How to Find a Book Without Knowing the Title or Author

Sometimes you remember a book you read by its jacket. Sometimes by the actions of an obscure character. However, there are times when you can’t remember author or title. I am sure you have racked your brain trying to remember that book you loved reading. Book amnesia has affected us all at some time or another. If you are a book lover of any kind, expect to see (or ask) a question of this type one day: “Do you remember a mystery book that had something about a puppet master as a murderer?” Tracking down that long-lost book is like a…

Read the full article: How to Find a Book Without Knowing the Title or Author

Sometimes you remember a book you read by its jacket. Sometimes by the actions of an obscure character. However, there are times when you can’t remember author or title.

I am sure you have racked your brain trying to remember that book you loved reading. Book amnesia has affected us all at some time or another. If you are a book lover of any kind, expect to see (or ask) a question of this type one day:

“Do you remember a mystery book that had something about a puppet master as a murderer?”

Tracking down that long-lost book is like a treasure hunt. In the old days, you could have asked the librarian. Today, search engines like Google have the librarian beat.

Here are some tips to help you find a book without knowing the title or author.

Start Your Book Search With Google

When you can’t (or even if you can) remember the name of a book, author, or the characters in it, Google or any other search engine should be your first port of call. What is true for any generic search is true when trying to find a book without knowing the name and the author too… it’s all about the keywords.

Use Google to Search for a Book

In case of a forgotten title or author, you have to remember anything you can use from the book. It could be the name of a character, a line of dialog, or even basic plot points. The more specific the phrase, the better the result. All rules of a normal search apply (for instance, for exact searches put it in quotes). Google auto-suggestions will also tell you if you are on the right track.

Tip: The search for a long-lost book is a good way to master advanced Google Search skills. For example, you can include or exclude specific keywords, search with an exact phrase, or use the wildcard operator to guess the name of a character.

Now Try Google Books Search

As an avid reader, you should have heard about the massive Google Books Library Project. It is the largest book cataloging project of its kind. Google Books Search works just like Google Search.

The difference is that the reference page displayed for your search result also contains extra information like various covers, tables of content, common terms and phrases, and popular passages from the book. You can view sample pages and check if this is the book you were searching for. Also, you can search within a book.

Use the Advanced Google Search Page with filters like subject, publisher, language, publication date, ISBN and ISSN numbers (you aren’t going to remember these two).

Advanced Book Search

Experiment with keywords and wildcard operators to grab a clue. Even if you do not find the book you’re looking for, you might come across a reference which could then lead you to the answer.

Other Catalogs You Can Use for Your Book Search

There are some search engines which are more specialized for book searches.

BookFinder

Book Finder Search

BookFinder is an advanced search engine (Click on Show more options) which taps into the inventories of over 100,000 booksellers worldwide. Try a keyword search or, if you can recall it, restrict your query by the publication year.

WorldCat

WorldCat

WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. You can search the worldwide database of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries. Search for a book and then locate it at a nearby library. Membership of the library allows you to check out the item online. Try the Advanced Search with unique filters like Audience and Languages.

Peek into WorldCat Genres (or Fictional Finder) which helps you browse through fiction genres for hundreds of titles, authors, subjects, characters, locations, and more, ranked by popularity in the world’s libraries.

The Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the world’s largest library and today it also hosts a huge digital collection. An online book search through its catalog of 167 million items that include books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources shouldn’t take too long. And to top it all, the LOC has a friendly Ask A Librarian form for queries.

Also, check out the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) search tool which is another Library of Congress utility.

Tap Into Amazon Search

Amazon started life as an online bookstore. It remains the leading category by sales with millions of titles in stock at any one time. If Amazon doesn’t sell the book you are looking for, then it’s probably no longer available (or just a figment of your imagination). The basic search bar can get you close to the book with a keyword. But the real spadework can be done by Amazon’s Advanced Book Search.

Amazon Advanced Search for Books

Amazon does not have an official list of advanced search operators. But it does display a few search tips on the above page. The API documentation also lists a few power searches you can try out for your book. Go through the documentation by clicking on “Next”. For instance, experimenting with the [title-begins] keyword could return close hits.

The trick is to cut through the clutter of Amazon search results. Try this neat Amazon advanced search tool called JungleSearch.net to which can help you fetch hidden Amazon search results too.

And if all fails, then do a site search with Google. You might just get lucky. For example:

“Rachel Childs”+journalist site:amazon.com

Search Inside the Book

Amazon not only matches your keywords to titles and authors but also on every word inside a book. You can discover if this is the exact book you are looking for by clicking the Look Inside link and going through the preview pages. Use the Search Inside This Book field to look for sentences, key phrases, and even citations.

