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How To Search
General search guidelines
  • More is NOT better; our system searches for books matching all the words you enter
  • Match totals shown are only an estimate
  • Our Search Engine will only find books matching the exact spellings in your request
  • Keywords are created by the individual Booksellers and not by Abebooks.co.uk
  • Use "Trailing Wildcards" (*) when you are not sure of the spelling or the exact name or author of a book
  • Use the "tilde symbol" (~), as a "not" to refine your search
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What is Abebooks.co.uk search structure?

In general, the more information you enter into the search fields the fewer matches you will receive. More is not necessarily better. The most important thing to remember about entering your searching criteria is that Abebooks.co.uk searches for books that match all the words you enter. In order to maximize your chances of a match, you should enter a minimum amount of information. You can always refine your search further if you are getting too many matches returned. But the key is to start small.

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How does Abebooks.co.uk order search results?
The "Order Results by" field is the one that determines the sorting order of your search results. If the [Newest] radio button is selected, Abebooks.co.uk presents the newest, most-recently added books at the top of the list. The books listing further down the page have been added to our database at progressively earlier dates, i.e. they get older as you go down the list. We also rotate ("churn") our search results to maintain fresh and updated listings.

Alternatively, you can choose to sort your search results by price: the lowest or the highest, depending on which radio button you choose. Choosing the [Lowest Price] radio button would give you a list with the least expensive books on top of the list.
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Sorting search results

Yes, you can sort your search results. At the top of the page you will see a "Sort by" pull-down menu. You can sort your search results by:

  • Newest, the newest books added to our database appearing first
  • Lowest Price, the books with the lowest price appearing first
  • Highest Price, the books with the highest price appearing first
  • Author A-Z, the books appearing in alphabetical order using the author's last name
  • Author Z-A, the books appearing in reverse alphabetical order using the author's last name
  • Title A-Z, the books appearing in alphabetical order based on the title
  • Title Z-A, the books appearing in reverse alphabetical order based on the title

Just select the sort by method you want to use and click the [Go] button.

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Searching a specific Bookseller's inventory?

You can search a specific Bookseller's inventory from the search results screen, the book details screen or the Bookseller Information screen. Each of these links will take you to an Advanced Search screen for that particular Bookseller.

  • Search Results: Click [Search this Seller's Books] link
  • Ordering Information: Click the [Search this Seller's Books] button
  • Bookseller Information Screen: Click the [Search Seller's Books] link
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Is spelling important?

It is important to remember Abebooks.co.uk will only find books matching the exact spelling in your request. If you are finding your search criteria is producing no matches and you are fairly sure these books are listed on Abebooks.co.uk, look closely at the spelling of the word, title or author that you entered. It is very easy to mistype words and this often leads people to the conclusion the search engine failed, even though it was simply a misspelling.

While it is very important to spell names and titles correctly, the search system is very forgiving with regards to capitalization and punctuation. In Abebooks.co.uk you can enter your search words in upper, lower, or mixed case and it will make no difference to your search results. The search engine also ignores punctuation.

Example:
  • "Sophie's World" will generate the same results as "Sophies World"
  • "Man-Eaters of Kumaon" will receive the same results as "mAn eaTErs of kuMAon"

This rule also applies to book titles in languages other than English. Any accents or special characters are ignored.

The search system does not search or match words like "the" or "it". These "noise" words are ignored and match results are unaffected by their inclusion.

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How can I use keywords?
The Keyword field is used to enter search words that may relate to the book you are seeking. One of the most important things to remember about keywords is they are generated by the individual Booksellers and not by Abebooks.co.uk. It is up to the Bookseller to determine the keywords to be attached to the books. Occasionally books have no keywords attached to them. This must be kept in mind when using the Keyword field for your book searching.
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How to search by price?

You can limit your search for books to only those listed within a specific price range.

To search by Book Price, next to the "£ Price" on the Book Search screen, enter the price range in the "Min" and "Max"' fields. For the "Order Results by" radio buttons, select the appropriate button that you wish to have your results displayed. Once you have chosen the price range you wish to search, click on [Start Search].

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How I can find something other than books?
When searching for anything other than books, try conducting a "keyword search".

From within the search screen, use the "Keyword" search to locate records, videos, audio books and almost anything else you can think of. Simply type one or more of the related words in the "Keywords" field:
  Music Visual Printed  
  Cassette Tapes Maps Comics  
  CD's Playbills Paper Ephemera  
  Record Albums Post Cards Periodicals  
  Sheet Music Prints Etcetera  
Enter any other search criteria (title, author) then click on the [Start Search] button.
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Abebooks.co.uk's book terminology?

Abebooks.co.uk uses certain book attributes or codes to describe the condition of a book. A list of these attributes and their various abbreviation codes are listed here and an explanation of how Abebooks.co.uk determines first editions is available here.

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How can I start to search?

To search the Abebooks.co.uk online database of used, rare and out-of-print books, use the "Books & Search" option available from the homepage.

The next step is to enter the criteria (i.e., "TITLE: Unbearable lightness of being" and/or "AUTHOR: Milan Kundera"), you are looking for and click on the button.

A search by publisher can include the name of a publishing company, the place the book was published and even the year of publication. To search by date, type in a particular year, for example "1965", or you can use a wild card and search for all the books published in the 1960's by typing "196*".

The "Keyword" field is used to enter search words that may relate to the book or item you are seeking. One of the most important things to remember about keywords is they are generated by the individual Booksellers and not by Abebooks.co.uk. It is up to the Bookseller to determine keywords that will be attached to the books. This means occasionally books have no keywords attached to them. This must be kept in mind when using the keyword field for your book searching.

You can also search by ISBN. In the field provided, simply enter the ISBN, either with or without dashes or spaces.

Examples of acceptable ISBN entries:
0670451932
0-670-45193-2
0 670 45193 2

If a bookseller has provided an accurate ISBN with their book listing, it will be displayed at the end of the book description. Also, Abebooks.co.uk attempts to match ISBNs to books that do not have one entered by the bookseller. We cannot guarantee that this will be an exact ISBN match. Please read the book description carefully to ensure that it is the correct item before placing the order.

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