Luzme Opens Up its eBook Pricing and Availability API

Phil Leggetter
May. 16 2011, 02:30PM EDT

The eBook market is publishing's fastest growing sector with an ever increasing list of reading devices ranging from Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad, a standard Mac or PC or any number of smaller mobile devices or tablet alternatives capable of viewing documents in a number of formats. Getting good data about eBook availability, format and pricing is hard; Luzme and its Luzme API make it easy.

An area that was once dominated by print is now, more than ever, moving over to digital. Many of us can go a week or longer without picking up a paper book, magazine, newsletter or newspaper. Those that commute will use a Kindle, iPad or other mobile device to catch up with world events, or try to forget about the daily commute by immersing in a work of fiction. When we get home and sit in front of the TV we will use the same mobile device to engage in 2nd Screen entertainment, browse the Internet, read blog posts and blog articles and send email. We might then decide it’s time for bed but read a bit before dozing off - again on our mobile device.

But what if we want the latest Ray Bradbury novel for your specific mobile device? How do you know what format to get and where to get it? And most importantly how do you make sure you get it at the best price? Luzme can provide you with that information and now also exposes an API that is free-to-use for individuals needing low-volume data, with a higher-volume commercial option.

The Luzme API, which officially launched at BookHackDay in London on Saturday, is a RESTful API with results being returned in XML, JSON or YAML format. Methods, listed in the Luzme API documentation, include book listing and searching by title, author and ISBN.

Luzme (previously ebookprice.info) is the brainchild of Rachel Willmer. They’ve been collecting data since 2008 and currently have around one million books and a quarter of a million authors in their database. Rachel believes there are a number of uses for the API with just a few examples being:
A self-published author displaying the bookstores and prices where their book is on sale;

  • A bookstore or publisher checking their competitors' prices to make sure they're competitive
  • A publisher checking that the bookstores are sticking to the agency pricing they've signed up for
  • A literary agent displaying availability and pricing for their authors.

There is also the opportunity to combine the use of the Luzme API with affiliate programmes or APIs and offer an app or website that helps users find and buy books whilst making money for the referral.

Want to build an eBook search app? We’ve now got an API for that.

Phil Leggetter Developer Evangelist at Pusher, Real-Time Web Software & Technology Evangelist, team leader, product developer, micropreneur, managing director of a real-time web and social media software company, blogger and twitter user (@leggetter).

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