Archive for July, 2008

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

More Early Reviewers books and buzz

We have two last-minute additions to July’s batch of Early Reviewer books, and some scandalous book news to report.

The new books
The new additions are American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, and Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg. So go run and request them!

The buzz
American Wife has been generating a lot of buzz lately (see Wonkette, Radar). It’s a work of fiction, loosely based on Laura Bush’s life. This morning, Maureen Dowd wrote about it in The New York Times, saying

“It’s the sort of novel Laura Bush might curl up with in the White House solarium if it were not about Laura Bush. It would be interesting to hear how that lover of fiction feels about being the subject of fiction.”

Another July Early Reviewer book, The Winds of Tara is also buzz-worthy. The Winds of Tara is the unauthorized sequel to Gone with the Wind—so unauthorized that (according to Wikipedia) copyright holders blocked US distribution of the book and bookstores had to pull it from the shelves. You’ll note that it’s being offered to Early Reviewers only to Australians, by an Australian publisher, Fontaine Press.

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

July Early Reviewers

July’s huge batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 68 books this month, and a grand total 1,629 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, *please* check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, July 18th at 6pm EDT.

Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Israel! Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers, new and old!

Andrews McMeel Publishing B&H Publishing Group Ballantine Books
Bantam Bethany House Candlewick
Delacorte Press Fontaine Press Frog Books
Gefen Publishing House Harper HarperLuxe
Hyperion Books Leisure Lifetime Media
Loving Healing Press Modern History Press New York Review Books
North Atlantic Books Other Press Picador
Picnic Publishing PublicAffairs Simon & Schuster
Solaris Spellbinder Press St. Martin’s Griffin
St. Martin’s Minotaur Steerforth The Dial Press
Thomas Dunne Books Toby Press University of Chicago Press
Vertical Vertigo William Morrow
Wizards of the Coast

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Introducing the LibraryThing books API

See bottom of post for updates…

I’ve just finished a first draft of a JSON-based API for book data, created a test page and typed up some basic documentation.

What is this for? The API gives you Javascript access to your book data. The most obvious use of this would be to create new, much better widgets. At first, we expect this to interest programmers, but as new widgets are developed, non-programmers will get cool things. I started by redoing our traditional widgets in a new way here. That’s the base, not the ceiling!

How does it work? Every user can retrieve their data, in JSON format—basically as a ready-made JavaScript data structure. You control what is returned—books, tags, ratings, etc.—how it’s sorted and so forth. By default we give you a standard library of functions to parse and display the data. You can use it, build on it or start from scratch. Find out more here.

What’s great? All our code for processing the JSON API has been and will be released as open source—available for use, reuse and modification. Better—since we’re not the best programmers, particularly in JavaScript!—we are requiring any software that builds upon the API to be released under similar terms, so everyone can take advantage of improvements and advances. 

Does this make code look sexy?

What’s the catch? The API is not intended for making backups or exporting your data to other programs. For that, use our CSV and TSV export functions, from the Tools tab. We are licensing the JSON API for browser-use only. This is about our data licenses. In-browser widgets have never drawn ire from our data providers.

Where can this go? This is just getting started. Everything can be expanded and improved. As members want new or different data, I will be only too happy to add it to the API. But the most interesting development will probably come from members, not LibraryThing employees.

I have created a LibraryThing API Development group to discuss the API, work through code and come up with new ideas.

At a minimum, I can see:

  • New widget types, like widgets showing your most recent reviews.
  • Widgets that take you to libraries, and other places other than LibraryThing. (Libraries have been clamoring for this for ages. Many use LibraryThing to feature new books on the website, and want the links to go to their catalog, not LibraryThing.)
  • New result sets, for your tags or authors (separate from our books), your book’s works, series info, etc.
  • Integration with other JS-based APIs, like Google Book Search.

What if I’m not a programmer? No problem. Come and LibraryThing API Developmenttell us what you want. We’ll help you, or maybe someone else will.

UPDATE: I’ve made some changes to the programming, changing how the code is structured and adding result sets for reading dates. We also have the first outside use of the API, a very promising—if not perfect—cover flip test by MMcM (here). Follow what’s going on in the LibraryThing API Development group.

Labels: api, apis, books api, javascript, json, member projects

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Author Chat

Our Author Chat feature is going strong! Stop by the Author Chat group right now to talk to a slew of authors:

We also have a list of upcoming chats posted, so you can plan ahead (go read/borrow/buy the book in advance of the chat!)

Labels: author chat