Your Ultimate Guide to Chinese E-Books for children

  • Post last modified:3 June 2022
  • Post comments:2 Comments

Why we use Chinese E-books

One of the biggest challenges I face homeschooling my three children in Mandarin Chinese at home in a non-Chinese speaking country (Australia), is getting quality Chinese books for my children to read. We read Chinese books daily, and with their enormous appetite for books, it is a big struggle to get enough Chinese books here! Mummy simply cannot afford to constantly buy Chinese books here. What with the higher book prices, and extra shipping costs. Hence I have turned my eyes towards electronic Chinese books for my children.  Surprisingly, (and thankfully) there are quite a few options available!

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Costs of Physical Books vs Digital Books

On average, the cost of a Chinese picture book here in Australia is approximately AUD$20. My three children read daily, so even if they only read two picture books a day between the three of them, the cost is already AUD$40. So, a monthly supply of picture books will cost me AUD$1200 easily!!!

On the other hand, a digital Chinese subscription monthly  is between AUD$10 to AUD$15. Annual subscription on average costs AUD$120. In a year, if I read Chinese ebooks exclusively on one subscription, I would have saved AUD$14,280!!

Of course, the experience of reading an e-book versus an actual picture book is very different, and nothing can replace an actual page turner! However, if you are in a non-Chinese speaking country like me, the lack of affordable Chinese bookstores can put a serious dent in your pocket.

Pros and Cons of E-books

Like most parents, I have personal concerns about reading e-books with my children, as I feel like that is more screen time for them on the tablets or computer.

However, in my case, I think the benefits outweigh the concerns here, as

  1. There are not enough Chinese bookstores in Sydney, Australia.
  2. Even if I wanted to buy from the Chinese bookstores, they have a limited range of picture books for children.
  3. Ordering from Chinese bookstores outside of Australia will incur a huge shipping cost for me (generally costing $100-$200 each shipment)
  4. The times I do order physical books, it took about a month to reach me. 

Hence, I have to act fast to not lose their interest in Chines books.

With Chinese e-books, I am able to have access to so many more Chinese books in electronic forms than in print. The variety of books helps my children stay interested in reading Chinese books. I can find Chinese books in any topic they like. And at all levels. Plus, it is more environmentally friendly!

If you have your own concerns, I suggest you read this article which can give you some tips and suggestions about usage of e-books.

How we use Chinese E-books at Mandarin Homeschool

Since we started reading Chinese e-books on the app, my three children have been reading on average 2 to 3 different Chinese books a day.

Currently, we have subscription to Ellabook and Wawayaya JoyReader Pro. The variety of books available on both platforms are diverse enough to serve our homeschooling needs. Your family’s needs may be different from mine. (Do read our in-depth reviews of Ellabook and Wawayaya JoyReader Pro to see if they are suitable for you too).

I’m careful not to over-rely on these apps. I still allocate time to read to them, just as I would a physical copy of the book, and turn off the “read to me” function.

Furthermore, I do still purchase Chinese print books, as we prefer to read print books during bedtime. I find the glaring screen from the tablets to be non-conducive for sleep time. 

E-books have fortunately provided a viable compromise for our (potentially very expensive) reading habits. It has given my children access to a greater variety of Chinese books, no matter where we are in the world.

Top Chinese E-book Apps for Children

The major Chinese digital library apps currently available are Get Epic!, Ellabook, Kada Books, HyRead and Wawayaya. There are also children’s apps with progressive readers such as WuKong Books.

For your benefit, I am only selecting the best ones of the lot. (Trust me, there are a lot of Chinese app developers out trying to get your money!)

I will give a brief description of each here, along with pricing information. For the apps that we have personally tried out,I have also written in-depth reviews, these apps are: 

Chinese E-books App for Children

Get Epic! App

get epic

Pricing and Download Information

Available to download for free on Android and Apple App Store

New users get a free one month’s trial. Afterwhich, a monthly subscription is AUD$12.49 for unlimited access to all 40,000 books. AUD$111.99 gets you a whole year’s access. 

*Top tip: Watch out for promotions around Christmas time, where you can score $20 off the annual subscription

Get Epic app is a massive digital library, and has books primarily in English, as well as books in a few other languages: Chinese, French and Spanish.

Their collection of Chinese books are honestly quite expansive for a multilingual digital library app. There are Chinese books on a huge range of topics, fiction/non-fiction, picture books, and graphic novels/comics. I have found some really engaging picture books for all three of my children, which they have read and re-read on the tablet.

