Overdrive is working on a developer solution for e-reader and tablet companies that want to incorporate digital library lending into their devices. The company is working on a full suite of API solutions for companies to augment the library borrowing experience and even make new apps.
The OverDrive Developer Portal will serve as the online gateway for approved developers to gain secure access to OverDrive APIs. To date, dozens of OverDrive partners—including ILS vendors, mobile app makers, library partners and others—have expressed interest in the new tools. Via the Developer Portal, interested vendors can apply for access. Once approved, they’ll find software, documentation, test scripts, and technical support information to enable rich integration with OverDrive digital content.
The API release by Overdrive will be staggered and their is three major features to employ. The first is Metadata API – which allows access catalog information such as title, author, description and title samples.The second is the Availability API – which provides unique title-availability information from library holdings including number of units or copies, units available for lending, number of copies on hold, etc. The last and most important one is the Search API – Allows a variety of third-party platforms and applications to search OverDrive digital collections.
The most exciting part of the new development tools will be for e-reader companies to bundle their device with the ability to borrow digital books from your library. Companies like Kobo, Sony and Amazon will eventually offer the ability to borrow books instantly and have them delivered to your e-reader, without having to jump through a ton of hoops. What this equates to, is more control over delivering a branded experience and the flexibility to make changes without having to rely on Overdrive to fix any problems.
Overdrive is basically providing a ton of tools over the next six months that will allow most people to write their own apps with library lending functionality built right into it. I envision many savvy programers to make a great app to read, borrow and return books and deliver a cool social media experience.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.