Introducing Natively - A free community book sharing site with over 900 popular books graded by difficulty

Hi guys! I’m excited to introduce a website I’ve been working on for a while. To put it simply, it’s a free community website where you can find and share leveled Japanese books. It’s called Natively (https://learnnatively.com/).

Main Features:

  • Browseable collection of over 900 books, each one graded by difficulty with links where to find it
  • The collection contains all the most commonly read books, including every (?) WaniKani book club book (Yotsubato, Shirokuma Cafe, Nichijou, … etc)
  • Allows you to keep a digital bookshelf - you can mark books as ‘wish list’, ‘in progress’, ‘finished’ or ‘stopped’
  • Dynamic difficulty grading system based on user comparisons of books they’ve read
  • Share your public profile or view other profiles to get inspired
  • Write reviews for the books you’ve read
  • It’s free

How does the grading system work?

  • Users can grade their previously read books by comparing them two at a time, choosing one book to be harder or the two books to be similar difficulty
  • User gradings are then put into an Elo rating system
  • see here for more info

It’s still very much in it’s infancy, so please share any thoughts or feedback! And if you have any particular books you want added, please either submit it on the site or leave in the comments with a link & estimated level. It’s extremely easy for me to add books. Thanks! :slight_smile:

Links

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Signed up! Found a book I recently bought and plan to read… Um… I added it to “stopped” for the lack of a better option…
I love the “bookshelf”/owned similar sites have =)

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Awesome! Yes that’s on my to do list as I also want that. I usually put it in ‘wish list’ but agreed, you should have an ‘owned’ mechanism. I’ll just add that right now.

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Ok! Added an ‘Owned’ status and updated your stopped book to owned :slight_smile:

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what a cool project to start! I love this idea. it reminds me a little bit of Goodreads, but specifically for those of us learning Japanese! I signed up and look forward to getting more use out of it in the future. WK book club links is always nice to have, and I like that I can find other readers of books I’m looking at. :v:

(=´∀`)人(´∀‘=)

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I haven’t signed up yet, so I don’t know if that’s why I got those issues.
Some books do not have a “add to wish list” button:

Some books do not match the level range selected (example for 40+, getting things < 40):

Edit: oh, I just realized for the first one that those are related to book series. But books that are series are sometimes just put as single books (a bunch of light novels are like that, like 氷菓 or Re:Zero)

Saint Young Men is shown as “novel” but it is a manga (and a series).

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Ohh yeah just what the doctor ordered :o I need more reading materials

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That makes me super happy to hear! Yes, it’s a lot like good reads… very much my inspiration haha. The fact though that it’s focused on language learners really changes the dynamic!

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Some books do not have a “add to wish list” button:

You’ve found my nemesis. No this isn’t a bug… it’s just some of those items are books series and some are books. You can’t add / review a book series so the buttons aren’t there. I’ve definitely thought about ditching them as I agree, the UI is a bit confusing. Edit: Ah I see you got it now… yeah.

Some books do not match the level range selected (example for 40+, getting things < 40)

Yeah in the N1 & N2 levels I didn’t have enough content I felt comfortable putting on the Browse Page (I’m only an N3)… so I did include a few things outside the explicit levels. Generally, I just put things there I thought people might be interested in, but it certainly might be worth revisiting. I’ll think on that feedback.

Saint Young Man is shown as “novel” but it is a manga (and a series).

Oh thanks. Will fix.

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I see that it’s possible to edit some info on the book page. Is it possible to add links to WK book clubs and to change the type (e.g. book → series; novel → manga)?
Anyway, another that is misqualified: The Melancholy of Haruhi is a series.

Edit: also, oof, I don’t know how you are going to deal with that, but there is an entry for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as a single manga book, but that’s the one based on the movie. There’s also a manga series with the same title…

Also, how to deal with manga series with different content based on the edition (e.g. I have the second edition of ARIA with had some chapters reordered in the latest edition, both have extra chapters compared to the original edition)

Edit2: the cover of the series of KonoSuba is the one from volume 2. I don’t know if it’s on purpose.