Ask for Help From Online Book Communities

Any website which helps you discover your next book will have an online community behind it. Tap into the collective memory of book lovers on these recommended book platforms.

Goodreads

Goodreads

Goodreads is an Amazon subsidiary. As such, you can expect the knowledge base to be just as vast. This social network for book nerds has discussion boards on a variety of topics.

You can go to any genre-specific group and ask for help. But it might be worth trying these two first:

Abe Books: BookSleuth

Abe Books -- BookSleuth

The appropriately named BookSleuth is another good hunting ground for forgotten titles. Use the community forum that is organized by genre, and provide as many details as you can for the members to help you out.

LibraryThing: Name That Book

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a less hip, more cerebral alternative to Goodreads. Start a new topic for your specific search in this community group and enter all of the book details you can remember.

Last but Not Least: Social Networks!

By now, you should have got either the book or your memory back. If not, your search has probably reached a frustrating hurdle because the book-loving masses haven’t been able to rescue you yet. It’s time to broaden your scope with an SOS on your social network of choice.

Facebook

The social network isn’t only for finding long lost friends. You can also call upon the wisdom of the crowd to help you find that elusive book. Your own social circle might be too limited, so broaden your search using book clubs.

Mark Zuckerberg started A Year of Books, and now it has close to 800,000 followers. Even smaller public groups like Books are worth a try. You just have to shout above the noise.

Twitter

Start with a Twitter search. Hashtags are what makes micro-blogging work, but a generic #books or #bibliophile hashtag might be too broad. Try to plug the specific genre into a hashtag search (e.g. #DarkFantasy or #UrbanFantasy) to narrow your results, and/or when you ask for help.

Quora

Quora

The Q&A site could be the largest gathering of “experts” outside Facebook and Twitter. The best thing about Quora is that you can expect a quality response. Take the answer in the screenshot for example.

Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange Search for Books

A potpourri of 168 Q&A communities makes up Stack Exchange. Stack Overflow might be the most popular with programmers but there are niche communities for Ebooks and Literature. Then, you can also go into a genre-specific community and drop a question. Sci-Fi and Fantasy is popular.

Reddit

You couldn’t have thought of a better name for a subreddit on books than Tip of My Tongue. Just scan your eyes down the solved answers with the green tag to understand the power of collective memory. Also, try other subreddits like What’s That Book, Books, and printSF when you can only remember the cover.

Can You Now Find That Lost Book?

The web relies on the kindness of strangers. The good thing is that book lovers are everywhere and the fraternity is amazingly co-operative. We can always find them closeted together in some group or community.

So, the next time you have a memory blackout try to recall any vague detail of the book.

Go back in time to remember any physical feature or illustration. Try to bring up some associated memories—what were you doing when you were reading that book? How old were you? Was it a gift or did you borrow it?

Believe me, every tiny shred of information helps. But the best tip I can offer to every book lover is this—make a reading list and keep it organized!

Read the full article: How to Find a Book Without Knowing the Title or Author

10 Must-Have Apps for Book Lovers

apps-book-lovers

Just because you don’t have a book on doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. All you need is your phone. Even if you’ve left your Kindle behind, you can pick right up where you left off with the Kindle app. And there’s a whole new world of apps that give you an experience unlike what reading a paperback offers. You can read chapters of a new fan-favorite thriller series and comment on it, all in the same app. Or try social networking apps dedicated to bookworms and use smart apps to find your next read. Here are some great…

Read the full article: 10 Must-Have Apps for Book Lovers

apps-book-lovers

Just because you don’t have a book on doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. All you need is your phone. Even if you’ve left your Kindle behind, you can pick right up where you left off with the Kindle app. And there’s a whole new world of apps that give you an experience unlike what reading a paperback offers.

You can read chapters of a new fan-favorite thriller series and comment on it, all in the same app. Or try social networking apps dedicated to bookworms and use smart apps to find your next read. Here are some great choices for both iOS and Android.

1. Wattpad

If you’re tired of reading paperback books, you should check out Wattpad. It’s a new platform for the digital age where writers can directly connect with their readers. Wattpad brings a community element to reading. You can interact with other readers by commenting on a certain section, a sentence, or a phrase inside a book.

Every genre takes the user to a new community to explore or receive inspiration. The app encourages you to participate in writing contests, increasing your fan base, or be a part of the app’s selected stories. Wattpad will help you go from a reader to a writer as well. Using the Wattpad community, you can build an audience for yourself.

