Friday, January 30, 2009

NYTimes Reviews API - NOT

The New York Times announced they are releasing an API for their best seller lists spanning years and years.
The Times Best Sellers API gives you quick access to current and past best-seller lists in 11 different categories, such as Hardcover Nonfiction and Paperback Mass-Market Fiction. The initial launch offers every weekly list since June 2008, and in the coming months, we plan to add data going back to the 1930s (thanks to the hard work of our Books staff). The API also offers details about specific best sellers, including historical rank information and links to New York Times reviews and excerpts. And these aren’t just canned responses; they’re searchable and sortable, with even more robust options coming in the next release.
I wonder about this.

I was initially quite interested in this bit of information but on reflection it seems they have missed a huge opportunity. WHAT ABOUT THE REVIEWS? Maybe I am missing something but with all the reviews sections closing all over the country the NYTimes has an opportunity to enable access to their reviews database via api staring them in the face. Surely, even if the book was a best seller for 23 weeks back in 1982 or 2002 is useful but the title is likely to have that stated on the cover anyhow (few publishers challenge such obvious marketing opportunities). Even if I know that wouldn't the review be far more useful? On top of that there are many books that weren't on the charts that were nevertheless reviewed well by the times so what of them? I give up...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

stay tune.

Joyful Alternative said...

Your ideas are good, and maybe they'll adopt them as they proceed. They're only starting! They can add Google ads from used book sellers like me who own a given book, too (or more likely, ads from megasellers who'll drop ship the book after they order it from small sellers of old stuff like me).

The problem with wholesale linking to reviews is that the NYT doesn't review a lot of best-seller types of books. They could, I suppose, link to the amateur reviews on Amazon, which Alibris and no doubt others are now producing, too.