Search for free eBooks from the Google Books collection
I & my wife have a fascination for Web APIs that return results in JSON or JSONP format. We noticed that Google Books doesn't readily show if a out of copyright book is available for free download in PDF or EPUB format. You have to go through multiple steps using Advanced Search to find this.
Luckily, Google provides a Google Books API that exposes this information and it returns the results in JSON format. We wrote a web app that searches for free eBooks from the Google Books collection.
It uses a responsive HTML5 Boilerplate template generated using Initializr.
|The H5BP template's view for Mobile|
Some other interesting things we discovered while building this app:
- Results returned by Google Books API may vary by country. When a programmatic request is made to their book search API via the app, the same code will return different results for different countries.
- Project Gutenberg doesn't have an API but they provide one huge file that contains the RDF data for all books.
- Open Library has a RESTful API that provides useful information about books.
- Calibre is free and open source e-book software that can convert ebooks into many formats
- Flipkart lets you download over 9000+ ebooks for free but you will need their app to view.
- Programmable Web maintains a directory of Web APIs & tracks news about mashups built using those APIs. The site is a treat for developers who like Web APIs & creating mashups.