Did You Know You Can Embed eBooks from Google Books on a Website?

google-books-embed-ebook-websiteAn interesting trick crossed my desk today.

Did you know it is possible to take an ebook from Google Books and embed it on on a webpage?

Google has supported this option since at least 2009, but it only came to my attention today when a blog I follow linked to the reference page in the Google Books API. (I would credit my source but I mistakenly closed that tab. Help?)

This is not nearly as easy to do as with a Kindle ebook, but it is possible. Check it out:

It’s pretty cool, but like most things Google does, this feature is only partially functional. For example, you cannot use it to display an ebook you uploaded to Google Play Books.

It also doesn’t work well with ebooks purchased in Google Play books:

Or comic books:

It looks to me like we’re either seeing a visible example of the ebooks’ DRM, or that Google never finished this feature.

Either way, this is still a nifty, albeit limited, toy.

If you want to play with it, you can get the technical info from Google.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Fjtorres30 September, 2016

    It’s Google.
    They got bored and never finished it.
    Short attention span is part of their corporate culture.

  2. Marion Gropen30 September, 2016

    I’m disturbed that you can display your copy of a book to an unlimited number of people at the same time. That’s basically allowing you to make infinite numbers of copies and loan them to anyone and everyone simultaneously.

    If these were books that were out of copyright, then no harm done. But new books that are still selling? That seems to be an idea that will have a LOT of unintended consequences.

    1. Nate Hoffelder30 September, 2016

      The content shown in the embed window is only a sample of the respective titles, not the whole book.

      Amazon’s setup works the same way.

  3. Marion Gropen1 October, 2016

    I didn’t look at more than 4 or 5 pages of one. My error.

    Can you determine what pages are used as the sample?

  4. […] Did You Know You Can Embed eBooks from Google Books on a Website? (The Digital Reader) […]

  5. Ken McBroom23 November, 2019

    Can I use articles from google books on my website?


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