Saturday, June 28, 2014

Overdrive is Making My Crazy Dream Come True

Fifteen years ago, I had this crazy dream. I imagined that popular websites would use fancy links to let their readers get books from their local libraries. And that search engines would prefer these links because their users would love to have access to their library books. I built a linking technology and tried to get people to use it. It never took off. I went on to do other things, but it was a good dream.

Tonight, at the opening of the exhibits at the American Library Association in Las Vegas, Steve Potash, the Founder of Overdrive, pulled me aside and said he had something cool to show me.
  1. Go search for a popular book on Bing or try this one.
  2. Notice the infobox on the right. Look at the Read This Book link. Click it.
  3. Now check out this Huffington Post article. Note the embedded book sample.
  4. If the Overdrive system recognizes you, it's taken you to your library's overdrive collection. If not, when you click "Borrow" you get a list of Overdrive libraries near you.
It's an embed from Overdrive. Even works here:


The read on site thing works sometimes and doesn't work sometimes, so there are still a bunch of kinks for Overdrive to work out. But that's not really the point.

The reason why the Huffposts and Buzzfeeds of the world like this is not so much the customization of a link, which is what I was trying to sell, but rather the fact the the book is embedded on the host web site. This keeps people on their site longer, and they click more ads.

Embeds are the magic of the day. You heard it here first.

Speaking of dreams, I'm having a hard time in Vegas figuring out what's real and what isn't.


  1. Hi Eric, this is really neat. Is there an easy way to generate the embed code for titles?