Open Source Book Discovery App - LocalReads

I worked on an idea for discovery of books a couple of years ago. The idea was simple - make a catalog of your paper books online and tag your location to it. Friends and neighbours would then be able to search for a book using the service and discover books in your shelf. The service would allow making requests for books and manage subsequent interactions between users. I tried developing this concept in residential communities, colleges and online book groups but did not get significant traction to pursue it as a serious business.

In the couple of years that followed there were many others who approached or discussed the same idea online and otherwise. I discouraged some of the folks explaining my experiences with traction. I am sure many more would want to try it out. But the fact that there are many people with the same idea points to a possible passionate market however small it maybe. Most of the code I had developed was lying idle and I thought it would help folks trying to build this concept from scratch if I open sourced the codebase.

In the last few weeks I refactored the old code and built out a mobile app with the same backend, but used newer technologies to build better capabilities and with less code. I have published the app for free on Android platform. You can check it out at here. The code is open source and published in github.


The android app is developed using the Ionic-Angular framework that lets you build hybrid (html + native) apps. The backend service is implemented as a set of REST apis using Grails with a MongoDB database. You can check out the code on github at the following locations.

See instructions for building the codebase in the corresponding github repositories. The front end code uses Protractor/Jasmine for End-to-End testing and Karma/Jasmine for unit tests. The backend uses Spock framework for testing the apis.

The code base will help developers trying to build similar capabilities for other apps - location based full-text search, real-time messaging, restful and stateless service, hybrid mobile app using cordova, etc

To build a full stateless restful service in grails I have used the Spring Security Rest plugin as the normal spring security based authentication relies on sessions to be maintained. Real-time messaging is implemented using Spring Websockets. Reach out if you are looking for help in these areas.

All of the code is distributed under the Creative Commons License 4.0.