Where to buy Chinese books in Australia

  • Post last modified:28 September 2021

My family and I relocated to Australia in 2019. While there is indeed a bigger Asian presence here than in the USA, it is still hard to get good quality Chinese books. Here is a list of what I have found so far of the local and overseas bookstores where you can buy Chinese books that will ship to Australia. Hopefully it will help you in your own Mandarin homeschool journey!

Please drop me a line in the comments form if you know of any more bookstores that I can add to this list for our readers.

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where to buy Chinese books in Australia

Where to buy Chinese books in Australia

If you are living in Sydney, like me, you are in luck. There are actually real physical stores that sells Chinese books! You get to browse and flip the pages just like you hometown bookstore. Bad news is, the selection is not great. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. I have listed those two bookstores first: Kinokuniya and Abbeys Book. (China Books does have a store front in the heart of Chinatown, but due to covid is currently only open for appointments.)

 

Kinokuniya 

Online at https://www.kinokuniya.com.au 

Physical store at Level 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

A global Japanese chain bookstore with an eye boggling variety of books. My heart jumps whenever I see a Kinokuniya, whether in New York, Singapore or Sydney! Book bliss. Their physical store has the largest collection of Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese books in Sydney.

Their Chinese books are under the Chinese book section and also under the Language section. In the Chinese book section, you can find popular Chinese picture books such as Peppa pig, Octanauts and the Disney series. Double check your books before purchase(!) as they don’t label the Chinese language and most of the books are shrink wrapped. They also have a small selection of Chinese games, stationery and homeware. 

Stroll over to the Language bookshelf, and you will find more Chinese textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries and bilingual Chinese English picture books. For some funny reason, the translated version of Hello Australia is shelved under this section instead of at the Chinese book section. 

 

Abbeys

Online at https://www.abbeys.com.au/abbeys/home.do 

Physical store at 131 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

What a surprising bookstore. Tucked away in the back of the ever busy QVB, on York Street is this 2 storey bookstore. It’s not fancy like Kinokuniya, not eye catching like Dymocks, but there is something genuine and down to earth about this bookstore. 

The second level is where the foreign language books are kept. Apart from Chinese books, they also stock French, Spanish, Italian, some Cantonese language reference books. They have a fair selection of Chinese picture books, and a good stock of Chinese reference books, Chinese textbooks and workbooks, such as the Easy Steps to Chinese for kids series. It’s helpful that they label the picture books on the front as traditional Chinese or simplified Chinese text.

 

China Books 

Online at https://www.chinabooks.com.au 

Physical store at  Shop F7, Level One, Citymark Building, 683-689 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

There is a fair selection of Chinese books for young readers. Titles include popular Chinese translated favourites such as “Brown bear brown bear what do you see”, “No David”, “Dear Zoo”, “The Gruffalo” as well as Chinese graded readers Four & Five Fast Read, and a smattering of Chinese textbooks and workbooks for young Chinese learners.

Unfortunately the last time I checked (December 2020), the physical store in Sydney was closed and opened for appointments only. It’s a very small bookshop, books are lined side to side with Chinese medicine, not ideal for browsing. The online selection seems ok.

 

Sydney Chinese books

Online at https://www.sydneychinesebooks.com.au 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

Sydney Chinese books is an online bookstore and the books are in simplified Chinese only. Their stock comes directly from China, and because of their direct business connection with one of the biggest Chinese book store there, their collection is huge! They have a mind-boggling 25,000 Chinese books listed onsite. And I love love love that they offer free shipping for purchases over $100! It’s like shopping on Taobao, without the clutter of multiple vendors. However, the prices for the books are not as cheap as Taobao though. You are after all paying for the convenience of someone sorting all the shipping and delivery for you, not unlike paying a Taobao agent. 

 

Mandarin Readers

Online at https://mandarinreaders.com.au 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese 

An online only bookstore that stocks a quality selection of Chinese picture books, some Chinese teaching materials such as Montessori sandpaper Chinese letters, and the amazing Luka robot reader. This is a fantastic curated collection, which helps take the guess work out of buying good quality Chinese reads. Hence while the number of books Mandarin Readers stock isn’t the biggest, it is definitely worth taking a look. 

