Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google Book API

Google Book Search has activated an API that allows third parties to access GBS content directly on their home site. Noted in the initial implementation are several well know booksellers and also library catalogs:
This Google Preview feature is now live on retailer sites around the globe, from Books-A-Million to Blackwell Bookshop and The Book Depository in the UK, A1Books in India, Librería Norma in Colombia, Van Stockum in the Netherlands, and Livraria Cultura in Brazil. Over the coming weeks, this functionality will roll out to even more booksellers, including Borders.com, Buy.com, and Powell's Books.

Beyond these retailer partnerships, we've also worked with a wide array of sites and organizations to bring Book Search functionality to their users:
  • Library catalogs. It is now possible to preview books—including a huge number of works in the public domain—right from the online catalogs of the University of California and the University of Texas, as well as through WorldCat.org, a service that lets you search across the collections of more than 10,000 local and institutional libraries worldwide.

  • Publisher and author sites. The Arcadia Publishing web site has descriptions of its books about towns from Mountain View to Medford--and now, thanks to the Book Search integration, you can peek directly into these books as well. O'Reilly, Macmillan, Apress, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Stanford University Press have incorporated preview functionality into their sites, as well.

  • Social book sites, which allow users to organize and share their reviews, ratings, and favorite books. You can now import your Book Search My Library collection straight into your aNobii account, or preview books within the weRead gadget for social networks. Be sure to also try out the exciting integrations by BookJetty, GoodReads, and BookRabbit.
Of course, we know that even more sites will also want to work with the Book Search index in ways we can't even imagine. That's why we've made these tools an open set of APIs, which anyone can use to build applications drawing on the unique search results and preview capabilities provided by Book Search. If you'd like to try out these APIs on your website, check out our brand new developer site.

Adam Hodgkin at Exact Editions notes the importance of this announcement for publishing CEO's:
Having, or buying into, allying with, the API's which manage and accesses your content may be the key decision for media companies in the next decade. Either your CEO knows what an API is, and can find out how, in strategic terms, to negotiate Google's, Amazon's, Facebook's and Apple's, or he/she needs to be a media genius who does it by gut instinct (Rupert Murdoch is the only one of those that I can think of and he is the wrong side of 70). The heads of Random House, Conde Nast, Elsevier, Cengage, Hachette and Pearson really ought to have an intuition about the way their business can develop an API to the servers which are hosting all their content. I wonder if any of them do?

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