Webcam ISBN bar code scanner

I needed to create a simple catalog for a large book collection. First I was considering to buy a dedicated bar code scanner. Then I learned about ZBar, a library to turn a webcam into a bar code scanner. I wrote a simple python script to combine ZBar with the Google books API.

Use ISBN Scan Google ( to scan International Standard Book Number (ISBN) bar codes with a webcam and get the bibliographical data from The retrieved data can be written to a local file in CSV style. Each book you store like this is also added to the ‘favorites’ section of your Google bookshelf. It’s very easy to quickly scan your personal library and create a catalog.


The latest version of is available from its Mercurial repository at

Demo video

Published:Thu Nov 12 2010