Already Have That Book? Get The ISBN 411 Over IoT

Have you ever been at the bookstore and stumbled across a great book you’ve been looking for, but had a nagging feeling that you already had it sitting at home? Yeah, us too. If only we’d had something like [Kutluhan Aktar]’s ISBN verifier the last time that happened to say for sure whether we already had it.

To use this handy machine, [Kutluhan] enters the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) of the book in question on the 4 x 4 membrane keypad. The Arduino Nano 33 IoT takes that ISBN and checks it against a PHP web database of book entries [Kutluhan] created with the ISBN, title, author, and number of pages. Then it lets [Kutluhan] know whether they already have it by updating the display from a Nokia 5110.

If you want to whip one of these up before your next trip to the bookstore, this project is completely open source down the web database. You might want to figure out some sort of enclosure unless you don’t mind the shy, inquisitive stares of your fellow bookworms.

Stalled out on reading because you don’t know what to read next? Check out our Books You Should Read column and get back to entertaining yourself in the theater of the mind.

Via r/duino

16 thoughts on “Already Have That Book? Get The ISBN 411 Over IoT

  1. It’s a nice enough little project, I suspect it had more to do with wanting to use a keypad and a Nokia screen than wanting to search for books by ISBN, but that’s fine.
    If I were going to implement this for serious I’d want to be using a barcode reader of some description, and probably a camera for taking pictures and later writing up descriptions of books that either have no ISBN or can’t be looked up online.
    I won’t even mention PHP…

    1. Yisss, I would really love to catalogue all my books the lazy way, bleep, bleep, bleep, done a shelf in under 2 mins.

      However, I’d also like it to easily grab and OCR the index pages at some point also. Then I think, nah, no point in that, I’m gonna build a real bookscanner some day…

  2. This is a nicely done project.

    I can’t help thinking though, if you find yourself buying or worrying about buying duplicate books then maybe you have too many. Books are pointless if you don’t know you have them.

    1. I assume that was an attempt at sarcasm or something..

      – If you know the name of every book you own you don’t own enough.

      And it’s pretty easy to know if you have read a book or not, but if you own it or not isn’t once you have a reasonable home library. Though the author of this project must be youngish, as I have quite a few books that don’t have a isbn at all – you have to search title and author. And for those who want to scan barcodes – they are a relatively recent addition, I have many many books with no barcode..

      So the simplest thing to always search on is title and author.

    2. I have over 500 novels at home. I’ve read at least twice that number. That’s not counting technical reference books.

      On those occasions when I am in a bookstore, it can be difficult to remember if I own a copy of a book that seems familiar, or if I read it in a library somewhere.

      A program of some kind to check if I own a particular book would on occasion be useful.

      A piece if dedicated hardware that connects to a PHP program over the internet would be at the bottom of the for implementing it, though.

      I’d probably go for an Android program and keep the data locally in a database on the phone. I’d include book name, author, key words, and ISBN. The ISBN alone isn’t enough because the rights to a book can be sold and printed again under a different ISBN. I’d also include the list of stories short story collections.

        1. Nope. That’s “read one a day and reread multiple times over 30 years.” I read FAST. I go through a typical 300 page novel in just a couple of hours.

          I can’t buy books fast enough to keep up with my reading speed, and authors can’t write good books fast enough for me to always find a good selection.

  3. In case you were wondering, 411 is the number you used to dial in the olden days on a thing called a “landline telephone” to figure out the number you actually wanted to dial. And books were mashed up and rolled out and dried bits of dead trees bound together with words and pictures printed on them that people used to use to store and transfer stories and information..

  4. I once set up a home library system as I went from one big book case to 4 smaller ones around the house. Each one still sizeable.

    I had an unnecessary but fun to setup webapp I could access on my phone to search my libray by ISBN less functional unfortunately by author, title etc which used google.

    The plan was to check in and out books with a RFID scanner like at the library, I just couldn’t get a cheap solution to multiple tags and didn’t want to do them one by one.

    Somehow thinking about that issue I ended up opting for barcodes and scanning them one by one (so my solution solved neither issue).

    That wasn’t the stupidest part of it all.

    I used tiny printed QR codes I took ages to get “just righ” so I could print them on sticker paper and stick them on books.

    I’d scan the barcode, it’d pull the data and then I’d register it’s QR code and then place in the shelf.

    Still with me? Great…

    The really stupid part was about 3 months in, someone saw me register a book they gifted me it was for a bnirthday and I took the oppertunity to show it off to the whole party. They asked me why I bothered with a QR code when books already use barcodes.

    I still thinking about it sometimes and feel like a moron. It did have the benefit of letting me have more than one copy of a book… But that didn’t occur to me until some time after the original incident. It’s my Gespacho soup.

  5. I bought a bar code scanner at a 2nd hand store years ago for about $4.
    It connects in-line with the old style (pre-PS2, pre-USB) keyboard.
    I scanned a bunch of USBNs into a text file, and put them into my PDA.
    So this hack is a thing to do next.
    (Scan the USBNs into a spreadsheet or database instead.)

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