So many Cantonese speakers outside of Hong Kong are looking for Traditional Chinese books for their children. Whilst there have been a few blogposts about where to buy Chinese books, many feature both simplified and Traditional Chinese, but mostly Simplified Chinese. With Traditional Chinese, many of the bookstores featured were Taiwan- based, and many bookstores, especially those Hong Kong based, did not make it to the list.
Here I compiled a comprehensive list, after researching through blogs (see below for other posts that recommend bookstores) as well as Facebook groups. This list now includes sites for group buy as well as buy sell swap sites) for you to choose from. I’ll be adding on more to this page as I go, but I wanted to put the main ones up first.
(Disclaimer: I hardly order online and hence have not bought from most of them, hence you would need to use your judgement and do further research. I would highly recommend you compare cost, including shipping cost, taxes, VAT, GST etc, as well as timing of the arrival of books.). I think you can take for given that shipping costs of books from overseas are not cheap, and costs of Chinese books (or of any minority language) overseas has a premium too. Hence that would be a big consideration. Some people prefer to buy books in bulk to spread out the shipping costs, some prefer to buy second hand, some lug back cartons of books every overseas trip and some asks family and friends to ship by sea.
About Traditional Chinese books
Traditional Chinese books are usually from either Hong Kong or Taiwan. There is a slight difference between books from Taiwan and Hong Kong:
- Certain Chinese characters used, but by and large, easily understood by Hong Kongers and Taiwanese.
- Romanisation – Many children’s books from Taiwan also feature zhuyin, which help kids read in Mandarin. Books from Hong Kong usually have no pronunciation guide, or if they do, it will be in pinyin for the reading in Mandarin. Children in Hong Kong learn to read in Cantonese with no romanisation, but they learn Mandarin with pinyin.
Most popular online bookstores in Asia that ship worldwide
These are the most popular bookstores in Asia that carry a wide range of Traditional Chinese books for adults and children, and ship worldwide.
From Hong Kong 香港
Seeds Children’s Bookstore 兒童書店– a great selection of kids’ books. You can order via online, email or phone. I tried online, but the international delivery to where I am seems very expensive in the shopping cart. It is stated on the website that International Transportation cost “Will be advised as per order received. Please contact us at email@example.com for all international shipment.”, so maybe the cost indicated in the shopping cart is not final.
LOGOS Bookfinder – Christian books for kids and adults. Ships internationally.
From Taiwan 台灣
United States 美國
Gloria’s bookstore – majority of books are from Taiwan, but there are also books from Hong Kong, some of which have Cantonese audio. You can also buy sagebooks and C-Pen. When I ordered something pre-COVID, they also offered the option of picking up from their warehouse.
采風書店 – Books for adults and kids, both Traditional and Simplified.
Asian Parent – website has a mixture of Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese books.
Yes Asia– in addition to carrying books, this place also has Hong Kong editions of DVDs (which are in Cantonese).
Yobaby – Traditional Chinese books from Taiwan. Please take note that the interactive books are unlikely to have Cantonese, as they are from Taiwan.
Emi Bookstore – Traditional Chinese books, mostly from Taiwan. Website indicates flat rate $7 shipping throughout US at the time of publication of this post.
China Sprout – sells both Traditional and Simplified Chinese books, and Chinese themed/ cultural items including home décor, arts and craft and toys.
Chinese Bible International / 漢語聖經協會 – a wide selection of kids and adults’ Christian books. They do sell some Simplified books, so be careful when selecting. Within the US, you can select media mail or expedited flat rate shipping (which is a few times more expensive than media mail).
Used Chinese Books by Motherly Notes 中文 ，新，二手書 買賣區 – this second hand books buy sell swap Facebook group has over 4,000 members, and is rather active. Books and learning resources include both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, so pick carefully.
美國地區二手中英文書CD/DVD尋寶及割愛區 – this second hand books buy sell swap Facebook group has almost 2000 members. Books and learning resources include both English and Chinese.
Cubby Hole Books – contemporary children’s books that are in traditional Chinese. Also sells Sagebooks and workbooks. There is also link to flashcards on their Instagram account.
