Michael Fielding Garber

Art, Architecture & Design

Finding Used or Out-of-Print Books

Finding Used or Out-of-Print Books

In some cases, one might need to purchase a copy of a book for convenience or for wish to expand one’s library.

In all cases, for finding used books, I recommend firstly searching the book search engines as ordered below, then if it is not found, one can make enquiries or search the catalogues of other booksellers. It is also useful to pop in to one’s local used book shop (if one exists) and enquire about books of interest from time-to-time. If one has the time and means of travel to get there, Hay-on-Wye (see below) should be visited from time-to-time as many books which you may desire can be found there.

Searching for Books

  1. Search firstly search on Book Butler or AddAll. These sites search the databases of the main book selling sites such as Amazon, Abe, Alibris, Biblio etc. Book Butler is my preferred search engine and will clearly list books firstly by edition, then allowing you to compare available copies, showing the price with shipping. One is then directed to the appropriate site, usually to the item page so you can order the book. Both Book Butler and AddAll can search for new and used books.
  2. If the book is not found on one of the above, the following independent networks will help you find books in the UK. They are listed in the order I would use them.
    1. iBooknet – Independent Booksellers Network.
    2. Booksatpbfa – network of Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association members.
  3. If all the above fails, your book may not be catalogued online. Unsurprisingly much of the used book stock that booksellers hold is not catalogued online. It is worth looking at the section below to proceed or to contact your local bookseller.

Booksellers et al.

A number of booksellers have been very useful in my search for used books. I will list some recommended shops here at some point. In the interim, and for a fairly comprehensive list of booksellers in the UK, please see below. Some booksellers may offer a book acquisitions service. Some more specialised booksellers will send out catalogues or newsletters that are subject specific upon subscription.

The Book Guide is an invaluable source for where to find second-hand and antiquarian books in the UK. The site lists and describes booksellers and provides a wealth of information about fairs, auctions and book care specialists. http://inprint.co.uk/thebookguide/


The town of Hay-on-Wye, which is on the Welsh/English border, is referred to as the ‘used book capital of the world’ by some. A good number of booksellers can be found in the town, which attracts many visitors wishing to find books. Some of the bookshops specialise, whilst others are more general. There is undoubtedly a very large selection of books in the town, and a visit could be comparable to browsing though much of the book search results found on the internet. See http://www.hay-on-wye.co.uk/bookshops/ for more information and for links and contact details for the bookshops.