Questia: A Review of a New Resource for Readers (and Writers)

Do you use research for your writing? If you do you may want to look into a wonderful online resource that I’ve been asked to review.


Questia is an online academic library with access to just about everything that you might need – Questia offers thousands of digital books (70,000) and over a million articles. Now you can complete your research without ever leaving home! (This could be really handy if you are in the habit of working late at night.)

The great thing about Questia is that you can search for words or phrases within the books and articles, or you can search for a specific title, author, or subject. Questia even offers special tools that allow you to “take your own notes” and “highlight” in the books.

You can also save the titles you find in a separate folder for each project that your work on or on your own “bookshelf” so that you can always pick up your research where you left off.

Questia also offers Over 5,000 FREE Books online that are in the public domain. This is a great place to go to reread your favorite classic book. I found several lesser works of Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and William Shakespeare in the free library. There are also articles and scholarly works.

The thrust of Questia is definitely scholarly works and not leisure reading. For example, when I searched on “Harry Potter,” the search returned a sampling of articles and literary discussions about Harry Potter, but not an actual Harry Potter novel for me to read. I found the same thing when I searched for many other recent best sellers.

All in all, this is a good tool for research. If you conduct research for your writing, this may be for you. I can definitely see writers, students, and academic professionals using this tool to save time and work more efficiently.

To access the full power of Questia’s library, you will need a subscription. However, Questia is currently offering a free subscription to a trial set of books in one of the following areas: Psychology, Ethics, Leadership, or Early American History. There’s also an offer of a free trial subscription to the entire library for interested bloggers – for more information about the trial offer contact ahanin (at) questia (dot) com.

If you do try Questia, leave me a comment and let me know how you like it. I know that I was very impressed with what I saw.


  1. says

    Probably because the actual Harry Potter still makes good money. :) Jane Austen doesn’t sell as crazy as HP. So… no wonder that her books are free, public domain. Sad, but true.
    Google has a similar search that returns much better results then Questia. I suppose Google is competing against anything that moves.

  2. Laura says

    Hi Mig!

    I wasn’t aware of the Google program, but I was impressed by the Questia library which seems to have lots of extras (like note-taking, highlighting in the text, etc.)

    I’m sure that copyright issues on newer books like HP play into whether or not they would show up on a service like this. Also, it seems to have more of an academic/research thrust than a leisure reading thrust.

    (I still like Jane Austen.)

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