Unfortunately, the Chinese books are not differentiated into Simplified or Traditional. Which can be problematic for parents who can’t read both Chinese scripts. There is no auditory assistance, unlike the other apps. 

Read our in-depth review of the Get Epic app here. 

Chinese Language options

Books are in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.

Options for pinyin? NO.

Read-to-me option? NO. (but available for English)

Audio books? NO.

Ellabook 咿啦看书

Pricing and Download Information​

The app is free to download on Apple App Store

New users get a free trial for 7 or 14 days, unlimited access to all books. 7 for the monthly subscription, and 14 for the annual subscription.

Subsequently, it is USD$6.99/AUD$11.49 monthly, and USD$69.99/AUD114.99 for an annual subscription.

(The best price I have found is through the JoJo Learning site, USD61.99/AUD81!!)

Upon signing up as a member, you can download and read selected books for free. Even if you don’t want to sign up for a subscription, you should totally download the app for the freebies on it. Read our indepth review here to find out what these freebies 

Chinese Language options

Books are only in Simplified Chinese.

Options for pinyin? NO.

Read-to-me option? YES.

Audio books? YES.

Kada Books

Kada Chinese

Pricing and Download Information​

Free to download on iOS

Subscription is required to access all the reading materials. Pricing as follows:

  1. Three month’s access RMB$118/AUD$27.99
  2. One year’s access RMB$365/AUD$84.99
  3. Lifetime access RMB$588/AUD$139.99

Kada Books is a massive Chinese digital library, with over 30,000 e-books, and audio books. 

The best thing about Kada Books is that it offers many popular cartoon affiliated picture books such as Disney princess, Octonauts, Paw Patrol, Ben and Holly, Pororo. Read our in-depth review to find out what other popular titles they have to offer

Chinese Language options

Books are in Simplified Chinese only.

Options for pinyin? NO.

Read-to-me option? YES.

Audio books? YES.

Wawayaya Joy Reader Pro 学汉语学华‪文

Wawayaya JoyReader Pro

Pricing and Download Information​

The Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app is free to download on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

(*Please note that there is a similar app called Wawayaya Reader爱读家 which basically offers the same books, but are not organised by reading grade).

Subscription is required to access all the reading materials. The first 3 days are free. Pricing as follows:

  1. One month’s access (SVIP) USD$9.99/AUD$15.49
  2. One year’s access (SVIP) USD$99.90/AUD$154.99

Additionally, you have the option of purchasing access to any reader series for USD$0.99 per month.

Wawayaya JoyReader Pro 学汉语学华‪文 is a Chinese digital library chock full of levelled readers. 

There are 12 levels in total, catering to all levels of primary aged readers. The publishing houses are mainly from China and (surprise surprise!) my hometown of Singapore. There are over 3000+ books in their collection.

Read our full review here to find out why we love this app! 

Chinese Language options

Books are in Simplified Chinese only.

Options for pinyin? YES

Read-to-me option? YES

Audio books? NO

Wu Kong Books 悟空阅读


Pricing and Download Information​

The Wu Kong Books app is available to download on Apple App Store

Annual subscription RMB$98/AUD$22.99

3 years subscription RMB$198/AUD$46.99

Wu Kong Books is one of the Chinese learning apps under the Wu Kong family, which also includes Wu Kong Learn Chinese, Wu Kong Math, and Wu Kong pinyin. 

As the name suggests, this one is all about readers, and helping your child learn how to read. There are 6 levels of graded readers, and about 1000+ books in total! In addition to the graded readers, you also have access to 270+ storybooks for you to read with your child.

There are two categories of books.

  1. 自己读 Read independently – progressive readers 
  2. 亲子阅读 Read with parents.

The best feature of this app is the recording function for the readers. It gives out points according to the level of accuracy for each Chinese word read. Which is an awesome feature for parents who are not as fluent in Chinese, as the app will asses your child’s reading proficiency for you instead. 

Chinese Language options

Books are in Simplified Chinese only.

Options for pinyin? No.

Read-to-me option? Yes.

Audio books? No.



Pricing and Download Information​

Free to download on the Apple App Store and also free to use!

The Chinese ebooks and audiobooks in this app is totally free. Which means… you have to contend with limited content, so-so narration, and pesky advertisements. Surprisingly, they have The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Caldecott award winning Mama’s Red Sofa. 

The ebooks will play automatically, but you can pause the audio, flip and read as you would a print book. 

Language options

Books are in Simplified Chinese and English.

