Reading Progress:


Designing a Modern Social Media App for Book Lovers

Brand Design | Product Design | Marketing Creative


The book community has a large following with almost everything going for it, almost. Think about the book industry and try to come up with one thing missing. We dare you.

It’s very unlikely that you’ll come up with BOOKUM unless you know writers, authors and book enthusiasts and what they have in common.

The founders of Bookum created an App to work with all three and help connect them in their own kind of setting. They are redefining everything book related and connecting readers/book enthusiasts to authors/writers they want. Bookum is the first and only social media for the bookish community.

It’s a social networking and book clubbing app for book enthusiasts and a book world for readers in a digital/social form.

Given the MVP success, they reached out to us to help design what is basically a social media app for the book community.

Target Audience

This app is basically for readers, authors and anyone who falls in the book lover category. Specifically people that use social networks to connect through books or find books.
Readers with Bookum can easily search for the books they want, people, or clubs, get notifications when there is a new addition of books, chat message, when a club of interest is on-going, when a user views profile or connects. The Reader is able to spend time doing what they love with books without leaving their comfort zone. This category also allows book enthusiasts to create meaningful content for their own reading based community if they desire.
Authors on Bookum would be able to put out their work, while connecting and getting feedback from their readers. The main objective of this is to help Authors understand what type of books readers are enjoying and creating content that meets the readers needs. Authors can easily search for other authors, users and can even have a group reading with other book lovers. As an upside, it is possible for Authors to host virtual book launches, tours and other book related events online.

The Challenge

The average book lover wants to access books or content that cuts across different genres on digital platforms, at the same time. This proves a tad bit difficult to accomplish as there is restriction to access all of this in one place. This is where Bookum comes in, to help bridge the gap between the book enthusiast and the content desired.

The Reader and Author have specific problems they face when it comes to being in the same place with the content they desire as they do not have a specific book club or community of like-minded readers where they can find all the things they want at once without running out of books to read at the same time.

The Thought Process

To better understand the objective of the product, there were certain things we needed to consider in our decision phase. Beyond just a social app for books, we needed to get an in-depth insight into the underlying factors that relate with the product.

  • User Experience

So first we aligned with the client on the goal for the product;

After this has been figured out, we then went into the heart of the project, which is understanding who the users are, how the user thinks, their pain, their frustration, and their needs.

User Archetypes

  • Flash Reader
  • Vocational Reader
  • Social Reader
  • Book Blogger/Reviewer/Content Creator Reader
  • General Reader

Pain Points

  • Not having a book club/community of like-minded readers
  • Content Creator: Getting juiced by publishers not willing to paid/short changing for their content
  • Centralisation: not having one place to go for all their book related needs.
  • Don’t ever want to run out of books to read
  • Want to be assured on books based on reviews and ratings
  • Want to be able to keep track of books
  • Is unable to see other users reading progress
  • Want to save favourite books for later
  • After reading books, they do not have access to view book history

  • Use Case
  • Readers
    • Easily search for books, people, or clubs
    • Get notifications when there is a new addition of books, Chat message, when a club of interest is on-going, when a user views profile or connects
    • Bonus: Book group admins can be able to add folks to their group
    • Content Creator/Book Club Host: Wants to create meaningful content for their reading based community and be compensated.
    • This user wants to spend time with good books
    • Drop reviews on books
    • See recommended books
    • Track reading progress
    • Wants to save books for later
    • Profile so others can find and connect with them
    • Visit book clubs often to listen to others share their reviews and book related informations
    • Be able to send and receive messages via a chat function
    • Access to contents via the explore feed.
    • Connected to a real time audio room (clubhouse reference)
    • Want to be able to put out their work
    • Have a group reading with other book lovers
    • Connect with other users
    • Easily search for other author books, other authors or user, or existing clubs
    • Get notifications
    • Start audio rooms for voice conversations
    • Want to be able to chat via messaging function
    • Get feedback from their readers
    • Connect with their readers
    • Market their book to more readers
    • Better understand what type of books readers are enjoying
    • Create additional content for their readers
    • Maybe: Help readers become authors
    • Host virtual book tours/book related events online

    The Solution

    Our solution is simple, have every Author and Reader’s pain of wanting a book community eased while making sure that the community created see, accept and love books just the same.

    Creating a bookish social home where everyone sees themselves as either an Author or Reader and connect through books in the same place.

    Our priority is to bring all book enthusiasts into a community that can be called home.

    To do this we made sure that all the app’s features and social options all came together in one app

    All Product Features

    • Group video and individual chat
    • Group audio only chat
    • Clubs: groups of readers ran by an admin
    • Ability to create a group
    • Admin setting rates for group
    • Admin getting paid

    Core Features

    • Membership features and the book club hosting
    • Nook: Live audio rooms (Video audio rooms for club host)
    • The book reading trackers
    • Activity posting style

    App Design

    The BOOKUM App has two main users, Readers and Authors.

    Readers are the primary users who are prone to searching for books, content, people, book clubs or spend time with good books.
    Authors are the secondary users who want to be able to put out their work, connect with their readers, create additional content for their readers or even engage with their peers. So, we designed the app around each user’s needs via these two core features

    The Club

    (Membership features and the book club hosting)

    This is an actual club but this time with books instead of music, giving the user a place to go while still staying where they are. The user gets to mix with their own kind of people online while following the trend especially because of COVID without having to leave their safety zone.

    Real Time Audio Experience

    (Membership features and the book club hosting)

    This is an actual club but this time with books instead of music, giving the user a place to go while still staying where they are. The user gets to mix with their own kind of people online while following the trend especially because of COVID without having to leave their safety zone.

    The Explore Feed

    Leads to the community area where users create, join or search for the clubs they like or want or get access to content. The book clubs can be made private or public depending on the number of members and how long the club would be running for.

    The App also has the ability for users to connect with one another via the in-app messaging feature that includes group messaging and video chatting. The user can also post content in form of photos, videos and blog posts
    Alongside, the primary user also has book reading trackers on the App that allows other readers see what a primary user is reading and the progress made with any book out of their bookshelf.

    All the primary user has to do is use the book tracker to make updates to their progress as they read. There’s also the Activity posting style which lets a primary user get a conversation started about a book’s author or characters.

    Visual Design

    Books have been around for a long time but it has not always had a meeting place in the same space at the same time. Our goal was to make the experience of gathering the entire book community easy, fun and engaging all at once.
    The visual design direction of the brand was intended to see and connect everyone in the book community together and still maintain the aesthetics to keep readers and authors in.
    The avid reader has an imaginative mind of their own and to keep the users of bookum in that space the design and its direction has to be tailored to keep the imagination on, all the time.
    One primary colour was selected to anchor; Medium intelligent orange with three secondary colours; Light Fresh Green, Light Fantasy Blue, Light Romance Red to not only complement and balance out but also to relay walking into the magical world of words and finding a home in the bookish community.


    Bookum in its making is a beauty to behold and we cannot wait to get it into the hands of the avid reader.
    It is so futuristic that it’s going to be a reader’s best friend, an author’s guide while still making its way as a social networking app. It will foster friendships, safe spaces for learning and building friendships regardless of time zones and distance.

    This project was fun for us from the first meeting, we heard the vision and saw it unfold before our eyes and we are so happy to work on what is going to be a big shift in the entire bookish community and social media.

    It also as a humbling effect on us to know that the work we have done with the team will play a huge role in book clubbing which in turn will translate to the success of Bookum.

    We cannot wait to pop into a Nook from time to time.
    You’ll look out for us, won’t you?