Despite having scores of colleges, and hundreds of international students, Nanjing lacks a great foreign language bookstore. That being said, there are three bookstores, that when combined will give you access to a wide selection of guidebooks, contemporary fiction and scores of classics. The trick lies in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each store.
1) Phoenix International Book Mall 凤凰国际书城 View In Map
This bookstore is conveniently located off Metro line 1 at the Xuanwumen stop, just follow the signs to Babaiban(八百伴). English language books are hidden away on the 5th floor, and unfortunately many of them do not look brand new. Also, many of the classics are not clearly marked.
The bookstore features a wide variety of recent novels, at very reasonable prices (though no new releases), including piles of 30 RMB cheap romance and mystery novels. Phoenix also has a large selection of young adult books, even though they have humorously placed Twilight under the “Classics” section.
I would recommend this as an excellent place to head to if you are not looking for a specific book and simply enjoy browsing, as it has good variety. Keep in mind, however, that it is not very well organized.
Bonus: There is a Starbucks coffee on the first floor, and a Lego world on the 5th floor.
Add: 1 Hunan Lu, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8365 7000
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 09:30-21:00; Fri-Sun 09:00-21:30
2) Popular Bookmall 大众书局View In Map
Located at Xinjiekou, it is easily accessible from either subway line, and has more new releases than the other two shops combined.
The English book section is on the 4th floor (there is a shop selling musical instruments on the same floor), and is located in the far corner. For an English section, they perhaps should have invested in a sign that would make it easier for foreigners to find.
Although they have a relatively small selection of English books, what they do have is exciting. Drawbacks? The prices are slightly higher than in the other two shops, and all of the guidebooks are stored in a glass case.
This is a great place to head if you have a specific new book that you just have to have now, otherwise I would head to the other two shops first.
Add: 18 Zhongshan Dong Lu, Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8698 2666
Opening hours: 09:00-21:00
3) Foreign Language Bookstore南京外文书店View In Map
Foreign Language Bookstore is located across from the Nanjing Library, just off the Daxinggong subway exit (there are signs in the subway). It has the largest selection of Chinese learning books, as well as scores of classics, and books introducing Chinese culture. The guidebooks it offers are comparable to the two others shops both in terms of selection and price.
It does not offer as many novels as Phoenix International Book Mall, but has more recent releases. It is also better organized than the other two.
While the Foreign Language Bookstore doesn’t compare to the selection you would expect back home, for Nanjing it’s your best bet. Of the three shops the staff here are the most helpful when it comes to answering questions about availability, and don’t mind if you sit and read for a while.
Add: 218 Zhongshan Dong Lu, Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8465 0445
Opening hours: 08:30-19:00
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Keywords: Foreign language books Nanjing English books Nanjing best bookstores Nanjing
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