Book Search Engines


Amazon's A9 search engine lets you search books and other products on Amazon. You may also use it to search the Web. The default search option is to search the Web, so to search books or other Amazon products, click the radio button labeled product search. Product search results drop you directly into Amazon.

If you use this tool for book searching, it can be a multi-step process. It will find keywords within a book, but you may first have to select the matching title and then search again within the book (Search Inside This Book) to find the keywords in context.

Please note: Works best with javascript enabled. Displaying book content requires registration with a credit card on Amazon. Phrase searching is not supported within a single book title.


Bibliomania offers a small collection of about 2,000 classical texts, which consists mostly of fiction, plays, poetry and short stories. However, you will also find study guides, reference works, classic non-fiction, biographies and religious texts. You may browse or search the collection. All books display online without restriction. When conducting keyword queries, you may drill down to a specific subject and then conduct a search.

Booksearch x 3

This is a simple interface to a handy mash-up that lets you search 3 book search tools simultaneously - A9 (Amazon), Google Book Search and Live Search (book results only). Enter keywords. Representative search results appear in 3 columns - one column for each tool. The mash-up makes it easy to see which tool/s might give you the most relevant results. You then run your query again in the book search tool/s of your choice.

Google Book Search

Search book content via this special search engine powered by Google. Google works with libraries and publishers to make book content accessible. If a book is in the public domain (no longer protected by U.S. copyright), Google displays the full-text. If it is protected by copyright, Google displays a snippet or the text in accordance with its agreement with the publisher.

In addition to being able to review at least a snippet of information, the search results provide citation data (title, author, publisher), reviews (when available), links for purchasing the book and links for finding it in a library.

I have used this tool to conduct keyword searches of books I have in my library. It's a great way to zero in on a quote or other information. Moreover, when the matching text displays (assuming it is available for display), you see a scanned image, which provides the page number for citation purposes.

Internet Archive Text Archive

The Internet Archive offers this collection of online texts, which are in the public domain (copyright expired) or have a Creative Commons license. Collections within the text archive comprise books from American Libraries (online digital conversions sponsored by select companies, organizations and U.S. libraries), Canadian Libraries, Universal Library (Universal Library Project, sometimes called the Million Books Project pioneered by folks at Carnegie Mellon University), Open Source Books, Project Gutenberg, Children's Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library (10 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions) and more.

You may search all these collections by keyword or other criteria, including author, title, date and more. The Text Archive also offers RSS feeds for keeping up with information about additions to each collection.

Internet Archive: U.S. Government Documents

The Internet Archive maintains a collection of U.S. government documents. Currently, there are more than 2500 documents available in full-text in various formats. You may browse the collection by subject or keyword or search it by keyword. There is also an RSS feed for monitoring additions to the collection.

The Online Books Page

Founded and maintained by University of Pennsylvania librarian, John Mark Ockerbloom, The Online Books Page is so much more than its title conveys. It indexes English-language books available online in full-text for free from legitimate sources.

Search for listings by author or title. (Note: You cannot search the text of the book.) The information provided typically includes the author, title, online format and online source. You will also find a link directly to the book.

A new listings page with an RSS feed keeps you informed about additions to the database.


Wikibooks is a collection of free open-content textbooks, annotated texts, instructional guides and manuals that anyone may edit, whether logged into the system or not. In other words, those who use this resource will have to take care regarding the accuracy of the information they find. Also, if a book isn't instructional (e.g., fiction), it isn't included in the collection.

The project, which has been in existence since 2003, covers many subjects. A sampling of instructional materials available includes Introduction to Paleoanthropology, Algorithms, Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, How To Assemble A Desktop PC, Managing Groups and Teams, Physics Study Guide and Kings and Queens of England.

World Public Library

World Public Library claims to have the largest collection of PDF e-books and e-documents - more than 500,000 books in more than 100 languages. You may browse and download or display books by broad category collections (e.g., classic literature, science fiction). Alternatively, you may search all the collections by keyword. However, not all books are available to the public.

A separate search page (available under the "Public" heading in the main menu) provides keyword access to the collection of the Project Gutenberg Consortia Center (approximately 75,000 texts). This later collection consists of HTML conversions.

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