More advanced search features

April 13, 2007

The advanced search feature on BookMooch received a few more options today. I’m still working on it, and several more things are due soon, but here is where it stands now:


The “not in these words” feature lets you specify words that must not appear in the hits. For example, if you search for “card” you will get lots of books by Orson Scott Card. Enter “orson” in the “not in these words” field and books by Orson Scott Card will be removed from the search results.

The “words appear in” listbox has these choices:

which are hopefully self-evident.

The “From country” choice only appears in the advanced search for in the member section, because it needs to know your user id to determine what country to limit search results to. The two options are:

This is quite handy for non-American members of BookMooch, who want to see if a book they’re interested in exists in their country. What this feature does is look at the country setting of every person who is offering to give away this book, and only shows the book if someone in your country has the book.

You can specify the language you want the book to be in.

The most common BookMooch user’s languages are listed as the top 20 or so choices, followed by all the languages in the world.

This feature doesn’t work perfectly, because it uses the ISBN code to determine what language the book is in, and sometimes this can be wrong, for example if a German publisher prints a book in English, it will probably mis-identify the book as German. But, it’s right a great deal of the time. I may change this feature to use LibraryThing’s “ThingLang” lookup in the future, but I’ll probably always need to lean on the ISBN to some degree, when I can’t get better information about a book elsewhere.

The “in topics” box lets you type a topic that you want to search in. For example, enter in “Humor” and your search will only find books that have the topic “Humor” attached to them. You can put multiple topics in this option, separated by a carriage return, and books that match any of the listed topics will be shown.

This “in topics” feature has enabled me to offer a “search in topic” field in the “Browse topics” pages. It looks like this:


I’m still adding features to advanced search, which will be released shortly. On my todo list are:
1) search in wishlists
2) don’t include your own books in the search results
3) only books added recently (you determine how recent)
4) search in a single member’s inventory (including your own)
5) date published

10 Responses to “More advanced search features”

  1. Absolutely Fabulous! Thank you for BookMooch and consistently working to make it better! I cannot tell you how blessed we’ve been by the books we’ve been able to get through BookMooch.

    Thank you John and Co.!

  2. Chad Miller said

    I’m not sure “In my country” is very useful, but I know it would be better if results naturally filtered out anyone who is not in my country and refuses to send outside her country.

    SELECT … WHERE or owner.will_send_to != ‘only in my country’;

  3. Bethany said

    I love bookmooch and it has been wonderful to see it develop over the months. Thank you for all the hard work put into it. I like having point available in my account for those times that something on my wishlist actually shows up. I have often thought it would be nice if there was a way to find out “most requested books” or something like that so that if I have it in my library, but hadn’t thought of giving it away, I could choose to. Or I could keep my eyes open when I am scouring the books at our local Friends of the Library resale shop. Anyway, maybe it is a feature here somewhere and I haven’t spotted it yet. I will have a look around. And I will have to give the advanced search a spin… thanks!

  4. Elizabeth D said

    Thanks for adding search features!! It would be really helpful to be able to do “wildcard” searches with an asterisk, for instance horse* would would produce hits for horse, horses, horsemanship, etc. Another helpful thing would be if it were possible to sort search results with the newest first, but being able to limit a search to recently added books would be almost the same thing.

  5. Drew said

    Who says Friday the 13th is a bad day? Not on BookMooch! Keep up the great work… Your service is invaluable!

  6. Jay said


    I like the new advanced search features, but I have an additional suggestion to make. There ought to be way to look at a “detailed BookMooch page” for an unoffered book without wishlisting it or adding it to your inventory. For instance, if I wanted to see the detailed page for The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara (, I’d have to go out of my way to wishlist it in order to see this information. If I click on the title on the search page, it searches for other books with the same title instead of bringing me to the detail page. Could you perhaps think about adding another green tab on the right side of the search that would allow us users to quickly get to the detailed pages for books without having to go about it in an indrect way?

  7. Sharon said

    Is it possible to add a function to manually add books to the wishlist and save for later lists, as it is possible for the inventory?

  8. Giacomo said

    Little bug report: if you use more than one word in the “not” field, it basically does a “not (w1 and w2)” when the most logical operation (IMHO) would be “not (w1 or w2)”

  9. Dara said

    I love all of the changes, but I really miss the “also show unavailable books” option at the bottom of the search page. Now the advanced search has to be utilized every time in order to tick off that option.


  10. Al Reneski said

    STILL CANNOT LOCATE OR IDENTIFY AUDIO BOOKS. Under “audio book” and “books on cassette” lists thousands of books, but not audios.

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