AmazonFail Prompts the Creation of a new online community

After the infamous AmazonFail, when the popular online bookseller was accused of denying GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) books access to its promotional systems, Mel Keegan was prompted to take a closer look at the way GLBT books were categorized and subjugated all over the web.

Most consumers rely on large search engines and companies to find book recommendations and information. But when these entities filter out content that is related to gay literature and books or fence them into a separate category that is not offered the same promotional services, potential readers are left without the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. In turn, authors of such books are robbed of the opportunity to be noticed in the way that many mainstream authors are.

Fueled by the AmazonFail news, Keegan decided to create the GLBT Bookshelf: an online community of writers, artists, publishers, reviewers and readers where the emphasis is on gay books.

Where to Keep the Books

Keegan and his team knew that the GLBT Bookshelf would eventually be a community of thousands. Initially, they envisioned a social network similar to Facebook or MySpace. But without funding, those types of networks were just not an option. When thinking about the actual functions the GLBT Bookshelf needed, they quickly realized that wiki was the way to go. Authors would be able to create their own pages and readers could post reviews, comments and ask questions.

Building the Bookcase

With many wiki software packages available, quite a bit of research went into selecting the best one for the GLBT Bookshelf. The primary considerations were functionality, affordability and ease of use.

"The editing tools presented to end-users had to be powerful, yet simple enough to make contributing to the wiki doable for people who are admittedly challenged in terms of computer literacy. EditMe won hands down," said Keegan.

Stocking the Shelves

The GLBT Bookshelf went live near the end of May 2009. In just over two months, the site has over 300 members and approximately 2000 pages featuring 700 books. The goal of the team is to triple these numbers by the close of 2009. With the community growing rapidly via social networking, Keegan has plans to begin formal advertising and PR initiatives, eventually making the GLBT Bookshelf a leading resource for readers and authors of gay books throughout the world.

GLBT Bookshelf

"The solution had to be something that could be worked on by thousands of individuals across the world, but also be within the budget of a single individual."
- Sara Lansing GLBT Bookshelf Press Secretary

The Challenge 
  • Develop a niche community to fill a gap left by big business policy
  • Find a software application that is simple enough for the average user to navigate, contribute to, and understand
  • Create an online, information-sharing community within the budget of one individual

The Solution 
  • The EditMe wiki format encourages a interaction and the formation of an online community
  • EditMe features comprehensive site search and is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly
  • EditMe offers an extremely competitive pricing structure