Bookstores Guide for Expats

There are many large book emporiums in Beijing with floors of Chinese-language publications, however, few of these have enough English-language books on offer to make a trip. There are several places, though, with large foreign-language collections that are worth checking out. Bookstores devoted to English-language books are also available in Beijing, though selection is limited.


  • Foreign Language Bookstore. Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District (6512 6911) and Lufthansa Center, 52 Liangmaqiao Lu (6465 1188 ext 421). Large and diverse bookstore carrying different categories of English books. Imported and locally published classics, best-sellers (Harry Potter series, etc.), cookbooks, travel books, and more. There is also a section in Spanish, French, and German. The best selection is found at the outlet in Wangfujing, which houses several floors of books, including one for children’s books.
  • Wangfujing Bookstore. 218 Wangfujing Dajie, Dongchen District (6513 2842). This is one of Beijing’s biggest bookstores stocking Chinese and foreign language books. Although the English language collection is not as vast as that of the Foreign Language Bookstore, the travel guides, maps, best-selling novels, business books, Chinese-language learning materials, and more will keep you browsing for hours.
  • Xidan Books Building. 17C Xichang’an Jie, Xichen District (6607 8477). This book market sells mostly Chinese books but you will find a large assortment of English language books in its basement, including classics, new-ish novels, and other books covering random subjects.
  • The Bookworm. Building 4, Nansanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District(6586 9507). The Bookworm is a bookshop and lending library in one, It has the best selection of English-language books in the city and a selection of English-language magazines as well. A café serving light fare and regular lectures make this a favorite expat haunt.
  • Garden Books. 44 Guang Hua Lu, Embassy District (6585-1435) With an outlet in Shanghai and Suzhou as well, Garden Books is a popular stop for all kinds of imported English language books, newspapers and magazines. The bookshop also helps customers subscribe to foreign language publications. Regular author talks and lectures, as well as once-a-month game and book swap days, make this a popular local bookstore.


  • The Bookworm. Building 4, Nansanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6586 9507). The Bookworm is a bookshop and lending library in one. One-year membership cards costs 300 RMB, half-year 200 RMB, and family membership costs 500 RMB.
  • National Library. 33 Zhongguancun Nandajie, Haidian District (8854 4089). This government institution has a large range of English and other foreign-language editions, including academic titles. Foreigners can only access books at the library and are not permitted to borrow any books.
  • Capital Library. 88 Dongsanhuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District(6735 8114). Foreigners are allowed to borrow books from the Capital Library provided they apply for a card and place a deposit ranging from 100 RMB to 500 RMB depending on the type of borrower’s card. There is a selection of foreign-language books although it is not as impressive as the collection at the National Library.