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Interesting use of phone camera & app?

 
 
tony cooper
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      03-01-2012
The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.

Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.

I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
were building their own library.

Not finding all that I wanted at the first Goodwill, I went to another
one after stopping for lunch. The same three guys came in and started
doing the same thing.

My Goodwill mission was to buy some cheap tripods. I've got a
table-top photography project in mind, and wanted the tripods to use
as light stands. I bought three and bolted a plate on each and use
those Home Depot reflector work lights clipped to the plate.

The tripods are light and easy to move around, the plate is adjustable
in angle and height, and the tripods fold up for storage. I've got
$12 total in the three of them.

Not as fancy as Alan Browne's kit, but functional and cheap.


--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
 
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PeterN
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      03-01-2012
On 3/1/2012 4:00 PM, tony cooper wrote:
> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>
> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>
> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
> were building their own library.
>
> Not finding all that I wanted at the first Goodwill, I went to another
> one after stopping for lunch. The same three guys came in and started
> doing the same thing.
>
> My Goodwill mission was to buy some cheap tripods. I've got a
> table-top photography project in mind, and wanted the tripods to use
> as light stands. I bought three and bolted a plate on each and use
> those Home Depot reflector work lights clipped to the plate.
>
> The tripods are light and easy to move around, the plate is adjustable
> in angle and height, and the tripods fold up for storage. I've got
> $12 total in the three of them.
>
> Not as fancy as Alan Browne's kit, but functional and cheap.
>
>


That's a modern variation. I know an antique dealer who would frequent
Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, looking for antique furniture. He
would discretely scrape off layers of paint, in a concealed area to
determine the quality of the wood. More than once he picked up a piece
for a few bucks, that after restoration, he sold for thousands.

The store managers were quite aware of his activities and would let him
know if anything interesting came in. I will not express the obvious
suspicions.

--
Peter
 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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      03-01-2012
tony cooper <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>
> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>
> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
> were building their own library.


Also, the most valuable books predate ISBNs .
--
David Dyer-Bennet, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed); http://dd-b.net/
Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/
Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/
Dragaera: http://dragaera.info
 
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David Dyer-Bennet
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      03-01-2012
Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> On 2012-03-01 16:00 , tony cooper wrote:
>> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
>> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>>
>> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
>> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
>> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
>> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
>> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
>> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>>
>> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
>> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
>> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
>> were building their own library.

>
> There are apps that scan barcodes and return titles and prices and
> such. There are apps that build inventories from barcodes. I haven't
> found a satisfactory one (for free) to catalog my CD's, DVD's and
> books. I may just fork out the $60 or so for one at some point.
>
> In the case above I would have simply asked what they were up to.
> "Say, guys, I'm curious...". Maybe that's not a prudent thing to do
> in some neighborhoods.


The guys were probably nervous that the Goodwill store staff would be
upset (though I can't see it; if they choose to put the books out at a
price, that's their part of the deal, and it's GOOD for somebody to
choose to buy them).
--
David Dyer-Bennet, (E-Mail Removed); http://dd-b.net/
Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/
Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/
Dragaera: http://dragaera.info
 
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tony cooper
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-02-2012
On Thu, 01 Mar 2012 16:42:02 -0500, Alan Browne
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On 2012-03-01 16:00 , tony cooper wrote:
>> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
>> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>>
>> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
>> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
>> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
>> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
>> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
>> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>>
>> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
>> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
>> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
>> were building their own library.

>
>There are apps that scan barcodes and return titles and prices and such.
> There are apps that build inventories from barcodes. I haven't found
>a satisfactory one (for free) to catalog my CD's, DVD's and books. I
>may just fork out the $60 or so for one at some point.
>
>In the case above I would have simply asked what they were up to. "Say,
>guys, I'm curious...". Maybe that's not a prudent thing to do in some
>neighborhoods.


I don't think you would have asked these guys. Definitely unfriendly
when they saw I was curious. They weren't doing anything wrong, but
may have thought I wanted to steal their idea.

