Googling myself I found a match for a surprising book, the Danish 'Konkurrencestaten', but no quotation is given for the search string. I find it only with Danish as the language setting. With English I do not see 'Konkurrencestaten' in the search results. For English I do see a number of other books that I believe I am NOT mentioned in.

Is Google Books returning items where a search string does not appear?

Some of the results seem to be a retrieval from a semantic search-like system based on text on the Internet. Is that correct? Are there any means to switch it off or see where or why Google Books matches a search string?


Example link: https://www.google.dk/search?tbm=bks&q=%22Finn+%C3%85rup+Nielsen%22 (it presently returns "Ledelse og troværdighed").

  • Perhaps you could also provide the search you mention as an example. I found the book you mention, but not when searching for "Finn Arup Nielsen" or Finn Arup Nielsen.
    – Martin
    Nov 28, 2016 at 9:48
  • I can search on Finn Aarup Nielsen. I no longer see "Konkurrencestaten" but now I see "Selvmål: det evaluerede liv". I do not think I am mentioned in that book. "Ledelse og troværdighed" is another book returning but where I am probably not mentioned. Searching on "Finn" within the books I see no result. Nov 28, 2016 at 12:35
  • The link in your previous comment seems to be kind of broken. (And if your are able to make it work, perhaps it would be better to link to an example directly in the question rather than only in comments.) Are you searching for "Finn Årup Nielsen"? Or for Finn Årup Nielsen (without quotation marks)? Is this the book you get from your search: Ledelse og troværdighed?
    – Martin
    Nov 28, 2016 at 12:41
  • BTW does any of the suggestion given in this question change whether you find the particular book: How to get unpersonalized results in Google? (The simples advice there is probably to try incognito mode.)
    – Martin
    Nov 28, 2016 at 12:50
  • 1
    I have updated the question with an example link that has quotation marks. Currently, "Ledelse og troværdighed" is returned. I doubt I am mentioned in that book. Dec 15, 2016 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


Is Google Books returning items where a search string does not appear?

Yes. I noticed that sometimes books are returned that are related (or not?) to the query that you searched for, but don't actually contain it. If you don't see your search terms in the title, author, or "found inside" text, there's a good chance that it's not actually in the book. Invariably, these appear at the end of the results, after all results with actual matches have been shown. Some searches bring up a lot of them. Some examples from your search:

Python Cookbook & Design Professional's Guide to Zero Net Energy Buildings

One of the most recent times I encountered this was while researching my answer for Did Napoléon Bonaparte ask his wife Josephine not to bathe for several days in a letter before his arrival?. In trying to recreate that, I searched for "ne te lave pas", which brought up A History of Eighteenth Century Literature, 1660-1780. The full text is available, but searching it reveals nothing matching (even if you search word by word, individually).

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