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.


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.


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.

Follow me on Facebook: Hands On Chinese Fun

Online shopping

Simplified Book Shopping for those Fluent / Non-Fluent in Chinese

Lately there has been a lot of interest in buying books from Taobao so this post is sort of a catch-all. This post refers to US residents, because the information/costs vary widely for different countries. For example if you live in Singapore I would suggest using an agent because they are cheap and great. Not so for US.

Firstly, many people ask about buying Traditional books on TB. TB is not the place to buy Traditional books because it is based in China which uses Simplified. While there are some Traditional materials on TB, I would suggest you buy most of your Traditional materials from books.com.tw (Taiwan-based online store that ships internationally) or Gloria’s Bookstore (US-based online store). If you don’t know how to buy from books.com.tw, please refer to this blog post.

If you want to buy Simplified books however, TB is a really good place to get them because they are soooooooo much cheaper on there.

As an example, this set of five Little Bear books cost me around $10 to buy them directly from TB myself. If you use an agent (details below), it would cost you around $15. If you were to buy from a U.S. based online store, it would cost you a whopping $50!!!!

If you’re buying just ONE set of books, perhaps it’s no big deal to pay $5 extra. However, if you’re buying $1000 worth of books, this adds up to $500 that you’re paying an agent!

So, TB shopping essentially comes down to one factor:

Can you read Chinese? 

If you can read Chinese, then buy directly from TB yourself:

Let me assure all of you out there with “half bucket” 半桶水 Chinese like me that it is completely possible and manageable (and actually very easy after the first time) to shop on TB yourself.

If you have the ability to read to your child in Chinese, then you most definitely have the ability to TB!

If you can’t read Chinese, use an agent to buy from TB for you. When you use an agent you will be paying ~50% more, however this may still be completely worth it since your other options would be to 1) not have any Chinese books, or 2) pay US-based stores 100-500% more.

Please read this amazing cost analysis about the true cost of using an agent. Many agents advertise on the website that there are “no hidden fees” when in reality there are many hidden fees and questionable practices. Of course I’m not saying that ALL agents do this, I do think there are some good ones out there.

I hope this blog post clarifies things a bit. Or did it confuse you even more? 😛

Chinese Resources, Online shopping

How to Buy Books from Taobao When You Can’t Read Chinese

Honestly I don’t know if it’s advisable to purchase from Taobao if you don’t know Chinese. Several people asked about using Google Chrome Translate and I think it is possible but proceed at your own risk!

If this is your first time buying from Taobao, here’s some tips:

  1. Limit yourself to $20-30. That way even if you screw up, the worst that could happen is you’re out $30.
  2. Buy from just 1-2 sellers. One seller would be the best because then the chances of screwing up are less.
  3. The prices fluctuate. Taobao is like Amazon in that prices can fluctuate every day, sometimes by $10 USD! I usually add a bunch of stuff into my shopping cart and monitor prices over time. There is usually a sale once a month.
  4. Have a Chinese-speaking friend who can translate for you in the event that the seller texts you in Chinese and expects you to text them back in Chinese. This happens about 30% of the time, so pretty often.
  5. Expect to pay more for shipping than the items. You won’t know how much international shipping costs when you first purchase the items. Estimate international shipping to cost around 1.5-2x the price of the items, e.g. if your items cost $30, shipping might cost $45-60. Mentally prepare yourself for this so you don’t get sticker shock when it comes time to pay for shipping! Because the books themselves are SO cheap, it will still be completely worth it. (E.g. Little Bear books cost $5, say shipping costs $10, the total is still only $15 compared to the $50 you’ll pay if you buy them within the USA.)
  6. Getting book sets will save you the most. They are cheap and I get the whole series one fell swoop. Win. 🙂
  7. The first time is the hardest. Don’t worry it gets much easier after the first time. Taobao will become your best friend and you can join me in the #taobaoaddicts club.

Ok are you ready? I even set up a new TB and Alipay account so I can show you how it’s done.

