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How to search for books on the Internet.

 Having read the title of the post, you may think I’m completely mad! You may think that there is nothing you don’t know about searching for books, and in some cases you may be right! I thought I knew it all too, but I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years, so I thought I’d share some of my knowledge with you.
My job is selling books online, and I have recently started to change my business model. Instead of searching for books at charity sales and other local events, I now source books from the comfort of my own home. I buy books on the Internet, then sell them for a profit on Amazon in the UK. I am able to do this because I know a lot about books, and how to find them!

If you’re after a best-selling paperback, then you probably won’t do much better than Amazon, but if you’re after a rare or out of print book, then there are lots of other places to look.


My favourite is: as this searches all the major book-selling sites worldwide. It splits out new and used copies of each book, and includes postal costs to your country, so that you can instantly tell which copy will be cheapest.

Addall, Abe and Alibris are also good sites to check, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for there then the best thing to do is put the title of the book into Google. Make sure that you put “quotation marks” around the title, so that it only comes up with exact matches for your book, and not everything else to do with the individual words in it. Searches like this will often throw up independent book shops, some only written in a foreign language. Most people give up the moment they see a web page written in Spanish/Portuguese/German etc. and it is for this reason that there are many bargains on these sites. With the help of translation sites like Babel Fish, any web page can be translated into your own language, and so there is no need to be afraid of them. I have bought many great books from sites that I have never heard of, or couldn’t understand!


The other thing to bear in mind is where the book you are looking for was published, as it will generally be cheaper/more easily available in it’s country of origin. For example, I was looking for The Scream by Rohinton Mistry a few months ago. At the time, it wasn’t available at all in the UK, so I started my search with Canadian sites, as this is where the author is from.


I you’d like any more information, or help finding a book – just ask! I love the challenge of trying to find a rare book!

Happy searching!

5 replies on “How to search for books on the Internet.”

Nice post. I learned a new trick! I’ve bought hard to find books from foreign bookstores before, but I never thought about searching in-depth in the country of origin. Good tip.

Oooh, you are already playing post bingo! This is very good information! I have been having issues with finding a Polish crime series (my husband has them and reads them, but alas, I do not read this language!) that had been translated. I could get it at Amazon UK, which is where I discovered one of the books had been translated, but it was pretty expensive. I guess the others in the series haven’t been translated yet. I was able to get it through an interlibrary book loan, but they had to go to Washington State to find it! Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Love your blog. I too am a rural dweller who sells used books online. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago with the top 5 book search engines I use. I linked to that post above at my name.

Of the 5 I use, I have to agree is normally the first I visit.

I’m grabbing your rss – looking forward to reading you.

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