Finding English Books in Taiwan

[color=#0000FF]Original Title: Bookstores[/color]

Where do people (ex-pats) go for a good range of english books and music? I’m well aware of amazon etc for buying things online but I’m a traditionalist at heart and I like browsing shelves. From that, does anyone recommend any good places that has a great range of books and music?

The best selection of English science-fiction/fantasy books can be found on the second floor of the Silex Bookstore on Jinhua St. a block or so west of its intersection with Xinsheng S. Road (where it hits Da-an Park). There’s a Subway sandwiches just down the street to the west, as well as the bar DV8. A far better selection than can be found at either Eslite, Fnac or Caves.

For music, Tower and Fnac. If the whole world music/ethnic/niche music thing is more your bag, check out the Eslite music store. Its in the alley behind the Kungkuan branch of Eslite books. [[color=red]edit by the mod: the Eslite music shop has been closed[/color]]
Its a nice space.

For books, Fnac seems to rotate its stock a bit more than Eslite – you can avoid Eslite for 3 months and the same old things are still on the shelves when you go back.

Bookman at 88 Hsin Sheng S Rd. (opposite NTU) is the best I’ve found for English literature, poetry, biography etc. A much better selection than Eslite and English only so it’s easier to browse. They do however have a lot of heavy stuff like literary criticicsm as I guess they’re a main stockist of university text books.

I can never remember the name - no - I actually dont KNOW the name - but it is in B1 under a coffee shop on Renai between Fuxing and Jienguo… maybe its Caves??? Has a great range of coffee table stuff.

What is your fave and why?

I used to like Eslite (the big one on dunhwa) because of the rather large selection of English books. Now I find that the selection has been spread around throughout the store and it is not quite as good as before.

Caves-for my trash novel reads… but it is out of the way for me so I don’t get there much…

ABSOLUTE FAVE??? POWELLS City of Books in Portland Oregon. Largest independent bookstore in the States!

Second Eslite on Dunhua. The Tai Da branch isn’t too bad either.

Aboslute Fave: Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London.

Favorite in Taipei: Eslite Main Store at Tun Hua and An Ho

But I usually end up asking them to help me search for books in their database and then having to trek around to other branches to pick up the one that is available.

If I had time, I’d browse Caves, Bookman (across TaiDa, above McD) and Lai Lai more. btw, the Hess Bookstore at Tonghua St and HsinYi Road surprised me recently and I’ve found some good titles there, too

For used books and magazines: two suggestions:

  1. Kuanghua, below the overpass, go to the lower level
  2. Kong Kuan, there are a couple of hole in the wall looking places that sell 2nd hand books. You can find one of them (I think) by starting in front of the Yoshinoya on Roosevelt and walking south (towards Hsintien). At the next lane (or the one after) look to your right. In this area are 3 or 4 specialty Chinese bookstores (medicine, engineering, etc.) Nearby one or two of these are used book stores.

I agree with most of the posters here–the best bookstore in Taipei is the Eslite on Dun Hua South Road. I like the selection of magazines, appreciate the Chinese literature in translation they often promote, and find some gems among the Western fiction sections. I also like the cheap paperback classics they sell. I hope they don’t discontinue that.

Did anyone else pick up the novels in translation written by Taiwanese authors (e.g. Rose, Rose, I Love You) that were out about six months ago? I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. I do read some mainland-authored novels in Mandarin, but local stuff is hard for me to get through in the original.

My favorite bookstore back home is a chain called Borders and a used bookstore called Changing Hands.

Hard for me to remember what bookstores are like now that I’ve become an Amazon addict. used to be the total shiznit – a flat shipping rate of 10 pounds sterling, irrespective of order size. I got two orders of more than 30 books each time, many of which were already half-price. They stopped that eventually, however, and rather than simply offering more realistic shipping, they just stopped all overseas orders. Pillocks.

I sometimes pop into Fnac, though, which I like more than Eslite – at least their stock appears to change from time to time. I remember Eslite used to be pretty good, but a few years ago their policy seemed to change and you could avoid the place for months at a time, only to find more or less exactly the same titles on the shelf when you went back.

In Scotland, I suppose it has to be James Thin or Waterstones.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that Eslite is lousy. While they cover certain sections quite well, such as art, their stock of history books is appallingly bad. I still think the literature section in Bookman is the best in town. FNAC is great if you’re shopping for French books.

I went to a fantastic bookstore in Singapore. It had a better selection of books than any other bookstore I’d ever been to, including any in London. Lots of books I’d never seen anywhere else. There cinema section fro example, had more books than the three cinema bookstores I’d been to in London.

It was called Kinokuniya.

They were expensive though, and there were certain books they didn’t have due to the strict censorship there.


There are a couple of Kinokuniyas here but they mostly seem to cater to Japanese customers, e.g. the one in the Breeze center. The one in Singapore is great, of course, they even carry German children’s books. Isn’t it one of the largest bookstores in Asia?

I buy most of my books here at Taida Eslite (because it’s just across the road) or at FNAC (the French ones). Bookman’s is great, too, though it took me a while to realize where and what it was. Isn’t exactly obvious, even if you walk by all the time. I’ve also bought a couple of books at Grandma Nitti’s before. I’m not really a fan of online bookstores, I like to check out books in the store and buy whatever looks interesting.


[quote=“Sir Donald Bradman”]They were expensive though, and there were certain books they didn’t have due to the strict censorship there.


If you’re refering to books/magazines with photos of naked ladies :shock: , you should check out the art bookstores. It’s alot like here in Taiwan. Whenever I want an imported Playboy or Penthouse, I put on my black beret and… :laughing:

Silex near Da An park has an amazing selection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It’s almost like being in a real book store. Certainly a larger selection than any other bookstore in Taipei.


[quote=“Edward Greenbottom”]Silex near Da’an park has an amazing selection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Do they have comics? I just remembered that I used to love Jeff Smith’s “Bone” series but had to stop reading when I left Germany.


[quote=“Edward Greenbottom”]Then there is one whole wall of nothing but English sci-fi/fantasy books. Sadly, no comics.


A whole wall :smiley: . I hear they also have RPGs. I’m coming up in August and am planning to go to Silex and drool.

Now if we can get a Gamesworkshop shop to open.

Yep. Almost all of it is WoTC and White Wolf/Sword and Sorcery Studios, though they do Chaosium’s Call of Cthulu and the 1920’s Investigator’s Guide.


James Thin’s in Edinburgh was bought over by one of the larger book companies. Sorry Sandman! Another independent gone. It was closed last summer for renovation work (South Bridges branch)


James Thin’s in Edinburgh was bought over by one of the larger book companies. Sorry Sandman! Another independent gone. It was closed last summer for renovation work (South Bridges branch)


Oh for FUCK’S sake! Thins was a cracking shop! I thought they were doing OK, too – didn’t they also have a branch in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street? So I guess that means its Waterstones or … um … Waterstones for books in Edinburgh? That is really sad news. They had one of the best antiquarian book departments I’ve ever seen.