Google Releases API for Book Search

Raymond Yee, March 17th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Raymond Yee, who we are very happy to have joining us as a regular contributor here at ProgrammableWeb.]

As announced on the Official Google Blog and Inside Google Book Search, Google has just released a Google Book Search Book Viewability API. With this API, developers can now query Google Book Search to find out the availability and visibility of a given book (which can be identified through such commonly used book identifiers as its ISBN, Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), or OCLC number). As Google Book Search becomes an increasingly important source of book information, this API allows other providers of book information like libraries to deep link into Google Book Search records for books.

The simplest way to get started is the API is to use static links. Considering the example used in the API documentation (the 1984 edition of Edwin Abbot’s Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, with an ISBN of 0451522907), you can now link to the book with

The documentation shows you how to link also to such elements as the book’s front cover, title page, and index.

More functionality is available with the API’s dynamic links. To get a quick sense of the API’s capabilities, try the examples, including the Sample Using Google Books API JSON Output. You can also see the Google Book Search API in action at such sites as librarything (whose API we recently profiled) and Want to know more? Read the perspective of librarything’s Tim Spalding on the new API.

There is a new Google Book Search API profile on ProgrammableWeb with more details and there are now 12 book-related APIs.

Raymond Yee is a data architect, consultant, and trainer. He is the author of Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services (Apress, 2008). Raymond is currently a lecturer at the School of Information, UC Berkeley, where he teaches the course “Mixing and Remixing Information”.

Tags: Google, Search
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7 Responses to “Google Releases API for Book Search”

March 22nd, 2008
at 11:38 am
Comment by: Al

Hi.. thanks for the post.. i look forward to trying this api out.

some time back, I mashed up Google Books and my local library using Greasemonkey and Firefox. Check it out here:


March 24th, 2008
at 12:26 pm
Comment by: » News For March 24, 2008 » InsideGoogle-part of the Blog News Channel

[...] Book Search Gets API Google has released an API for Google Book Search, letting application developers query Book Search and return if a book is available in Book Search [...]

October 2nd, 2008
at 12:39 am
Comment by: Google announces Book Search APIs

[...] range of book-related applications. This follows-up on Google’s release in March when they launched the first API for Google Book Search, the Book Viewability [...]

June 15th, 2010
at 1:35 am
Comment by: Rahul


I am looking for a free isbn search api which can return thumbnails, title, description, etc. Not sure if the google apis mentioned here are used for such situation. Would really appreciate a pointer from some one in the right direction…

- Rahul

June 1st, 2012
at 12:56 pm
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