New York Times Opens "Best Sellers API"

The New York Times on Tuesday opened up its “Best Sellers API,” offering programmatic access to best-seller data (going back to 1930!) from the Times:

The Times Best Sellers API gives you quick access to current and past best-seller lists in 11 different categories, such as Hardcover Nonfiction and Paperback Mass-Market Fiction. The initial launch offers every weekly list since June 2008, and in the coming months, we plan to add data going back to 1930 (thanks to the hard work of our Books staff). The API also offers details about specific best sellers, including historical rank information and links to New York Times reviews and excerpts. And these aren’t just canned responses; they’re searchable and sortable, with even more robust options coming in the next release.

I’m a huge fan of what the Times has done to embrace open architecture and data formats (and Nick Bilton, from the Times’ R&D Lab, will be a keynote speaker at next month’s TOC Conference), and this is a great example of what content creators and curators (i.e., publishers) can do to give customers the opportunity to create new value on top of that content. We’ve offered an API for our Safari Books Online product for several years now, and have some very interesting internal projects percolating to take things a step further.

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