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BookIndy Chrome Extension Lets You Shop Amazon (in the UK) for Books and Buy Local

Looking to assuage his guilt for shopping at Amazon, a developer in the UK has released a new Chrome extension which lets you browse 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 and checks to see if the book can be found in a local bookshop.

BookIndy checks the stock of that local bookstore by searching, 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.

bookindy screenshot

You can find the plugin in the Chrome Web Store. Testing suggests that it only works with, and according to the developer he is already seeing several benefits:

  1. Amazon isn’t always cheaper than your local bookshop – You could use Bookindy to ensure you’re buying at the cheapest price.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

I only know of two similar extensions; one is tied to, and the other turns into a catalog for the ebook subscription service Oyster.

Do you suppose this idea is technically complicated or just not that interesting to developers?


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Peter May 20, 2015 um 9:13 pm

How about (c) "Not all that interesting to end users"? In order for this to be at all useful one has to have a good local indie, and lots of us don’t have that luxury – it’s why we’re shopping at Amazon in the first place.

Tom Semple May 21, 2015 um 10:42 am

There is a similar Chrome extension for checking availability of library books (print or digital) in many U.S. Libraries. Very useful.

August Wainwright May 21, 2015 um 12:10 pm

Tom, what’s the name of this extension for libraries, and what does venues does it search? Can’t find anything that resembles what you’re talking about.

Nate Hoffelder May 21, 2015 um 12:28 pm

I think he’s talking about library Extension:

That was one of the first results when I searched for "Amazon Overdrive".

Library Extension Turns Into a Branch of Your Local Library | Ink, Bits, & Pixels May 21, 2015 um 1:39 pm

[…] Here's a fun follow-up to yesterday's post about the BookIndy Chrome extension. […]

August Wainwright May 22, 2015 um 1:02 pm

Perfect. Thanks Nate.

Nate Hoffelder May 22, 2015 um 1:14 pm


Jan May 26, 2015 um 11:25 am

What benefit will this be in the UK?

Patrick McIntosh September 21, 2015 um 2:38 pm

Even though I like and applaud BookIndy and prefer to be from actual bookstores instead of Amazon I have on problem which currently stop me from using it.

BookIndy shows sellers on Amazon UK and I live in America. This means that if purchase with my pre paid debit credit card that any purchase out of the country I pay fee for that transaction.

I hope that BookIndy very soon makes it possible for me to search Amazon in America to find and support bookstores.

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