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Out of Print


There are many great sites for buying books over the Internet; two of the best known are Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Typically there is not that much to pick and choose between them on price, although Amazon seems to be me way ahead in terms of customer profiling and throwing up reasonable recommendations for you when you re-visit their site.

(Depending upon where you live in the world, it may be worth checking out various regional affiliate sites, such as Amazon.co.uk, which I have found less expensive than the US-based parent.)

Unfortunately, Amazon's out of print search is uninspiring. You search for the title, they tell you it is oop, you leave your e-mail address, then they'll get back to you later if they can locate a copy ("we'll query our network of used bookstores for you and send an update within one to two weeks.") This is where an outfit like B&N can really leverage its established bricks and mortar operation: they provide you with a real-time search of their huge network of dealers to return any hits right away. Usually I have found multiple hits and been able to choose specific binding, condition, and so on, to suit my pocket.

Better, though, in my experience is abebooks.com. This outfit has come to my rescue several times already, tracking down really obscure and l-o-n-g out of print journals for which even the publishers could offer me no advice. This is now my first stop for all oops.

Another excellent real-time search facility is provided by BookFinder.com.

Finally, for really difficult titles, a last resort might be the specialised though less instantly gratifying services of a dedicated search house, such as OutofPrint.com.

I'm told (though I haven't tried myself) that Waterstones offer an out-of-print search service, also. Contact:

Waterstones Out-of-Print Book Search
121-125 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H OEA
Fax: +44-71-437-3319


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