Get English-language books online in China

Further to my previous post about ordering groceries online here in Suzhou, I wanted to share this little tip for ordering English-language books online in China.

Mags has been using Joyo/ for months now to stock our shelves with every yoga book that exists – but only recently informed me that they have an “English Bookstore” section of imported books.

Now, unfortunately this wont help you if you are completely without a Chinese person (or fluent-in-Chinese laowai), as the ordering process is still all in 中文 – but that’s just a small matter of getting your Chinese wife/gf/friend/secretary/QQ buddy/random stranger to help you.

Not unlike the bricks and mortar 新华书店, a lot of the books are “classics” that haven’t been seen by many of us since 10th grade. However, they carry a lot of new best-sellers, as well.

No Chinese credit card? No problem. China is still very much a C.O.D. world and you just pay the delivery guy when he shows up with a big box of books.

Joyo’s main (and larger) competitor,, also has an Import Books section, and appears to offer much the same selection. Not sure how their delivery system works though – probably similar to Joyo/’s.

Delivery groceries, delivery pizza, delivery books. I’m making a habit of finding ways not to go outside.

13 Responses

  1. I might have to take a look for some new reading material. Book City here doesn’t have anything worthwhile in English. Do the sites have Chinese literature translated?

  2. “I’m making a habit of finding ways not to go outside”… me too – but unfortunately I have to, every day. Don’t make JYY a hermitage (LOL). Getting out is good, although I have been letting a rather interesting Seasonal Activity Disorder become a welcome part of my life. I love sleeping in until, say : 12:30 pm, then it’s off to ‘do stuff’.

    Sleep is good.

    Say, what do you think about winter coming up & early ’09 ? Gut feeling advises it might be the same as earlier this year. The huge amount of fog and drizzle about now is VERY interesting. Still running 20 C in the day @ 85% humidity at the start of November.

    Penny for your thoughts ?

  3. I was just about to say that you’re “making a habit of finding ways not to go outside”, but your final sentence preempted me!

    That “Skoob” bookstore across the street from your house has the best selection in Suzhou, but it’s so pricey.

    It’s a useful service, so thanks for suggesting. I’m sure i’ll use that supermarket delivery you mentioned a few days ago once winter really kicks in.

  4. It’s funny, in the summer I excused not going out much as related to the scorchingly hot weather. Now I say it’s because it’s rainy, and soon it’ll just be too cold. WTF.

    @Jamieson: This weather confuses the hell out of my Canuck-sensibilities. It’s November, and I’m sitting here with the window open and a t-shirt on. But then there’s the humidity – cold humidity… you can’t help but sweat, the sweat doesn’t go anywhere, and you just get this chilly sheen walking around. I strongly believe that Suzhou has the worst weather on the planet. There’s just nothing good about it – except for those two weeks in October and April/May that are sunny and warm (but not hot) – those are a nice two weeks…

    @Steven: Not heard of Skoob – clever name. Will have to check it out – “across the street” is well within my “not going out” limits 🙂

  5. Wow, you really don’t get out much ! Skoob is OK, a limited selection of books, and it’s about 700 steps from your apartment, head west down Jin Ji Hu Lu, past the Bank and Dragonfly massage. Great selection of Australian PIES that they heat up and serve while you browse. I’ve got 50 kuai in vouchers… might cash them in one day soon, before they go broke. Whenever I go there I’m usually the only customer.

    Doesn’t hold a candle to The Bookworm though, the place is usually packed with Belgians & French folks – and the food is great! No worry about extracting the wallet to buy, new & 2nd hand books.

    Thanks for the heads up on the place.

  6. @Dingle: Not a bad option, but delivery on the domestic site is only a couple days, and shipping is significantly cheaper (free, even).

  7. Pingback: Blog Roundup – November 6, 2008 |

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