What you need:

  1. Smartphone with Taobao app
  2. Computer with Google Chrome
  3. Visa credit card
  4. Patience 😉

You can do the first part of the process on the computer using Google Chrome but you will still need the app. For whatever reason sellers can only text you via the app. You will not get the messages if you log in on the computer. I don’t know why, I’ve tried. If you don’t respond to their text messages then your items may not get mailed out or will get returned or whatever. The app is of course only in Chinese, which is why I said hopefully you have access to a Chinese-speaking friend you can ask for help if you need it. 😛

Step 1. Open the Taobao website on Google Chrome

If you in the USA it will automatically take you to the World Taobao website and display prices in USD. On the top right corner of your browser you can click the little symbol (to the left of the star) to translate the whole website into English and it will look something like this:


Step 2. Register for an account

Click on “Register”, enter your phone number, and type in your verification code when you get it.


On the next screen, type in the following information:

  • Line 1: Country 美国 (USA)
  • Line 2: Full address
  • Line 3: Zip code
  • Line 4: Name
  • Line 5: Cell phone number
  • Line 6: Phone number

Click to checkmark the box to use this as your default address, then click the button “保存” to save.


Step 3. Add items into your shopping cart

This post assumes you already know what you want to buy. If you don’t know what to buy, please refer to my other posts about Buying Books from Taobao, Book Reviews, Chinese Resources, How to Choose Books, etc.

Like I said, if this is your first time, try to stick to buying from one TMall (天猫) bookstore. TMall (shown by the symbol of little red shopping bag and black cat) are bigger companies and less risky. In my example below I’m buying from three different TMall bookstores because I’m a Taobao pro. 😛

These are the TMall bookstores I’ve bought from with good selection of children’s books and high ratings:

It is pretty easy to get free domestic shipping. Most sellers offer “免邮” (free shipping) when you meet minimum purchase of 48 yen (around $7 USD).

Step 4. Select your international mail carrier

You have three choices for your international mail carrier: EMS (default), USPS or UPS. This is the company that will collate your items for you in their China warehouse and mail them to your US address.

I always choose USPS because they are the cheapest, fast, efficient and package the items pretty well. I’ve had bad experiences with EMS so I do not use them anymore and I’ve never tried UPS.

If you don’t change the international mail carrier, it will automatically use EMS. If you do want to change it, then click on “修改服务商” and select USPS. For USPS, the first 1kg is 72 yen and every next 0.5kg is 20 yen, meaning the more you buy, the more you save on shipping. For this reason, I usually wait until I have several things I want before making a purchase.

In this example I am purchasing 17 paperback picture books, 2 hardcover picture books and 2 paperback textbooks.


After changing your mail carrier, check that your items are correct, your address is correct, then click the red button “提交订单 (confirm order).


Step 5. Set up Alipay account

You will then be taken to the payment screen to set up Alipay, which is the China version of Paypal. Think of a 6-digit PIN number with no repeating numbers, then type it in twice in the blank spaces shown. Remember your PIN number. You will use it a lot.

Click to checkmark the box to agree to their terms and conditions, click the orange button to confirm.


Step 6. Enter your Visa card number

I did not have any difficulty with this step, although I was taken to a separate verification screen for my Wells Fargo card. If you are having trouble with this, either try a different card or call your bank. Sometimes credit cards get declined due to fraud prevention.


On this next screen, IMPORTANT!!!! NOTE!!!! Under “cardholder name”, enter your Last Name in the first space, First Name in the second space. 


Step 7. Success! 

Hopefully you will be taken to this screen. Do a little dance for finishing Part I. It’s not over yet though.


Step 8. Download the Taobao app and log in.

The second I logged into the app, I received a message from each of the three sellers asking me to confirm my order and address. Click on “确认” (confirm) for all of them.


Step 9. Wait for your items to arrive at USPS warehouse

OPTIONAL: Over the next couple of days, the sellers will mail out your items and you can check the status on your app. If you click on “我的淘宝” (the little person on the bottom right corner), your items will be shown under “待发货” (the briefcase looking thing) when they have not been mailed out. They will move to “待收货” (delivery van) when they have been mailed out and you can click on the delivery van to track your package.

