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Great Science-Fiction
& Fantasy Works

science-fiction & fantasy literature:
a critical list with discussions

Search Abebooks For Used Books

"I can find, above and under ground."

--Tales From Earthsea,
Ursula K. Le Guin





Abebooks and Buying Used Books

As Abebooks itself says, Abebooks is the world's largest online marketplace for books. Whether it's new, used, rare, or out-of-print, you can find it here, through our community of over 13,000 independent booksellers from around the globe.

Abebooks (formerly just ABE) is a single-access storefront through which those 13,000-plus used-book dealers--many true mom 'n' pop operations--can make their entire stock available anywhere in the world. Practically every used-book shop that sells on the internet belongs to Abebooks: if you use a used-book meta-search engine (an engine that searches the results of other search engines) to look for used books, you will only quite rarely find anything that is not listed on Abebooks, wherever else it may also be listed.

Using the Abebooks Search Box below is so simple and intuitive that almost no instructions are needed; just note that leaving a price box--minimum or maximum--blank simply means that that price end will be ignored. The one possibly non-obvious option, Boolean searching (the use of "logical operators" to fine-tune searches)--which is optional--is explained in a long note below the Search Box. Enjoy your used-book hunt!


The Abebooks Used-Books Power Search


Search Criteria

(there must be an entry in at least one field in this column)
Search Options (defaults as shown)

(boxes or fields left blank are ignored in the search)
= Author
Case does not matter--Smith, smith, and sMitH are all the same.
Suggestion: enter the last name; if it is common, also enter a first initial, as in: carroll j
Destination Nation (where you are)
Bookseller Location
= Title
Case does not matter--Peace, peace, and pEacE are all the same.
Suggestion: leave out common words like "the" or "and"
Pricing Currency
Show results sorted:

= Publisher
Use only significant words, such as "Acme" for "Acme Publishing, Inc."
Case does not matter--Acme, acme, and aCmE are all the same.
Search w/Boolean searching: On  Off
(What's this?)
Show only books whose binding is:
= Keyword(s)
"Keywords" are not necessary, but can be helpful in broad searches.
Case does not matter--Acme, acme, and aCmE are all the same.
Show only books that are:
First Editions   Signed   w/Dust Jacket
Acceptable Price:
  minimum  to     maximum
= ISBN    (must be 10 characters--omit hyphens)
    (If you enter an ISBN, any other entries in this column are ignored.)
Show results per page
This wipes all current entries here.

it also resets all options to their default values.
Shipping method: Standard    Priority
("Standard" is cheaper but usually much slower;
"Priority" is usually much more expensive but faster)
This starts the search with the current entries here.

Please be patient: this may take some seconds.
Publication year/s:
  earliest  to     latest
(Years are inclusive--use all 4 digits)

Whatever is "Boolean Searching"?

"Boolean" searches (named after logician George Boole) let you use use the words and, or, and not--called "logical operators"--plus quotation marks and parentheses to construct more-exact queries. You can turn Boolean searching on or off using the radio buttons next to the phrase search with Boolean searching in the Search Box above (it defaults to being off). If it is off, those words have no "magic" meaning, whereas if it is on they act to combine search terms in special ways.

   Note 1: When Boolean Searching is on, the tilde symbol ~ can be used in place of the word not.

   Note 2: You don't have to upper-case the Boolean terms--in the examples below, we just do it for emphasis.

Examples of Boolean Searching:

You are looking for books about warfare, and want to find books dealing with "war" or with things "military" in nature. The Boolean logic is OR:
· do a Keyword search for war OR military


You are looking for a book about cats and painting. The Boolean logic is AND:

· do a Keyword search for cats AND painting


You're looking for books by an author named King, but who is not Stephen King. The Boolean logic is NOT:

· do an Author search for King NOT Stephen (or for King ~Stephen, using the tilde to mean not)


You want to search for either or both of the books To Have and Have Not and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. The Boolean logic is OR:

· use Author search for Ernest Hemingway combined with
Title search for "To Have and Have Not" OR "The Old Man and the Sea"

(This example illustrates a subtlety, and the wise use of quotation marks. In this example, there were words that normally are Boolean operators within the titles of the books. You wanted the search to look for the actual book titles, not to interpret those title words--and and not--as Boolean operators. To tell the search that you are looking for titles, you must use quotation marks (" ") around any Boolean operators that you do not want considered as Boolean operators.


You're looking for for volumes of Harry Potter published by different publishers. The Boolean logic is OR, AND:

· do a Keyword search for (Scholastic AND Harry Potter) OR (Bloomsbury AND Harry Potter)

This example demonstrates how to group series of words together: use parentheses ( ). As in mathematics, use of parentheses will keep search terms together as a block or unit.

"Operator" precedence:

The "precedence" of Boolean operators signifies which ones will be applied before the others. If you make wise use of quotation marks and parentheses, you shouldn't have to worry much about "precedence", but here is the information anyway.

The Boolean operator "NOT" is given the highest precedence, followed by "AND", and then "OR".

Parentheses can be used to force the order of processing. For example:

     Keyword search: (Bloomsbury OR Scholastic) AND Harry Potter

By surrounding the OR words with parentheses, you force the search engine to process the two related terms (the pair in the parentheses) first. Only after that will the search engine combine that first result with the last part of the search. Using this method, the related OR terms are kept together as a logical unit.

Invalid Boolean Searches:

The following Boolean searches are invalid and would not be completed because the search expression is incomplete:

     Keyword search: Cat NOT

     Author search: Stephen OR NOT King

     Title search: NOT the shining





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(essential one-time reading)
Introductory Material:
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    Overlooked Gems of Science Fiction & Fantasy:
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    Light-Hearted Science-Fiction & Fantasy:
 there's more than you might think
    Religiously Themed Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 something the field handles wonderful well
    Science Fiction & Fantasy For Younger Readers:
 a selection from these lists of appropriate works
    100 Great Works of Science Fiction & Fantasy:
 using an expansive definition of "works"
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 sometimes even gourmets just want a big bag of potato chips

 

(new, used--find any book, anywhere in the world)
About Buying Books From Here:
    Buying Books New:
 · about buying books from Amazon
 · searching for new books at any Amazon division
 · international book-buying considerations
    Buying Books Used:
 searching for used books anywhere in the world
    Our Speculative-Fiction "General Store":
    About the Science-Fiction Book Club:
 info & online signup



(often the most interesting part of any site)
Miscellaneous Topics & Info:
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    "That Other Genre":
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