I made money scanning barcodes last night. I was also recycling. No, this is not a riddle. It is Cash4Book.net, a new barcode scanning app available for the iPhone 3G/3GS/4 and iPod Touch devices.
In my house, at any given time, there are more books than food— or money, for that matter. To make matters worse, I happened to be in our dying Borders last week when an apathetic voice over the intercom pronounced everything in the store 90% off. It was the best thing to happen to me all week. My bookshelves runneth over... onto the kitchen table.
So, late last night I rang in Earth Day with my own private celebration. I loaded the new Cash4Books.net app on my iPhone 4, and was scanning immediately. Honestly, I approached it as writing research, certain it was too good to be true. As it turns out, just like 90% off every book in Borders, sometimes things aren’t too good to be true after all.
I confronted my bookshelf with reverence. Scanning only books I could bare to let go. Some popular fiction from beaches and airplanes past, but mostly the favorite authors of ex-boyfriends, bought only out of politesse. Not literary men, the ones who didn’t make the cut.
The app’s barcode scanner is the best I’ve ever used. It is lightning fast, and I didn’t have one book that didn’t pop up, cover illustration and all, within seconds. Cash4Books.net will either make you an offer on the book or tell you that its not buying that particular title today.
If you choose to accept the offer, you touch the “accept offer” button. The book is added to a list and you continue to scan till you’re finished. I had a long list, a tall stack of books and a total of $10.12. However, before checking out, I chickened out; unable to cut the cord. In the end, I sold 3 books (one particularly distasteful boyfriend’s selections) for a total of $2.61.
The checkout process was surprisingly simple. Inside of five minutes I had registered for an account, requested shipping labels (my printer is broken) and was finished. The money is deposited directly into PayPal or they will issue you a check.
Most of the books I scanned were older titles, the app offered me .50 to $1 for those. For testing purposes, I scanned some of my recently collected treasure from Borders. I was offered $3 or $4 each. Imagine the killing I could have made if I’d had this app two days earlier when Borders was closing?
Whether you want to recycle some old titles or make a part-time career out of used book-selling, Cash4Books.net will add a little necessary green to your life. So go ahead, celebrate Earth Day, start scanning those barcodes. Recycle your books into cash.