New BookReader!

By mang

We’re pleased to announce the release of our freshly re-designed BookReader on the Internet Archive.

The updated BookReader has these great new features (links will take you to a live example):

  • Redesigned user interface that maximizes the amount of space given to the book. Click the down arrow on the navigation bar to hide the user interface. (The Origin of Species)
  • Navigation bar that helps show your location in the book and navigate through it. Search results and chapter markers (if available) show up on the navigation bar.
  • New Read Aloud feature reads the book as audio in most browsers.  No special software is needed – just click the speaker icon  and go!
  • Tables of contents are being automatically generated for most books and can be edited or added manually through the Open Library site.  The chapter markers appear in the new navigation bar. (Launching Out Into The Deep in Wake of the War Canoe)
  • Vastly improved full-text search.  Search results are shown on the navigation bar and include a snippet of text near the matched search term. (Search results for “hawk” in book of birds)
  • More sharing options – the new Share dialog gives you to option to choose how to link to the book and set options when embedding the BookReader on a blog or website.  As always, you can just copy and paste the address in your browser address bar to get a shareable link to the current page. (Page 65 of Aviation in Canada, 1-page mode)
  • Touch gesture support – swipe to flip pages in two-page mode, pinch to zoom on iOS.
  • Improved support for tablet devices like the iPad.
  • Updated UI for the embedded BookReader – now includes “expando” button to view the book in a new browser window.
  • Integration with Open Library – books that have an Open Library record can have their title and table of contents edited through the Open Library site. The chapter headings on Open Library link directly into the BookReader. (Flatland table of contents on Open Library)

Here’s an embedded book for you to play with.  For any of our publicly accessible books you can embed it on your blog too by getting the embed code from the Share dialog!

Incredible thanks to our fantastic team for making it happen:

  • Raj Kumar – Read Aloud
  • Mike McCabe – table of contents
  • Peter Brantley – BookServer wrangler
  • Edward Betts – full-text search
  • George Oates – new user interface
  • Lance Arthur – markup and CSS
  • Alexis Rossi – QA
  • Jeff Kaplan – QA
  • Michael Ang (yours truly) – Putting It All Together(tm)
  • All of the Archive staff and contributors that make putting the books online possible!

As always, the BookReader remains open source and you can look at our developer documentation for information on reusing it on other sites. We’d like to thank user yankl on github for contributing a patch related to using the BookReader with right-to-left languages.

23 thoughts on “New BookReader!

  1. taneya

    The new book reader is very nice. I appreciate the improvements and I’m sure many others will also! Are there any plans to create an app for displaying ebooks on devices such as ipads and smartphones?

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  4. david malcolmson

    I cannot fathom why the very useful facility for printing pages in the previous Reader is missing. For me that negates any of the supposed ‘improvements’ in the new Reader. Did it not occur to the developer(s) that the ‘print the page’ facility was a very useful tool for some users.

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  6. Terry Ogletree

    Is this a downloadable application or do I have to launch it from your website? I’d like to put it on my PC and my iPad.


  7. Tomas Rodriguez

    Is this a doaloadable application or do i have to launch bookreader from tour website? I d like to put it on my IPad.


  9. Anthony Amodeo

    So where is the download link? I may be missing it but can’t seem to find it anywhere! Based on all the positive comments, I’d love to get it on my iPad.

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  11. Lois O'Neil

    I’m missing one page from a book from which I printed a small portion of the text. last year. I tried to print it out today and was unable to do so. EXTREMELY frustrating
    Why is it when folks “improve” something on the Internet, it turns out to not include
    some of the things one likes and uses????

  12. Leonard Martin

    Re this:
    “I cannot fathom why the very useful facility for printing pages in the previous Reader is missing. For me that negates any of the supposed ‘improvements’ in the new Reader. Did it not occur to the developer(s) that the ‘print the page’ facility was a very useful tool for some users.”

    I would bet anything that they left it out after being threatened by the lawyers of publishers. Probably any possibility that their stuff might fall in among the titles on this site and get printed out infuriated them.

  13. Brill301

    I just read a book published in 1910 on your website. I almost paid Amazon $35.00 in order to get a “printed copy” from another source that had “copyrighted” their printed issue. I don’t understand how someone can take a copy of an “out of copyright” book and copyright what is only a facsimile of the original. As a result I am now going to donate that $35.00 to Internet Archive and will continue to do so when this occurs in the future.


  14. jonathan

    this might be a silly question, but I have been looking for some kind of iphone / ipad app that I can use to read collections of txt files as complete books [like the txt files on] – do you know of such a thing?

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