Take a look at the screenshot above: it’s been like this, more or less, for four or five days now. Ultima Kiosk, the virtual newsstand for iPads of Simplicissimus Book Farm and Kiurma, ranks high among the most downloaded apps of the News category. Right now it’s trailing behind Rai News 24 and some others, but it’s ahead of all the other news media you can see (Flipboard included, yeah). In short, it’s already working, and it’ll work even better as soon as we’ve included the more “generalist” news media with which we’re about to sign.
A booming but quite appropriate title, as I will attempt to demonstrate.
Ultimabooks.it is the online bookstore of Simplicissimus Book Farm, okay.
Yesterday the first version of a major remodelling of the site went online, a project we’ve been working on for some months now, take a look.
Well?, you may be thinking. Well, it’s a nice site, attractive and pleasant to use (disclaimer: there are still some bugs here and there, report them by Twitter, thanks!). But it’s not revolutionary for what you see, but for what you don’t see (yet) which I’m giving you a preview of here (it’ll still take a few weeks before it goes online):
This is the revolution, condensed into the little icons shown above (a fifth one will be added for share). Those icons will soon find space on the many shelves making up Ultima Books, finally providing a concrete realization (this is the idea behind it all) of that which Internet experts have been saying for years but nobody had the courage to put into practice, at least in ecommerce: passing the power from seller to buyer, and an ecommerce site, especially if – like a bookstore – it sells products that can be found anywhere, more or less at the same price, must adapt to this law.
Follow my reasoning a little further: some more, some less, but all online bookstores seem to be a showcase, managed by the bookseller who tries to offer you what he’d like to sell, promoting this or that product, putting it right under your nose to the obvious disadvantage of others. Why? Because he earns more this way, because he thinks it’ll interest most people, because the author or publisher pay him money to put it in the limelight… All legitimate reasons, of course, but it just doesn’t make much sense on the Internet.
We’ve decided to bet on what everyone has been advocating for years: on the Internet the user rules, it’s useless to try to force this or that product on him because he’ll just flee and go somewhere else to look for what he likes. So what have we done? It’s simple: Ultima Books will be composed of thematic shelves set up by the bookseller, as you can already see; but in a few weeks the icons shown above will appear on the face of those shelves, allowing the user to do the following:
- collapse the shelf, closing it;
- move that shelf, deciding what to keep in view and what to move to the bottom;
- DELETE that shelf!
- ADD a new shelf, entering a keyword in the search box that appears at its center, and thus creating all the shelves you want, ordered thematically according to your own preferences and constantly updated with the latest releases.
In short: Ultima Books will literally be the user’s bookstore, and the bookseller his servant.