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Search Tips

Internet World called our Search feature "the best in the book business." Take just a moment or two to acquaint yourself with its options, and we think you'll agree. Enter an author, a title, or both. Search only within one section or search our entire inventory. View as many as 250 titles on one page, or as few as 10. The Powell's Search feature allows you to tailor your query to find exactly the books you want. Here's how:

You must provide an entry in at least one Input Field. The more fields you fill, the more focused your results will be. By cross-referencing multiple fields, you can make your search results as specific as you like. (Please note, however: though your search results may include several unwanted listings, using only one Input field maximizes your chances of locating the desired title.)

Keywords Title
Author ISBN
Publisher Section
Match first part of words

Keywords. Keywords can be a subject (chess), a country (France), a movement (feminism) - whatever word or words will help our Search Engine best identify the books you're looking for. The Keyword search sorts through the bibliographic data of more than a million books to match your interests to our inventory. Enter an author's name here and find not only the books that author wrote (as you would by entering the same name in the Author field), but also all the titles about him or her.

Author. If our search engine doesn't find an exact match for your entry, it will look for words that sound like the ones you entered (in case spelling is inconsistent or inaccurate). A query for "Ann Rand," for example, failing to locate exact matches, would show all titles by the author "Ayn Rand."

Publisher. Only interested in the products of a single publisher? Enter that publisher's name here.

Title. Looking for just one? Here's where it goes. Our Title search matches your entry to the start of a book's title. For instance, entering "Sonny Liston Was" will retrieve our listings for Thom Jones's collection of stories, "Sonny Liston Was A Friend of Mine."

ISBN. The ten-digit number assigned to each new book in print. Locate a specific edition immediately by searching according to its ISBN, but beware: unlike a Title search, here you risk missing other editions of the same book - the paperback version, for instance, or an early, rare copy.

Section. Refine your search further by looking within only one of approximately 200 major sections or one of nearly 2000 subsections. This feature allows you to browse our sections, eliminating the titles outside your realm of interest by tailoring your search with other fields or criteria. For example: search only in our Mathematics section for used books published by Springer-Verlag. However, you don't need to know our specific section names to make use of this field - you can consider it another type of keyword field, specific to the section listings.

Match first part of words. Enter the first letters of a word and let the search engine add extensions. For instance, type "buddhis" and the Detailed Search will translate your request into "Buddhism," "Buddhist," and "Buddhists." Check this box with "children" in the section field, and you'll find every title related to "Buddhism," "Buddhist," and "Buddhists" in all of our Children's sections. (Keep in mind, however, the less letters you enter, the broader your results will be. Searching for "Bud," for example, would yield almost 4000 titles, most of which have nothing to do with Buddhism.)

Your Detailed Search will work just fine if you leave these settings at their defaults. But maybe you'd like to define your search more specifically? For example: Look for only used hardcovers at our Burnside store. Or sort new paperbacks according to price, then location. Adjust as many Criteria settings as you like - or leave them just as they are.


Book Class
Binding Type
Sort By
Then Sort By
Titles to display
per page
Show newly arrived used books only


Book Class. Only interested in new copies? Or maybe you're looking for bargains - then you'll want to choose "Used and Sale" here. "All," of course, will show you every edition available.

Binding Type. Hardcover, paperback, or "All." Search for audio, video or electronic versions here, too.

Sort By & Then Sort By. How would you like your results to appear? According to price (always lowest to highest)? Maybe first by title, then by price? You decide.

Location. People in the Portland area often browse our inventory online before visiting our stores. Here, by making a selection, you can narrow your search results to include only those at your chosen location.

Titles to display per page. High quantities may take a bit longer to load initially, but with 25, 100, 250, or 500 titles per screen, you'll save the time of clicking through multiple pages of results. Your preferred setting will depend on the speed of your Internet connection and how you like to browse.

Show newly arrived used books only. Search only among the books we've acquired in the past two weeks. Catch great deals on your favorite titles as soon as they land on our shelves! Note, however, that checking this box while selecting "New" in the Book Class drop-down menu or "Video" or "Audio" as Binding will yield no results.

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Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.