Python 5 minutes

Crafting a better download tool

This morning I spent over an hour sorting and renaming the ebooks I downloaded this year. There were over 300 ebooks. What a waste of my time.

I’m definitely wasting too much time searching, filtering and downloading content online. Whether it be ebooks or movies, I’m always following the same process: search for the material on my favorite websites, compare the search results, download, consume and… postpone putting the file in the right place until tomorrow, or the end of the year. As a result, I throw away most of what I’ve downloaded, or I download the same file twice or more.

Even when my ebooks are correctly sorted and put in the right folder, I often end up downloading it twice because I couldn’t bother checking my file storage before searching online. I’m too lazy for that because I know most of the time the file won’t be found (hey, I’m primarily interested in new content, so that makes sense).

My computer has a global search function which often fails to return the ebook I’m searching for because the filename is a mess. Sadly, we don’t know how to reliably search text within a PDF for know, so I need a better tool.

So, either I’m policing myself to:

  1. always sort and properly rename the file once its downloaded;
  2. always search my internal library before heading online;

or, I’m findind a better way. Since I’m a big fan of avoiding action cost, and since I’m trying really hard not to fight myself, I finaly came to the conclusion that my environment should change. It this particular case, the environment is my computer.

Here’s how I intend to achieve better efficiency:

  1. create a quick software in python to perform multiple searches at once on the online websites I use;
  2. present the results using html so that I can compare them easily;
  3. once I chosed, the software will download the file, rename it properly and put it in the right folder;
  4. I might even add a metadata database including key reviews and summary in order to ease further research.

I’ll set up this system for ebooks, and to ensure I’m using it, I setup restrictions to prevent my browser from accessing the ebooks providing websites. That way, the only path to downloading content will be the right path.

UPDATE

It’s done!

Building my own ebook library: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.