Many words have been spent on how the Internet has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, from inter-personal interaction to self-retrieved information, from the way we plan our holidays to the way we buy Christmas gifts. These days the so-called e-commerce is a well founded and known reality. Using the Internet to buy, sell and exchange every kind of goods has become a quite ordinary task in everyone’s life. Huge corporations have risen from this new way of trading things, together with smaller realities so specifically targeted that they could not have had long life in a small shop in the “real world”. In spite of this, it sometimes happens to realize, when we look for the Internet-way to do something among this enormous quantity of services, that there is something still missing. Luckily, we shall say.
Looking around some statistics on reading habits across Europe, Italy will definitely not show up in the first places for average number of read books per year, denoting a quite poor affection to reading in our country. Still, a significant exception to this is represented by school books and academic texts, which cover nearly one third of the whole book market in Italy. Alongside of this, as far as we have all been students, we also remember that that of second-hand school books has always been a quite flourishing market and exchange matter. Another category of readers with very similar necessities is the one of specialists in particular fields, that often look for non-recent, out-of-press, or simply difficult to retrieve books. Among these people, the possibility to get in touch with other privates with the same interests or necessities would surely be very appreciated.Bookscout prototype
The project we are introducing, Bookscout.it, is a virtual marketplace for second-hand books, namely, a thematic internet portal that offers a free buy-and-sell service for used books, mostly, but not only, school books and university books.
Bookscout.it is not an intermediary, and does not apply any commission to the final price of sold items, it is just a way to let buyers and sellers get in touch with each other. It does not control payments and does not provide a ranking mechanism for sellers’ reliability either.
Such a reality does not actually exist on the Italian market: its being so specifically focused, quick and totally free-of-charge makes it a potential eBay competitor.
As an added value, the web site is designed to be fully W3C-compliant for accessibility and assistive technologies. We think indeed that such a service might also be very useful to blind people: Braille books and audio books are not so easy to find in bookshops, nor through mainstream e-commerce services either. That is why the project is designed to be easy to use for this category of users too, providing a dedicated section for Braille books and audio books.
The following presentation is made upon a fully working prototype designed by our association.