– One Place to find the best online price for a book in India

I had an itch – I wished there was a simple way of deciding whether to buy a book and where to buy a book. So I created

The initial idea I had was to make a bookmarklet that will do everything – it will figure out the unique book number (the ISBN) from the current book page (whether a publisher’s site or any ecommerce site), and then search on all the potential Indian online book stores. I then realized that you can’t fetch from other domains because of the same-domain policy of AJAX (I could’ve used YQL or something like that, but I felt it was a slippery slope).

So I had to create a web backend that will do the searching on behalf of the bookmarklet and changed the idea to simply show a jQueryUI dialog showing the sorted list of prices.

Then I chanced upon and immediately said to myself: “I want that with Indian prices”. Since I was half-way there already, it took a few additional steps of buying a good domain name and configuring to use the simple URL format they used.

There was one major problem with the bookmarklet – on sites which already have jQuery, it used to conflict, and although jQuery itself can live with multiple versions side-by-side, I could never figure out if jQueryUI was loaded properly or not. I tried various things but had to give up in vain.

Finally, I decided the pop-up overlay thing was not important, and the bookmarklet can just simply take you to the correct page directly.

So the “where” part of the question was answered.

I still had to answer the “whether” part of the question – that’s when a friend told me about Amazon ECS using which I was able to get the very useful Amazon ratings. Then I was able to get the image of the cover of the book and other details.

Then I came across which makes great book recommendations, so I included an automatic link to that on the book page.

So, after much ado, I present to you. All the instructions are on the homepage.

If you have any feedback, please read the disclaimers on the homepage and the About page, and then send me feedback.

Implementation was a lot of fun – I used Ruby, Sinatra, HAML, Mechanize, amazon-ecs, jQuery, Blueprint CSS. It was the first time I had really used any of these.

Disclaimer: I created because I needed a tool like this. This has nothing to do whatsoever with my employer. It is just a personal side-project.

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Jamie Larson