Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Searching for books, not print on demand, a rant and discovery.

I have nothing against print on demand titles.  In fact, I believe that print on demand is a fine industry and a valuable contributor in the marketplace of information distribution, especially for putting nearly every book ever published and now in the public domain, back in print.  However, I don't have any interest in knowing that a book I'm searching for, first edition, first printing, usually hardcover with dust jacket, is available in an infinite number of print on demand editions.  I'll leave aside the related annoyance that every rare book search site seems infected with print on demand edition listings. Why they allow this infiltration is beyond me!   

Today, while searching for a title on, I accidentally discovered that you can easily filter out print on demand titles.  For the past year or so I have not been using the advanced search features of, preferring quick search and eventually sorting by price, highest on top.  Lately, that approach was yielding numerous print on demand editions, on top, with outrageous prices and it was beginning to drive me crazy.  I can only imagine that the print on demand publishers studied search habits in the out of print search space and determined that many searchers are clueless and willing to pay anything for a desired book, even if it is a new print on demand edition and not the original edition.  Today, I decided to use advanced search because I was searching for a book I own and had all the information to guide the search directly to the edition I have.  As I was entering the information I noticed a "not print on demand" box!  So from now on, if you are searching for something on, be sure to use advanced search and choose the box, not print on demand.

This simple and silly discovery made my day!  Happy, happy.  Joy, joy.

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