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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... Pick of the Week
Delicious Library icon The macosxhints Rating:
7 of 10
[Score: 7 out of 10]
Ever since I've had a computer, I've been looking for the ideal way to catalog our belongings, primarily for insurance purposes. I've used everything from self-developed HyperCard stacks to FileMaker databases (both self-written and purchased). I even tried using Quicken. But in the end, all the tools suffered from one major downside: it was too much work to catalog everything we already had, and adding new purchases was very tedious.

Then along comes Delicious Library (DL for short). DL is an application that catalogs your books, DVDs, CDs, and video games using an intuitive graphical interface. It also greatly speeds the process by using your iSight (or other FireWire camera) to read the barcodes from your stuff and look up the values on the web. You'll have more info on your stuff than you might even have wanted -- publisher, publication date, Amazon users ratings, genres, etc. The use of the camera to read the barcodes is a nice innovation; I was able to catalog nearly 800 items in something less than six to eight hours of work, spread across three days.

This application absolutely blew me away with its features and interface (click the picture at left for a larger version), and so I thought I'd write a full-blown review on it. Then I realized that (a) I don't have the time to do that, and (b) lots [that's Ars Technica's review, the most thorough I've seen] of other people have already done similar things, and they've covered much of what I would have discussed! So instead, I'll just do my usual PotW summary, and let you read the above-linked reviews for the details. Oh yea, there's a small Easter Egg hiding in DL, too -- read on to find it :).

On some fronts, DL scores a 10+ out of 10 -- its use of iSight to read the barcodes is what makes the app work for me.

However, on other fronts, it scores much lower -- it's crashed on me a few times, and there are a number of obvious features missing, although it is a 1.0 release. The most glaring omission is a tie-in to the iTunes library. I have all these CDs already in iTunes; wouldn't it be great if DL could just grab the info from there, then look up the data for me? Also, I'd love the ability to have "smart" collections, much as you can have in iTunes and iPhoto. Finally, the application is (presently) very much US-centric, as it relies heavily on the US Amazon site. It's also tied in from a purchasing standpoint; DL uses its referrer number when you visit Amazon, so any purchases you make will give a commission to the Delicious Monster folks. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but I wish they'd been more up front about it on their site. Finally, at $40, it's a tad expensive for something you may not use every day -- and that's a per computer license, not "licenses in use at once" license.

I won't use most of the "borrowing" features that let you track items you've loaned to others, but for use as an app to simply track our growing collection of stuff, DL's speed and interface is unbeatable. Once a 1.1 (or whatever) release comes out to squash the bugs and add a few new features, it will easily become a '10' in my opinion.

Oh yea, about that Easter Egg ... if you want to experience it for yourself, make sure "Speak scanned titles" is enabled in the preferences, and then scan any Harry Potter book or movie. If you'd rather ruin the surprise, just watch this QuickTime movie [558KB]. And turn up the volume before you do so :).
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  • Currently 1.73 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (11 votes cast)
 
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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... | 38 comments | Create New Account
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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: kissedsmiley on Nov 16, '04 01:13:50PM

And... it has an onerous home page, I have osx10.3.2 & safari 1.2 and get:
http://www.delicious-monster.com/err.php
his website currently requires a recent version of the following browsers:

Mac
Safari 1.2.3
OmniWeb 5.1
Firefox
Camino

Windows

Firefox
Netscape
Mozilla
IE 6
The latest Flash plug-in is required.
JavaScript must be enabled.
Cookies are recommended.
We are investigating support for older versions of Safari and OmniWeb and apologize for any inconvenience.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: robg on Nov 16, '04 02:34:03PM

Any particular reason you're on 10.3.2 and not the newest release?

-rob.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: kissedsmiley on Nov 16, '04 10:12:32PM

<wow Rob wrote to me! :)> <this is off topic...>
I have to backup my system and that is a chore for me right now, I don't have it all "rememberable". I've forgotten how I did it... I'm really paranoid because I love my mac and don't want to destroy anything. I think I used carbonCopyCloner, but it didn't create the bootable quite as I had desired on my Wiebetech microGb+ protable drive. (I think I need a dmg?) And because I know so many people had drive problems with the first 10.3, I'd like to reread my instructions (firewire, usb matters?). I think my drive is perfectly fine, but I want to know for sure... And, finally, (blush!) I forget how big my portable is but it's smaller than my drive. (due to the disk warnings I was hesitant to keep it always plugged in.) Anyway writing this did get me to check out what I think I did...



