Swaroop C H

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isbn.net.in updates

18 Apr 2010

A while back, I released a side-project called http://isbn.net.in - a simple tool for comparing book prices in India. I received lots of feedback, suggestions and praise. I have updated it with fixes for the bugs reported and implemented most of the suggestions.

It was interesting to see people writing blog posts and linking to the corresponding book page on isbn.net.in as a "canonical page" about the book. I hadn't thought of that.

Feedback

Lots of bug reports, suggestions and praise came via email, such as from Onkar:

"Nice idea with simple implementation. I am sure this will make my father happy. Thanks for your work. :-)"

And as expected, Twitterers were most vocal about it:

https://twitter.com/saurabh/statuses/10530236565

https://twitter.com/kranium256/statuses/10316468429

@kr0y says: "For all those who love to order books online, this site can really help you get a good deal http://isbn.net.in/"

https://twitter.com/abhinittiwari/statuses/10367184374

https://twitter.com/vineetmundhra/statuses/10363722532

https://twitter.com/l0nwlf/statuses/10311979829

@yarooruvann says: "http://isbn.net.in/ very good tool to compare book prices in India"

https://twitter.com/jasdeep/statuses/10309013012

https://twitter.com/tan1337/statuses/10307733623

And some of the blog comments were heartening to note as well, especially this one:

Chandan V says: I was searching for a book from past 1 week and was unable to find it. Thanks to you, finally I was able get my book at flipkart. It was like, I thought I’ll not get that book any where in Bangalore and I open my google reader to see your link. Bingo, I have placed an order and eagerly looking forward for the delivery. Thanks a ton. You do not know how much it meant for me to have that book.

Note that last sentence. That is the stuff that creators love! :)

Search by title

The biggest feedback was: "Getting ISBN numbers is a little difficult for everyone. Consider taking a book title as your input and searching prices based on that directly."

I understand the motivation behind this. But unfortunately, this was what I was exactly trying to avoid! I do not want to build a search engine! That is a non-trivial task, as I'm sure you can imagine.

My idea was to piggyback on top of people who are already doing that well. For example, Flipkart and Infibeam are supposed to have the most titles for the Indian market. So my idea was this: Why not use those search engines which are being constantly updated and tweaked by those companies to search for the books, and then use the bookmarklet + isbn.net.in to compare the actual prices. I actually don't want you to use isbn.net.in as the starting point.

If you still want to search by book title, then head on over to the new Google Product Search for India. The reasons why you would use isbn.net.in over Google Product Search, is that isbn.net.in is comprehensive, accurate, has latest prices (as much as possible), and helps you decide whether to buy the book using the full description and Amazon rating.

Fixes and Updates

Regarding the fixes and updates based on your suggestions, here is the list:

  1. Fixed error on multiple pages such as http://isbn.net.in/8190453025 (via @sudhiru) and http://isbn.net.in/0074637762 (via email from Abhinav Sood)
  2. Fixing fetching of prices from a1books, thanks to bug report from Amit Sharma
  3. Added link to Google Product Search for India, because of many queries to allow search by title.
  4. Added CoralHub.com to the list of online book stores that is searched.
  5. Linked to iglooo.in and bookase.com in the about page under the list of similar projects.
  6. Added a "generic grep" to make the bookmarklet try a little harder for sites that is not known in its default list - IIRC, this was a suggestion by @talonx
  7. Bookmarklet now works with Amazon pages, but for this, you will need to take the bookmarklet again from http://isbn.net.in frontpage
  8. Added Kindle prices.

Favorite New Feature

My favorite new feature is Kindle ebook prices because, sometimes, buying the Kindle edition is cheaper than getting the paper book. That's what I did with Seth Godin's new book.

Further suggestions and feedback are welcome.


Comments

Prasanna V says:

You wont need a full fledged search. Did you consider using isbndb apis to get isbn numbers based on title ? http://isbndb.com/docs/api/10-intro.html

Swaroop says:

@Prasanna Are you saying people will input exact titles? How will they know that? :-)

Rams says:

Wish there was a way for me to sell my books that I know for sure that I will never get around to reading. If the search brings up second hand books that would be cool.

Swaroop says:

@Rams Very interesting idea! I think I will wait for startups working on this to be out, and I will see if I can integrate with them :)

Sitakanta says:

Hi Swaroop,

I am trying to put together to crawl the books and enable searching books by title. The search should take the reader to isbn.net.in page to show the price. Will you be open to working together?

I have given my mail id and url of site in the comment. The site is work in progress.

Thanks

Feedback

There's no comment box, but please do email me or tweet me your thoughts and criticisms, and I will publish the relevant ones here.