"I specialise in finding books you cannot find with a simple Google search — it doesn't turn up but you know it exists, somewhere."

Tasmanian 'book detective' reunites customers with long-lost books and beloved childhood titles

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2022-07-01 19:00:13

"I specialise in finding books you cannot find with a simple Google search — it doesn't turn up but you know it exists, somewhere." 

Some who visit Mr Wools-Cobb in a colonial-era building near Launceston's Brisbane Street Mall are searching for long-lost children's books casually discarded at a garage sale. 

Others seek provocative works that have been scrubbed from history, or who have vivid memories of books but not their titles. 

Mr Wools-Cobb uses the investigative skills from his career as a librarian and the archaeological expertise from his studies in Egyptology to find copies of books from his shop, Quixotic Books. 

Special algorithms help him scan the millions of titles listed in publisher databases, but he also must understand the "life cycle of books to figure out where they may have ended up". 

Mr Wools-Cobb said a single book had several editions that entered the world in multiple ways, from online marketplaces and big book retailers to specialty stores and promotional events. 

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