Law books in the United States
Law books or law book is a general term for any book or set of books in which legal opinions (case law) or government statutes and regulations are published, for example, a court reporter.
A law book is not the same as a casebook. The later is a a book containing records or descriptions of actual cases that have occurred in a professional discipline (law, medicine, psychology, counseling, etc.), selected to illustrate important principles and concepts, for the use of students as a textbook and practitioners for reference.
Books Legal Materials
You can look up information — such as the exact title, author, publisher, date of publication, etc. — using the U.S. Copyright Office’s Copyright Office Catalog. Another good source of information is Books in Print (see also the “Books in Print” entry).
The NY Times best-seller list is published in the Book Review section of the paper every Sunday.
If you want to look up a book on a particular subject, you can search online library catalogs for major collections, such as Worldcat, the New York Public Library, theHarvard University libraries, the Library of Congress or the British Library. Or search the catalog of a library that has a special collection in that subject area, such as theNational Library of Medicine. You could also try Google Books, Hathitrust or general search engines. For reviews, see “Book Reviews.”
For information on book sales and book publishing, check out Publisher’s Weekly. For questions you can’t answer from the print publication or web site, you can call the company at 646-746-6758. Subscribers can get U.S. and international book sales information from Nielsen Entertainment.
Law Books: See the separate entry for “Legal Treatises.”
E-Books: E-books are books in electronic format that are either read either on a screen or printed out on an as-needed basis. Sites posting full-text e-books on the Web include Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks, the and other sites collected by the Internet Public Archives. Amazon sells e-books for their Kindle reader, and Barnes & Noblesells e-books for their Nook reader. The Google eBookstore sells books under copyright and gives away books in the public domain in a format readable on most leading devices. To find a specific e-book for free, try Alex and/or a good search engine.
ISBN Numbers: Published books are generally assigned a unique “International Standard Book Number” (ISBN). The ISBN system is managed by the International ISBN Agency, which operates through national agencies, including the U.S. ISBN Agency.
ISBNs switched from 10 to 13 digits on January 1, 2007. The 10-digit numbers were expanded by adding the prefix “978.” The next series will begin with the prefix “979.”
For more information about ISBNs, visit the relevant agency Web sites.
Same-Day Service: The traditional way to find used books was to call or visit a local used book store, and this is still your best hope for buying a book if you need it the same day. You can find used book stores in your local Yellow Pages or in the online versions (see “Telephone Numbers”). Large used book stores in New York include The Strand (212-473-1452) and the Argosy Bookstore (212-753-4455). Both sites let you search the available stock.
Legal Materials: Used and out-of-print law books, journals and other publications are bought and sold by Law Book Exchange, Ltd. (800-422-6686), LawBooksForLess.comand, to a lesser extent, W.S. Hein & Co. (800-828-7571). Lawswap.com lets lets law students sell their casebooks, study guides and bar review materials. Meyer Boswell Books specializes in antiquarian law books (i.e., “rare and scholarly books on the law”).
Searching for Out-of-Print Books: You can look up out-of-print books in Books Out-Of-Print. There is also a Books In Print CD-ROM, which includes ten years of Books Out-of-Print, plus book reviews.
Local book stores are listed in your local yellow pages, and more distant book stores will be listed in online Yellow pages (see “Telephone Numbers”).
Alternatively, there are many online book stores. Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble both have huge catalogs of print and e-books for their proprietary devices (the Kindle and Nook, respectively). Google Play sells e-books readable on most leading devices.AddALL searches many online stores at once so you can compare prices.
Legal: All law schools have bookstores, and many Barnes and Noble branches stock legal books (including Nutshells). For online buying, there’s Barrister Books, the Law Book Network, the Law Book Exchange, plus the general Internet book stores.
Books in Print
Books In Print, published by R.R. Bowker, is the primary tool for looking up books in print. You can look up books by title, author or subject, and each record also tells you the publisher, price and ISBN number. The print version of BIP is generally available in libraries and books stores. If you are lucky, you can search the current edition for free through the Web site of a public library or other organization that has an arrangement with R.R. Bowker. There is also a Books in Print CD-ROM and a subscription-based online edition (www.booksinprint.com). I believe the electronic versions all include of Books-Out-Of-Print back to 1979 and one year of advance publication titles. The CD-ROM includes book reviews.
Alternatively, you can use Google Books or search the catalog of an online book store for information or to buy the book (See “Book stores”). If that doesn’t work, you can search OCLC’s WorldCat and/or the Library of Congress’ Online Catalog to find books and bibliographic information – then call the publisher to see if it’s for sale and for how much.
Legal Materials: As you might expect, there is a legal version of Books in Print calledLaw Books & Serials in Print, which is also published by R.R. Bowker. In addition, InfoSources Publishing produces Legal Looseleafs in Print, as well as Legal Newsletters in Print and the Directory of Law-Related CD-ROMs. These books are available in hard copy, or you can search them on InfoSources’ LawTRIO database. See also “Legal Treatises.”