Options for pinyin? No.

Read-to-me option? Yes.

Audio books? Yes.

Chinese E-book and E-bookstore Hybrid Apps


Pricing and Download Information​

Download the app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store.

A lot of the e-books can also be borrowed for 20 HyRead points, for a period of 14 days. In this case HyRead offers 6 different pricing schemes you can purchase. 

  • 200 points – NT$200 (approximately AUD$10/USD$7)
  • 515 points – NT$500 (approximately AUD$23/USD$18)
  • 1050 points – NT$1000 (approximately AUD$46/USD$36)
  • 2100 points – NT$2000 (approximately AUD$92/USD$72)
  • 5250 points – NT$5000 (approximately AUD$230/USD$180)
  • 11000 points – NT$10000 (approximately AUD$460/USD$360)

The best way I can describe HyRead is this. Traditional Chinese e-book heaven.

It is a hybrid between a digital library and an e-bookstore catering for Traditional Chinese language resources. It is Massive with a capital M! Last I checked, there were 11,000 books listed under the children section. (That’s only counting the children section…)

They also provide an e-magazine subscription service. For the e-magazines, you can either purchase a single issue, or sign up for an annual subscription. For instance, for the Young Newton magazine 少年牛顿, a single issue is NT$139 (approximately AUD$6.50/USD$5), and the annual fee is NT$1668 (approximately AUD$77.50/USD$60)

All books are read on the HyRead 3 app. 

Read further on to understand how HyRead functions as a Chinese e-bookstore. 

*Top Tip* Depending on which country you are from, you may be able to borrow books through your library. For example, my library membership form Singapore allows me to borrow 16 books and 16 magazines in the app. Evidently, you won’t have access to the entire store, but my Singapore library card did give me access to over 800 picture books/comic books, which isn’t too shabby at all.



Pricing and Download Information​

The app is free to download on iOS and Google Play

The pricing is very competitive.  For “All you can read” option, these are the prices

  1. 31 days access AUD$7.99
  2. 92 days access AUD$17.49
  3. 183 days access AUD$34.99
  4. 365 days access AUD$47.99

PubU is very similar to HyRead in terms of the book selection. They mainly offer Traditional Chinese ebooks, e-magazines and audio books. Just like HyRead, the collection is huge. 

The biggest edge PubU has over HyRead is the price. Instead of a rental pricing scheme, they offer an all you can read option. So if you have a voracious reader of Traditional Chinese materials, this app will be perfect for you. 

The categorization of reading resources needs more clearer differentiation. For instance, when I was looking for picture books for my children. I had to go to the “Parenting/Relationship” Category, then to a sub-category for “Kids”. Ermmm… Children books are neither parenting nor relationship books. I personally find HyRead to be more user friendly.

Read on to understand how PubU functions as a Chinese e-bookstore. 

Websites to purchase Chinese E-books for children

To purchase Chinese e-books for children, the top three options are, HyRead and PubU. The first is best for Simplified Chinese materials, while the latter two will serve Traditional Chinese readers well. All three websites have a huge selection of Chinese materials that is frankly, through the roof, and genuinely affordable. Woohoo! (There are other Chinese ebookstores such as Douban, and Weread which I have not included a description for, as they do not have Chinese reading materials for children.) 

**Note that you must be able to read Chinese to order from these websites. 

Otherwise, your best bet is Amazon and Google Play which do have a fair selection of Chinese e-books. But nowhere near what you can get on the Chinese e-book sites. 

Personally, I hardly every buy Chinese e-books. The two subscription I have with Ellabook and Wawayaya JoyReader Pro, along with my Singapore national library card gives me plenty of Chinese books to read at home with my children.

Chances are you have heard of or purchased books from the website. But did you know they also sell e-books? You can get a Chinese picture e-book for as cheap as RMB$2 (AUD$0.40)!! Crazy right?


Homeschoolers looking for Traditional Chinese reading materials will be in book haven here. All the books originate from Taiwan, so you can expect zhuyin with some of the picture books. Apart from picture books, there are also a wide range of comic books (Japanese manga translated into Traditional Chinese) and e-magazines available. 

There is a free trial for every single resource on the app, so you can truly browse to your heart’s content before you decide if you would like to purchase the resource.

The search function on the app isn’t great, and there isn’t further division of the Chinese resources apart from the broad categories, which means that it is very difficult to find a book. Unless you know the exact title, or author, you may have to scroll through the thousands of books on the app to find something suitable. You are better off using their website to browse.

