“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” - Mark Twain
Thanks to my father, I have been in a relationship with books since my childhood. The love started when he used to recite stories to us which then moved to libraries and today has taken form in a small home library. I moved places for work and my books have done the same. But then I can’t buy every book that is out in the market or let me put it this way - I am not aware of the millions of books that are worth reading.
In today’s social media world, I get to know about a lot of good books through Twitter but then it has its own challenges. What if there was a mobile app that showed me books for barter/sale in an area where I live. Not only I can get books for barter but also meet some like-minded folks nearby.
Barter.li founded by Prasun Jain, Surendar Marudhachalam, Vinay Shenoy, Khushboo Maheshwari and Anshul Kamboj, is an Android app that is trying to solve the problem for book lovers like me. It is an open-source, non-profit project with the aim of creating a global community of book lovers.
Barter.li has been built to pay tribute to Aaron Swartz, the computer programmer and activist who played a significant role in making government and academic data available for free to the public. The brilliant guy died at the ripe age of 26 last year.
I downloaded the Android app. The below screen is shown when you fire the app. You can play around the app without logging in but for advanced features such as bartering a book one needs to log in. The app has social and email logins added on.
I logged in via Google and after stating the nearest place for book pickup, I started browsing the books available in my locality. Best Loved Indian Stories was an exciting book for me to tap on. You tap and you get further details about the book and the person lending the book.
The next thing you can do is have a chat with the person who has listed the book for barter or before that check out the profile. The below screen shows my profile as well as the book owner to know about them, the listed books and the place listed for the exchange of books.
While you can search for books, the app allows addition of books in a smarter way. The scan option failed for me after multiple try outs but the manual option is smart enough. By the time you type the name of the book, it finds from its database and adds while providing all the relevant information about the book. You need to just press the submit button.
Should you download the app?
If you are a book lover and live life on the go then it is the app for you. You no more need to travel to your library to look for books. Just open the app, find the book you want in your nearby location, chat and meet for exchanging the books. Simple and brilliant idea; meeting like-minded folks is an added bonus of the app.
The app is simple and neat but crashes at times, so the team might want to tie the strings of the app bit tighter. The barter option is understood, the sell feature is a great addition to the app. The founders want to share a billion books through their app and have got some support from countries like Turkey, Egypt and USA. A splendid initiative, do give the app a spin and let us know how it could be better.
Next time if you are wondering what to do with your old books, simply upload them on the app and you might be lucky to find a new book in exchange and a like-minded book lover. Barter.li is a brilliant tribute to Aaron, the Internet’s own boy.