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second hand books
search boxes
multiple stores
databases
Book Collecting Online
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For many years I have collected books by patiently searching the stacks and corners of bookstores for both new and used books. Also, I have spent much time browsing through book catalogs that booksellers have mailed to me. I have enjoyed doing these things. But in recent years, I have found many books by searching for them online. Any book lover and collector should take advantage of the Internet by searching for, and shopping for, books online.

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of shopping for books on the Internet is finding a book on the Amazon site. Doing that is a good start, and being able to type the title or author in the search box at the top of the Amazon home page gets you underway. Yes, one can get new books from the Amazon site, but many people might not think about getting second hand books, often at a great bargain, by using this site also. Sometimes when you have located a particular book on Amazon, you might notice next to the description of the new Amazon book a link to click for “used” copies of the title. Click this link and you will be taken to a page where many booksellers, conveniently listed, offer the title in a variety of conditions and a variety of prices. Determining the least expensive shipping charge may often help you to decide from where, ultimately, to purchase the book.

There are other sites on the Internet that conveniently bring together the databases of many booksellers. You can search multiple stores, some even international, to find what you desire. In addition to finding contemporary books, the serious collector can find even rare and “antiquarian” books on these sites. Two such sites that offer both new and used books are AbeBooks and Alibris.

The skill of knowing how to use search boxes and keyword searching is a real advantage in using these sites to help you in your collecting. Also if you carefully notice what kind of searching tools or filters are built into a site’s searching form, you will be greatly rewarded in finding the kinds of books you want. For example, it is not unusual to find sites where titles, once found, can be displayed from lowest price to highest price, or which could be had with free shipping. The practiced and creative use of the searching forms produces wonderful results. A personal example of good results for me is finding books that I can rebind. As a book collector, I also enjoy rebinding books when I have the energy, time, and materials. So I often search in the keyword boxes on such sites for “disbound” books, using an accepted book term, to find items that I can rebind.

Searching patiently and carefully in the bookselling sites online will make available to you a variety of books that you probably never thought you could own.


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