My Bookscouter Scanner (and why I chose the Socket Mobile 8CI).

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It’s no secret that I love BookScouter for helping me find valuable books on my shopping trips, but what I didn’t love was the extra time it was taking for me to capture barcode information with my smartphone. My competition, using a scanner and a PDA loaded with the Amazon database, was sweeping entire shelves in the time it was taking me to get results on a single title. While I loved that I was finding dozens of profitable books that the Amazon scanners were overlooking, I wanted desperately to speed up the process. Then I made the single best innovation I’ve made since starting my book business a year ago.

I purchased a Socket Mobile 8Ci blue tooth scanner and started using it in conjunction with the BookScouter app.

Socket Mobile 8Ci
Notice the tape? iPhone 5 and 6 users have the option of purchasing a special clip to attach the device to your phone… iPhone 4 users have to be resourceful.

It was the perfect marriage of two systems of book scouting, but getting there required a technological leap of faith. Despite hours of googling, there was just no information online about pairing the BookScouter app with a hand held scanner. It made sense that the two would work together. Essentially, all I needed was a device that would enter ISBNs into the entry field in the app. But with my fledgling book business just started, and scanners pricing out in the $200 range, I wanted assurance that the devices would work together.

What finally pushed me to take the plunge was a glitch in the BookScouter app. Following an IOS update, the app was having difficulty opening my iPhone camera’s digital shutter. Every few scans, the app would simply pull up a black screen, and I’d be forced to wait until it opened or type in the ISBN by hand.

Faced with adding even more time between scans, or going back to entering all ISBNs via the keyboard, I took a risk and purchased the Socket Mobile 8Ci, the only handheld scanner that was even mentioning iPhones in its product description.

The result? It worked.

Socket Mobil 8Ci
The Socket Mobile 8Ci in action, capturing an ISBN from a book’s barcode.

Setup was simple and took less then five minutes. The scanner’s instruction manual directed me to a free setup app available from the IOS app store. The app paired the two devices via bluetooth, and with a BEEP!, the scanner told me it was successfully paired. I pulled a book down from the shelf, positioned the scanner over the barcode and pressed the button. A bar of red light leapt from the tip, the device vibrated to let me know the ISBN had been captured, then a string of numbers filled the entry field. I wasn’t sure how much automation the device would offer right out of the box, and was pleasantly surprised that it was intuitive enough to “hit enter,” also, meaning a scan both entered the ISBN, and advanced to the next screen as well and began searching for results.

Free from the burden of data entry, I was able to research twice as many books on my shopping trips, increasing my bottom line and decreasing the amount of time I was spending at the shelves. No matter what system you are using to scout, purchasing a hand scanner is a must for taking your business to the next level. But for me, it doesn’t stop there. I’m continually looking for ways to innovate, shaving seconds off of scan times and using technology to assist me in the hunt.

Are you using the Socket Mobile 8Ci?

Using a different device for book scanning?

I’d love to hear about it! Let me know what device you chose in the comments below!