Foreign language books for sale

Where to Buy Books in Other Languages Online

Reading foreign books is a wonderfully useful way to improve your language skills.

And if you know where to buy books in other languages, it can be a convenient and effective tool in your language learning toolkit. 

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.

Here are 12 excellent websites (plus a bonus location) where you can easily browse, discover and buy books in other languages, including e-books!

Contents


1. Amazon

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Amazon offers books in over a dozen languages, including widely spoken languages like Chinese, French and German as well as several less common languages like Amharic and Lithuanian.

Browse books by selecting your target language on the left side of the foreign language section, or try searching your target language with the word “books.” You can also order books from foreign Amazon sites like those for France, Mexico or Germany.

Amazon’s Kindle ebooks come with some useful features for language learners such as an in-app dictionary for looking up unfamiliar words. 

2. Powell’s

Powell’s is a Portland, Oregon-based independent bookseller. Lucky for language learners, it also sells books online with an extensive foreign language section.

There’s a huge variety of language options, including both common and uncommon ones like Cantonese and Swahili. However, authentic texts (texts that are 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, like dual-language readers and some Japanese manga.

3. AbeBooks

AbeBooks is an online marketplace used by a variety of book vendors around the world, so you can browse multiple booksellers at once. This means you can 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 for the name of your target language. From there, you’ll be offered “Curated Collections” from different booksellers offering texts in your target language. 

4. Schoenhof’s Foreign Books

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If you want an extra dose of language study, Schoenhof’s Foreign Books has options that can certainly up the learning quotient.

Founded back in 1856, Schoenhof’s focuses only on foreign books, so you’ll have a great selection of books in French, German, Italian and Spanish. They also carry books in literally hundreds of other languages and dialects.

You can easily browse by language and category to find gems like the short and powerful L’etranger by Albert Camus, a classic in French language literature.

5. Hackenberg Booksellers

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 catalogs.

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.

6. eBay

eBay is 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,” or just try searching for “book in…” in your target language. 

7. Project Gutenberg

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Project Gutenburg offers a huge assortment of free e-books in dozens of foreign languages. All these books are in the public domain, so most are older books, including many classics. 

There are several languages with more than 50 offerings each. These are mostly more common languages like Spanish, French, German and Chinese.

However, there are also e-books in many languages that are less commonly served by learning resources/stores, such as Scottish Gaelic, Yiddish, Slovenian and much more.

8. eBooks

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On the eBooks website, you can browse the foreign language books category or the foreign language study category, depending on whether you want authentic content or focused language study.

The foreign language e-books include everything from crime to religion to health and fitness. Just filter the results by language or subject in the lefthand sidebar. You can choose from Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Swedish.

The foreign language study category focuses on materials exclusively for language learners such as textbooks, phrasebooks and dictionaries. Languages include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian and Scandinavian languages.

9. VitalSource

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VitalSource caters to many disciplines but there are thousands of digital texts to choose from in the World Languages category, which you can search for by language. 

To access the VitalSource texts, you’ll use an app called Bookshelf that works on iOS and Android devices as well as Kindles. You can easily mark up your texts digitally and even change your default language so your entire reading experience is in the target language. 

Plus, VitalSource lets you rent textbooks so you can see if they fit your learning style before purchasing them.

10. Rakuten Kobo

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Rakuten Kobo (or just Kobo) offers thousands of foreign language e-books in a wide range of languages, including some less common ones.

This site emphasizes instructional foreign language e-books. They aren’t organized by theme, but you can filter by language or try searching the name of your target language in that language to see more offerings.

Language offerings include Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Other language groups include Indic and South Asian languages, Scandinavian languages, Slavic languages and Southeast Asian languages.

11. iTunes

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iTunes offers a convenient (if somewhat limited) selection of foreign-language e-books, including language-learning books and a handful of authentic offerings.

Try paging through the foreign language reference section until you spot a title in your target language. There are thousands of different titles, including a good number of free options.

If you’re looking for more authentic e-books to read on your Apple device, you might also download the free Apple Books app. It offers essentially the same options as iTunes with an easier browsing experience.

12. Google Play

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Like iTunes, Google Play is somewhat limited by licensing laws, so you can’t always download foreign content. However, they still have some e-book offerings that are worth a look. 

Google Play’s book options are convenient and come in a wide variety of price points. They offer easy access to plenty of Spanish language books in particular. For other languages, try searching for the name of the language in English or that language.

While you’re more likely to find learning books than authentic content, you can find some authentic content mixed in if you look carefully.

13. Your Local Library

In addition to their English selections, many libraries offer some books in other languages as well. This is especially true if you happen to live in a region with a lot of native speakers of your target language. 

The best part about borrowing books from a library is that it’s free! To get access to these books, all you need is a library card. 

Some libraries even offer free e-books that you can download onto your devices temporarily. Typically, you can just enter your library card number into the library’s online catalog to browse and download e-books.

Deciding Where to Buy Books in Other Languages

There are a few things you might want to take into consideration when choosing where to buy your foreign language books. For example: 

  • 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 more specialized websites.
  • Consider how you want to pay for the book. Most websites accept credit cards and/or 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.”

To add some variety to your language practice, you can pair your reading with videos through a language learning program such as FluentU.

 

Now you have 12 great websites where you can buy books in other languages.

Start browsing to find your next favorite language-learning tool!

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