Library v Amazon

At some point I looked over my Amazon wish list and saw a lot of books that I wanted to read but wasn’t sure I really wanted to keep for a long time. So I wondered if there was a tool that would track my wishlist and then pop up and tell me if the book was available in my local library.

I saw a mention in Lifehacker (and then again recently in Cool Tools) for a Chrome plugin that does this for some library networks. Library Extension does exactly that. I get excited when I see these things making their way into the world, even if I’m not the one doing it, or getting credit for it, or anything at all. I am happy when people have slightly easier lives.

A different angle on this is creating a tool/script/webapp/Alfred workflow for sending a book name to my library’s auto-bookbag interface and adding it to my list. What we should do with our libraries is treat them like our Netflix queues, where we add books and eventually they make it to the top of the list (and sometimes a book jumps the queue, like when Sapolsky recommends James Gleick’s Chaos).

I think that there might also be a related need for an ISBN cross-lookup tool to get the same book in different formats (or whatever might trigger different ISBNs for what people would consider the same book).

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