Reviews are a great source of information for anyone who is researching a product or service before making a purchase. If you manage a blog or website that offers reviews of books, you might find that getting all the book details into the blog post can be tedious.
Despite the many plugins available for WordPress, the ones designed specifically for reviewing books are few and far between.
That’s why Book Review plugin is a godsend for reviewers who have long wished for a way to automatically display all pertinent book information into a blog post.
This is what Book Review does, and so much more. Let’s take a look at its features.
After installing the plugin, you will need to configure the basic and advanced settings.
Step by Step Guide to Setup Book Review plugin:
Go to Settings>Book Review.
Under the Appearance tab, you can choose the position of the book display (top or bottom of post).
You can also customize the background and border color as well as border width.
Choose whether to enable the plugin on Posts, Pages or both. Check the boxes beside each option.
Click Save Changes when you’re done with the settings.
Go to the next tab, Rating Images.
You can check the box beside “Show the rating in excerpts” if you want ratings to appear in your post previews. Excerpts only apply if you use the “Read more” function in your posts so that the home page only displays previews of blog posts instead of the entire content.
Here you can customize the rating images or use the plugin default. Uncheck the box beside: “Use the default rating images” if you want to use custom rating images. You can upload images to your Media library and put the URL in the fields provided.
Click Save Changes when done.
Under the Links tab, you can set the link for the book to open in a new tab. To do this, check the box beside: “Open links in a new tab.”
You can also add images for links. Add the link text and image URL in the fields below (see example).
Click Save Changes when done.
The Advanced tab requires that you acquire a Google API key for the plugin to work. The plugin uses Google Books to generate book data, so you have to enable Google’s Book API by creating a project using the Google Developers Console.
It’s not too difficult to do, and you should be able to follow the steps provided by the plugin’s documentation.
Getting a Google API key
First, you need to log in to the Developer Console. Use your Google account to log in.
Click the Create a project button. Give a name for your project and type it below Project Name. The Project ID will be auto-generated.
On the left panel, click on APIs. A list of APIs should appear on the opposite side. Type “Books API” on the search bar.
Click the link on the Books API and click the Enable API button on the next window.
On the left panel again, click on Credentials. Click the drop-down for Add Credentials and select API key.
On the pop-up box that appears, select Server key.
In the next step, enter the IP address of your web hosting server. You can either check this under Shared IP address on the cPanel of your web host. You can also run the command prompt and type ping www.yourdomain.com. Take note of the IP address that appears. Fill this in the field as shown below.
Click Create when done.
A pop-up should appear with your API key.
Back to the Book Review configuration page, enter the API key in the field under the Advanced tab.
How to add Book Details in your Blog posts
Once the settings are in place, it’s time to create posts. Below the WordPress post editor, you’ll find the Book Review section for entering book details.
If you want to automate getting the book information, you need to enter the ISBN. You can use a site like ISBN Search to search for the ISBN of a certain book by title or author.
Enter the ISBN in the field of the same label then click Get Book Info.
The other fields should be filled in.
Note from the developer:
- It is possible that a particular ISBN will not be found. This is a limitation of the robustness of the Google Books database and is not indicative of a problem with the WordPress Book Review Plugin.
- The Series and Format fields will remain blank unless manually entered. Google Books does not return this information as part of its API.
The only other detail to manually add is the rating.
You can then add your review on the text editor itself and hit publish when done.
Here’s what a finished review would look like. The text outside the box will be the actual review content.
Conclusion: Should you use book review plugin?
Despite the lengthy process, you need to take to automate getting book information, this plugin can save you more time once the one-time set-up is done. If you have a review site for books, then this plugin is great to have.
I would, however, not rely so much on the automation, as the developer did admit there are some books that might not be found using the ISBN search.
Either way, whether you enter book information manually or through search, the way it presents a book review when publishing the post is a welcome convenience. The design is quite nice and elegant, too.
Book Review is a plugin that needs a bit of elbow grease to start using, but the pay off of saving time on entering book information manually or formatting the post for every review is well worth the effort.