The Shiny New Books Archive: A furlough project!

It’s hard to believe perhaps, but the labour of love that is my other booky place, Shiny New Books, had its sixth birthday this week.

Shiny launched on April 7th, 2014 as a quarterly book recommendations site, with four sections: Fiction, Non-fiction, Reprints and BookBuzz, edited by me, Harriet, Simon and Victoria respectively.

The only time all four of us have been in the same room – we met in London at the Wolsey for tea.

We recruited other bloggers, authors and friends to write longform reviews and articles for us, and we were away. You can read more about the Shiny story here. Each quarter we were publishing between 70 and 100 pieces!

When Simon and Victoria moved on to do other things, Harriet and I kept on, moving to the twice weekly format we still have now, where we publish one or two pieces each Tuesday and Thursday, with a month off at Christmas, which keeps it more manageable.

A few of our current regular reviewing team have been with the editing team from Issue 1: a big shout-out and huge thank you to: Hayley, Helen and Karen.

Many other contributors have popped in now and then, found us and asked to join the team, been pestered by the Eds and given in – they’ve come to us via any amount of different avenues. Each brings their own personality to their pieces and we’re profoundly grateful to each and every one of you – there are far too many now to name-check everyone here sadly, but thank you! We’re also indebted to the many authors and publishers that let us ask questions, twist arms for pieces, supply review copies too.

Which brings me to my new project – to archive Shiny. Blame the coronavirus and the anxiety it is causing! While I’m currently well, and doing my utmost best to socially distance and get food in the house, poor Boris going into intensive care has really made me feel more mortal than usual. It struck me that if anything did happen to me, Shiny’s domain, which I ‘own’, may be let go rather than renewed. We’ve never archived it formally in any other form other than a website backup, so I feel the need to preserve it in another format.

As support staff, I’ve been furloughed from school for now, so instead of spending hours looking aimlessly looking at memes and tags, and rather than do the Adobe training I’ve signed up for (too much like proper work!), I’ve started transcribing the contents of Shiny into magazines in Word, then pdf-ing them. Now, using the free version of Issuu, I’ve made flipbooks of Issue 1. I split it into two because there’s just under 160 pages! So I’ve split it between Fiction and NF/Reprints/BookBuzz.

The flipbooks are great fun, here they are:

I will be sharing the pdfs with all contributors who have gmail addresses, and can email pdfs to others by request – you can find my email address up top (take out the spaces).

For Issue two, I’ll snazz it up a bit more I think… There is just so much text. I used a few other photos to break it up a little, but it really needs more formatting. The key thing though is to get the content into a preservable format. Should I go down a font size from 11 to 10 in Calibri (or another font)? Any suggestions would be welcome.

Meanwhile, enjoy the flipbooks – and see how much good stuff we published back in April 2014.


13 thoughts on “The Shiny New Books Archive: A furlough project!

  1. A Life in Books says:

    Now I’m having one of those ‘I can’t believe it’s six years’ moments. Many happy returns to Shiny and well done you and Harriet for keeping it going, Annabel.

  2. Lory says:

    The flipbook looks lovely, what a great way to preserve the content. SNB came on the scene shortly after I began blogging myself and I greatly admired and learned from it. (I’m honored to have been a contributor too.) Thanks for this look back, and I hope you are enjoying the project.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thanks Lori, I’ll get to your contributions soon I’m sure. 🙂 I can’t believe the amount of words we all wrote between us!

  3. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    What a fab idea Annabel! I back my blog up periodically as pdfs just in case of crises, and I think it’s a valuable exercise. Well done to you and Harriet (as well as Simon and Victoria) for all the hard work. I’ve been so happy to be on board, and I’ll look forward to seeing these when they’re done! 😀

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Thanks Karen – especially as you’ve been with Shiny all the way! 🙂 I’ll do the same to my blog one day (I have most of the content saved safely, so I don’t feel the pressure so much that way).

  4. Rebecca Foster says:

    How industrious of you! (It had never once occurred to me to back up the posts in that way. Of course I have all the original Word files I composed the posts in, but the page layout would be lost.) Thanks for your hard work on SNB. I’m happy to contribute whenever I can.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      When we started with the quarterly issues, each piece was a page rather than a post – don’t ask! And because we batch-published, it seemed a good idea to revision the pages as a proper magazine. You know I like a project!

  5. Dark Puss says:

    Congratulations, it was fun to contribute occasionally to some of the early issues. I am sorry I had to give that up due to other calls on my free time.

Leave a Reply