A few weeks ago I posted about a quick service I put together that compared textbook buyback prices from a few of the top websites. I’ve been working on expanding that the past few weeks, and am now unveiling a site dedicated to it.
BookScouter.com is the most comprehensive comparison site for quickly searching for textbook sale prices. It currently scrapes prices from 21 other sites – which is all of them that I could find. The website is written in PHP using a custom framework that I’ve developed and use exclusively now. I found an excellent website called opensourcetemplates.org that has website templates available for free. Their ‘Nautilius’ theme is the one I chose for this site.
The backend of the site is written in Perl. It uses a pretty straightforward LWP to fetch the page, and some regular expressions to pull the price from the pages it obtains. Each site was custom coded, but I got it down to a pretty re-usable script where I just customize a few of the things, like the input variable name for the ISBN and the regex that contains the price. A few of the sites were more complicated than the others and required fetching a couple pages to obtain a session ID.
I’m pretty happy with the end result. Please try to look up a few books and see if you have anything of value sitting around. No registration or any personal information is ever required and it is completely free to use.