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Buying Chinese books in USA


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When I was in China I took the HSK and got a level 5 on reading. I'm looking to buy some books to keep my studies going and noticed a lack of material on amazon.com, and other online bookstores. Is there any good websites for Chinese learners in the States? Has anyone tried shipping books from amazon.cn? What are shipping rates like? I'm really looking for any advice on how to buy the books and even what kind of books I should be looking at with my current level.

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If your Chinese is good enough to navigate amazon.cn or dangdang.cn, then those sites would be a good choice. I've had books shipped by amazon.cn (when it was still joyo.com) to the US and they arrived in about two weeks. Shipping charges are about the same price as the books, so you are essentially paying twice what one would pay in China, which is still a bargain compared to prices in the US.

If your Chinese level is not quite good enough to use the Chinese sites, then you can also try studychineseculture, a Beijing-based online bookstore that specifically caters to learners of Chinese. Their prices should be lower than what you would find in the US, as well, even after accounting for shipping charges, and their selection is pretty good (though, of course, not as good as amazon.cn or dangdang.com).


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i'm trying to buy some books from amazon.cn, but it doesnt want to take an international credit card even though its an option. after entering everything and confirming it keeps saying "payment failed".

this is the only site i've found the books i want and at the best price. how on earth can i get it to take my payment?? :conf

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I've had trouble with ordering from the US from dangdang and amazon.cn. My payments never went through. I just gave up, but am curious what I did wrong.

Some thoughts on alternatives-

-I've had no problem ordering from books.com.tw (pretty much all traditional books).

-I had a great experience with http://www.studychineseculture.com/, mentioned above. They found two books I was looking for, stocked them, and I ordered. Very easy and pretty quick (their shipping prices/speeds are varied).

-I have an order in with Obook, a taobao agent, so I'll see how that goes. Edit:: I received my order. Everything was pretty quick and easy.

Edited by Gleaves
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On amazon.cn, did you get to the screen shown on the page below when you tried to pay with an international credit card? You should have.


帮助中心 > 如何付款/退款 > 支付方式 > 国际信用卡支付

If you followed the steps there and still got an error message, then I'm not sure what happened. If you can post a screenshot of the relevant web pages for your transaction (with your personal info blurred), maybe we can diagnose what's going on there.

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Are you making (or trying to) the payment on Amazon.cn's own pages. If so, it might be worth trying via one of their third party payment handlers, 首信 (Payease) or 支付宝 (Alipay). I just accidentally closed the relevant page, but when you choose payment options there's a 第三方支付账户支付 - try that rather than 国际信用卡支付.

Could be a bit of a hassle as you may need to create accounts, but it might work. Sorry if that's what you're already trying.

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i followed the directions for 国际信用卡支付, entered my information and confirmed. then it should have loaded up and shown that it went through.

instead i got this message:


* 很抱歉,您在支付订单 , 时,出现如下错误。

您可以登录 我的帐户 查询订单的详细信息。

but it never showed me the 错误 it was talking about. i guess i will give the third party thing a shot. :conf

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I've been using www.bookseed.com to buy books.

The book price is about twice of the original RMB price. So the end result is roughly the same as amazon.cn. They charge a flat shipping fee $4.00 if I remember correctly. Shipping usually takes less than 2 weeks. Books are carefully wrapped in plastic covers. I appreciate that.

I think it's a trustworthy business. No complain about them.

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  • 10 months later...

I did it!


您的订单 , 已经成功支付了¥356.50元

系统处理收款仍需 2-3 分钟,您可以登录 我的帐户 查询订单的详细信息。


At least for Amazon.cn (Dangdang too I think), the problem for many has been this sequence Amazon.cn > Payease > Verified by Visa > enter information = reject notice from Amazon.cn with no explanation.


I had to ask for a temporary unblock of purchases from China! I started with the phone number on the back of the card. They told me that this is what I had to do and gave me the number of my local financial institution's "member services". I asked that purchases from China be unblocked and they gave me a temporary unblock (with duration of my choice) as a routine matter and said O.K.!

Two minutes later, the sequence above looked exactly the same, but ended with that "Success" message! They sent an email too.

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Outofin's suggestion of Bookseed looks like a *very* good one. For example, they list 780 titles from People's Education Press alone, including it looks like all of Yuwen for those interested. These PEP textbook titles continue through high school and beyond. I was amazed to find New Concept Chinese for Children volume 14. Published in April after a delay of a year and a half, *nobody* else that I've seen has it. Another example: searching on 词典 yields 2168 hits, so you'll need to think of some good search terms. (Try searching at Amazon.cn first to get the title, etc, to search with.)

They also take paypal. Just choose "pay with a check" then log onto paypal and send the money to [email protected], citing the order number.

Bookseed and Amazon.cn/Dangdang (see above) should now be enough!

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