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: bombcar on Nov 16, '04 01:43:18PM

The latest version has support for UK Amazon, along with some other countries.



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Any other barcode readers
Authored by: datawrangler on Nov 16, '04 02:17:04PM

Does DL work with any other barcode scanners? I have one of those Cue::Cat scanners they used to give away at RadioShack. Would be great if I didn't have to buy their expensive scanner.



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Any other barcode readers
Authored by: smigs on Nov 16, '04 02:25:36PM

From the Delicious Library website:

Q: Can I use my CueCat or other USB barcode scanner with Delicious Library?

A: Delicious Library should support any USB barcode scanner that sends data in the same fashion as a keyboard. The CueCat scanner does not fall into this category, but the following instructions allow you to modify the CueCat to be more compatible.


I used my "neutered" CueCat and it works. I have also used my firewire video camera and that works great.



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Any other barcode readers
Authored by: peel on Nov 16, '04 05:56:12PM

I actually tried to post a hint about this yesterday. But along with the cue-cat and other barcode reading input devices you can also use any Apple Supported Firewire Video Camera. I used my panasonic and it worked like a charm. It works best in good light and it's much easier to use a video camera than the iSight since you can use the viewfinder in the camera as opposed to the on screen one.



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Any other barcode readers
Authored by: wbdjr on Nov 22, '04 08:04:20PM

No, it doesn't, without (if you can believe this) MODIFYING THE HARDWARE of the CueCat!!! As most folks are going to do that. And writing code to support the CueCat is simple (takes about 10 seconds with Google to find samples in a variety of languages).

But many other similar programs support the CueCat, including the ones I bought: BookPedia, DVDpedia, and CDpedia from Bruji.com. As I recall they are $18 each or they sell a bundle for about the same price as Delicious Library.

And I see ReaderWare.com will GIVE you a CueCat scanner free if you buy a bundle of their products on CD.



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Any other barcode readers
Authored by: carla216 on Feb 03, '05 06:19:57PM

What software, if any, did you use to enable the cuecat to talk to the Pedias?



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: mark hunte on Nov 16, '04 03:01:30PM

This looks great, trying out demo.

Do you know if you can export as webpage..

I have read so many books over the years I find every now and then I am not able to remember if I have read a particular book while out shopping for a new read.
I have created a web pages that works well when viewed on my Nokia 6320 that have images and text et. which I use to look up Items I have read.
But DL is much quicker than me in adding items. so if it can export as html, this would be ideal. Even better with images.

I like the find similar tab selection although it would be great if it could do this by Author as well.
I found you can drag the items found into your library. Very quick way of adding.

---
mh



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: peel on Nov 16, '04 05:58:54PM

The data is kept in an XML file so theoretically you can create an applescript that wil upload the data to a web server and the create a php or perl script or what have you to parse the xml and create a nice little web page. I intend to do jus this but as usual time is a key factor and I have little of it. Hopefully during the holidays I'll be able to hack something together.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: mark hunte on Nov 16, '04 06:18:13PM

Thanks peel.
I would be very interested to hear how/if you get on with parsing the xml. and if I chase this dream
I will post my results...

---
mh



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: Thom on Nov 17, '04 04:39:05AM
I would suggest using XSLT. By creating a stylesheet which takes the attributes you want from the items you care about, it's fairly easy to mock up. e.g., let's say you only wanted the author and title from just books, you might do something like the following:

(For a very similar example - where I borrowed this from - see this page.)

