Books API and Access

Copper Contributor



I am working on a POS type application in Access for a bookstore and I am wondering if someone can help me connecting an API. My goal is to be able to scan the ISBN of a book and have the application retrieve all necessary information for me. While I could get by with entering said information manually, it would become quite cumbersome over time and definitely not ideal.

I have poked around the internet for sources, but I have not found any clear answers. If possible, I would like to use the Google Books or Open Library API to do this. Either one works.


I have a decent amount with VB and VBA in Excel and Access.


Thanks in advance.

5 Replies

@nigeltstahl I have done exactly this. I find Google Books gives me more comprehensive results (more potential matches), although I do prefer the kinds of information you typically get from Open Library. I have a whole series of videos documenting building of the Power Apps version of this application.

It includes the Google Books API in one of the videos. 


The Access version is quite complex. No real chance I can provide a working sample quickly. I will try to put something together, though, over the next week or so because I have a second request for the Access version. If I can put it into a shareable format, I'll consider doing that. In the meantime, you can also find a couple of videos on YouTube on the same topic:


The point is that you can make this happen, but it's not for the weekend Access developer. If your primary goal is running a bookstore, and you are not ready to really invest serious time in learning Access, you might want to reach out for direct assistance. Richard Hanson runs a bookstore on his Access application. You might start there.





@George Hepworth What makes it so complex? The dealings with JSON?


I am actually making it FOR a bookstore, and I do have considerable experience with Access.


Thank you very much for your response.



Parsing the JSON in VBA is the most complicated part, IMO. It's doable, of course, just not boilerplate code.


Using the API to make the calls is pretty straightforward, though.


Do you have a Google developer account yet?


You can use Postman to figure out the appropriate syntax and test it.


The reason I used PowerApps for the data capture piece is that it allows you to scan the ISBN code off the back of books with the camera in the smart device regardless of where the book is physically, on a desk, on a shelf in a warehouse, etc. In other words, it untethers you from the desktop. In the recently completed project, for example, the building where the books are located has no internet connection and a computer running Windows XP. It might run Access 97 or 2000, if a runtime could be located. The only way to get to the books there is via a cellular-enabled tablet or phone.


You probably don't have that hurdle to get past. ;)


Access still handles the majority of functions, though, as you'd expect.


If you can watch some of the YouTube videos over the next few days, I'll see if I can pull out the basics for a demo. I do have to get permission to use share some of the code, though. I used it by permission myself.







Colin is fine with sharing the VBA. I'll try to put together a sample over the next week or so. Lots of competing projects, though, might take priority.

If you'd like to see how to transform the JSON into Access tables & fields, please see my app: