Home Library, Online shopping

Where to Buy Chinese Books in the US (2020 update)

People often ask about this so I’m going to consolidate it in one blog post. The Chinese book market has changed SO MUCH in the three years since I started this blog.

First, a little bit about my book buying style:

  1. My book budget is about $100-200 a month. (This is either outrageously high or low depending on who you talk to 😄).
  2. I don’t usually buy big box sets. I prefer to get just a few of each series to test the waters. This means I usually miss out on “bulk discounts” but that’s okay. No point buying Costco-sized tuna if you don’t even like tuna.
  3. We are fine with both Simplified and Traditional so I buy whichever appeals to me in content, aesthetics or price.
  4. If you are new to the Chinese book market, my advice is BUY HIGHLY POPULAR BOOKS. Firstly you are assured of quality (there is a reason they are so popular). Second, they sell like hot cakes when you’re ready to let go of them. If you don’t know which books are “hot cakes” then follow the Used Chinese Books (linked at the end of this post) and keep your eyes open.
  5. These days Little Man reads almost entirely ebooks for English and it’s saved us a ton of money. I’m hoping to move towards ebooks for Chinese as well in a year or so.

***Note*** For those that are not able to read Chinese, Taobao and JD may be difficult to navigate. The other websites listed below can be navigated in English by using Google Chrome to translate.

Simplified Chinese Books

Taobao 淘宝网 (China)

I used to buy entirely from Taobao BUT NOT ANYMORE. This has been the biggest change. Some readers who read my infamous post (lol) How to buy Chinese Books from Taobao may think I still get my books from there. Nope. Mostly I shop on…

JD 京东 (China)

JD ships directly to the US! And fast! I can usually get my books within a week, sometimes 5 days (pre-COVID). I use the JD app and it’s so easy I can even order stuff half asleep in the middle of the night. Also the shipping cost is paid up front so no hidden costs or missing/damaged items like Taobao.

The most challenging part about JD is setting up an account. I recommend using a computer for this, not smartphone.

Their shipping rate is variable and they have huge shipping discounts sometimes, 90% off or even free shipping! If you see a good deal on shipping then check out IMMEDIATELY as it may change the next hour. Most of the time though, their shipping is 70% off.

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The prices on JD are similar to Taobao and much smoother process. This is why most of us have kissed Taobao goodbye!

Traditional Chinese Books

Books.com.tw 博客來 (Taiwan)

This is where I buy 80% of my Traditional Chinese books because of the huge selection (it’s like the Amazon of Taiwan), fast shipping (2-4 days from Taipei to Midwest!) and decent price on singleton books. They have seasonal sales throughout the year and always a sale on the 7th of each month where you get an additional 7-10% off.

You pay by credit card and the process is smooth and easy.

Shipping from Taiwan to US is EXPENSIVE and hence it does not make sense to buy big box sets from 博客來. If you are looking to buy, say, the entire set of Zorori or Magic Tree House you would get much better deals with the two sellers below.

Gloria’s Bookstore (based in US)

Gloria’s Bookstore is the probably the best place to buy big box sets, such as set of 36 Little Little Newton magazines, set of 60 Little Earth People, set of 20 hardcover Ghibli books, set of 60 Ferris Wheel and so on. These sets are soooooo heavy and hence freaking expensive to buy from 博客來 due to exorbitant shipping.

Gloria has very reasonable prices and she is really nice and responsive to questions. However, downside is you may have to wait 1-2 months for books on “pre-order”. Books that are “in stock” will ship out fairly quickly.

Pay by credit card or Apple Pay, PayPal etc.

Yo Baby Shop (based in US)

Yo Baby sometimes has excellent deals on big box sets as well. I’ve bought some books, board games, backpack etc. occasionally. Customer service is good and shipping is fast.

Pay by credit card or Apple Pay, PayPal etc.

Other

You can also buy gently used books from the Used Chinese Books by Motherly Notes Facebook group. You might score some really good deals if you have lightning fast fingers. 😉 Quite honestly I have never bought on here but this is where I SELL all my books.

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