Put the following into a file called 'DL_as_webpage.xsl'


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
<xsl:template match="/">
	<html>
	<body>

	<h2>My Book Collection</h2>
	<table border="1">
		<tr bgcolor="#9acd32">
			<th>Title</th>
			<th>Author</th>
		</tr>
		<xsl:for-each select="//book">
		<tr>
			<td><xsl:value-of select="@title"/></td>
			<td><xsl:value-of select="@author"/></td>
		</tr>
		</xsl:for-each>
	</table>
	</body>
	</html>
</xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>
To do the actual transform I used libxslt-1.1.9, which you can get from: http://xmlsoft.org/XSLT/downloads.html, or as they mention on that site, here is a site with OS X binaries: http://www.zveno.com/open_source/libxml2xslt.html

The command looks like this:


xsltproc -o page.html DL_as_webpage.xsl ~/Library/Application\ Support/Delicious\ Library/Library\ Media\ Data.xml
Hope this helps! -- Thom

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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: SouthofHeaven on Nov 17, '04 09:43:19AM

Actually that helps me out a lot since I was tryign to figure out how to parse xml exported from Filemaker for my own collection to be published in a browser. Thanks for the link.

---
The big yellow one's the Sun!!!



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: mark hunte on Nov 17, '04 02:21:06PM

Hey Thom, thanks for that, that did help. Downloaded using Fink and it worked as you said, so time for some more playing.

Thanks again

---
mh



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: mark hunte on Nov 16, '04 03:21:12PM

wow, just found if you do a search on Amerzon (web - not DL) and then drag the book image to DL it will find all the info and add the item,
Although all the info always seems to show up, not all images of the books display. But if they can they will.

---
mh



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: virga42macuser on Nov 16, '04 04:00:01PM

Does anyone have a fear that you will pay out $39.95 for a product that might not be supported a year from now. Then you are stuck with an inventory system that you can't update. (i.e. that the developers go on to bigger an better things and don't release updates and then amazon.com changes the terms and conditions of their services for applications like DL).



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... Nice if it WORKED
Authored by: ibroughton on Nov 16, '04 04:06:58PM

I've tried this today, and it is useless! It won't scan in anything. OK, I thought, maybe UK barcodes are totally different in America (as I'm UK based, but I thought they had added some international support) So I tried a DVD I'd had imported from the US, still no joy, I tried a DVD I'd had imported from Australia, nothing, not even an attempt to scan the barcode. I tried submitting a bug report saying that this won't work with my firewire webcam (everything else that iSight supports works with my webcam without any additional drivers), the bug report box forced me to use one of my secondary mail accounts I have registered in Entourage (I couldn't change it) and when I clicked on submit, the whole thing just closed. If this software worked (and you'd think that they'd have done some testing before releasing it to the paying public) then I might give it a go, but as it stands, it's 0 out of 10 and a waste of hard drive space.

---
The server is up but the site is down and I don't know which direction you are trying to go



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... Nice if it WORKED
Authored by: robg on Nov 16, '04 04:27:53PM

Sorry it didn't work for you; I had very good results here. Using an iSight, I could literally scan about an item a second; just flash it in front of the iSight, hear the beep, grab the next item...

I believe UPCs are supposed to be universal, but DL doesn't have very strong support for anything beyond the US Amazon yet (though they're adding other countries, as I understand it)...

-rob.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... Nice if it WORKED
Authored by: greed on Nov 16, '04 05:44:04PM

UPC codes are US-centric. Most of the rest of the world uses EAN codes. The US is currently trying to cope with switching to EAN (or making UPC longer, one of the two), but there's a lot of griping. (I'm in Canada, so we have a nice mix of both UPC and EAN.)

A neutered :Cue:Cat handles EANs just fine. But the :Cue:Cats are frustrating to use compared to real CCD or laser scanners, especially on shiny things, like DVD and CD cases. You have to hold the wand just right... and there's no feedback from the :Cue:Cat, so you have to wait for the program to go beep... so bulk scanning is right out.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books... Nice if it WORKED
Authored by: mschmid on Nov 17, '04 10:02:53AM

If you use the latest version of DL you can switch to amazon uk and then it should recognize the barcode. it is not working if you set the preference to automatic. found this out while scanning uk, us and german barcodes.
hope it helps

sometimes it needs a while to recognize the videocamera. it helps to switch on the camera before opening the programme.

cheers



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: virga42macuser on Nov 17, '04 08:44:11AM
To follow up...

