Writers aren't made of money. Unfortunately for us. While the Internet--specifically Google Books--has become an invaluable resource, sometimes Google doesn't have the answer you need.
There are many instances where the library won't do either. A book we're after can be used for multiple projects, you can't find it in a library system and don't want to wait x number of weeks for it to arrive via World Cat or inter-library loan.
So what's a writer to do when you need to buy a book, but the price on Amazon is enough to cause a heart attack? I experienced that about eight months ago when I stumbled across The Cotton Planter's Manual by J.A. Turner. I found it for free on Google Books, but I also looked for it on Amazon. All the sellers wanted nearly $30 for it! That's unreal.
But there's another trick I want to share with you. What do you do when Google lets you down and the price on Amazon makes you faint? Panic attacks over price are not outside the realm of possibility for those of us who write in more... obscure time periods and settings.
Used.addall.com is a researcher's other best friend. Many of you have probably never heard of it. I only know about it because I'm a Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Hardy Boys collector. In the world of children's series books, Addall is a gold mine. It searches every reputable used book store on the Internet, including some you've never heard of.
There are multiple ways to use Addall. You can search for a specific title, a specific author, or just by keyword. Since Google Books is always my first stop I usually know exactly what book I'm after. The research book I'm reading now, The End of An Era: New Orleans, 1850-1860, is $25 new. My research budget isn't even big enough to be called a shoestring, so that was too much. I hopped over to Addall and found a gently used copy for $5.
One caveat. I recommend you make sure the box for Alibris is NOT checked. Alibris is notorious for over-pricing. Serious book collectors don't do regular business with Alibris sellers.
Next time you're pulling your hair out over your skyrocketing research budget and Google lets you down, Addall is your new best friend.