They had the wrong idea about me. I would have complimented them for
their ingenuity.


--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
 
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RichA
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      03-02-2012
On Mar 1, 5:12*pm, David Dyer-Bennet <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> > On 2012-03-01 16:00 , tony cooper wrote:
> >> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
> >> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.

>
> >> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
> >> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
> >> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
> >> received. *It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
> >> numbers. *(They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
> >> they were doing) *They had a shopping cart half full of books.

>
> >> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
> >> some distant source to identify such books. *Maybe a book search firm.
> >> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
> >> were building their own library.

>
> > There are apps that scan barcodes and return titles and prices and
> > such. There are apps that build inventories from barcodes. *I haven't
> > found a satisfactory one (for free) to catalog my CD's, DVD's and
> > books. *I may just fork out the $60 or so for one at some point.

>
> > In the case above I would have simply asked what they were up to.
> > "Say, guys, I'm curious...". *Maybe that's not a prudent thing to do
> > in some neighborhoods.

>
> The guys were probably nervous that the Goodwill store staff would be
> upset (though I can't see it; if they choose to put the books out at a
> price, that's their part of the deal, and it's GOOD for somebody to
> choose to buy them).
> --


One interesting thing to look for at these places are company cast-
offs. Often, you can get outstanding quality large aluminum and glass
picture frames for peanuts compared to the new price. You can just
disgard the "attitude" and "positive thinking" propaganda posters
inside.
 
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Charles E. Hardwidge
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-02-2012

"tony cooper" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>
> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>
> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
> were building their own library.
>
> Not finding all that I wanted at the first Goodwill, I went to another
> one after stopping for lunch. The same three guys came in and started
> doing the same thing.


I read about this sort of thing going on in New York the other year and
heard it has effectively killed good used bookshops. People like that just
swoop in and take a skim off the resale price. Entrepreneurial maybe but it
kills everything for everyone else just for a lousy markup. As far as I'm
concerned people like that are filth like buy-to-let landlords.

--
Charles E. Hardwidge
 
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tony cooper
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      03-02-2012
On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 15:50:57 -0000, "Charles E. Hardwidge"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
>"tony cooper" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed).. .
>> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
>> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>>
>> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
>> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
>> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
>> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
>> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
>> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>>
>> I assume they were looking for books with resale value and were using
>> some distant source to identify such books. Maybe a book search firm.
>> Frankly, they didn't look like they could read, so I doubt if they
>> were building their own library.
>>
>> Not finding all that I wanted at the first Goodwill, I went to another
>> one after stopping for lunch. The same three guys came in and started
>> doing the same thing.

>
>I read about this sort of thing going on in New York the other year and
>heard it has effectively killed good used bookshops. People like that just
>swoop in and take a skim off the resale price. Entrepreneurial maybe but it
>kills everything for everyone else just for a lousy markup. As far as I'm
>concerned people like that are filth like buy-to-let landlords.


I really don't know what they do, but it would seem to me that they
would be buying the books at Goodwill and selling them to "good used
bookshops". Used book stores get a lot of their stock from pickers,
not just people who bring in personal books.

If I understand the system correctly, they are *helping* used book
stores stay in business by finding and supplying them with inventory.

The pickers wouldn't be selling the books on eBay. The volume and the
low unit prices would make individual listings and selling on eBay too
unrewarding. It wouldn't pay for gas.


--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
 
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Michael Black
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Posts: n/a
 
      03-02-2012
On Thu, 1 Mar 2012, tony cooper wrote:

> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>
> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>

They are leeches.

The concept isn't new, all the people in the used business will pay
attention to garage sales and book sales. But, they have to have skill,
know what people will buy, know the value of an item.

The barcode skimmers don't need to know anything about the value, or the
item, they are just looking up a list. They don't even have to type in
the numbers. They just rifle through the items until something rings a
bell, indicating a high resale value.