I tried DL demo last night and found the scanning worked well with my FireWire camera.

I found that the application chugs along, I am concerned about performance if I were to decide to catalog hundreds of books and hundreds of CDs, dozens of DVDs, etc.

I was disappointed that a fair number of CDs weren't identified. This emphasized how amazon-centric this product is and how dependent it is on the products they sell. I'm concerned about books and CDs that have been remastered or reprinted and whose UPC doesn't match amazon's DB. The value of this program is its input and identification, the scanning is perfect but no good if it fails to identify your media.

Perhaps if an attempt fails it should prompt you to take a snap shot of the cover of the book or CD so that you can remember what item failed and go back afterward to enter the information manually (perhaps dragging and dropping from amazon).

I believe this product is overpriced. A version that integrates with iTunes, your .Mac homepage, the Library of Congress, All Music Guide, and possibly others would be worth $40.

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Comic Book Support, please!
Authored by: stonemtn on Nov 16, '04 05:44:59PM

This would be a knock-out for me if it supported comic books! I've already emailed the developers and hope they can pull it off!



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Some updates and info ...
Authored by: ubrgeek on Nov 16, '04 07:29:07PM

A beta has been released dealing with some of the crash issues (apparently involved the way Amazon used embedded images and they weren't being parsed correctly. The beta takes care of it.) Also, for the person who was having scanning issues, the ambient light seems to be a big issue (I'm guessing because of how the iSight focuses.) I will, however, agree that it doesn't seem to scan many DVDs. Also, older CDs use barcodes that aren't the same as Amazon's, so a lot of them may not show up. What's cool, though, is the planned support for iTunes integration. Also, I'd also love to see support for something like www.upcdatabase.com. Still, I'm very excited about what this app can become.



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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER
Authored by: drewk on Nov 17, '04 01:21:54AM
I have 3 days of heavy use of Delicious Library with the Flic barcode scanner, and I cannot recommend it at this time. Problems:

o It is cute with a dozen books, but completely unwieldy with a couple hundred. I have a serious library I am looking to track.

o There is no way to have a location assigned that is unique or intelligent. In other words, THESE books are in the DEN and THESE books are in the BEDROOM. Worse still -- no way to handle books in boxes.

o Scanning fails often. Lots of wierd interface issues with the scanner Delicious sold to me. Worse still, there is no tracking of failed scans, so you will scan 200 books and have 190 in the library -- which of the 200 didn't make it?? You may as well type the ISBN codes...

o Text exports of your library do not work properly

o $40 is not worth it.

I can recommend BOOXSTER as a more industrial and cheaper alternative. Scanning is perfect. BOOXSTER will classify books properly into Dewey classes, look up all relevant data for a book based on ISBN or Library of Congress Codes Numbers (LCCN), and will handle books in more than one place. It looks up it data on several Amazon sites, the Library of Congress, British National Library, etc, and it is $15.

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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER - Just Books?
Authored by: Jeff Thompson on Nov 17, '04 09:21:24AM
Booxster looks nice, but it only works with book, right? If it also worked with CD, Video Games, and Movies (both DVDs and VHS) then I would consider it as an option.

Maybe with Booxster and DL competing for the same market, we'll see a feature/performance war as happened with Audion and SoundJam... which in the end makes things all the better for us consumers.

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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER
Authored by: mikerose on Nov 17, '04 12:34:19PM

Another 'industrial-strength' library management program is ReaderWare, www.readerware.com -- cross-platform and it works very well. It's nowhere near as pretty as DL but it does support a lot of the professional-level features.



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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER
Authored by: drewk on Nov 17, '04 06:21:12PM

I like readerware! Very industrial, and the "import past purchases from Amazon" is magic!

Thanks for the recommendation. I bought the full client server version of all three products.



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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER
Authored by: SouthofHeaven on Nov 18, '04 11:11:17AM

So far I am digging booxster. But with most of my complaints is that fleixbility to add fields. I would love to be able to add to booxster a field for a Want list and books on Order. And a few others like fileds for story titles in anthologies so you can see if you have duplicate stories in different anthologies etc. But for the price it is a heafty app.

