Monday, November 22, 2010


When you are around your Thanksgiving table trying to deflect conversation onto something less... provocative... try this.

Do you know the most often searched out of print title, according to

Bookfinder is a search engine for the books you can't find elsewhere.  Really, it just conglomerates...or aggregates... or whichever is correct-erates the other book dealer sites so you don't have to, and that is certainly convenient.

Just like DrawingIn.

Who's behind Bookfinder?  " is an independent subsidiary of AbeBooks, which is based in Victoria, Canada."  so says their "About" page.  Which mostly made me wonder.... what the heck is an "independent subsidiary"?  Then I remembered what I was doing.

Is it free?  Free to search -- search away.  It's a search engine's search engine.

How does it make money?  Beats the hell out of me.

Can I search foreign titles?  You can.  You can also search dealers in foreign lands, lucky you.  Bookfinder is based in Berkeley, CA, and Justbooks, the European wing, comes out of Dusseldorf, Germany.

Why is "Dusseldorf" such a funny word?  Beats the hell out of me.

So how's the usability?  Pretty good.  Search by title, author, keyword, ISBN and get a list of titles as a result.  Click titles to see dealers.  This makes for a clean search result set you can truly browse. 

Prices?  Odd - most of these book dealers with give the book away for a dollar or less, but the shipping can be about $5.  The price you see is a total, so no secrets.  Hover to see the item price vs s/h.  Dealers provide a statement of the book's condition, but you can't see it.  After that, all rules for buying used crap online are in effect.  Big win -- you can buy the 3rd edition of a text book for about 60% less than the current 4th edition and often get a new copy.

On the other hand, economics are economics, and the rarer and more sought-after the title, the higher the price.

What does it lack?
Amazon is still best at the "look inside!" feature (and the most enthusiastic).  I found it necessary to cross-check the sites to see if the book I was buying had the content I was looking for.  There is no "cart," because this is a search engine.  So you may create multiple orders (even from a single dealer) from all your searching.  So keep that orientation in mind and make your own spreadsheet or word doc off to the side if you want to minimize your orders.

Are you going to answer Cliff's trivia question?  I am.
 Recognize it?  $200 resale value - MIP -- $600 autographed.  Origional cover price $49.95 1992.

That's Sex by Madonna, and I have just upped the search count to get that graphic.

Other top draws in the past year, according to
Promise me Tomorrow, by Nora Roberts.  There's a Nora Roberts book out of print?  How can that be?  Your goal as a writer should be to become so prolific you can tell your publisher to stop printing the books you yourself don't like, even though you are a big cash cowThe Principles of Knitting - because we are poor and it is cold.  A Treasury of Great Recipes, by Mary and Vincent Price.  Damn, now I want this too.

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