Download: Wattpad for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

2. OverDrive

OverDrive lets you carry your local library in your pocket. Why buy a book from Amazon when you can borrow a digital copy of it from your local library?

OverDrive has managed to shift offline libraries into the online world. The catalog differs based on your location or the content your library offers.

And it’s not just ebooks; you can listen to audiobooks as well. All of this is available with your local library card. If you like, it’s also possible to use the app as an alternative to Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch movies, videos, or TV shows if the library provides them.

Download: OverDrive for iOS | Android (Free)

3. Goodreads

Goodreads is a social networking app for book lovers. It’s the premier place to discover new books, join communities, follow writers, and read reviews. Once you start tracking your books with Goodreads, you’ll see recommendations that are surprisingly on-point.

Granted, the Goodreads app doesn’t have the best user experience, but the sheer community features make up for any hassle. Goodreads is now owned by Amazon, which comes with its own set of benefits. You can log in with your Amazon account, and your Goodreads reading list will show up on your Kindle. Plus, your Kindle highlights are available right on your Goodreads account.

Download: Goodreads for iOS | Android (Free)

4. Inkitt

Inkitt is an app specifically designed for reading fiction, and consists largely of indie writers. It covers only a few fiction genres like romance, fantasy, sci-fi, and similar. The app is beautiful to look at and a joy to use.

Unlike Goodreads, the app is purely for reading and does not run a social network. The company behind the app is a publishing house that helps a writer publish their novel.

The reading experience is well thought-out as well. It monitors your monthly and weekly reading stats, shows a history of the books you have read, and can create a list of the ones you want to read.

Download: Inkitt for iOS | Android (Free)

5. Marvin 3

Marvin 3 is the best third-party EPUB reader for iOS. If you’re not satisfied with the basic features in Apple Books or Kindle, take a look at Marvin 3. The app lets you customize the entire reading interface.

Marvin will open any book format you throw at it, from an EPUB file to a CBX comic. The app has so many features that it makes reading pleasurable. These include Goodreads integration, speed reading, and external font support. Further, it’s easy to highlight sentences, take detailed notes, and add journal entries.

Download: Marvin 3 for iOS (Free, premium version available)

6. Leio

Leio is the best reading tracker for iPhone. It’s the easiest way to pen down everything related to your book reading stats.

In one place, you can keep track of multiple books you’re reading. Just like Goodreads, you can update the progress as you go along. The app has a time tracking feature as well, so you can see exactly how long it took you to finish a book.

Once you’ve added the data, Leio helps you analyze your reading patterns too. You can use the Goals feature to plan your reading marathons, improve your reading time, and unlock achievements.

Leio has a modern interface that’s easy to use. If you find the Goodreads app too cumbersome and don’t care about the community aspect, Leio is a great alternative book tracker.

Download: Leio for iOS (Free, premium version available)

7. Serial Reader

Serial Reader makes reading simpler. It’s a perfect app for both newbies and avid readers alike. The app gives you classic literature to read every day in 20-minute bite-sized pieces.

If you find it difficult to focus on reading a book for a long time, use this app to form a daily reading habit. Since reading 19th-century works can be daunting, this app breaks it down just into the right amount of words per day.

Download: Serial Reader for iOS | Android (Free, premium version available)

8. Litsy

Litsy is yet another social media literature app, but with a visual twist. It’s Instagram for books. Litsy is a user-friendly app where you can post photos of your book moments and also become an influencer.

It lets you share your favorite books with friends and family and post reviews on books you’ve read. Take part in discussions or find the relevant topics using specific hashtags.

Download: Litsy for iOS | Android (Free)

9. Reco

Reco believes that finding new books to read is easier when they’re recommended by people you trust. It has a simple design and an uncomplicated communication model.

It lets you explore all recommendations and content. The app has a refreshing approach towards the reader and reading—it removes the stress, thus making it easier to select a book to pick up. The clean feed shows one book per screen, with a description by the relevant connection of the user and why they recommended it.

Download: Reco (Free)

10. Blinkist

Blinkist is an app for professionals who want to learn but don’t have time to read. The app provides key points along with the entire gist of a book in 15 minutes. Each summary of the book is called a blink, and you can either read or listen to it.

Download: Blinkist for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

The Best Books of 2018

As a bookworm, you’re always on the lookout for new and interesting books to read. Check out our list of the best books to read in 2018 for some contemporary recommendations.

Read the full article: 10 Must-Have Apps for Book Lovers