Where to find foreign language books in Beijing


Say you want to find books in English and other foreign languages ​​in the capital, where would you go?

Since The Bookworm closed in 2019 – which not only offered a large selection of China-related foreign language books, but also a large library to borrow – the options are few and far between. This does not mean, however, that they are non-existent.

PageA Qianmen

Perhaps the largest of many PageOne branches in Beijing, this one is also the best to visit. On the upper floors, you’ll find English versions of tomes on art, architecture, film, and travel, complete with views of Zhengyangmen and Tian’anmen Square. There’s even a cafe where you can read to pass the time.

PageOne Bookstore (Qianmen Branch)
Building E11, Beijing Fun East, Qianmen Meishi Jie, Xicheng District

Beijing Foreign Language Library

What was once one of the capital’s best known bookshops besides The Bookworm, these too have gone downhill over the years. BFLB used to have a separate shop on the 4th floor filled with used novels which are now long gone.

Now most of the novels, classics, travel guides and the rest have been relegated to a back room to make way for… other great works. It’s unclear how long they’ll stay there, but at least there’s still some great reading to be found inside.

Beijing Foreign Language Library 北京外文书店
235 Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District

mac children’s books

This shop, located in a random office building in Shunyi, is the most complete children’s bookstore in Beijing according to our partner site. Jingkids International. Although it’s primarily aimed at children 0-18, there are works like Lord of the Rings to be found here, and owners can order books to be shipped to Beijing if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Mac Kids Books 麦克英文童书店
Golden Landmark Office Bldg 910-911, 32 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang District


Although a second-hand store, Roundabout has a good selection of second-hand books in foreign languages. They also have a special WeChat group for used book sales and exchanges (link below).

Cathay View Plaza, 2 Xiangjiang Bei Lu, Shunyi District

JD and Taobao

It goes without saying that if you can’t find it offline, you can most likely find it online. A number of stores on JD and Taobao offer foreign language and English titles for delivery (one of my favorites on JD is 中华商务进口图书旗舰店 Zhōnghuá Shāngwù Jìnkǒu Túshū Qíjiàn Diàn, China’s flagship import bookstore). Just be sure to check that the Chinese word 预订 yuding, which means “reserve” is not before the title. This means that it will be shipped from overseas, which usually takes three to four weeks to arrive.

READ: An interview with new Spittoon book club leader Sean Toland

Images: César Viteri (via Unsplash), Vincent R. Vinci, Vivienne Tseng-Rush


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