You don’t have to obsessively check on the status unless you want to. The app will send you a message when the item has been signed for at the warehouse “订单已签收”, and send you a 2nd message when your item is safely deposited at the warehouse and you need to pay for international shipping “您的包裹已入库,点击支付海外段运费”.


Wait for all of your items to arrive at the warehouse before you pay for international shipping. Since I bought from three sellers I had to wait for three packages to arrive. They can combine up to twenty packages for you! Do this only when you’re a TB expert.

Step 10. Pay for international shipping

When your items have been accepted at the warehouse, the option “合并转运” will pop up:


In this screenshot below, you can see that two of my items have arrived but one (in the middle) has not.


A few days later, the third package arrived. Now I have the option to pay for international shipping for all of them. When I select all of them, it shows that the package weight is 3.62kg and shipping costs 192 yen ($30.47 USD).


Click on the orange button “运费结算” (calculate shipping) and you will be taken to the payment screen. Then click the orange button “确认订单” (confirm order) and pay via Alipay.


Step 11. You’re DONE!

Sit back, relax and wait for your package to arrive! In a few days, it should show on your Taobao app that USPS has sent your package on its way and its tracking number. There’s nothing else to do except wait for it to show up on your doorstep in about two weeks.



  • Total number of books: 19 paperbacks + 2 hardcover
  • Cost of books: $32.97
  • Cost of shipping: $31.36
  • Total cost: $64.33 ($3.06 per book)


  • Order placed on: Jan 29, 2018
  • All items arrived at USPS warehouse and I paid for shipping: Feb 1, 2018
  • Package dispatched from USPS warehouse: Feb 2, 2018
  • Package arrived at my home (USA): Feb 21, 2018

Wow that was a long post. Hope it helps!

You can contact me via FB Messenger on my page Hands-On Chinese Fun if you have any questions.


Home Library, Online shopping

CHL Part IV: How to buy Chinese books from Taobao

This blog post was published on November 2017. There have been some changes since that time,  please scroll to the bottom to see my latest updates: 

I thought I was done buying Chinese books for a while since I just bought 259 last month… but… could I resist the BIGGEST SALE EVENT on November 11??

Of course not. 😛

So I bought another 26 books as shown below.


The total cost of books + shipping to USA was $55.80, or $2.15 per book. Compare to USA e-bookstores selling books for $7-$20. Buying from TB means you can get 4x as many books for your money!

A quick comparison of TB vs. USA e-bookstores:


  • Significant savings of at least 50-70%
  • Huge selection of books
  • BOOK SETS. You will save the most by buying box sets of I Can Read, Reading 123, Roald Dahl, Mi Xiao Quan, etc.


  • 2-3 weeks shipping time
  • More time consuming process
  • Issues such as counterfeit/lost/damaged items! However, you can minimize these by following the tips below.

FYI: I’m sharing my experience shipping to the USA because that’s where I live, but TB also offers global shipping to other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Click to see shipping rates.

Before you start, please note:

  1. Taobao is a China website and every single word is in Chinese. While it is possible for non-speakers to navigate it, it will be very challenging.
  2. As with buying books in Singapore, you should always BUY IN BULK. It will not be worth your time or money to buy 1-2 books, as the minimum shipping fee is $13. The more you buy, the lower the shipping per item.
  3. You have to make two separate payments. The first payment is the cost of books (domestic shipping is usually free). When all your items have arrived at the warehouse, you pay for international shipping to your address. Cost of international shipping is based on weight. I buy mostly paperbacks (平装) and a few hardcovers (精装) to save on shipping.

Are you ready?? Buying from TB is not easy, but will save you hundreds (or thousands) in the long run.

Step 1. Register for a Taobao account. 

Use a computer to register for an account on World Taobao. If you experience problems with setting up your account, please refer to this article.

Step 2. Download the Taobao app. 

