I Can’t Find A Book Online, Now What?

You Googled every which way to Sunday and you can’t find an online copy of a book you need. You tried Amazon and your book is either unavailable or priced beyond your reach. We’re assuming that you already searched your local public library. If you’re a student, you checked with your campus library, right?

Millions of books are now online. But not every book in the world has been digitized or will be. You may need to track it down in hard copy. Here are 8 suggestions.

Where else to tryWhy
1. WorldCat WorldCat is a free searchable database of a billion distinct items (books, audiobooks, videos, periodicals, etc.) in the libraries of the world. If you find your book, contact the library and ask if they can produce a PDF. Or show the link/record to your public or campus library. Ask if they can borrow a copy for you.
2. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)Libraries have been borrowing stuff from each other since before you were born. Your public or campus library will handle the logistics. You may pay a nominal service fee or none at all.
3. Archive.orgMillions of books online here either in full text, or borrowable if you sign up for a free account. Why you need an Archive.org account.
4. Google BooksMillions of online books & periodicals here. Lots in full text, some in preview (only certain pages), some in snippet (the relevant paragraph) or not at all (placeholder for future full-text).
5. HathiTrustMillions of books online here either in full text, or borrowable if you are affiliated with a participating institution.
6. AddAll
Bookgilt
BookFinder
BookFinder4U
ViaLibri
Maybe there’s a used copy on the market. These metasearch tools search across multiple booksellers for you, including Amazon & eBay.
7. Bookshop.orgHad to add a plug for this site because the proceeds support independent booksellers
8. The publisher’s websiteBooks go out of print and publishers go out of business. But if you can figure out who published a book, see if they have a website. I have often beaten Amazon’s price by going right to the source.

Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia.

Published by Cynthia Van Ness

Librarian, author, webmaster. BuffaloResearch.com is an on-my-own-time project, reflecting my own views and idiosyncracies.

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