I’d like to sing praises of the Now Reading WordPress plugin, which was just what I was looking for. In any case, I’d like to finally officially put up my library, and it’s now linked on the main navigation. ♥ I love how the plugin works. Yay! I haven’t integrated the widgets yet with my miscellany section, but it will get there soon. Book reviews will still be posted here in the main blog, and linked/included on the book page itself. :)
On to the actual plugin review — the plugin was very easy to install (no PHP files to edit), and easy to get used to as well. Clean interface, plus almost all information you would need in a library plugin — book status, rating, review section (even if I’m not using it), when you started reading and when you finished. Plus meta tags for everything else! I had fun adding a few meta information of my own, like the language of the book I’m reading (English? Filipino? Translated from what language?) or the series it belongs to. I could probably keep going on and on with the meta information, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. ;)
I did modify my installation a bit to serve my needs a little; such as:
- return the post ID connected to the book; this was important to me because I didn’t plan on using the reviews section of the plugin, but keep posting my reviews here in the blog (since I review not just books but writing tools/sites/etc as well); I needed the post ID in order to be able to add the actual post into the book’s page (with the help of the Get-a-Post plugin)
- allow for books with no finish dates in the
average_booksfunction; since I plan to store past books (as opposed to “books from this point onwards”) as well in the library (like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice) and I wouldn’t know when I started/finished them as it’s so long ago, I needed to modify the function to make sure it excludes those books from the computation
- fix usage of the
$echoparameter for the
book_ratingfunction; I do a lot of
if()statements in my templates (if there is this information, if there is that, etc) and since I was showing rating information, I needed this to work
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the plugin isn’t robust enough on its own — not at all! It’s just a little more customization to meet my specific needs.
Speaking of customization, this plugin was fun to customize to fit my theme. There’s a bit of a challenge in the sense that there was a lot to look out for, but oy vey, I was quite pleased with the end result. Actually, it made me feel like I wanted to change/redesign my website layout to fully utilize the wonderfulness of the plugin’s customization ability!
I obviously don’t have any complaints, but if there’s anything I’d be interested in seeing in the future, it would be the two following things: a link to the Amazon detail page once you turn up search results for the book in the WP admin panel, to check if it’s the edition you want (especially important for books that don’t have cover images); second, the ability to easily update the “edition” of a book. I’m guessing that this might be easily done by updating the ISBN in the database, but I haven’t looked too deeply yet into how the plugin is made to be able to say it for certain. I’d love that feature since I’ve added a few books I’m still looking for, and I might not get the editions I wanted.
I’d definitely recommend this plugin to any WordPress blogger who’re looking to incorporate their reading habits into their blog. It’s fun, powerful, and most especially easy to use.
P.S. If anyone have got plugins for this plugin (imagine that, even plugins for a plugin! *squishes it*) I would love to hear about them. ♥