Looking to assuage his guilt for shopping at Amazon, a developer in the UK has released a new Chrome extension which lets you browse Amazon.co.uk and shop a participating local bookstore.
Just announced on Medium, BookIndy is so new that its accompanying website is still blank, but the extension itself works well enough. When installed, the extension pulls data from whatever book listing you’re browsing on Amazon.co.uk and checks to see if the book can be found in a local bookshop.
BookIndy checks the stock of that local bookstore by searching Hive.co.uk, the online book coop (which for some reason I thought belonged to Gardners, a book wholesaler). If the book is found in stock at that local store, BookIndy inserts a price and link into the Amazon webpage, along with an estimated distance to the store.
You can find the plugin in the Chrome Web Store. Testing suggests that it only works with Amazon.co.uk, and according to the developer he is already seeing several benefits:
- Amazon isn’t always cheaper than your local bookshop – You could use Bookindy to ensure you’re buying at the cheapest price.
- Books are sometimes out of stock on Amazon, but in stock at your local bookshop – You could use Bookindy to buy a book before it’s restocked on Amazon.
- Bookindy uses a brilliant service for independent bookshops called Hive, who deliver books directly from the wholesaler. Whether you pick up or get it delivered, your local bookshop benefits. You could use Bookindy to support your local independent bookshop and never actually visit it!
- Direct price comparison of books becomes strangely addictive!?—?You could use Bookindy to wean yourself off Facebook.
If you want to support your local bookseller, this is a great idea. (I don’t have any local indies within driving distance, myself.) But given how rare these extensions are, I don’t think the idea is proving as popular as some in book culture would like.
Do you suppose this idea is technically complicated or just not that interesting to developers?