Real book dealers are like anyone else, they go to the bookstores, they
look at the books, they make a judgement. I can do it too, that book is
overpriced, it's common, that book I haven't seen in 20 years, this book
I've never seen before. I'll give this a home because I'm pretty
certain nobody else coming by will be interested, but once the price
goes up, I'll be more selective. I'm not reselling, but I certainly know
the books.

This is the way the internet fails. It doesn't raise people up, it dumbs
them down. Some collective mind lets them do things that they wouldn't
ahve done before, but they havent' changed, they are relying on others to
do the work.

This is so common that only a fool would be worried that someone would
copy them. But they have good reason to worry about Goodwill, since they
are explotiting the cheap books and making a profit. Why doesn't Goodwill
start doing the exact same thing, and then raise the prices accordingly,
or sell them directly to buyers? The problem is, that if you start
filtering the books at a used book sale or store, then there is less of a
lure. If the good books are skimmed off before the sale, then I'm not
going to get up early to go to it. If the prices are raised, to reflect
"internet prices", then i wont' buy as much. It relies on people to come
in and buy at the higher prices.

Books are in an endless supply, and likely will continue that way for a
long time (one can still buy records at garage sales). If book sales
raise their prices for the barcode skimmers, then they risk ending up with
too much stock at the end, something they don't want.

These idiots aren't doing me a favor, I dont' want them blocking my way as
they scan books. I have only comtempt for them, and have told them so. I
want to go to used book sales for the adventure, to find books I've never
seen before. If I wanted specific books, then I'd pay someone for that
filtered selection, but I'd also be real careful knowing that idiots with
barcode readers may be the source of such books.

Someone pointed out that lots of books don't have a barcode. Which shoes
the stupidity of all this. The barcode skimmers will go through that
stack of computer books, hoping to win the jackpot, but there are endless
books that I rarely or never see, that may be harder to resell, but might
have a better price. Meanwhile, the used book sales feel they have to
deal with the barcode skimmers, so they do the same thing, raising prices
on the books with barcodes. Yet a year ago, at one sale, they were
discarding a autiobiography by jazz singer Ethel Waters, something I've
never seen before, surely of value to someone. That same sale, I paid a
dollar for a an autobiography of Dorothy Day, the pacifist, it was the
first time in 30 years that I'd seen a copy (and I paid more the first
time). But the barcode skimmers will never notice, they are illiterate
when it comes to the actual books. And so are the book sales, they know
broadly what's valuable, they can price the latest Clive Cussler at a
higher price than some generic fiction, but unless they pay attention over
the years (ie volunteers stick around enough to be valuable) they won't
know how uncommon that Dorothy Day book is, yet will price something
higher "because the internet says so".

Michael
 
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tony cooper
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      03-02-2012
On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 13:20:17 -0500, Michael Black <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Thu, 1 Mar 2012, tony cooper wrote:
>
>> The other day I stopped by a couple of Goodwill stores and noticed an
>> interesting use of a phone camera and maybe an app of some sort.
>>
>> Three guys with phones were going through the books and some other
>> shelves photographing title pages of books, and maybe using an app of
>> some sort, and choosing books to buy based on some return message they
>> received. It looked like they were photographing or scanning the ISBN
>> numbers. (They stopped when I moved closer and kinda concealed what
>> they were doing) They had a shopping cart half full of books.
>>

>They are leeches.
>
>The concept isn't new, all the people in the used business will pay
>attention to garage sales and book sales. But, they have to have skill,
>know what people will buy, know the value of an item.
>
>The barcode skimmers don't need to know anything about the value, or the
>item, they are just looking up a list. They don't even have to type in
>the numbers. They just rifle through the items until something rings a
>bell, indicating a high resale value.


An interesting viewpoint, but not one that I particularly agree with.

A line worker making iPads knows nothing about what makes an iPad
work, the value of an iPad, or the use for one. But, that worker is
contributing the skill he/she has to the process.

The result is a product that someone wants, knows what to do with, and
one that puts money in the pocket of the assembly contractor, Apple,
Apple employees, app developers, software developers and some end
users. Without that ignorant line worker, the product doesn't get to
market.

