Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Finding Ebooks

Recently, I paid money for an ebook that I could have found myself for free. Purely my mistake, I wasn't paying attention and ended up paying 10 bucks for a pdf when I could have found a more useful epub for free.

What's interesting here is what the people who sold me the pdf must have done.

  • they must have trawled gutenberg and various university archive sites to build a comprehensive data base
  • uploaded the database to Abebooks
  • set in place the appropriate automation to pull a particular book from its location when an order came in, upload it to yousendit and send me a yousendit link.

Very slick. As I suspect there's not a lot of interest in nineteenth century travel literature I suspect that no one will get rich out of this but it shows what one can do with cloud services and a very little thought.

Incidentally I'm not pissed off - it was a learning experience. I actually really liked the use of yousendit - we've played with something similar to allow people to make restricted access datasets available for download to anyone requesting early access.

In fact I'm a little envious. I'd thought of starting a little side business as a finding service. The model was similar.

  • You pay me twenty bucks to find a book for you.
    • If I find it I keep five bucks
    • if its available as a mobi, epub or pdf
      • if you want me to download it in your preferred format and send it to you that costs another five bucks
    • if it's a paper book
      • you send me the excess and I order it on your behalf

You of course get any money left over back at the end of the transaction. I didn't expect to get rich out of this -it was more of a hobby business. But some people in Ohio have beaten me to it (and done it better) ...

Written with StackEdit.

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