A Book API Platform
In the last two years I've seen the emergence of cloud platforms that focus on helping data administrators, owners and stewards, generate APIs from their data sources.
The new cloud services like EmergentOne will mount a MySQL database, spider the tables, and generate a web API for you, while providing you the basic tools you will need to manage access and consumption of that API.
In the same spirit of helping data owners generate APIs, I'd like to see the same types of tools, but designed for books and their authors or publishers. When I create a book and generate the ePub version, I would like to be able to upload it to a cloud platform, where the service would spider the ePub file and help generate a simple, but meaningful API for the book allowing developers to search, annotate and interact with the books content via web, mobile or tablet applications.
My thoughts are still in the idea stage, I have done very little research on what is out there. But I would envision something like this would work well will existing platforms like Project Gutenberg. As I do with all my ideas, I will share my thoughts here in real-time as I do the research.
I think in the future, providing default API access to all books will be critical to the syndication across all available distribution platforms. You can find the seeds of this idea in what Pearson is doing with their product catalog.
As the publishing world slowly wakes up to digital distribution, APIs will become a common tool in the toolbox of authors and publishers.