barter.li: A Haven for Book Lovers, a Tribute to Aaron Swartz

yourstory_Barterli_FeatureImage Aaron Swartz   was a computer programming prodigy and activist who played an instrumental role in the campaign for a free and open Internet. Swartz was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS,the organization Creative Commons, the website framework web.py and the social news site, Reddit.

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Swartz was one of the early architects of Creative Commons and a developer of the Internet Archives’ Open Library, a free book database and digital library open to the public. In 2008, he founded Watchdog.net, to create greater political transparency and help citizens organize at a grassroots level. In 2010, he founded the online group Demand Progress, which launched a successful campaign against two Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA). In 2010-11, he studied the influence of big money on institutions, politics and public opinions at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

Swartz also played a significant role in making government and academic data more available for free to the public. In 2011, Swartz was accused of using an MIT computer system to download numerous academic articles from the online archive JSTOR. JSTOR decided not to pursue charges, and asked the government not to prosecute, but Swartz was indicted by federal prosecutors for 13 felony charges. Prosecutors refused all settlement offers that did not include jail time, and required Swartz to plead guilty to felony charges. The case was pending when Swartz died at age 26 in January 2013.

A tribute to Aaron Swartz

Barter.li is a tribute to Aaron Swartz. Founded by Prasun Jain, Surendar Marudhachalam, Vinay Shenoy, Khushboo Maheshwari and Anshul Kamboj, it is an open-source, non-profit project with the aim of  creating a global community of book lovers. Their first mission is to share a billion books, through their app.10440228_698918733476585_4539507984935683099_n

The team started working on barter.li on Aaron’s first death Anniversary, when they created  a small Indiegogo campaign to raise funding for creating a book sharing platform. For them it was a  genuine tribute to his effort as Aaron’s efforts was mainly around making knowledge accessible for all especially in the third world countries. Although the campaign raised only 7% of their target of $20,000 but they still decided to go ahead with the project with the confidence that it would be able to attract contribution from various developers/designers. They are really proud that Aaron’s efforts are not ignored even on a land diametrically opposite to USA viz India.

The project has got over a 1000 commits on their github repo from double digit developers and half a dozen designers contributing to the project. Volunteers have also come ahead from India, Turkey, Egypt and USA to hep them market the app especially on Universities campuses.

What is it about :1

barter.li is a community-based android app whose main function is to help people share their books. It is an open-source, non-profit project which is being built with love and passion as a tribute to Aaron Swartz. They want to create a global community with whose help they will be able to create a library in every corner of the world, access to which a user can carry around in his or her pocket.

The app requires 2.8MB of internal storage and requires Android 4.0 or higher to function. It has a fast,sleek user interface and is very easy to use. With an ever expanding library of amazing books, it is a must have app for book lovers.

How it Works:

Users can either upload books that they want to trade or sell either manually by clicking a picture or they can scan the bar code.  Other users in the same area can see the uploaded content and get in touch with the uploader through a private chat within the app itself, meet up at a convenient location and buy/sell/exchange their books. The app has the potential to unite all the book lovers across the globe. Apart from exchange and reading of books, the app also stimulates community sharing and new friendships.

The app currently has a rating of 4.8/5 on the Google play store with about a thousand downloads.

Do give a try. You can download it here.

If you are an App Developer looking to get featured on Yourstory’s App Fridays, reach out to : harshith@yourstory.com with details.

Harshith Mallya

Harshith Mallya

Engineer from MIT, Manipal, Writer@YourStoryCo, Tech Enthusiast, Foodie and Couch Potato Extraordinaire Email : harshith@yourstory.com .