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Integrate, say, amazon.com book wishlists and second hand book store inventories.
  (+16, -2)(+16, -2)
(+16, -2)
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This morning, I'd had it - for the third time I'd looked up a book, but then shied away from ordering it because it would cost about three times its price in shipping from a second-hand seller. If only there were are way of integrating local independent bookstores and a centralized ordering system!

Imagine a user walking into their local second hand book store. They tell their amazon.com account name to the book store clerk. (Or the process is automated by storing the name on a loyalty card, or associating it with the user record referenced by the card through, for example, a web interface.)

Inside the second hand book store's inventory system, a process downloads the user's wishlist - either through "scraping" the HTML off the website, or using an interface published by Amazon.

The identification numbers of the books on the wishlist are cross-referenced with the book store's inventory.

The list of books that the user wants that are available in the store pops up on a clerk's screen, or is printed - perhaps even with a little map of the book store and pointers to the sections that the books can be found in.

Everybody wins:

The local book store gets visitors and sales.

Amazon.com (or whoever keeps the wishlist) attracts more users by increasing the value of a wishlist kept online. They could also easily charge, and get, a kickback from the selling second hand store. They also *hugely* improve their image from a globalized menace that is destroying independent bookstores into a friendly helper application that allows them to do more business.

Users get their books faster, cheaper, and can actually look at them before buying.

The only one losing is the US postal service, which is losing the business of transporting things from point A to point B, when they're perfectly easily found at point C, where point C is only a pleasant stroll away from point B.


The "abebooks.com" system already represents inventories - which frustratingly often turn out to be out-of-date - of lots of stores. On a slightly larger scale, it should be possible to just do an amazon/abebooks/google mash-up, say, producing a map of a city with available books from your wishlist listed in google map anchors hovering over stores that have their inventory in abebooks.

jutta, Nov 14 2005

abebooks http://www.abebooks.com/
The amazon.com alternative I mention in the "prototype" section. [jutta, Nov 14 2005]

GeoRSS viewer http://www.acme.com/GeoRSS/about.html
Use this, and have the prototype just create the GeoRSS file. [jutta, Nov 14 2005]


       I have long believed that independent book sellers could have banded together to develop an Amazon-like site, with similar discounts from the economies of scale, a single display copy of all but the hottest books, and delivery of customer-ordered books to the local bookstore with the next regular shipment. (Of course, I never did any market research to determine if it was actually practical.)   

       So substituting used books for new, and especially with the map element, this certainly sounds like a good idea to me.
DrCurry, Nov 14 2005

       This is definitely an improvement over printing your wishlist on your forehead.
pathetic, Nov 14 2005

       prefectly greasemonkeyable, would be a really handy add on.
neilp, Nov 17 2005


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