Simon Zirkunow

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A Good Book Website

As a devoted follower of Bernd Kuchenbeiser’s “A Book A Day” on Twitter, where he presented books that in his opinion stood out, I jumped at the chance to collaborate with a designer whose work I admired when he was looking for someone to help him move the content to its own domain. My role was taking his design and translating it into a website. In addition, I was Bernd’s sparring partner for the various details we obsessed over during the course of this project.

After many enriching conversations (which usually started out with an elaborate look at the design details and ended with discussions about contemporary music, office furniture or Tarkovsky’s films) and lots of hard work, we launched the site in time for Christmas. It features a responsive design, high-resolution images, and amazing books waiting to be discovered. If you find something worthy, you are invited to submit your good book to the growing collection, as well.

Bernd Kuchenbeiser summed it up best: “A good book doesn’t deserve to languish on a bookshelf; it wants to be opened, read, savoured, displayed, recommended. That’s why this website exists.”

Shelfie by Bernd.
The visual overview. The site does some heavy lifting in the background: It adapts to the width of your screen and the images start loading as soon as you scroll down.
The responsive design adapts to the screen size of your device for you to easily browse the site on the go.
Once you have picked a book you’re interested in, you can open up a lightbox and find out more about it. You’ll get a brief introduction and large images from within the book.

A permalink to each slide is generated in the background for your convenience—like this one bringing you right to the cover of Neue Grafik.

Kudos to Markus Tacker for helping us out with some JavaScript wizardry.
To give you an idea of the scope, as of the beginning of 2014, there are 348 books showcased on the site.
This overview in table form comes in handy when you are searching for a specific book or need bibliographical data. I showed Bernd this sortable table feature as a “one more thing” at the end of a phone conversation. He was very happy about it and we ended up refining it for hours—time well spent.
You can sort by each column individually. If you’re viewing the site on a mobile device, we’ll reduce the number of columns to fit your screen.
The about page is an ode to the beauty of the book. It also tells the story of how the project came to be.

You can submit a book you consider worthy to be added to the collection, as well.
These are the inner workings of the site. We went with the versatile Expression Engine for content management. It allowed us to fully customize the data input fields we needed and arrange them in a sequence that made sense.

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