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I have a bunch of books I want to download in electronic format so I can clear my shelves. So what I would like to do is to have an app where I can give it a list of titles, or a list of titles + authors + publisher together, or if those won't work a list of ISBNs, and it does something like downloads all the books it can find free versions of, and outputs a list of those books it could not find a version of.

Downloading the free versions should probably be configurable so you can tell it not download from particular sources - for example if you tell it not to download torrented ebooks. or if you can tell it to prefer certain sources first, so you can prioritize project gutenberg over others.

The outputting a list of books that it could not find a free version of would be great if it output a list of paid versions.

Anything like that?

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closed as off-topic by Eight Days of Malaise, jonsca Dec 22 '13 at 6:25

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Contact a software developer. –  Deepak Kamat Mar 29 '13 at 10:18

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Apart from Google Books, which allows you to search by ISBN to find both freely-available and paid versions of titles, the software you request probably does not exist (yet). It does not, however, allow you to download local copies of the books. For that, you should check Project Gutenberg which provides a number of download formats. If they do not have it, I would then check the Open Library if they have something.

As for automation, Project Gutenberg does not have (and will never have) an "API", but it is possible to download their collection using wget or mirroring their entire database.

Both Google Books and the Open Library offer an APIs, so these are a possibilities for development, but I wouldn't expect to find such a tool readily available. Note that Google's API will still not let you download copies of any book.

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thanks, I'd vote up your answer but I don't have the reputation to do so. That said: I think such a program would be useful(obviously) but I don't have as much experience on the subject as you do. Do you think it would be a popular app? –  user254694 Jun 6 '13 at 7:52
    
@user254694 You can accept his answer by hitting the check mark. This gives him more rep than a upvote, and shows to others that the question is solved. –  Fogest Aug 4 '13 at 11:59

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