The Internet has proven itself as a valuable resource for all types of readers, from collectors of rare books to tech-minded readers who shop, network and download books online. But if you’re having trouble finding exactly what you need, whether it’s a book review, a book by a certain author, or a digitized anthology for your class at an online college for creative writing, you’ll want to use sophisticated tools that direct you to high-quality resources. Here are 50 cool search engines for serious readers and students.
For even more great search engines, read our updated list.
When you want to read books online, use these search engines to find free versions, PDF files and .doc formats.
- Ebook Engine: This engine will connect you to free ebooks and ebook sites like Project Gutenberg, Archive.org, Feedbooks.com and others.
- PDF Search Engine: Search for PDF versions of ebooks using this tool, which also features an ebook search toolbar for Firefox.
- Ebooksearchengine.com: Search ebooks in various languages in PDF or .doc forms here.
- Google Books: Google Books offers an impressive database of searchable titles in non-fiction, fiction, poetry, self help, science, reference and more. Not all books can be accessed for free in full text, but you will at least find shopping information for each book.
- PDFse: This is another ebook search for PDF texts, complete with a tag cloud, keyword search box, and alphabetical glossary.
- Open Library: This beta open source site claims to have “one web page for every book,” and gives you the choice of searching fully scanned titles only.
- eLibrary: eLibrary is a good tool for searching reference books, self-help titles, instructional books and training guides.
- Bibliomania: Literature nerds can browse classic works, including poetry, drama, short stories and novels, at Bibliomania.
- Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg is the original search engine and archive of ebooks, specializing in old and classic texts.
- Digital Book Index: You can search plenty of subcategories in umbrella sections like authors, subjects, keywords or publishers from the Digital Book Index, which has over 100,000 titles.
- The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania supports book search engine for classics and more modern works that can be read online, downloaded, and saved.
- Etext Center: The University of Virginia’s ebook collections contain over 2,100 works, from classics, American history, children’s literature and more.
Books to Swap, Sell and Buy
Use these search engines when you need to swap, sell or buy a book over the Internet. Below are tools for old and used books, new books, out-of-print titles, and more.
- BookFinder.com: You can search through 150 million books for sale, including textbooks, rare and out-of-print books, and international titles.
- AbeBooks.com: This book and bookseller site has all kinds of options for searching, including most popular subjects, author/title/keyword/ISBN, simple browsing, top reviewed, and more. You can also sell books through AbeBooks.com
- AllBookstores.com: Use this site to compare prices on books and textbooks.
- BookFinder4U: This simple search engine offers advanced and out-of-print search.
- PaperBackSwap.com: Join this community to search and swap all kinds of books, including memoirs, fantasy, fiction, historical, religious books, children’s books, and more.
- eBay: eBay’s book page has search options for book type, rare books, textbooks, printing year, book accessories, and more.
- Barnes & Noble: This mega retailer has one of the most popular online book search tools, too, including a section just for ebooks.
- BookSwap Textbooks: College students can select their school or school system to find textbooks for swap or sale here.
- TitleTrader: Book categories here include nonfiction; cooking, food and wine; sports; teens; comics and graphic novels; biographies and memoirs; reference; and others.
- ISBN.nu: Compare books and book prices on this site.
- AddALL: AddALL is a popular book search engine and price comparison tool for new and used books.
Collectors of rare, signed, and out-of-print books can use these search engines to help them complete their libraries.
- Inprint: Inprint has been finding out-of-print books since 1980 and now operates online, too.
- Bibliofind: Bibliofind and Amazon.com offer this book search for rare and out-of-print books, letting you search by category, format, reader age, language, publication date and other qualifications.
- Powell’s Books: Powell’s is a legendary independent bookseller that can connect you to signed editions, collectibles and rare books.
- Alibris: With Alibris, you can easily locate rare and collectible books by searching publication years, signed or first editions, dust jacket, collectibles, and more.
- Rare Book Room: Find digitized rare books from a range of disciplines and authors, like Shakespeare, law, philosophy, natural history, linguistics, botany, and more.
- Book Values: Here you can search for and compare prices of rare books.
- Bauman Rare Books: Rare book gallery owners David and Natalie Bauman offer a searchable library online too, where you can find books in categories like music, photography, children’s books, Americana, religion, and more.
- Biblio.com: Biblio.com’s antiquarian and rare books page covers law, philosophy and reference books, business, cook books, history books, “books on books,” literature, rare art books, and lots more.
- Bibliopoly: Bibliopoly is a search engine that pulls rare books from many different languages.
Book Reviews and Community
Online book clubs and communities also offer powerful search engines to help you find new books to read, browse reading lists, and research authors while networking with other serious readers.
- Reader’s Robot: Reader’s Robot contains databases filled with over 19,000 books and reviews in categories like popular fiction, romance, historical, travel, mystery, African-American and more. The tool’s “appeal factor” rating system will help you fill up your reading list.
- AllReaders.com: AllReaders is a solid resource for locating book reviews and information based on keyword, plot, title, author, setting or character searches.
- Book Movement: Book Movement hosts book clubs on its site and also features a very extensive search engine of book reviews that you can browse by top rated, a glossary, or keyword.
- Book Crossing: This site incorporates a reading community with title searching. You can look up title, author, ISBN and publishing information, plus reviews, for all types of books.
- Whichbook: This clever tool lets you pick keywords on a graph of opposing moods, characters, plots, or settings (like happy vs. sad or no sex vs. sex).
- BookReview.com: Choose to search only must read books, or search by review date, author, publisher and/or title.
- LibraryThing: On this book club site, you can catalog books, search reviews, swap books, and more. The powerful search engine features search by title/author/ISBN, author, tags, groups, and community members.
- GoodReads: This community-driven book search will connect you to book reviews, top book lists, book discussions and giveaways, and more.
- Bookwire Reviews: This user-friendly engine offers title, keyword or author search, as well as a category search that can find book reviews going back until 2004.
- Sunday Book Review: Search the New York Times’ archives of book reviews here.
Whether you want to find a nearby library or locate a book in a virtual or physical library, use these search engines.
- AwesomeLibrary.org: Powered by Google, this search engine also searches the Internet Public Library, Google Books, Education World, and other reference sites. This could be especially useful for digging up sources for a writing assignment at your online college for psychology.
- Library of Congress Online Catalog: Search books housed at the Library of Congress here.
- Internet Public Library: The IPL’s Online Texts section features collections of contemporary fiction, classical literature, drama and plays, poetry, and more.
- Classic Reader: On Classic Reader, you can search free books, authors, categories and more.
- World Cat: Use World Cat as a one-stop resource that will find books in nearby libraries.
- Public Libraries: Search for public, state, Presidential, national, college and law libraries in all 50 states. This site also has a book search and author information center.
- Questia: Questia can connect you to the largest online collection of books and journal articles in the world.
- Library Spot: Use Library Spot to locate libraries around the world, find book reviews, shop for books, and more.