How to Find a Book from a Vague Description

Any avid reader out there will be familiar with the feeling of satisfaction that comes from setting a great book down after reading it from cover to cover. It is not only the happiness you get from knowing that you finished reading the book, but it is also the chance to analyze what you have just read that makes the experience enjoyable.

One of the best things about a good book is that it always leaves its reader wanting more. Every time you read it, you start looking at it from a whole different perspective. So essentially, it is like reading a whole new book!

Imagine a situation in which there is such a book that you would really like to re-read, but you cannot because you are simply unable to recall enough details it. You may just remember the unique traits of one of the characters, or the setting of your favorite scene.

Even though these aspects of the book were quite memorable, are they enough to help you find the book? What do you do in such a situation? How can you work with a very vague description and track down that book that you are so anxiously waiting to read? Below are a few ways to tackle such a problem.

1.  Conduct a Search through the Barnes and Noble Database

If you cannot seem to find a book, why not start off by searching through one of the biggest collections of books the market has to offer: Barnes and Noble. A company that was founded over a century ago, Barnes and Noble is one of the biggest booksellers in the world.

If you are desperately looking for a certain book, you are more than likely to find it among the endless number of books in their enormous collection. The only problem is that they function mainly through their stores, which means that you would probably have to visit one of them to get the information you need. Their search engine is not one of their strengths, and probably is not going to yield you the results you may be hoping for.

2.  Amazon Books

Another large database you could use to look for books is Amazon. Even though Amazon has now turned into the e-commerce behemoth that it is, it did not start off as one. Amazon was initially a small, online bookstore.

Even though they added a long list of other items to their website, they still hold a collection consisting of millions of books that they continue to sell on their website. Their database allows you to plug in the specific information you have about the book, and helps you narrow it down.

Even though it is a great way to find a book, it may be a little more time consuming than you expect, especially if you do not have sufficient information about it. If you do not find this method to be as convenient as you had hoped, there are other options.

3.  Google It

Of course, you could always go for the most obvious solution: running a quick search on Google. We are no longer living in a world where we have to hold on to our queries and worry about them not being answered for the rest of our lives; quite the contrary, actually.

Nowadays, before a person even has the time to form a proper question or query in mind, they would have already found the answer, thanks to Google. Even though this lack of mystery can be very annoying in certain instances, such as when you try to broaden your intellectual capabilities, it can prove to be useful for many other things.

Let’s assume that you happen to remember a distinct detail about the book, like the main character’s traits, or the main motives that kept the story so interesting. If you are able to recall something of that sort, you could easily type it into your search engine, and see if the book you were looking for happens to pop up. Given the vast amount of information available on the internet, you are more than likely to find it.

4. Google Books

As if the google search engine was not good enough to get the job done, they came up with a separate search engine specifically for books. Their advanced book search engine gives you a long list of filters, such as the author’s name, title, or even brief description to help you find the book you are looking for.

This way, you can plug in whatever random information about the book that comes to your mind, so that you can get one step closer to finding that book that you so badly want to read.

5. Use Social Network

Going back a couple of decades, people mostly communicated with each other through face-to-face conversations. Even though telephones and e-mail existed, they only acted as a secondary source of communication.

People still liked having meaningful conversations with others. However, over the last decade, the advancement in technology and the introduction of high-speed internet in households has allowed social networking to become the primary source of communication for people around the world.

Since social network is a great way to have conversations about a plethora of topics, why not use it to track down that book that you have always been looking for? You could use any social networking website to post your queries about a certain book you are looking for, and hope that a bunch of people with knowledge in this field chime in and give you suggestions as to what you may be looking for.

With the rise in popularity of forum websites such as Quora, you could even start a forum about the book, and are almost guaranteed to get several different people’s thoughts and opinions about which book it is that you are looking for. Since the technology is already at your disposal, might as well take advantage of it!

6. Ask your Librarian

If none of these technological options are good enough for you, and if you are the kind of person who prefers talking to somebody over sitting in front of a computer screen for extended periods of time, you could always just talk to your local librarian.

Even in this day and age, libraries are found in almost every neighborhood. Even if you may be facing difficulties finding a certain book, you could always find a knowledgeable librarian who may know about the book you are looking for.

If not, libraries usually have a database of a large collection of books, which you can search through, with or without the assistance of the librarian. In most cases, the librarian has a vast knowledge about the books available in the library, and this option could prove to be very helpful to a person looking for a book based on vague details.


What most people fail to realize is that we are living in what is called the “Information/Digital age”. Things are not how they used to be in the 1900s. Back then, looking up a piece of information was a very time-consuming task because you mainly had to rely on printed sources of information, such as books, journals etc.

If you could not get the information you wanted from the sources near you, you would have to travel to be able to obtain the information that you required. Now, however, the internet has given us the opportunity to access all the information in the world from the comfort of our own bed!

When we have such a wealth of information available to us, a task as simple as tracking down a book is no longer difficult. As long as we have any sort of relevant information pertaining to it, we could find the book fairly quickly.

The only problem people may face in such a situation is deciding which option to pick from the list discussed above! People could search bookstores and libraries, and if those options are too time consuming, we can always turn to the internet The good news for all you readers out there is that finding a book has never been easier!

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