The price for a Chinese picture ebook is approximately NT$200 (AUD$10/USD$7). Not a bad price at all.


Very similar to HyRead, the prices for a Chinese picture e-book on PubU is also comparative to HyRead, averaging NT200 (AUD$10/US$7). They also sell Traditional Chinese e-magazines and e-newspapers.

Browsing is a lot better on their website than the app. 

Amazon Kindle Store

Did you know you do not need a kindle to be able to read books purchased from Amazon Kindle store? You only have to download the app, and your purchased books will be downloaded into the app on your phone or tablet.

Chinese e-titles on Amazon will generally be independent publishers/authors such as Katrina Liu of Mina Learning Book series, and Jillian Lin.

App Icon Apple Books

Apple Books has some Chinese books on the platform. Obviously still quite limited in the choices. What it does have are English books on Chinese culture, Chinese English dictionaries. There are also Chinese audio books such as Journey to the West: Children’s Edition, and Chinese idioms.

Google Play

google play

Google play was a really surprising find. I was actually looking for this series of Chinese books “Singapore Traditional Chinese Food 新加坡华族传统食品” when I stumbled upon its Chinese ebooks. (Click here for a review of the series. If you or your children love food, then this series will be right up your food alley). Seems like some of the minor publishers, such as Singapore’s Lingzi Publishing and Malaysia’s Pelangi Publishing are placing their Chinese books for sale on Google play. Some other Singaporean book series I have found are “又是这一班”, “狮城往事绘本系列”.

In terms of selection, there isn’t a huge range at the time of writing. You are more likely to find Chinese reference books, and textbooks, and an odd smattering of Chinese readers. They do have Chinese audiobooks on sale as well. 

Chinese Libraries that will give your FREE access to e-books

If you are a citizen of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or Singapore, lucky you! You can sign up with your national library for access to free e-books.

*Top tip* even if you are not a citizen of Taiwan, you can still access their library for free.

Taipei Library

Thanks to fellow blogger Guavarama who has kindly shared this tip on how to access the Taiwanese digital library for free. And the best part is you do NOT have to be a citizen to gain access. Thank you Taiwan! And Guavarama!!

You can read more about here at Guavarama’s post

You have to be a Singaporean to have free access to the digital library through the National Library Board (NLB) app. 

If you are so blessed to be born in the little red dot, just register with your NRIC, and you can read Simplified Chinese magazines, books for adults and children. 

In our Mandarin Homeschool, we have borrowed many local Chinese picture books, such as Traditional Chinese food LINK, and The Singapore Series. LINK 

Hong Kong Public Library

Go to the official HK library website and see if you qualify to sign up as a member. More information and additional Traditional Chinese resources for Cantonese speakers and readers, I suggest you bookmark Cantonese for Families.

To conclude

We are so fortunate these days to have access to Chinese e-books, the problem now is which one to sign up for! Grrr… too many choices and too little time right?  I am going to suggest you think about your own homeschooling needs.

For Simplified Chinese books:

  • If your children are reluctant Chinese readers, and you need to build up their interest, go for Ellabooks for a magical reading adventure.
  • For a good mix of books based on popular cartoon characters and decent Chinese readers, our top pick is Kada Books
  • If you would like a systematic graded Chinese reading app, then Wawayaya JoyReader Pro will do that for you.

For Traditional Chinese books:

  • I’m afraid I cannot be of too much help here, as I don’t use any Traditional Chinese apps. Seriously though, you can’t go pass HyRead for their massive collection. 

And that is all I have found on Chinese e-books for now!! I sincerely hope this helps you as you navigate your Mandarin Chinese homeschool.

If you know of any other fantastic Chinese e-book apps, or e-bookstores I have missed on this list, please please please drop me a line, or comment below so I can add them on for fellow Mandarin Chinese homeschoolers and educators!

Happy Teaching and Reading (on your tablet).

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. gunter segers

    Hi, I’m a children’s book publisher and would like to make our books accessable as affordable low-budget e-books. We’re a bit struggling to finalise our Chinese translations, if you have any tips or help please contact me : /, kind regards, gunter

    1. Jean

      Hi Gunter, if you are not a native Chinese speaker and are simply looking to translate your books into different languages, may I suggest that you use something like the Youdao Dictionary pen to translate from English to Chinese? I have personally used it and as far as my experience goes, they are really accurate. You can then hire a native Chinese speaker to vet the books. You should be able to engage a Chinese tutor quite easily online through language schools. Hope this advice helps!

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