ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Barcode Scanners And iPhone Apps Are Part of Online Bookselling

Updated on November 17, 2015

I buy most of my inventory from retail stores that are open to the public. Other sellers have other sources, but there are plenty of people who do it that way I do it. Believe me. I see them every time I’m out.

I use a barcode scanner with a database to determine whether I want to buy a book or not. Although some sellers mistakenly think stores are hostile to those of us who use scanners or would rather we not use them, nothing could be further from the truth.

Stores Will Welcome You

Most stores welcome anyone willing to buy their stale inventory, and that’s what I do. Managers and employees usually don’t care that I am electronically assisted. (Customers sometimes express curiosity, but I simply tell them I don’t take questions or that I’m shopping for books, then I turn away from them and continue.)

Sellers who run into hostile employees should report them to the manager or the corporate headquarters of the chain and resolve it as they would any other consumer complaint. If the manager or corporate spokesperson tells you to take a hike, take a hike. There is no shortage of books in the world.

I use an iPAQ PDA with a Socket Class 1 laser scanner (plugged into the CF slot, not bluetooth) that I bought from the online book scouting service ScoutPal. (Both are terribly outdated now, but they still work fine.) I still use ScoutPal even though some of its competitors have additional features.

I’ve also set up scanners for two other people. Used PDAs from eBay or work great. For one that I set up, I used a class 2 laser scanner which I’m convinced can see right through the books. The light beam is much more intense than necessary. I set up another with an LED scanner from Socket, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as the Class 1 laser scanner.

Best Practices In Barcode Scanning

I want to emphasize that my scanner is attached to my PDA, not Bluetooth. The problem with those Bluetooth scanners that work with Blackberrys or iPhones (or anything without a card slot to accommodate a scanner) is that if you hold the scanner in your hand and a book in the other, which hand do you hold the PDA in? That’s why people put the PDA in a bag or purse and use those silly earphones. But if you don’t hear a positive beep, you don’t pull out the screen and look at it -- and you don’t know that the book you scanned is only slightly outside the criteria you have set up and might be something you want.

Several sellers around here use Bluetooth scanners, and I’m always glad to see them. I frequently visit a shelf soon after a person with a Bluetooth scanner (who can therefore not see prices but only hear a sound when a criteria is met) and pick out sellable items.

It’s common to set these devices for sound notifications only when books are worth more than $10 and have an Amazon sales rank greater than 500,000. But what about the $95 book with a sales rank of 500,001? Or the $9.99 book with a sales rank of 12? Those using Bluetooth scanners miss both, and I’ll gladly take them.

Online bookselling is part art and part science. I’m happy to use some electronic assistance when I get it; that’s science. Deciding for myself whether to take my electronic device’s advice is art.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)