While riding the train home I finished a book I had been reading and immediately went in search of something new. I quickly became frustrated with Amazon’s suggestions which included every Django book ever printed because I once bought a book on the subject. It also included many irrelevant items, including scrap-booking items that were a result of my wife sharing my account. So I did what I usually do and asked my friends on IRC what the recommend. This produced immediate results. I had a good recommendation from a trusted source.
This experience motivated me to improve this process and make it easier for people to share what they are reading and discover new content. There are other great services like Goodreads that have similar goals, but in the age of e-readers, I should be able to share automatically and effortlessly.
The real problem is that none of the popular e-reader companies (including Amazon) offer an API that would allow someone to build something like this. But what kind of hacker would let something like a lack of API hinder innovation? So I spent a few days taking apart the Kindle App for Android, taking it apart until I had a service that could mimic it and register itself as another Kindle device.
The result is Read Sync, a simple Facebook application that allows you to share your Kindle reads with friends, see what books your friends have read and recommend and which of your friends own a particular book.
The screen shot above is an example of a book two of my friends have on their Amazon bookshelves. On this screen I can see details about the book, related titles, and what friends have read it. If I click on one of my friends pictures it takes me to their bookshelf where I can explore what they have read.