Closing the Gap: Using a Tablet for Scouting

by Craig Stark

6 February 2012

A Review

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An iPad or any other tablet is useful for scouting only to the extent that it's set up to maximize the delivery of relevant information. I addressed hardware setup in Part I. Now let's look at software.

First, if you've already been using an iPhone for scouting, any iPhone application you have installed on it can also be installed on an iPad, but it will run in the same sized window it runs on the iPhone, not in a full-sized iPad window. Since some iPhone apps don't yet exist in an iPad version, it might make sense to install one or more of these on your iPad anyway, especially if window size isn't overly important. Example: pic2shop Pro - a fast, powerful app that scans bar codes. Recall that this app can be linked to ScoutPal for returning more bookseller friendly results. Click here for more information. By the way, the iPad 2 camera quality is now at a level where bar code recognition is near instantaneous when using pic2shop Pro, so results come quickly with good connectivity.

Also, good news if your iPad is jailbroken: There is an app available via Cydia called RetinaPad that will allow you to run iPhone apps in a full iPad screen mode. This not only enlarges the view; it also increases the resolution. Speaking of resolution, another app available via Cydia - 3G Unrestrictor - tricks your iPhone or iPad into thinking it has a WiFi connection, so videos, etc., will appear in high resolution with 3G connectivity.

Second, most of the apps you'll find useful are available in iPad versions, including some obvious ones you'll want to install (if they aren't pre-installed) - Amazon, eBay, Google, etc. Typically, you will want to run the PC versions of these, which often have more functionality, and not the mobile versions.

I've organized my bookselling tools into four folders, which I've named Fastsearch, Deepsearch, Sales and Venues, and I've put all of the folder icons along the bottom of the screen for quick access no matter where I am on the iPad.


In this folder I've placed the apps I use most often for scouting - pic2shop Pro, ScoutPal, Abebooks and Terapeak. The Abebooks "app" isn't actually an app but a button that takes me to the Advanced Search page. As for Terapeak, I know, it's gotten expensive, but this tool still makes a big difference for me when scouting, both in identifying items of significant value and preventing expensive mistakes. Since their latest upgrade, searches are faster now, and several months ago they added the capability of searching back a full year. I've also placed eBay Advanced Search and my sniping service in this folder for times when I'm in the field and have some time to shop for inventory.


Here I've placed the apps that I use less often, but when I do need them to do deeper research in the field, I really do need them. I expect the apps in this folder to grow in number over time, but for now I have additional book venue search apps in place (,, BookFinder, viaLibri, etc.), several major libraries (Library of Congress, the British Library, etc.) and two versions of WorldCat - the fast, "lite" version that doesn't require an authorization code and password to access and the more comprehensive and detailed WorldCat FirstSearch that does. (If you don't already know this, codes and passwords can almost always be obtained by Googling for them.) I also have several miscellaneous apps in place - American Book Prices Current (subscription required), First Edition Points, etc.


I use this folder for locating sales in my area and navigating to them. So far I have the following apps in place: craigslist,, the garage sale section of my local newspaper - and of course Google Maps. craigslist is especially important because new sales pop up continuously.


I currently sell on six different venues, and I use this folder for quick access to my accounts. Questions from potential buyers often come up during the day. Timely or not so timely replies can sometimes make or break a sale.

Other Apps

Though not bookselling specific, other apps are often useful.

Dropbox is one of my favorites. This allows you to quickly transfer files from one device to any other device you set it up on. If, for example, you have a large compilation of publisher's first edition designations in a file on your desktop computer, you can simply copy it, paste it in Dropbox, and within moments you have it in your laptop, smartphone or tablet. The storage space is generous for a free account, and I have instant access in the field to a wealth of bookselling information.

XpenseTrkr is another useful app. I maintain a mileage log with this and am also able to enter my purchases as I make them.

Please write me at if you have any additional suggestions for apps.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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