The purpose is to identify the most popular books on the planet.
A person takes a photo(s) of their book shelf and uploads it into an online database (anonymously if so desired). Text recognition software reads the book titles on the spines and enters them into a database.
EDIT: Apparently the
rest of this is already fully baked... so my invention ends with the Scanning of the Bookshelf.
A person could search for the most popular books. Or, the most popular books containing a keyword ("auto", "cooking", "zebra" etc). One could also use this for recommended books - 150832 people who read "the black stallion" also read "black beauty".
Cross referencing with other databases can add meta-tags to books ("fiction", "non-fiction", "space travel" etc.) - see link for halfbaked database idea (minus bookshelf component)
In recent years, similar information can be gathered from book store sales data - but computerized information of older book sales does not exist. Also, discarded books (firewood) will be eliminated from this database.