The picker in the Goodwill store is earning money and supporting
himself and his family. The money he earns is spent on food,
clothing, rent, and other essentials. It flows into the system.

If you discount the value of every employee or worker who has a
function in making or distributing a product that he or she is
ignorant of the value or end-use of, you discount the value of most
people in the workforce.

You discount the value of the typesetter, the press operator, the
bindery worker, the warehouseman, the shipping clerk, and the delivery
truck driver who don't read the books that they produce and bring to
market.

>Real book dealers are like anyone else, they go to the bookstores, they
>look at the books, they make a judgement.


I doubt if this is the prevailing practice. Most used book dealers
are small businesses in the number of employees. They can't be out
scouring other bookstores for inventory and manning their own stores
unless they increase their overhead by staffing their store to replace
them. They can't travel over a wide area because of the costs of road
trips. The picker system brings the books to them.

Rare book dealers may be an exception, but the average used book store
can't follow your model and remain in business.

>I can do it too, that book is
>overpriced, it's common, that book I haven't seen in 20 years, this book
>I've never seen before. I'll give this a home because I'm pretty
>certain nobody else coming by will be interested, but once the price
>goes up, I'll be more selective. I'm not reselling, but I certainly know
>the books.


You're a hobbyist, then. You don't depend on volume or a varied stock
of titles. Basically, you're a cherry-picker.

>This is the way the internet fails. It doesn't raise people up, it dumbs
>them down. Some collective mind lets them do things that they wouldn't
>ahve done before, but they havent' changed, they are relying on others to
>do the work.


>This is so common that only a fool would be worried that someone would
>copy them. But they have good reason to worry about Goodwill, since they
>are explotiting the cheap books and making a profit. Why doesn't Goodwill
>start doing the exact same thing, and then raise the prices accordingly,
>or sell them directly to buyers? The problem is, that if you start
>filtering the books at a used book sale or store, then there is less of a
>lure. If the good books are skimmed off before the sale, then I'm not
>going to get up early to go to it. If the prices are raised, to reflect
>"internet prices", then i wont' buy as much. It relies on people to come
>in and buy at the higher prices.
>
>Books are in an endless supply, and likely will continue that way for a
>long time (one can still buy records at garage sales). If book sales
>raise their prices for the barcode skimmers, then they risk ending up with
>too much stock at the end, something they don't want.
>
>These idiots aren't doing me a favor, I dont' want them blocking my way as
>they scan books. I have only comtempt for them, and have told them so. I
>want to go to used book sales for the adventure, to find books I've never
>seen before. If I wanted specific books, then I'd pay someone for that
>filtered selection, but I'd also be real careful knowing that idiots with
>barcode readers may be the source of such books.


So you're a dilettante that is annoyed when someone making their
living in the only way that may be available to them slows down your
cherry-picking.

>Someone pointed out that lots of books don't have a barcode. Which shoes
>the stupidity of all this. The barcode skimmers will go through that
>stack of computer books, hoping to win the jackpot, but there are endless
>books that I rarely or never see, that may be harder to resell, but might
>have a better price. Meanwhile, the used book sales feel they have to
>deal with the barcode skimmers, so they do the same thing, raising prices
>on the books with barcodes. Yet a year ago, at one sale, they were
>discarding a autiobiography by jazz singer Ethel Waters, something I've
>never seen before, surely of value to someone. That same sale, I paid a
>dollar for a an autobiography of Dorothy Day, the pacifist, it was the
>first time in 30 years that I'd seen a copy (and I paid more the first
>time). But the barcode skimmers will never notice, they are illiterate
>when it comes to the actual books. And so are the book sales, they know
>broadly what's valuable, they can price the latest Clive Cussler at a
>higher price than some generic fiction, but unless they pay attention over
>the years (ie volunteers stick around enough to be valuable) they won't
>know how uncommon that Dorothy Day book is, yet will price something
>higher "because the internet says so".
>
> Michael


--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
 
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