A Guide to Using Wants

If you search for a book on AbeBooks and it isn′t currently available, creating a Want is an easy and way for us to keep searching for you – automatically. Once you′ve created and saved your Want, we′ll send an email as soon as a matching copy is listed for sale on AbeBooks, including a link to the listing.

Our Wants system is very specific. It matches exactly to the criteria you enter so it is important to carefully enter what you need. Use distinct terms entered in the appropriate fields and avoid irrelevant detail. Your Want is not viewed by a human so please do not enter instructions such as ‘reading copies only’ or ‘any title.’ Do not enter N/A – doing so will exclude all listings that do not contain ‘N/A.’

For example, if you enter Thomas into the author field, it will match to any book that has Thomas anywhere in the author’s name. If you enter Thomas Hardy then it will match to instances where both Thomas and Hardy are used, including Hardy, Thomas, but will exclude listings where only Thomas or only Hardy is present.

Double-check your spelling. A single incorrect letter could mean your request is never matched.

If you are unsure of the title or the author’s name, do not guess. AbeBooks’ BookSleuth Forum can be a great source for finding the exact details.

Want criteria is not case-sensitive – capitalization, or lack of, does not affect matching.

There is no need to use punctuation (commas, colons, question marks, etc.), with the exception of apostrophes.

Quotation marks can be used where specificity is required. Quotation marks around your search term will search for that term exactly as entered. For example, "Thomas Hardy" will match only to Thomas Hardy and will exclude Hardy, Thomas and T. Hardy.

If you know the book′s ISBN and you just require a reading copy (not signed copies or first editions) then enter only the ISBN – no other search terms are necessary. (ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. All books published since 1970 have an ISBN, either 10 or 13 digits.)

Avoid entering too much information. Use clear, distinct terms, especially if you use the keywords field to find books of a particular genre or about a certain subject. If a book has an exceptionally long title, select some key terms from the title.

Avoid using initials. For William T. Vollmann use Vollmann. Try to avoid using a book′s sub-title. For instance, to find The Gourmet Gardener: Growing Choice Fruits and Vegetables With Spectacular Results by E. Annie Proulx, enter Gourmet Gardener in the title field and Proulx in the author field.

Avoid using just a single field unless you have a very distinct search term. It could generate too many matches. For instance, inserting a common word like biology into the title field will match every listing containing ‘biology’ anywhere in the title, resulting in multiple matches per day.

Be careful with publisher names. For Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, just use Thomas Nelson or even just Nelson. For University of Washington Press, just use Washington. Do NOT use terms like Press or Publishing if they can be avoided.

Avoid titles like Rev or Sir in the author field. Also avoid Jr or Jnr.

If a book has multiple authors, do not use et al. Use the last name of the most prominent (the first) author listed.


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