How to Find That Book You've Spent Years Looking For

Between libraries, the web, and rare book stores, near-forgotten books are easier than ever to find.

| November-December 2003

  • Photo by Fotolia/Pink Badger

Searching for a book you remember reading as a child, college student, or happy dropout, but haven't seen anywhere since? On the Web, there are now numerous ways to expand your hunt beyond Amazon. Abebooks is a consortium that connects you to thousands of used-book stores around the world. Another search site is the Berkeley-based You can also search a growing number of individual stores online, including the Portland-based Powells and Bolerium Books in San Francisco, which specializes in rare books on labor issues and radical history.

Utne Reader Bookshelf

Meanwhile, your local library can be a great help, too, thanks to a practice called interlibrary loan. Libraries across the country will lend you books and other materials, creating a vast collection that's easy for you to access. Here's how: If you don't find what you're looking for in your library's catalog, ask a librarian to locate it elsewhere in the huge national loan network. Tell the pros as much about the book as you can. Title and author are most important, but publisher and publication date (or even a good guess at it) can be helpful too. They'll do the rest.

11/14/2019 10:42:48 PM

When I was young we listened to an audio book of a classic novel, it might have been one of the Russian classics but I'm not sure. A man was trapped in a prison and his captor was demanding unreasonable sums for him to have things like clothing and food. He would ask for something and the fee would be a million dollars. I've wondered what this book was for years, any help would be wonderful.

11/14/2019 3:42:36 PM

Hi I’m looking for a book I read to my children in the 90s about a mother’s love, there’s all different animals in it I think on one page it’s describing an alligator and how it has a face only a mother could love. I think one of the pages had a beautiful illustration of a little blonde girl sat on a rock thank you for any help

11/14/2019 11:22:09 AM

@meg11 - The Professor and the Madman?