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Internet Archive BookReader

Build Status codecov

Disclaimer: BookReader v5 is currently in beta. It's stable enough for production use (and is what is being used on, but there will be some breaking changes in the next ~month or so to public BookReader APIs.

Internet Archive BookReader full logo

BookReader v5 interface screenshot

The Internet Archive BookReader is used to view books from the Internet Archive online and can also be used to view other books.

See live examples:


See BookReaderDemo directory. These can be tested by building the source files (make sure Node.js is installed):

npm run build

and starting a simple web server in the root directory:

npm run serve

And then open http://localhost:8000/BookReaderDemo/demo-simple.html.


Here is a short example.

// Create the BookReader object
var options = {
  data: [
      { width: 800, height: 1200,
        uri: '//' },
      { width: 800, height: 1200,
        uri: '//' },
      { width: 800, height: 1200,
        uri: '//' },
      { width: 800, height: 1200,
        uri: '//' },
      { width: 800, height: 1200,
        uri: '//' },

  bookTitle: 'Simple BookReader Presentation',

  // thumbnail is optional, but it is used in the info dialog
  thumbnail: '//',

  // Metadata is optional, but it is used in the info dialog
  metadata: [
    {label: 'Title', value: 'Open Library BookReader Presentation'},
    {label: 'Author', value: 'Internet Archive'},
    {label: 'Demo Info', value: 'This demo shows how one could use BookReader with their own content.'},

  ui: 'full', // embed, full (responsive)

var br = new BookReader(options);

// Let's go!

Architecture Overview

Starting at v5, BookReader introduces hybrid architecture that merges the core code written in jQuery closer to its evolution as a web component. As we march toward the future of BookReader as a web component, we are taking an Event Driven approach to connect the two together.


  • Event driven
  • Control BR from the outside by using public methods
    • When BookNavigator reacts to BR's events, BookNavigator can directly control BR core using public functions.
      • As we continue to decouple the UI from drawing/calculating logic, these logical methods will become easier to spot, raise as a public method, and create unit tests for them.

Menu panels: Web Components via LitElement

BookReader's side navigation is powered by LitElement flavored web components.

Core: jQuery

BookReader's core functionality is in jQuery. This includes:

  • drawing & resizing the book and the various modes (1up, 2 page spread, gallery view)
  • the horizontal navigation
  • search API service
  • plugins

A peek in how to use/extend core functionality:

  • Properties
  • Plugins
    • A basic plugin system is used. See the examples in the plugins directory. The general idea is that they are mixins that augment the BookReader prototype. See the plugins directory for all the included plugins, but here are some examples:
      • plugin.autoplay.js - autoplay mode. Flips pages at set intervals.
      • plugin.chapters.js - render chapter markers
      • - add search ui, and callbacks
      • plugin.tts.js - add tts (read aloud) ui, sound library, and callbacks
      • plugin.url.js - automatically updates the browser url
      • plugin.resume.js - uses cookies to remember the current page
      • plugin.vendor-fullscreen.js - replaces fullscreen mode with vendor native fullscreen
      • see plugin directory for current plugin files

Embedding BookReader in an iFrame

BookReader can be embedded within an <iframe>. If you use the IFrame Plugin inside the <iframe>, the reader will send notifications about changes in the state of the reader via window.postMessage(). The parent window can send messages of its own (also via window.postMessage()) and the IFrame Plugin will handle updating the reader to match.

Message Events

Fragment Change

The Fragment Change message is sent to the parent window when the embedded BookReader moves between pages/modes. When the <iframe> receives this message, it moves to the specified page/mode. The “fragment” is formatted in accordance with the BookReader URL spec.

  "type": "bookReaderFragmentChange",
  "fragment": "page/n1/mode/2up"



The source JavaScript is written in ES6 (located in the src/js directory) and in ES5 (located in BookReader). npm run serve-dev starts an auto-reloading dev server, that builds js/css that has been edited at localhost:8000.

Until the next major version bump, we have to store the build files inside the repo to maintain backwards compatibility. Please DO NOT include these files in your PR. Anything in the BookReader/ directory should not be committed.

Developing icons

To see local icon package changes in bookreader, you'll need to install core-js into the icon package and link into bookreader.

Let's use icon-share as an example.

  1. Confirm your icon package is working properly in the iaux-icons demo
  2. Navigate to your icon package (iaux-icons/packages/icon-share) and run command: npm install core-js
    • You shouldn't need to commit any of these core-js changes
  3. From within your icon package directory run command: npm link
    • You can use the command npm ls -g to confirm your local package now appears in the registry
  4. Navigate to /bookreader and run command: npm link @internetarchive/icon-share
    • You can use the command npm ls |grep icon-share to confirm icon-share is now a link to your local directory
  5. You may now start a local server to see your changes by running command: npm run serve-dev


To version bump the repo and prepare a release, run npm version major|minor|patch (following semver), then (something like) git push origin HEAD --tags. It'll automatically update the version number where it appears, build the files, and ask you to update the CHANGELOG.

We release BookReader in-repo as tags & also as a node module @internetarchive/bookreader


We would like to get to 100% test coverage and are tracking our progress in this project: BookReader Fidelity

End to end tests

We also have end to end tests using Testcafe. We write tests for the repo itself and also for our use on You can read about them in here. These are relatively easy to do, and a fantastic way of getting introduced to the wonders of BookReader. Check the project board for open tickets to work on. And if you don't see a test for something you spotted, feel free to make an issue.

To run all local end to end tests, run command: npm run test:e2e

To keep end to end test server on while developing, run command: npm run test:e2e:dev

Unit tests

We have unit tests and use Jest to run them. For mocks, we use Jest's internal mocking mechanism and Sinon to set spies.

To run all local unit tests, run command: npm run test

Ways to contribute

We can always use a hand building BookReader. Check out the issues and see what interests you. If you have an idea for an improvement, open an issue.

More info

Developer documentation:

Hosted source code:

IIIF ( See BookReaderDemo/demo-iiif.html to see an example of how to load an IIIF manifest in BookReader.

Target Devices

Note that BookReader is a core part of's mission of Universal Access to All Knowledge. Therefore, care must be taken to support legacy browsers. It should still work and be useable on old devices.

Areas for improvement

  • Change libraries to be NPM dependencies rather than included in the source code

See for history of the project.


The source code license is AGPL v3, as described in the LICENSE file.

Other credits

The ability to test on multiple devices is provided courtesy of Browser Stack.