Choosing a book on the quality of it's typography, online,

When I buy an old book (usually from ebay or Amazon Marketplace) I'd like to be able select one based on the quality of the tyography, but of course this is impossible if you can see a page, as is often the case when buying online. There are often several editions from various publishers, and I know nothing about publishing.

For example I'm looking for a copy of 'A Shepherd's Life' by W H Hudson. There are several editions on eBay but I can only see the cover, so how to choose one - the price is the only variable and no indicator of quality or even condition.

On Amazon I'd like to see a good scan of a page. The 'Look Inside' feature is useless becaus it often isn't scans of the edition you've selected, and they are so small anyway. Of course scanning takes time and when books are so cheap I guess going to this effort for a small number of people who care about this kind of thing just isn't worth it.

On eBay sellers usually just upload a useless photo of the book cover missing the dust cover. A photo of a page would be far more useful.

So how can we find a nice edition of the book we want?


  • Nick Shinn
    Nick Shinn Posts: 2,159
    Try abebooks, and look through the options, you can often figure out from the prices and descriptions which is best, and even contact the book dealers directly to quiz them, on the principle that they may be better informed than random eBay sellers.
  • Miles Newlyn
    Miles Newlyn Posts: 239
    At least Abebooks list 'stock image' if the that's what the pic is. Easier then to contact sellers who go to the effort of taking their own pictures.
  • James Puckett
    James Puckett Posts: 1,979
    Hopefully the Google Books legal victory will mean that we can eventually look up any edition online before we buy.