope this clears stuff up somewhat.Posted by Anirvan