I had in mind to re-discover an old recipe book I once had. Would it still be in print? I certainly couldn't find it at my local book store, and though they offered to find it for me, I thought I'd rather google it myself. I remembered the title was something like Quick Bread or Fast Breads.
So, I'm at the Amazon website, I select "books" and type in the title, "Quick Breads". The results indicate there are 342 related subjects. I don't bother to check them all. If you look on the left column there are subcategories.
I selected the Cooking, Food and Wine Department, which then breaks down categories further. Two seemed the most logical, Baking (114) or Quick and Easy (77). Of course, I took the easy way out. Process of elimination! I really don't want to spend a lot of time looking for this old book and will be giving it up as a waste of time pretty soon. Only, I'm stuck on the nostalgia of the days and weeks I enjoyed spending time in the kitchen whipping up these fast breads.... and best of all, eating the finished product. So, I keep looking.
Wait a minute! That was the title of the book... "Fast Breads"! A quick search gives me two books that might be the one I want. Since I know I am looking for an older book, the two top selections I can immediately eliminate from my search. The next two have publish dates in the 1980's so this narrows it down. Since there is no picture of the books in question I will not recognize it by sight, and truly a picture may not match up anyways, because publishers often change the cover as each new edition is released.
My next step is to look for a review, which will reveal enough about the book to help me know which one is mine. And there it is. Fast Breads (Crossing Press Specialty Cookbooks.) by Howard Early and Glenda Morris. As it turns out, I did not recognize the authors names.
So, looking at the list of book sellers offering "Fast Breads" for a penny, I want to buy from what I consider a reliable seller. I must admit I am hesitant to buy off a new seller, someone who has only sold a hundred books in the last two years, or who has less than 90 percent customer satisfaction rate. (You can look up their customer's comments, by the way.) Unless of course, the only one offering the book I want is a couple of new sellers with few sales and questionable ratings. Then, I have to decide how bad I want it. If the seller doesn't come through, or sends a copy that is not "acceptable" quality, then I will need to deal with the ensuing hassle of getting my money back.
But in the case of "Fast Breads", there are several penny books offered by sellers with high ratings and a long term sales history. If I have the opportunity I like to buy from charities. One of my favorite is Better World Books and I will always pay a little more for a book from them if the lesser prices don't give me much confidence.
The four that are offering for one penny are equally reliable in my opinion so I read what they have to say about the quality of their "good" book. Most seem reasonably the same so I order from the first one.
I prefer not to pay extra to have faster service. So, I order with the lowest shipping rate, which is $3.95. Now all I have to do is watch for the mail carrier and warm up the oven.
What are your favorite ways of purchasing books?
Note: I also use www.half.com and www.paperbackbookswap.com