<<< Continued from previous page

Searching eBay

The nice thing about eBay is that if you find a listing, especially for higher priced items, it is likely to include pictures. It is also easy to contact sellers, and they are usually willing to answer questions. At the time I looked, there was only one relevant listing. A photo of the front inner flap did not show a price, but the image cut off the top and bottom of the flap. The text description gives a lot of detail but makes no mention of a price on the front flap. So, eBay information was inconclusive.

Savvy Search Tip: Completed auction results are available through eBay for 30 days or for 90 days with the Marketplace Research service at $24.95 per month. But you can search closed eBay auctions and get results even older than 90 days, and do it for free. Perform a Google search for the title you are researching, and include the keyword "eBay." For any results that appear to be completed eBay auctions, clicking on the "Cached" link will bring up a saved version of the page, even if the regular link is no longer active.

Searching the Internet

To mis-quote Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "The Internet is big, unbelievably big. You would not believe just how enormously and mind-bogglingly big the Internet is ...." This is why you must believe and live by one simple truth - Google Is Your Friend. The ability to winnow specific bits of information from the data-verse is a critically important skill and one well beyond the scope of this article to address fully. There are, however, a few specific strategies to discuss.

Savvy Search Tip: I use Google Images a lot when researching books. It is very easy to look at the images and pick out potentially interesting sites to click through to - easier than wading through a lot of text. And the presence of images can be associated with a well researched site with good information or a seller's site which may have items available that aren't on the common venues like Amazon, eBay and AbeBooks.

Googling on "'Menace From Earth' Heinlein" and then clicking Images led me to http://storypilot.com/sf/art/heinlein/heinlein-C07-1959.jpg with several blurry images of the dust jacket in question. One image shows the front inner flap, which does not appear to have a price on it.

Savvy Search Tip: When looking for publication information about an author's work, include the keyword "bibliography" - thus, "'Robert Heinlein' bibliography."

Most of what you'll find is garbage but some is good. A vanishingly small number of links will lead you to excellent sources of information, and the best of these should be bookmarked for future reference.

Savvy Search Tip: Do a Newsgroup search.

Use your favorite reader to search newsgroups. Or, when you do a Google search, click on More, then Groups. Two newsgroups I've found very helpful over time are rec.collecting.books (RCB), and rec.arts.sf.written (RASW). The RCB newsgroup is effectively dead now, having been taken over by trolls, but is still an amazingly rich archive of material. A search at RCB on "Gnome Bookclub" returns a thread entitled "Did Gnome Do BCEs?" with some obliquely useful information. The RASW group is still very active, and the natives are fairly friendly. There are many very well informed SF readers (and some writers) there, which makes RASW a good resource for asking questions.

>>>>>Click here for page four>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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