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Right now, you can only alter / add links on the book pages, but one of my next projects is to allow editing the ‘more information’ links, along with editing more book details. Thanks for pointing those issues out… will fix! Most of these books I haven’t read and did the best I could.

Edit: Right, Aria is an especially weird edition… I agree. In general I don’t think editions will cause a lot of issues, but we’ll see. I think usually you can just say you read a book and not worry about the edition. Regardless, books in general are just a bit of a mess… even look at Amazon. Just doing the best I can :sweat_smile:

Edit 2: If you want, you can also just shoot an email to brandon @ learnnatively com if you continue to see issues…

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Sure, that’s why I’m pointing out as many things as I can :wink:
Allowing people to edit directly is a bit of a double-edged sword. Maybe make it so that changes have to be vetted by an admin (e.g. you) before it goes through.

Should I click on “request more books” every time I notice books are missing or only if I want to mark the books as finished/owned?

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You can go ahead and just do it wherever you see books missing. I did a first pass of adding all these series which was not complete, but now I’m ready to finish anything you mark off.

With regards to editing details concerns, yeah… I am logging all changes made and I agree I’ll eventually need some sort of admin system. But you know, roll with it until it’s an issue! :slight_smile:

Really appreciate the help!

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I’m currently grading the books I marked as finished
85/471 right now :sweat_smile: I don’t know if I will be able to do everything at once.
If I just move away, my progress is saved, right?

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Oh boy haha. Yes everything is saved. And I probably should say that!

If you grade all those books though, you’ll be top grader on the site :joy:

Eventually I’m going to need to make the system smarter so you don’t have to grade as much…

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By the way, a bunch of us have a bookmeter page listed in the 多読 thread, if you want some inspiration for adding books. :wink:

Edit: it’s really hard to compare the difficulty of novels versus manga :sweat_smile:

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By the way, a bunch of us have a bookmeter page listed in the 多読 thread, if you want some inspiration for adding books. :wink:

Thanks for that call out! Saved that and will definitely peruse. In general I lean on what my users request, rather than trying to guess the level of things and adding them myself :sweat_smile:. But anything super popular I like to add, so I’ll read through… may put my own goals too! I like the idea.

it’s really hard to compare the difficulty of novels versus manga :sweat_smile:

yeah I know haha. At the end of the day I wouldn’t stress too much (can always say you don’t know), but the data will be valuable. I haven’t really read advanced novels compared to advanced mangas… so would love to hear your thoughts :grin:

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This looks awesome! Started grading some books…
I‘m gonna request some of the books I‘ve already read as well. :slightly_smiling_face:

Since the ratings everyone gave are all kind of dumped at the bottom of the page: have you considered maybe only showing comparisons relevant to the user? So, when checking an unread book, only showing comparisons to books in the user‘s library, etc.
(At least I‘d be more interested in that than in comparisons to books I don’t own and don’t plan on reading.)

Since Naphthalene pointed out the 多読 thread:
Most people have a Bookmeter account linked in the big table there, maybe you could somehow scrape the data for people‘s „Read“ books? Bookmeter also has the Amazon link on the book‘s page most of the time.
(If you’re not even looking to add a bunch of books automatically, then ignore this)

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I’m just using skip on that. I don’t know how I would compare 風の谷のナウシカ which uses old Japanese words like 汝 and 朕 versus a book like ハルヒの憂鬱 that has everyday Japanese, but put into page-long complex sentences. Both present different types of difficulties. So I just vote “I don’t know” in those cases :woman_shrugging:

Unrelated, but do you plan on having some kind of “affinity” measure between users? On bookmeter, you get a list of the top 10 users with the most affinity with you (taken from the books you have in common), and I use that to get additional recommendations.

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Thanks! =D
I’m a bit of a hoarder so that list is not tiny :wink:
I am working on getting them moved to “read” :crazy_face:

I’ll enjoy going through and adding all my stuff when I have time! =D

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