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Your iPhone (or iPod touch) as bargain hunter

As a buyer, I’ll admit to occasionally putting a book down because I want to compare prices with another bookstore or check the Internet at home. Apparently some iPhone programmers have too, because some of them created Snaptell, an app that, by simply photographing the cover of a book (or CD, or DVD, or video game), will automatically compare its price to those on the Internet and every store in your local area.

Understandably, the existence of such a technology is making some booksellers nervous. But as the L.A. Times notes, it’s unlikely book buyers will be willing to drive 20 minutes or spend another token on the subway just to save $2. And online sellers conveniently omit shipping and handling from their prices, which can easily add another $5 to the cover price (unless you’re spending more than $35 to begin with). So the only sellers who really need to worry are the ones who charge $5 or $10 more than the others, and they should be lowering their prices anyway.

As a customer, you have to admit it sounds convenient.