Amidst studying for tests, reading textbooks and attending classes during the semester, reading for pleasure is often the first thing that gets kicked under the rug. Summertime, however, is a college student’s nirvana; a 3-month interlude from the trials and tribulations of higher education where you can do whatever you please! For those of you who love to read, there are several excellent book search engines on the Web. They do everything from giving you the best available prices to crafting personalized recommendations. We’ve come up with a list of the 30 best ones. Take a break from studying this summer and get lost in a good old-fashioned novel why don’t you?
- AllReaders: AllReaders uses an advanced search engine that allows readers to choose different book characteristics such as theme, setting, plot, and even main character in order to get personalized recommendations.
- Whichbook.net: Whichbook.net uses a “slider-based” method to help you find books that you might like. Simply move the sliders for up to four characteristics and click “go.” Then you’re rewarded with books that match that mix of characteristics.
- What Should I Read Next?: This site is extremely simple. Just enter the name of a book you like, and the site will comb the details of over 70,000 titles for a recommendation.
- The Book Explorer: After you become a member of The Book Explorer, you can add your favorite books to your personal list. Then the site gives you recommendations based on your history.
- The Book Seer: Similar to What Should I Read Next, The Book Seer asks you what you just read, and comes up with two columns of recommendations.
- LibraryThing: LibraryThing is a unique site where members upload the contents of their libraries for others to see. Then you can receive personalized recommendations based on the things that other readers with similar tastes have read.
- Reader Squared: Another social book recommendation website, Reader Squared is interesting because it lets readers use their own words to tag books. Enter in the last book you read and it gives you a recommendation, different from the ones you get on Amazon.
- Gnooks: Based on an engine called “gnod,” Gnooks is a website where you can discover new authors and talk with others about your favorites. The Map of Literature places authors in proximity to each other based on their similarity.
- Shelfari: At Shelfari, create your own virtual bookshelf with all your favorite books. By seeing what other people with similar interests like, you can discover new books and authors easily.
- Your Next Read: Your Next Read uses reader submissions plus Amazon’s book search engine to give you suggestions for your next read. The site also shows you Amazon book reviews for each title you click on, which can be helpful.
- Book Army: Book Army is a UK-based book review and social networking site designed to give you recommendations based on the books you have read so far. Please note, from the time this post was first conceived, Book Army has unfortunately shut down.
- Glue: Glue is an innovative social media add-on that remembers your preferences for books, music and movies across the Web. Glue delivers a stream of recommendations, which you can respond to. Glue then refines recommendations based on your input.
Book Search Engines & Shopping
- A9 Search on Amazon: A9 Product Search is a powerful product search engine created by Amazon. Since Amazon is the #1 online bookseller, this is a good place to start.
- BookSearch: Are you tired of waiting for that rare book to show up on Amazon? BookSearch has a network of dealers in the U.S., Canada, and Japan ready to find your book.
- BookFinder.com: BookFinder.com allows you to compare the prices on over 150 million books available around the world.
- Indie Bound: Indie Bound is a cool independent bookstore finder where you can find books that aren’t “the norm” at places like Borders and Barnes & Noble.
- alibris: Alibris is a book website that allows used book sellers from around the world to connect with people who are looking for the books they have. They often send coupon codes if you subscribe to their newsletter.
- AddALL: AddALL is a website that allows you to comparison shop all the major online book retailers plus many more. They claim that using their search engine, you’ll find the best prices available online.
- Powell’s Books: The Portland independent bookstore has an excellent website which allows you to search their large collection of off-the-beaten-path books.
Free Books & Ebooks
- Bibliomania: On Bibliomania, you can search the texts of over 2,000 classic books, poetry collections, plays, and short stories. The books on Bibliomania are all available free online, in their complete forms. Read public domain books such as Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, and The Scarlet Pimpernel.
- Google Book Search: Thanks to a recent agreement with authors and publishers, you’ll be able to search the entire contents of many more books with Google Books. Out-of-print books will also be much more accessible and easy to purchase online.
- Internet Archive Text Archive: This is a massive collection of public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works, including Community Books, Project Gutenberg, and many libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Over 2 million books are now available free online.
- The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania librarian began this enormous effort to index and link to the over 35,000 books that are legally available free online. The site is updated continuously.
- World Public Library: The World Public Library is home to over 750,000 PDF eBooks in over 100 different languages. Their site allows you to search by collection or simply by entering the information int othe eBook Finder.
- ReadPrint: ReadPrint is another excellent website where you can read books for free online.
- Feedbooks: Feedbooks is a website where you’ll find thousands of public domain ebooks that you can download to your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device.
- ComicSeeker: If you are a comic book enthusiast, you may already know about this powerful search tool. ComicSeeker gives you the ability to search fifteen major comic book stores.
- Baen Free Library: Science fiction and fantasy readers will appreciate these free, no-strings-attached, ebook versions of titles currently available in stores.
- Wowio: Interesting ebook website which has quite a few ebooks available for free, in addition to ebooks at better prices than you might fons at some other sites. Authors set their own prices and keep 100% of the proceeds.
- Boocu: Boocu is a very simple search engine that allows you to look for ebooks and other digital files on the web. Category search is also available.