This article is from the Technical Books FAQ, by Sethu R Rathinam firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The United States's most complete bookstore is the combination of BOOKS IN
PRINT and the U. S. Post Office. BIP will tell you the price and the
publisher's address. Send them a check for the price and they will be happy
to send you the book. We do it all the time. Some publishers grudgingly
send a note with the book saying "Next time please include N% for postage
and handling," but that is unusual. Nobody has ever refused to send the
book and at least once they sent a check with the book because if ordered
direct, they gave a discount. We rarely order through a bookstore because
it is so much easier to order the book and have it sent to us directly.
(This is probably not true for mass-market paperbacks where the handling
charges would be more than the book!)
What is BOOKS IN PRINT?
Just about every public library and every bookstore in the country has, for
public use, a multi-volume reference work called "Books in Print." It is
just about what the title claims it is. It is a listing by title, by
author, and by subject of every book currently listed by publishers as being
currently in print in the United States. (There may be editions for other
countries as well.) It tells you the list price and the publisher. It also
has a volume of out-of-print books and a separate volume that lists the
mailing addresses of the publishers. The local B. Dalton keeps it at the
information desk. Almost any bookstore or public library will have a set that
they would be happy to have you look at.
There is a similar reference set called "Paperback Books in Print." I am
not sure what it would list that would not be listed in its bigger cousin,
but that reference might also be of interest. In Britain, there is "British
Books in Print."
Credits: Mark Leeper