ISBN Barcode Reader & Book Lookup in Android

Company provides relevant information and great shopping experience to users with minimal hindrances of a small form-factor device



  • A mobile startup in Silicon Valley with focus on retail consumer services
  • Company wants to specialize on book retail as a starting point


  • Can a mobile app provide real-time access to information on books while the user is inside store?
  • What is the easiest way to access latest reader reviews, price and other relevant information with minimal keyboard input?

Harbinger Solution

  • An Android app that uses camera to scan ISBN barcode from the back of a book
  • Displays summary information about the scanned book by calling Web Service
  • Application provides access to more specific information such as reviews, images, price and other details from the web

Technologies & Tools

  • Android 1.6 SDK
  • Camera API
  • Barcode Formats: EAN13, EAN8, Code128, Code39, QACode, UPC
  • Permissions: Camera, Vibrate, Flashlight, Internet
  • Web Service using REST protocol
  • Parsing of XML response using SAX parser
  • UI: Custom View, Scroll View, Gesture Detector


  • Company provides users with an on-the-go experience of fetching real-time information about book reviews
  • Users able to make informed decisions on purchases based on latest information and peer reviews