J P Hartley take note, it is even easier now to trace an out-of-print book. If you live in an area that’s not blessed with a decent second-hand bookshop or you simply want to avoid pouring ever more money in to the coffers of big boys such as Amazon, then AbeBooks.co.uk could be the place for you.
I discovered this site by chance while searching online for an out-of-print book. It brings together 13,500 independent booksellers from around the world, and you can trawl through their combined collection of 100 million books in a few seconds.
The site is well designed, simple to use and its enthusiasm for books is infectious.
I was looking for a tome called Byron in Italy, published in the 1940s. I had just read a fascinating biography of Byron, and the years he spent in Italy were wild even by his standards. I pressed ‘search’ and quickly had a large selection to choose from, with detailed descriptions of the condition and a variety of prices from bookshops around the UK.
I bought the one offered by Carmarthenshire Rare Books and soon had an email from Leo who was packing up my purchase. A few days later the book was in my hands, along with a handwritten note of thanks from Leo and the unmistakable aroma of a dusty second-hand bookshop.
A great online experience, and they sell new books as well.