So you are looking for cover images for books available in Canada, or perhaps Canadian books? Well, as part of BookNet Canada’s (BNC) BiblioShare project we have been aggregating cover images from publishers/suppliers, and we are now making those same images available to you to use in your projects…free of charge…within reason (see below).
We are making the images available via a web service that is similar to the one that Amazon, or LibraryThing (which we love!), have. We version control the images so you will always be getting the newest version submitted to us. All you need to know is the ISBN-13/EAN of the item.
1. You specify an ISBN-13/EAN as part of a url. You don’t need to know the file type…we will take care of that.
2. The query should look like this:
- Token = Your user token (see below)
- EAN = The item you are looking for a cover image of. Without hyphens. 13 digits…likely starting with 978, or perhaps 979.
- SAN = The SAN of the supplier. Note: In almost all cases this should be left empty.
- Thumbnail = True/False. This is fairly explanatory, but ‘True’ returns an X by Y thumbnail of the image and ‘False’ returns the full size image as supplied by the publisher.
3. Insert the above in an html image tag (i.e. <img src =”http://www.biblioshare.org//BNCServices/BNCServices.asmx/Images?Token=…”>) and publish it. You could also script something to build these links automagically.
4. If we don’t have an image for the specified item we will return a placeholder image (120px X 120px). (Note: This will change to a 1px empty image at some point in the future.)
5. You can also use the following query to see if we have a specific image, and if we do when it was last updated:
If we have an image that matches the EAN provided we will return a document that has the following information in it:
- Perspective = ‘cover’ (the only one currently available)
- Date/Time of last update
- Image Size
- Image Type
If we don’t have an image we will return a message indicating such:
- Either ‘No Image Available’ or ‘Invalid Login’ (if your token is bad)
You need to apply for a user/developer token before you can use the service. Why? Because we are watching you. Not in a Big Brother kind of way, but more in a don’t-kill-our-servers kind of way. It also helps us troubleshoot any problems that might come up.
To apply for a token send an email explaining who you are and what you expect to do with the images (because we are curious) to email@example.com. We will get back to you as soon as we can with a token.
- Don’t resell images.
- Don’t pound the servers. We would prefer that you cache the images if you expect a lot of traffic. If you are using an automated routine to get the images please hit us no more than once a second.
- We are logging things so that we can both troubleshoot errors and monitor usage.
- Please be careful using the service. This is ‘beta-y’ type stuff. We are using it in our products and will continue to do so, but I’d recommend testing things and talking to us before building a big online portal using this service.
- We ‘only’ have about 80,000 images at the time of this posting, but we are continually getting more so if it’s not there now it could be soon (see also Publishers below).
- Attribution is not required, but we would like to be mentioned somewhere if possible. “Images provided by BookNet Canada’s BiblioShare Project.”
We want your feedback so let us know what works and what doesn’t at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t see your covers here? Then it is likely because you haven’t signed up to submit content to BNC BiblioShare, but you really should….it is free. Get in touch with us to get an account setup at email@example.com.
(Note…My hope is that this won’t turn out like a Google Beta.)