Credit card subscriptions for viaLibri

Want a Charles Darwin first edition? A signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird? Or maybe you’re just interested in Victorian books about gardening? If so, viaLibri is the place to go.


In recent years viaLibri has established itself as the foremost search engine for old, rare and out-of-print books, pooling dozens of independent booksellers’ catalogues to make finding books easier. There’s even the option to save your search and wait for notification if a matching book comes up for sale. It’s an impressively powerful site, even more so considering it was built by just one man – Jim Hinck, a bookseller who in later life has become a self-taught programmer.

In order to support the running of the site, Jim added some subscription only services, enabling paying members to administer more saved searches as well as list their own book catalogues. The only downside was that the payments were taken by a rather inflexible PayPal system.

So Jim reached out to us with the complicated job of updating this. Coming fresh to source code that has been built over years by one man can be a tricky task, but it’s one we’ve got experience of and tackle with great enthusiasm.

We integrated viaLibri’s existing subscription system with Stripe so that credit card payments could be taken easily without the worry of PCI compliance. Thanks to this, and several other changes we made under the hood, customers can now sign up and amend their subscriptions without the need for manual intervention from viaLibri. We also worked to enable automatic handling of renewal payments, with invoices being emailed directly to the customer. What’s more, VAT is managed appropriately depending on the country the customer is from, and VAT IDs are even checked against an EU database.

Screenshot 2014-09-18 15.10.43All this was done while maintaining support for viaLibri’s existing subscribers. Those who prefer to continue paying via PayPal can still do so; this hooks into the new process, sending automatic reminder emails before payment and tax invoices afterwards.

At Runway we’re committed to the success of our clients and viaLibri is no exception. There’s plenty more to come from Runway and viaLibri, and this upgrade gives us a solid base to build on as we extend their offering.

Want more of this? Sign up here to get our fortnightly newsletter with the best of what we're reading and writing.

Posted by Alasdair North (@al_north)

September 18, 2014

Runway is a web development agency in Cambridge. We want to help you make your company or charity go faster, run smoother and be easier to grow. Find out more.