Minute Bookstore – range of children’s books from Hong Kong publishers in Traditional Chinese, suitable for ages 0-5. They have a Cantonese reading scheme, where you can request Jyutping/Yale phonics to accompany your purchase of select Chinese readers.
嘻哈哈 Xihaha – this website sells lots of Chinese-related items including groceries and food. There is a section on Chinese books. The menu on the left hand side allows you to filter the book selection by age, price and other criteria.
港日在英店小二書齋 C9groceries – A new group buy by a HK mum
Bilibala UK Group Buy 中文繪本團購 – group buy for popular Traditional Chinese illustrated story collections for 0 – 7 years old children sourced from Asia.
Used Chinese Children Books in UK – this second hand books buy sell swap Facebook group has over 800 members. Books and learning resources include both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, so pick carefully.
COCM 基督教書 Christian books for adults and kids, mainly Traditional.
Little Kozzi– started by two Hong Kong mums, there is a wonderful selection of Traditional Chinese books – specially curated selection for you to choose from. You can filter your selection by age group or category.
Toronto Chinese Children’s Book Swap 多倫多中文童書買賣交換分享 – In addition to being a buy, sell , swap Facebook group for Toronto parents. this is also the place to discuss Chinese children’s books and local library finds.
小海馬書店 Little Seahorse Bookstore Melbourne Based group buy. They also have a Facebook group 小海馬書店Little Seahorse Bookstore. I participated in a pre-buy, and the communication was good, and I received the book in good condition.
Tplaza 哈台舘國際書店– Has a wide selection of adult and kids books. You can filter your selection in the left menu. I have never bought from them, but their advertising keeps popping up.
Abbey’s Language Bookstore– Has a mixture Simplified or Traditional Chinese books. And lots of learning textbooks and resources. They have a physical bookstore in Sydney.
Books Kinokuniya– Has a mixture Simplified or Traditional Chinese books. They have a physical bookstore in Sydney.
Mini Multilinguals – Up and coming Melbourne-based online book store by Instagrammer @minimultilinguals. There is also a survey you can fill up (link at the bottom of her post) to obtain a 5% off. They carry the popular Bitty Bao board books.
澳洲二手繁體中文書/玩具 Oz Pre-loved Traditional Chinese books and toys – Facebook buy sell swap group. This is fairly new and made it into one of one of this posts later updates.
I have seen Traditional Chinese books on the following:
- Thrift books
You can find some good deals there, but some can be really expensive too. The best deals is someone selling off their second hand books, and selling in bulk. You will have to watch out for Traditional Chinese vs Simplified Chinese books.
I also like to borrow from the library, or arrange book swaps with friends. This helps me to manage my budget, as well as my carbon footprint.
Other blogposts on buying Traditional Chinese books (external links)
Check out these other blogposts on where to buy Chinese books (external links). Some of these have helped me compile my list, especially of the lesser known bookstores. Some also have a more in-depth description of certain bookstores, with the bloggers have sharing their experience of purchasing from some of the bookstores.
- 有澳洲媽媽問，澳洲有中文書店嗎？, 美國的網上中文書店, 英國網上中文書店 by 蕉B大小事 (Traditional Chinese sources)
- Where to Look for Chinese / Cantonese Books by Cantonese Mommy (Traditional Chinese sources)
- Best Chinese Christian Online Bookstores for Kids by Spot of Sunshine (both Simplified and Traditional Chinese sources)
- Best Online Chinese Bookstores with Chinese Children’s Books and More by Chalk Academy (both Simplified and Traditional Chinese sources)
- Where to Buy Chinese Books in the US (2020 update) by Hands on Chinese Fun (both Simplified and Traditional Chinese sources)
- Where to buy Chinese books in Australia by Mandarin Homeschool (both Simplified and Traditional Chinese sources)
You might also enjoy reading:
- Reading in Cantonese to Your Child – Storytelling (口語) or Story Reading (書面語)?
- How To Read To Your Child When Your Cantonese Is Not Fluent
- Free Colloquial Cantonese Kid’s Educational Resources and Printables
- Cantonese Storytime and Book Reading on YouTube
- Storybooks Canada: Early Learning Storybooks
- 輕輕鬆鬆廣東話Hing Hing Sone Sone Cantonese Learning Programme