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Show HN: Create a papercraft book from any ISBN – experiment with React and Node (origamihub.com)
46 points by AlexMuir on March 22, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 38 comments

This strikes me as though it should be an art piece underlining the tragedy of what the Kindle and all DRM-encumbered digital media has taken from us.

When a friend or visitor walks up to a real bookshelf in your home and takes interest in one of your books, they can thumb through it and even borrow it for themselves.

With these, it is a farce, a disappointment, an insult. A real bookshelf says "I read these and you can too!" A bookshelf of papercraft books says "I licensed these for myself and due to DRM and copyright all I can share is the jacket."

Bookshelves full of papercraft books mock the beauty of bookshelves full of real books.

Couldn't a digital representation meant for a PC/TV work equally well? You could have your software create a graphical representation of the books on a bookshelf, and enable the user to make it into a screensaver, or something they could put on a TV. Seems like it would be at least an interesting addition to your service. Obviously not everyone can dedicate a TV to displaying their collection of books, but the results can be neat for those who can... http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5170/5263049453_a91bf99e3e.jp... (video columns in the lobby of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas)

I half considered approaching Amazon with this for an April Fools gimmick but I thought I'd just get lost in some bureaucracy there.

Always nice to get some eyeballs! I didn't expect any interest in this really - as it's ultimately completely pointless!

I built it because I'm on a mission to polish up my Javascript[0] and get to grips with React and Node. And I have to say, it's been a pleasure. I'm astounded that the server for this (70 concurrent users) was just install node and hit screen -r / node server.

[0] http://alexmuir.com/catchup-mode

I'm in the same position as you. A few weeks ago I started a small project so that I could properly learn angularjs and the js quirks. Been fun so far.

Here is the current status: http://elvispt.github.io/crt/

Looks like you're covering a lot of ground there. I wondered how you were getting away without a backend and that led me to Firebase which I'll investigate tomorrow (admittedly about two years late). Happy hacking!

This is great! You should consider doing some sort of palette generation to make the back cover not just be white -- maybe find the most common color on the front and use a complementary color as the background.

>now I'm setting off on an investigation of Grunt, Gulp, Live Reload and Yeoman.

Don't. Just learn webpack and call it a day.

I still haven't found a beginner's (someone used to working with Gulp / Grunt) intro to Webpack :(

Any recommendations?

I am not sure. I just followed their docs[1] which are really good, IMO.

1. http://webpack.github.io/docs/

I'm looking into webpack now.

Nice idea.

The social aspect of showing a visitor one's bookshelf is definitely getting lost. Even when actively wanting to share reading thoughts or recommandation with someone, it can be awkward to hand over a kindle or iPad with every single book downloaded when some of them touch very private subjects or controversial matters.

As an aside, there is less and less things worth printing out. Papercraft seems to be the best use of a printer nowadays.

This is true. I downloaded The Game onto my kindle to see what people were talking about and then lent it to my girlfriend which created some questions.

It's a silly project (almost arty in its pointlessness). I can't remember why I thought of it, but I liked the simplicity of pulling combining easily available item dimensions and cover images.

Found this to be pretty fun, and it reminds me of the "Faux" technology props they use in furniture stores or staged houses to make it appear "lived in" without risking high tech stuff. My favorite was a fake "macbook" like laptop with a printed Windows XP screen as its display. Sadly it seems the company that made it, Proptronics, may be out of business [1]

On a related note, the Google book scanning project cut up a lot of books by cutting the spine off. In Building 45 there used to be some fake bookcases with the spines glued on to look like all those books were on the shelf. Kind of made me sad, sort of like a book crypt.

[1] http://www.theacme.com/?name=PROPTRONICS&product=1030206311

I don't own a Kindle so I don't know if this is possible, but it would be fun if you can give your Kindle username (does that exist?) or any kind of API Key and it generates all your books on a ZIP file with PDF files so you can print your entire virtual book collection :)

Great idea. Looks like scraping a Kindle library[0] is achievable. I might do something more with it next weekend.

[0] https://github.com/speric/kindle-highlights

I do not believe you actually purchase the ability to print your Kindle purchases. I am not aware of a way without stripping the Kindle DRM.

Searching by name seems to work fine, but none of the ISBN's I entered returned any results.

For example I tried: 978-0201485677 9780201485677 0201485672 No Results were displayed, but typing in the title Refactoring worked just fine. This was in Chrome and Firefox on my laptop.

Thanks. Fixed! (uuuugh XML)

What about a double sided version where the inside contains something of value? Perhaps a called out spot for a flash drive containing the book, or a QR code to the book/amazon page/etc, or perhaps a little "guest log" so people could open it up and rate the book? Would be an interesting experiment/art thing

In fact, if you did what the others down below suggested (the Amazon Kindle scraper) then the inside could automatically contain when you purchased the book which would be kind of cool

I love this idea. I love it so much. I've been lamenting the notion that my friends can browse my "real" library on my bookshelf, but nobody can browse my e-book library. I've read hundreds of books on my Kindle, and there's no real way for people visiting my place to casually browse and say "This looks interesting; is it any good?"

I love it.

The CSS for the vertical text on the binding does not seem to work in Safari.

Example screenshot with chrome on the bottom: http://puu.sh/gLdy2.png

Safari is the last holdout for prefixing the CSS3 transform properties. http://caniuse.com/#search=transform

You could integrate with services like http://www.fedex.com/us/office/cloud-printing.html.

No side jacket?

It'd be interesting to see a project like this that uses just the side jackets with the titles to create a "bookshelf poster" that can be laid out wallpaper style.

I like that idea. Sadly no-one seems to have a database of images of the spines of books. All I'm doing at the moment is pulling the color at (x:5,y:5) from the cover image and using that for the spine. It's not exact but good enough. I think pick either white or black text depending on the color saturation. It's OK in this situation but for generating a poster it'd need to be a lot more refined.

BitLit is a company that allows you to upload a "shelfie" of your books and they will recognise the books from their spines. So don't give up hope on that image database, it must exist. Nice work, looks like an interesting project.


Doesn't load in Kenya. Had to go through http://teleport.to

I LOVE Kenya so it's nothing personal!! My mum grew up in Mombasa and Nairobi. The site is hosted on Digital Ocean in NY - I've just enabled Cloudflare so hopefully that might sort things out. Sorry, but thanks for letting me know.

No worries :-)

Or you could host all your books on your home web server with an ad on your empty bookshelf or above your TV?

The Encyclopedia Britannica is fun: 9781593392925

If by fun you mean doesn't work properly.

Does not work well on an Android phone.

True, sorry - It should have a popup message for phones saying it probably doesn't work. I've made zero effort to get it working on phones since you can't print from them anyway. It's just a bit of playfun really!

I frequently print from my iPhone and iPad :)

That being said I definitely saw the pop-up in Safari on iOS 8.2. I appreciate the warning, would've got frustrated without it.

Yeah, it's very annoying when stuff doesn't work on a phone. I'll be honest - I didn't actually expect anyone to print a book. I don't even own a printer so I haven't tested it!

Is this project open source? I didn't see it in github

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