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BookWyrm Nix Edition

Social reading and reviewing, decentralized with ActivityPub. This branch is a fork of upstream Bookwyrm adapted to run on NixOS (outside of Docker). For more details on this, see nix/ The rest of this document is the upstream README.


Joining BookWyrm

If you'd like to join an instance, you can check out the instances list.


See contributing for code, translation or monetary contributions.

About BookWyrm

What it is and isn't

BookWyrm is a platform for social reading. You can use it to track what you're reading, review books, and follow your friends. It isn't primarily meant for cataloguing or as a data-source for books, but it does do both of those things to some degree.

The role of federation

BookWyrm is built on ActivityPub. With ActivityPub, it inter-operates with different instances of BookWyrm, and other ActivityPub compliant services, like Mastodon. This means you can run an instance for your book club, and still follow your friend who posts on a server devoted to 20th century Russian speculative fiction. It also means that your friend on mastodon can read and comment on a book review that you post on your BookWyrm instance.

Federation makes it possible to have small, self-determining communities, in contrast to the monolithic service you find on GoodReads or Twitter. An instance can be focused on a particular interest, be just for a group of friends, or anything else that brings people together. Each community can choose which other instances they want to federate with, and moderate and run their community autonomously. Check out to get a sense of the philosophy and logistics behind small, high-trust social networks.


Since the project is still in its early stages, the features are growing every day, and there is plenty of room for suggestions and ideas. Open an issue to get the conversation going!

  • Posting about books
    • Compose reviews, with or without ratings, which are aggregated in the book page
    • Compose other kinds of statuses about books, such as:
      • Comments on a book
      • Quotes or excerpts
    • Reply to statuses
    • View aggregate reviews of a book across connected BookWyrm instances
    • Differentiate local and federated reviews and rating in your activity feed
  • Track reading activity
    • Shelve books on default "to-read," "currently reading," and "read" shelves
    • Create custom shelves
    • Store started reading/finished reading dates, as well as progress updates along the way
    • Update followers about reading activity (optionally, and with granular privacy controls)
    • Create lists of books which can be open to submissions from anyone, curated, or only edited by the creator
  • Federation with ActivityPub
    • Broadcast and receive user statuses and activity
    • Share book data between instances to create a networked database of metadata
    • Identify shared books across instances and aggregate related content
    • Follow and interact with users across BookWyrm instances
    • Inter-operate with non-BookWyrm ActivityPub services (currently, Mastodon is supported)
  • Granular privacy controls
    • Private, followers-only, and public privacy levels for posting, shelves, and lists
    • Option for users to manually approve followers
    • Allow blocking and flagging for moderation

The Tech Stack

Web backend

Front end

  • Django templates
  • css framework
  • Vanilla JavaScript, in moderation


Set up BookWyrm

The documentation website has instruction on how to set up BookWyrm in a developer environment or production.