 

Jiale Zhongwe

Online at https://www.jialezhongwen.com.au 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese 

This is the Australian and New Zealand licensed distributor of the Better Chinese products, well known for their “My First Chinese Readers”. Apart from the above mentioned readers, they also stock the preschooler collection, “My First Chinese Words”. They have a very small collection of the standard translated Chinese books such as “The very hungry caterpillar”, “Brown bear brown bear what do you see”, “First the egg”.

 

My Owl Owl Bookstore

Online at https://owlowls.myshopify.com

Chinese Language books available in: Traditional Chinese

 

Specialising in Traditional Chinese books and teaching resources for children, My Owl Owl Bookstore ships from Sydney. There is a wide range of popular Chinese books on all topics. Great website for browsing.

 

Where to buy Chinese books in Singapore/Malaysia that will ship to Australia

Geographically Australia is not too far from Singapore and Malaysia, two Asian countries that have a large Chinese population. So lucky for Mandarin homeschoolers, we have some other options there too. My research came up with these following Chinese bookstores that will ship to Australia. Bear in mind though that the books will be in simplified Chinese.

 

 

Luka Reads Singapore

Online at https://www.lukareads.com

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

 

Luka Reads stocks the amazing Luka reading robot and a huge selection of Chinese books which is compatible with it. You can find translated classics as well as native Chinese readers. 

The books are nicely organised by age groups. They currently also have discounted book gift packs for sale. All in all, a well curated online bookstore. 

 

 

Yuyi Singapore

Online at https://yuyi.com I.sg 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

 

Yuyi is a book retailer in Singapore with a physical store in Bras Basah, a book and stationary complex in the heart of the city that I used to frequent!

As a local retailer, Yuyi stocks a large selection of local Singapore Chinese books, in addition to Chinese books from China. 

 

My Story Treasury Singapore 

Online at https://mystorytreasury.com 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

 

A wonderful collection of tried and tested Chinese book selection by the owner’s own children. If you buy Chinese books from My StoryTreasury, you can rest assured that they have all been lovingly curated and comes highly recommended. It has a wide variety of books to please both preschool readers and older readers.

 

 

Odonata Malaysia

Online at https://odonatabooks.com 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

 

Odonata is a Malaysian publishing house that specialises in Chinese books. They have a good selection of preschool readers, primary age readers, and picture books. Their prices are very reasonable and they will ship globally. 

We have personally used their preschool readers which the children enjoyed reading and I find their books to be printed on good quality paper which makes a big difference with little destructive hands!

Where to buy Chinese books from international sellers that will ship to Australia

Apart from all the previous bookstores, there are also plenty of international sellers that will ship to Australia. As long as you are prepared got pay for the (hefty!) shipping fees. The big online commerce websites, such as Amazon, Taobao, Books Taiwan all sell Chinese books and will ship to Australia.

Amazon

Online at www.amazon.com 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese

Is there anything that Amazon doesn’t sell? Nothing. It’s no surprise then that you can actually buy Chinese books on Amazon. Both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese books are available, in paperback, hard copy and e-books. Be warned though that what you order may not be what you receive. As Amazon is a huge marketplace, there is no guarantee of the quality and authenticity of the Chinese books listed. 

 

Taobao

Online at https://world.taobao.com 

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

China’s answer to Amazon, Taobao. A massive Chinese online marketplace, you can buy to your heart’s desire. IF they ship to your country of residence.  The Chinese books are all in Simplified Chinese, and so freaking CHEAP!! You have the option of air freight or sea freight. Generally, my advice is to go for sea freight if you are not in a rush to receive your books, as the shipping costs. 

You will have to be able to read Chinese though to navigate the website. And similar to Amazon, this is a huge market place, so if you search for one book title, there will be about 50 bookshop listings for that title. Not all bookstores will ship to Australia, therefore, once you find a bookstore that will ship to your country of residence, save it to your favourites list to save your time searching.

Not only do they stock picture books, but also Chinese learning materials such as water based copy writing workbooks and pen/brushes, electronic games, flashcards, games, basically anything and everything! 

*Tip: When purchasing electronic items from Taobao, check your country of residence regulations about shipping items with batteries and electric components. If they do, get in touch with the seller directly and ask them to remove the batteries. That should do the trick. 

 

JD.com


Online at 

https://www.jd.com

Chinese Language books available in: Simplified Chinese

A worthy competitor to Taobao. JD.com stocks a lot more than books. Furthermore, they not only sells physical copies, but also e-books. Definitely worth a look if you are looking to save some money with e-books. 