I prefer the app as it’s easy to browse, check delivery status, and get notifications.


Step 3. Change your location to USA.

When you do this, it will automatically convert and display prices in USD. Much easier than trying to convert RMB in your head.


Step 4. Browse and add items into your cart.

There are two ways to do this:

1) Browse by bookstore

I’ll recommend these bookstores because I’ve had good experiences, they have high ratings of 4.8/5, and large inventories of books. You can browse by category, age, sale items, or search the storefront.

当当网官方旗舰店 – Dangdang has a huge selection of books but they are not as responsive to messages like the smaller sellers




2) Search for item in the search bar

There are usually a lot of sellers selling the same item. I filter by 天猫 (TMall) and 销量 (sales volume). I always choose TMall when if available because they are bigger businesses and accept Visa. The prices may be slightly higher than regular TB, but it’s completely worth it for peace of mind knowing that you’re buying from a real business and not some guy peddling fake goods.


Of course, you should always read the reviews about the item and seller. I suggest you buy from as few sellers as possible. Less trouble that way, and you get free domestic shipping too.

Step 5. Confirm the items in your shopping cart and check out.

Make sure you have the correct address and mail carrier before you click “提交订单”. You cannot change it after you click this button! You’ll have to cancel and do everything all over.

Domestic shipping is usually free if you meet a minimum purchase and it will show “免邮” at checkout. You have three choices for your international mail carrier and the default is EMS. I choose USPS because I had a bad experience with EMS in the past.


Step 6. Payment by Alipay.

After you place your order, it will show up in the tab 待付款 (awaiting payment). You have to pay by Alipay, which is the Chinese version of Paypal. Set up an Alipay account and enter your credit card information. Don’t worry, this is just a one-time annoyance because you won’t have to enter credit card information again in the future, just your Alipay pin. Obviously, don’t forget your pin number!


Step 7. Wait for items to arrive at warehouse.

I’m pretty impressed with the speed of Chinese sellers and couriers. Items are dispatched within hours and arrive at the warehouse in 2-3 days. If there are any issues or questions, the seller will message you via the app. They often send a message to you to confirm your order before they mail it.

It takes a couple more days for items to “入库” (be entered into the warehouse system). Extremely detailed tracking information can be found by clicking on the 待收货 delivery van.


Once all your items have been entered into the system “正常入库”, you will have the option to consolidate and pay for international shipping.

If you have any prohibited items (e.g. electronics, magnets, liquids), they will be rejected by the warehouse. They will text you (in Chinese of course) and ask you how to proceed. You can tell them to mail it back to seller to return it 退货.


Step 8. Pay for international shipping.

International shipping is based on weight of the package. To give you an idea, my package of 26 paperback picture books cost $29.57 USD in shipping. I got a discount of 36 RMB this time and I don’t even know why. 11-11 promotion maybe?

After you click “确认订单”, your order will show up on the awaiting payment tab. Pay by Alipay again, same as Step 6.


Step 9. And you’re done!

Check your app over the next few days to make sure your package is on merry way to the USA. Expect it be stuck at the port of entry for days and days for inspection. After inspection is cleared, it will finally make its way to where you live, YAY!

Step 10. Wait for it to arrive

It usually takes about 2-3 weeks total from when I first order the books to get them in my hands.

That’s it!

Congratulations, you successfully navigated a Chinese website AND saved yourself lots of $$! Seriously, one of the many benefits of being bilingual is being able to shop on TB. 😆

Total books: 26

Cost of books: $24.57

Cost of shipping: $31.23

Total cost: $55.80 ($2.15 per book)

11/29/17 Update:
Delivery arrived yesterday!!

I wasn’t able to get much tracking info from TB app, it didn’t update the tracking once it arrived in the USA. However I was able to track the package on the 佳成USPS website and it showed the transit path through different US cities before finally arriving at my house.

I’ve used USPS several more times since and have had satisfactory experiences. I will continue to use them.

April 2018 Update:

Some readers had some questions so I thought I would post a FAQ here.

FAQ: How much does shipping cost?

