In order to offer to library patrons, in an open ebook landscape, the same level of comfort proprietary platforms can provide, a person should be able to easily synchronize his borrowed ebooks on its reading application.
Technically speaking, there are two ways to obtain that feature. The first way is to use the OPDS standard, which provides an large set of features:
– navigate in feeds of ebooks provided by the library,
– authenticate to the library,
– borrow an ebook (using the LCP DRM),
– list the ebooks the person has borrowed,
– return an ebook after reading.
The second way is to use APIApp, a protocol specified by Dilicom, the French company which facilitates exchanges between players in the book sector thanks to a shared infrastructure, and manages the Prêt Numérique en Bibliothèque (PNB) solution. The APIApp specification allows a patron to select a library in a public list, authenticate to a library and synchronise on its device the ebooks he has borrowed, i.e. it is a useful subset of OPDS, but with a different specification.
Some public libraries in France have integrated APIApp, whilst others have integrated OPDS. In order to provide maximum comfort to the users of Thorium Reader, we wanted to integrate both OPDS and APIApp in our free reading application for desktop.
The Centre Français de la Copie (CFC) has provided a budget to integrate APIApp in Thorium Reader, and we want to thank the organization for that. The CFC is the organization that collectively manages the copyrights of the book and the press for the copies of their contents by the professional and educational sectors. It contractually authorizes organizations to redistribute press and book content in compliance with copyright and redistributes the royalties collected from these organizations to the authors and publishers of the copied works. It also distributes the share of royalties due to publishers for digital private copying of the press. In accordance with the intellectual property code, it devotes part of the sums it collects to financing cultural actions aimed at supporting the creation and distribution of the press and books.
The development is now ready for early testing, in the nightly builds of Thorium Reader. It will be released in Thorium reader 2.1, in August 2022.