Looking for a novel way to learn a language?
Need an approach that’s bound to improve your reading skills?
Well, then, you’ll want to book it to your favorite website to order foreign language books.
Reading foreign books is a wonderfully useful way to improve your language skills. Whether you enjoy language instruction books or recreational reading in your target language, books can help you learn new words, improve your comprehension skills and more.
Sometimes, though, finding books in your target language can be tricky. If you aren’t traveling abroad, how can you possibly find good foreign reading material? And if you aren’t already knowledgable about literature in your target language, how would you even know what to search for?
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are six sensational websites where you can easily browse, discover and buy books in other languages!
How to Select the Right Book Vendor for You
Consider how rare of a book you want. Popular books written in commonly spoken languages are often available through websites you’re probably already familiar with. However, if you’re looking for a book in a less common language or simply looking for a less common book, you’ll have to scour some websites that are more specialized (we’ve got some examples of these below).
Consider how you want to pay for the book. Most websites accept credit cards. Some also accept PayPal. However, if you choose to shop at an international vendor, it’s important to remember that your credit card and PayPal may charge an additional fee, so you might want to look at the terms associated with your account to see what the best deal will be.
Consider what you’re most comfortable with. Purchasing online can be nerve-racking. Will your purchase arrive? Is the vendor reliable? That’s why it’s important to check vendor ratings and consider which ones you’re most comfortable with before clicking “purchase.”
Where to Buy Books in Other Languages: Book It to These 6 Websites
The six sites below range from big sellers you probably already use all the time, to smaller shops full of language and literature gems. We’ll show you what’s available on the sites and how to browse them most effectively.
If you’re already on the hunt for great books in other languages, you’re probably the type who appreciates authentic foreign-language content. You know—the real-deal stuff that native speakers read, watch and listen. In that case, you’ll want to supplement your reading diet with real-world foreign videos on FluentU.
Each video comes with interactive captions that you can click for an instant definition and pronunciation of any word. There are also flashcards and exercises to help you remember what you’ve watched. It’s a great way to make sure you’re building those reading skills even while absorbing the authentic sounds of your target language. Check out a free trial to supplement your book browsing and reading with fun video learning.
You know it. You love it. But did you know your favorite provider of must-have items and last-minute Christmas gifts also has an extensive foreign language books section?
It’s true. Amazon offers books in over a dozen languages, including widely spoken languages like Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. It also offers selections in a number of less common languages, like Amharic and Lithuanian.
You can browse by going to the “foreign language” book section (linked above). From there, you can browse by language using the categories on the left side of the screen. Still not finding what you’re looking for? Try searching your target language with the word “books.” For instance, “Spanish books.” You can also search in your target language. For instance, “libros en español” (“books in Spanish”). This will provide you with a nice list of options.
One book that you can find in a wide variety of languages is “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (known as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the U.S.), which can be purchased in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and more. (Note: some are shipped through outside vendors.) Perfect for language learners and/or intense Harry Potter fans!
You can also try ordering from foreign Amazon sites. For instance, the regional sites for France, Mexico and Germany offer tons of book options. The caveat is that you’ll have to conduct your searching in your target language (though you can consider this bonus language practice) and shipping charges will vary.
Powell’s is a Portland, Oregon-based independent bookseller. Lucky for language learners, it also sells books online, and its foreign language section is nothing to sneeze at.
There’s a huge variety of language options, including common ones like Chinese, French, German and Spanish, along with less common ones like Basque, Cantonese, Serbo-Croatian, Swahili and Yiddish. However, authentic texts (i.e. written for native speakers) are mixed in with instructional texts and textbooks, so finding the right option for you may require a little perusing.
There are a lot of fun options for language learners on this site. For instance, Powell’s offers a dual-language (Chinese-English) edition of “The Art of War.” Some Japanese manga like “Naruto” is also available.
Wish you could browse multiple booksellers at once? AbeBooks lets you do just that.
That’s because AbeBooks is an online marketplace used by a variety of book vendors around the world. Because AbeBooks includes many sellers, you’ll also find rare and collectible books here.
Among AbeBooks’s offerings is an extensive foreign language collection. You can find books in virtually any language imaginable.
The quickest way to find what you’re looking for is to search the name of your target language. From there, you’ll be offered “Curated Collections” from different booksellers offering texts in your target language. For instance, at the time of this writing there are nearly 200 curated collections that focus on Portuguese. One of those collections by “Libros Latinos” can help connect you with books on history, culture, medicine and more.
If you want an extra dose of language study, Elkhorn Books has options that can certainly up the learning quotient.
Elkhorn Books focuses on nonfiction and scholarly texts, so there’s a lot of learning packed into these volumes. Plus, one third of the books offered by Elkhorn Books are in foreign languages.
Elkhorn Books offers a simple format that lets you browse by language with a menu on the left side of the screen. Language options include Arabic, French, German, Hebrew/Yiddish, Latin/Greek, Persian and Spanish.
The selections themselves cover a wide variety of topics. For instance, Arabic offerings include poetry, history, political texts and more.
Looking for something special? Hackenberg Booksellers might have just the coveted piece you want on your shelf or coffee table.
Hackenberg Booksellers specializes in scholarly, out-of-print and rare texts, including historic works. This means that some of these options can be pricey. Luckily for language learners, though, a lot of these works are in foreign languages.
Unfortunately, there’s no good way to browse by language, so to find the ideal book for you, you’ll have to scroll through the catalogues. Still, there are some nice works, like Italian-language novels, Spanish-language history books and more.
Hackenberg Booksellers is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, though books can also be shipped.
eBay might not be the first place you think of when you want to purchase a book, but it’s a handy resource if you want a book you can’t find elsewhere. After all, eBayers scavenge bookstores, estate sales and more, and they come up with some real treasures.
There’s no separate “foreign language” category for casual browsing, but eBay sellers usually use keywords pretty effectively to help you find what you’re looking for, so searching is often quite effective.
For instance, if you’re looking for novels, try searching your target language along with “language novel.” Just as an example, searching “Italian language novel” yields a number of options, including some classic novels as well as children’s books and comic books. You can also try searching the “book in…” in your target language. For instance, книга на русском языке (“book in the Russian language”) provides a number of options, including fairy tales and children’s books.
Plus, plenty of international sellers use eBay, so you can often get books shipped directly from abroad through the site.
So check out these six websites where you can buy books in other languages. You might find your next favorite language learning tool!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.