---
The big yellow one's the Sun!!!



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Can't Recommend DL - Try BOOXSTER
Authored by: wbdjr on Nov 22, '04 08:10:38PM

Thanks for the info on how it deals with several hundreds items. VERY important. I've got around 650 DVDs, a thousand or so CDs and I don't want to think about how many books. I was going to check out D.L. even though I recently bought and and using a competitor (Book/CD/DVDpedia) but maybe I won't now (especially since they don't support theCueCat scanner and the ones I bought do, as do many others.)

Oh well, it's not like their aren't a zillion competitors. Search Versiontracker.com for 'book', 'cd', 'dvd', 'media', 'audio', or 'video' and you'll find dozens of competitor, some focused on one type of media, some "suites" like Delicious Library. So if DL doesn't do it for you, there are alternatives.

Competition is good.



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Delicious Library - Catalog CDs, DVDs, books...
Authored by: Jeff Thompson on Nov 17, '04 09:12:00AM
It does have some limitations, but after all it IS still version one. One particularly annoying limitation is a conflict with the Miglia Alchemy DVR Card (the exact same conflict that iChat has). I've sent an e-mail to the developers to let them know... but I still plan on buying the software. After all it's a "Version 1" application... I fully expect it to be less that completely feature-rich, have a few non-critical bugs and maybe be a little on the conservative side when it comes to performance. I'm sure that with enough sales and customer interest, Delicious Monster will put their resources into fixing the bugs and adding the features that people have requested...

Who knows, if it gets enough buzz, they might attract the attention of Apple, get bought out, and then hired to work on the new, fully integrated iLife application known as iLibrary. ;-)

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other options
Authored by: kissedsmiley on Nov 18, '04 11:52:03AM

fyi, for the scanning of barcodes, there is a nice little tool I own, it really does scan the barcodes well!

http://www.irisusa.com/products/irispen/



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other options
Authored by: mark hunte on Nov 18, '04 02:33:29PM

anyone got any clues on how to get the discrption into the xml- html.


---
mh



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Delicious Library - another Easter Egg
Authored by: Robert Churchill on Nov 19, '04 10:01:18AM
There is also an Easter Egg if you scan in the "Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones" DVD.

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Delicious Library - another Easter Egg
Authored by: epicurean on Nov 22, '04 10:18:15PM

I must be missing the Easter Egg. What should I be seeing?



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Delicious Library - another Easter Egg (spoiler)
Authored by: terceiro on Nov 23, '04 01:27:04PM

Well, I know that scanning in Star Wars Rogue Squadron (video game) with the spoken text turned on, it'll read back the item name, and then say in a deep voice, "I am your father!"

Nice.

Also, scanning in Harry Potter (UK editions), it says, "Voldemort!"



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Delicious Library - another Easter Egg (spoiler)
Authored by: Githon on Dec 01, '04 03:17:20PM

It says I am your father for the phantom menace soundtrack. So, I think it's safe to say you put in any Star Wars product it does the same egg, any Harry Potter product does the same egg.

Both are spoken in the whisper voice.



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Hawking Easter Egg
Authored by: Mitchell on Jun 22, '05 12:03:09PM

My children and I were scanning books into Delicious Library the other day when we hit "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking. Scanning that book not only gathers its title and publication information from the online database, but also downloads a brief audio clip of Hawking's voice explaining the radiation phenomenon named for him. Also, if you have a lot of books that are older than fifteen years or so, you wind up keying in quite a few ISBNs manually. In Delicious Library that's typically the most reliable way to get a book's information. When your bored 14-year old keys in ISBN 1-234-56789-0, the result is an unlikely collaboration among Shakhti Gawain, Josť Arango, and Charles Dickens called "The Book (Coleccion Poesia)" Delicious Library helpfully provides the additional information:
Heavy-duty poly construction for years of use Mounts on new or existing 4" x 4" wooden post (not included) Fully assembled, mounting hardware and address number included



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