Obviously I have no way of knowing exactly how much your shipping will cost, but as an estimate, expect to pay around the cost price of the books. E.g. If you paid $50 for books, you will pay about $50 for shipping to USA. The more books you buy, the cheaper your shipping per item will be. Do not buy just 1 or 2 books because you will pay a minimum of $13 shipping per package, completely not worth it for a couple books.

Here’s a recent order I placed:

Total books: 45 (14 hardcover, 31 paperback)

Cost of books: $74.96

Cost of shipping: $78.16

Total cost: $153.12 ($3.40 per book)

FAQ: Shopping on Taobao is soooooo intimidating!!! AHHHH!!!!! 

It really is not that bad. It’s only hard the first time. Every time after that it’s super easy and you can even place orders on your phone in the middle of the night half asleep. I do this all the time. 😛 If you can read basic Chinese, you can do it! Just try it with a small order of around $20-$30 to test the waters.

FAQ: What items can I buy on Taobao?

There is a long list of prohibited items that you cannot ship internationally. For example, USPS would not ship a Bunny Story Machine 火火兔 because it contains a battery, and I had to pay 12 RMB (about $2) to have them mail it back to return it. In general I just stick to buying books and occasionally games/toys.

If you would like to purchase the Bunny Story Machine or other electronics or sensitive items, you have to use an agent such as Viatang, Bhiner, etc. Of course you have to pay them an agent fee plus miscellaneous fees.

FAQ: Does USPS repackage for you?

NO NO and NO. They do not check that your order is accurate or undamaged or anything at all. Don’t even ask me why USPS in China apparently cannot afford a box because they literally wrap everything up in plastic and duct tape and mail it to you:

For this reason, I strongly caution you against ordering anything that might be fragile. If you are ordering something with a cardboard box, do not expect the box to arrive in good condition. Mentally prepare yourself that whatever you order may be destroyed during shipping.

FAQ: Are the books from TB of poor quality?

It really depends! Some of them are EXCELLENT quality, even better than English books. Others are soooo awful, like they were printed by a color printer running out of ink. If you follow me on Facebook, I’ll try to keep it updated on the books I have. I suggest you read the reviews all look at the real photos from buyers instead of the stock photos which may be completely fake.

FAQ: When are TB sales?

Their biggest sales of the year occur on 11/11 and 12/12, but there is generally a sale once a month on various dates. What I do is add everything into my cart and wait for the next sale to check out. The savings can be quite significant! For example, the 3D 西游记 book goes on sale all the time, from 250 CNY to 150 CNY ($35 USD to $25 USD).

If you check your cart every so often, they will let you know of upcoming sales. E.g. right now it shows that on 4/18 those items in blue will go on sale. In addition to that, be sure to click on the “领卷” (coupon) button in the corner and it will show you store coupons, e.g. 5 CNY off a 68 CNY purchase, 10 CNY off a 99 CNY purchase, 20 CNY off 199 CNY purchase.

FAQ: Can I pay by credit card?

Yes, the first time you pay, you enter your Visa credit card information to Alipay (Chinese version of PayPal). Every time after that you don’t have to enter your credit card anymore, just your Alipay PIN number. Some readers told me their credit cards were declined, which could be due to fraud prevention. Call your bank to ask them to approve it or try a different card.

November 2018 update:

One of my blogger friends over at Motherly Notes just had a VERY SUCCESSFUL experience using EMS 中山 as her forwarder. Everything arrived in good shape in less than one week to East Coast USA! So I think they have improved massively since I wrote this blog post, so I’m going to give them a shot for my next order instead of my usual USPS.

See her unboxing video below:

Questions? Contact me via my Facebook page.

Home Library, Online shopping, Preschool Reads

Chinese Home Library Part III: Using an Agent to Buy Books (Singapore)

As the title states, this blog post is about sourcing Chinese books at the lowest cost possible. While I do love bookstores, buying 250 books off the shelf would cost at least $1500 USD. Not to mention they likely wouldn’t have all the books I want, which means a heck lot of time and inconvenience running to multiple stores. Not feasible.

