Being a Bookworm in Beijing

Do you love to read? Can’t imagine a relaxing evening without a book in your hands? You might wonder how easy it is to get English language books in Beijing. Well, there are a few steps you can take to make access to books easier.

Reading a bookE-books are the way to go

You may already have a Kindle or other e-reading device. If not, consider getting one. You will have less to schlepp around and more access to new books.

Amazon’s Kindle format probably offers the widest variety off e-books. But you don’t need to have a kindle device to read those. If you have an iPad or any other tablet, you can download a Kindle app and access your Kindle account there. In addition to books, you can also get newspaper and magazine subscriptions, like the New York Times (my favorite breakfast read) or The Economist.

I don’t own a Kindle because I have another tablet but some of my avid reader friends love theirs. Not just because it makes books so portable but also because it less straining on the eye than some other tablets with virtually no glare, and it has a long battery live.

You don’t necessarily have to buy e-books. If you have a library membership in your home country, check if your library has e-books. You may want to keep your membership active, so you can continue to borrow e-books from afar.

You really want paper, huh?

E-books are all nice but you really like to hold an actual book in your hand? You have a couple options in Beijing to buy English language books, although you won’t find a Barnes & Noble type of selection.

On Wangfujing street is a big Foreign Language Bookstore with a decent offering. A new two-story Page One bookstore with a good foreign selection including cook and art books just opened in Sanlitun Village. Other Page One branches are located in the Indigo Mall and China World Mall. And for a more cozy cafe atmosphere, there is The Bookworm in Sanlitun. The Bookworm is more than just a bookshop with a cafe, it also hosts events and offers a lending library.

  • Foreign Language Bookstore: 235号 Wangfujing St, Dongcheng District
  • Page One
    Sanlitun Village Taikoo Li: Units S2-14a-b, 1-2F, No.19 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District
    Indigo Mall: Shop LG50, No.18 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
    China World Mall: Shop 3B201 Zone 3, No.1 Jian Guo Men Wai Avenue, Chaoyang District
  • The Bookworm: Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (near Sanlitun Village)

Sometimes you will find a cart selling books on the street, and in more touristy, expat or student locations, they may have English language books. Be sure to check the print quality as those books are pirated copies of the original. If you want to buy, don’t forget to bargain.


Being a Bookworm in Beijing — 1 Comment

  1. LOVE this! How times have changed! I’m an English teacher coming and wondered–can you access Amazon to purchase new books from China? In other words, is the site blocked, or is it just really hard or expensive to buy physical goods and have them shipped from America?