Get free and discounted Ebooks of your print or paper books

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Hi everyone, we’re really excited to get our app on Product Hunt! We built Shelfie because we love both print and ebooks and knew there was a better solution than paying twice. That is how Shelfie was born. Shelfie allows anyone with an iOS or Android device to get the ebook version of the books they own either for free or at a deep discount. You simply take a picture of your bookshelf (Shelfie), we scan your bookshelf, identify all the eligible books on your Shelf and it’s as simple as that. In addition, we also are working on helping you discover other bookshelves to dig up the your next read. We currently have a little over 100,000 titles available on Shelfie and are working hard to add every day. We really are looking forward to all your feedback and comments, please always get in touch either on twitter @GetShelfie or send us an email to Thanks!
For anybody overseas, the apps are currently only available in the "anglosphere" (US, CA, UK, IE, ZA, AU, and NZ)... the reason for this is that when we sign with publishers they generally have digital rights on their ebooks in linguistic blocks of countries. Publishers typically sell foreign language rights in both print, digital, and audio to other publishers in different language markets. This benefits the authors since a local language publisher will have a better local network to ensure the translated book ends up on the front tables of bookstores in the local market (being on the front table has a huge influence over whether a book sells well or is a dud). So for us, it means that we're generally able to sign up publishers for English language territorial rights, but might not have French, German, Italian, Korean, or Japanese territorial rights.
For everybody who's about to reach for their copy of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or Games of Thrones... we have to sign deals with each publisher to get their books on the platform. We have about 100k titles signed so far from about 400 publishers. That works out to about 15% of the books identified in an "average" Shelfie (your mileage may vary). We only have 2 out of the "Big Five Publishers" signed up so far (HarperCollins and Macmillan). As you can imagine publishers have been slow to adopt new business models after Amazon kindled a fire under their paper business (pun fully intended). We're in discussions with all of the other major publishing houses, and I can say that one should be joining soon, and one has outright said "we'll be last, come and talk to us when you've signed the other guys". Another question we get asked a lot is "why do I have to write my name in the book?"... it turns out that publishers were a little worried that if the physical book didn't need to be marked in some way then people start claiming free / discounted ebooks at every B&N in the country. We figured that writing your name in a book was the most benign method of marking it as yours -- and it meshed well with the fact that bookstores generally checked returns for gift inscriptions. Are there ways to cheat the system? Yes, for sure. Are there easier ways to pirate content on the internet? Yes, BitTorrent is much easier than disappearing ink and a dark corner of your local indie bookseller.
This is the perfect solution for every traveller out there who wants to take his entire bookshelf with him. It's an amazing idea and it really solves the space issue that sometimes we have to deal when travelling. I will have to download the app and test it to see if it really is a deep discount or not, but just from reading through the description, it looks awesome. And of course, let's hope that more titles become available soon. (Also, are titles available on different languages?) Good work, Shelfie team!
@rutgerteunissen thanks for the feedback! So far we've concentrated on English language publishers because we knew it would be important to try to get a critical mass in at least one market (English) to validate the business. Additionally, the Shelfie technology is partially based on OCR off of the book spines which need to be matched against a book title / author database -- by restricting our search space to English language titles, we only needed to train on Latin character sets for the OCR and only needed to match against n-grams for English language titles.
Looks like a pretty cool idea, about to test it out now! It's a shame the app's not available for my Kindle Fire, though. :(
@ryanstubbs good point... we haven't submitted the Android app to the Kindle platform yet -- but that makes complete sense since people who use those devices are likely to be heavy readers. We'll have to make some changes to the in-app purchase code to port it since right now we're using Google Play for in-app purchases. Thanks for the suggestion!