Instead I chose to order online from China, which is both convenient (done long distance from the USA) and affordable ($340 USD for 259 books). However, it is not that easy and took me forever to figure out how to do it. A big thank you to my friend LY 😘 for helping me navigate the complicated world of Chinese e-commerce.

(By the way, this entire post is only applicable for buying books in Singapore 🇸🇬 or Malaysia 🇲🇾. If you don’t live in or plan to visit these countries, then this post will not help you. I have ordered books from China shipped to the USA, but that’s a whole different story.)

What you need to know about buying books from China, summarized in 6 words:



#1: Bulk Buying

The thing about EZBuy Prime (details below) is that shipping will cost $2.99+$8 per order, whether you buy 1 book or 100 books or 1000 books. Obviously then you should buy as many books as possible to get more bang for your buck.

Keep in mind that shipping charges apply per order. If you check out five times, you will pay the fees five times. Be smart and make one giant order.

#2: Plan in Advance

If you are like me, living overseas and wanting to pick up books during a trip back to Singapore, then plan to order two months in advance of your trip. This allows for sufficient shipping time (could take a month sea shipping), and so you can take advantage of promo codes (available once or twice a month) to save even more.

Before you start…

Make a list of all the books you want to buy. I had 20 sets of books I wanted to order, covering a good selection of picture books (for me to read to my son) and readers (for him to practice reading to himself). Refer to my post here if you’re not sure how to make a book list.

Once you are armed with your book list, continue below.

Step 1. Understand EZBuy

You are probably wondering what EZBuy is if you’ve never used it before. EZBuy is an agent that will help you buy from Taobao (e-commerce giant) in China, and it is in English which makes things that much easier. They will take care of handling issues, which are bound to happen (see Step 11 below). All prices shown on EZBuy are in Singapore dollars (SGD).

I used EZBuy once before and was very satisfied with their service. Their shipping cost is also reasonable and even cheaper than buying from TB directly. EZBuy was recommended to me by several friends and seriously, it’s awesome.

What is complicated about it is that there are two types of EZBuy service: Prime and Buy-For-Me, and chances are you will need both. Read on.

Step 2. Download both EZBuy and Taobao apps

I prefer to browse using my phone but you can also do it on your computer.
Step 3. Register for EZBuy and Taobao (optional) accounts

This step is easier to do on a computer rather than phone. You will need a Singapore phone number to register for EZBuy as they will send you verification codes and other stuff. (I registered using my brother’s Singapore phone number and had him text me the codes.)

Step 4. Search for your desired items on EZBuy and add it into the Prime cart if Prime is available

Prime is the cheapest way of shipping books from China and you should most definitely choose Prime if it is available. Click “add to cart” and toggle the button to Prime. Out of the 20 sets of books I wanted, 13 were available on Prime.

If everything you want is available on Prime, then lucky you, you can skip Step 5 and go directly to Step 6.


Step 5. Cut and copy links from Taobao to EZBuy

If you’re not too picky then you could just stick to Prime books and skip this part. But I had my heart set on a few series like 奇先生妙小姐 Mr. Men and Little Miss, 鼠小弟 Little Mouse, and 我爱阅读 readers and had to have them.

For items that are not available on Prime, you can have EZBuy buy them for you, hence the name “Buy-for-Me”. Open the TB app to search for the item you want. There will likely be many sellers selling the same product so read the reviews carefully to see which sellers are reliable and sell authentic 正版 books! (In case you didn’t know, there are TB sellers that sell “fake” books. Beware of prices that are too low compared to competitors. )

After you have located the item you want, copy and paste the link from TB to EZBuy.


After copying the link, hop back to the EZBuy app. A message will automatically appear asking if you want to buy the item. Click OK to add it to your shopping cart.