Yesasia 

Online at 

https://www.yesasia.com/us/en/home.html (US and Canada)

https://www.yesasia.com/global/en/chinese-books.html (Non-US and Canada countries)

Chinese Language books available in: Traditional Chinese

Yesasia stocks a wide range of traditional Chinese books from Hong Kong book publishing houses, so if you are looking for Cantonese reading materials, this is your best bet. The books are not cheap (average USD $20 per picture books), but they do seem to come with free international shipping.

 

Books Taiwan 博客來

Online at https://www.books.com.tw/?loc=tw_website_001 

Chinese Language books available in: Traditional Chinese

This is Taiwan’s equivalent to Taobao. Even though the website says Taiwan books, they sell a whole lot more than just books. They have a wide range of traditional Chinese picture books, novels, and Chinese teaching resources. And while you are on the website, check out their wide range of e-books 電子書 available as well. 

 

San Min bookstore Taiwan

Online at https://www.sanmin.com.tw 

Chinese Language books available in: Traditional Chinese

 

A very popular Taiwanese online bookstore, San Min is a traditional Chinese book heaven! This is a great bookstore if you are looking for traditional Chinese books. They have everything under the sun, from local Taiwanese illustrators to translated classic fables. The picture books tend to come with Zhuyin and some of the translated versions contain the original English text. 

Even though San Min does stock books in Simplified Chinese, I couldn’t find much children’s books in that language option. They ship globally and have a few shipping options for customers to choose from, depending on their geographical location. 

 

Little Seahorse Bookstore

Online at https://www.facebook.com/littleseahorsebookstore/

Chinese Language books available in: Traditional Chinese

All the things you can get on Facebook these days! This is a Taiwanese facebook store that ships popular Chinese books directly from Taiwan to Australia. Not only can you gte children’s books, but also adults’ fiction and non-fiction. Looks like you can even score free shipping if you buy over 10kg weight. I personally find it hard to browse on the facebook store page, as you are looking at posts with lengthy descriptions.

Where to buy used Chinese books in Australia

Did you know there is a second hand market for Chinese books online too? Here are some places to have a look at. Your best bet is to go on facebook and search for “second hand Chinese books” or “used Chinese books”. 

 

Facebook marketplace

Facebook marketplace is a treasure trove for bargain hunters. I have found new private Chinese book sellers in Sydney, and also picked up some excellent never been used Chinese books from it! Be prepared to negotiate on how to pick up items. 

 

Used Chinese books group Facebook

There isn’t a used Chinese books group for Australia specifically at the moment of writing (cue: sad face!), but there are a couple of local groups in the US and UK. Readers from those countries can check out the following groups:

US Used Chinese Books

UK Used Chinese Children Books in UK 

 

Gumtree Australia

If you live down under like me, you would have heard of Gumtree. I think of it as Australia’s answer to eBay. It’s a big second hand market for used items. 

Generally, the listings tend to be Chinese textbooks, workbooks and other teaching resources. For example, the Chinese made easy textbooks and workbooks, high school Chinese textbooks. Most sellers are happy to post at buyer’s expenses.

 

eBay 

eBay needs no introduction. Started off as a used goods market, they currently sell new goods as well. I have spotted new Chinese picture books and used Chinese textbooks on the site. 

To sum it all up

For simplified Chinese books, you simply cannot go pass Taobao. It offers the best prices for everything under the sun. And they honestly have everything you can hope and wish for! Just be patient, take time to search for the books you want, and wait for the shipment to arrive while you binge on Chinese shows on Netflix and YouTube. If you cannot wait that long and would also just like a great local bookstore, then Mandarin Readers (Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese books) or My Owl Owl (Traditional Chinese books) is your best bet. Both stores have a fantastic book selection which are highly recommended, so you don’t have to spend unnecessary time browsing, selecting buyers and sorting out shipping on your own. 

For traditional Chinese books, I have to admit I don’t buy from the sellers listed here (as my children and I only read simplified Chinese). I have heard good things about Books Taiwan though. Cantonese for families has a very detailed list of where you can get Traditional Chinese books from. 

For readers in the US, you might like to check out this post by Chalk Academy which has a fantastic list of online Chinese bookstores to use if you are located there. 

Happy shopping and reading!