Step 6. Wait for a promotional period

Confirm that you have all the items you want in your Prime cart and Buy-for-Me Shopping Cart. Be ready for check out, but do not check out yet! This is because EZBuy has fairly frequent promotions. For example, they ran a Halloween special for free agent fee + 15% off shipping from October 29-31. By waiting to place my order during this period, I saved $36 SGD ($26 USD). 👍


Sign up for their mailing list or check their website frequently for the next promo.

Step 7. Sign up for EZBuy Prime membership

Once you hit the promo period, sign up for Prime membership by clicking “Join Prime”. Since I am making a one-time purchase, I got the trial membership which is $9.90 for 5 days. If you live in Singapore, the annual membership for $99 might be worth it for you.

Step 8. Checking out

It’s finally time to check out! Confirm that all the items in your cart are correct. Items may be sold out or the price may have increased drastically. This happened to me for 2 items. 😬 Don’t worry, just search for a replacement. There are hundreds of TB sellers all selling the same product.

You will have to do two separate check outs:


The total cost =Cost of books + $2.99 + $8 (Delivery fee to your address. Waived if you pick up the package yourself from a collection center) + 7% sales tax + 4% agent fee (Waived during promo) + 3% credit card fee (Waived if you do a Singapore bank transfer). 

Basically, expect to pay an extra 15% in miscellaneous fees.

img_0456Buy-For-Me Shopping Cart:

The total cost =Cost of books + 4% agent fee (Waived during promo) + shipping cost based on weight of books (15% off during promo) + 3% credit card fee. Notice the shipping cost is zero at check out and not computed until later. img_0455

Step 9. Credit card payment

This step sounds so easy, right? Wrong. If you are a USA buyer like me, very likely your credit card transactions will NOT go through due to fraud prevention. I suppose I should be glad that U.S. banks are so vigilant but I actually got pretty annoyed when card after card got declined. Fret not. Call the phone number listed on the back of your credit card, verify that it’s you making the purchases and ask them to FFS please authorize it. Once Chase authorized EZBuy (listed as 65daigou), all transactions went through after that.

I also found that I was not able to pay via the app, but could do so via the EZBuy website. Do not ask me why.

Step 10. Pay for shipping for Buy-For-Me items

You do not pay for shipping for the books in the Buy-for-Me shopping cart at check out. It is calculated ~3-5 business days later when the items arrive at EZBuy’s warehouse in China and they weigh the package. Check your EZBuy app over the next few days and they will let you know when your items arrive. Once all the items have arrived, consolidate it into one package and pay for shipping.

FYI my shipping cost was $60 SGD (or $45 USD). This sounds like a lot, but it averages to only $0.25 per book since it was for 179 books. Which goes back to what I was saying about BUYING IN BULK.

Step 11: Problem solve 

Problems such as lost/damaged/wrong items are pretty common when buying from TB. Thankfully EZBuy will take care of them for you, which is why I ❤️ them. They will notify you via the app and you can easily text back in English.

This time, out of 20 items ordered, two of them had issues. Issue #1 was that TB seller increased the price before EZBuy could purchase it for me. In this case I decided to proceed with the order and “top up” the extra few dollars.


Issue #2 as shown below. I decided to cancel this order and EZBuy refunded my money very quickly. I then ordered from a different seller.img_0472

And now all my books are on their way to Singapore, where they will await my pickup in December. Yay!

In summary…
Total number of books = 259

Cost of books = $370 SGD ($285 USD)

Cost of shipping and misc. charges = $76 SGD ($55 USD)

Total cost = $446 SGD ($340 USD)

Cost per book = $1.72 SGD ($1.30 USD)

Obviously, $1.30 per book is FAR less than buying from any bookstore or e-bookstore. Which makes this entire ordeal well worth it. 🙂

With this hefty purchase, I’m confident our home library will be well stocked. But I’m sure I will still pick up some more books from brick-and-mortar stores such as Grassroots Book Room, Maha Yu Yi, and of course Popular Bookstore, because books are awesome.

Can’t wait to check out this beautiful bookstore! @Grassroots Book Room

Stay tuned for more episodes of my Chinese Home Library series. Like and follow my Facebook page to stay updated.