Kids' books, written in English, in China. How to?
March 13, 2011 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Let's say, theoretically, I am trying to provide a large quantity of children's books to a school in rural China. Is there a reputable retailer / way of purchasing a large quantity of cheap/used children's books, written in the English language, within mainland China? Or would it be more feasible/cheaper to deliver such books over from another country? In the "other country" scenario, we can can think about either (1) where the books themselves have been donated, and so we are primarily worried about shipping, or (2) where we still have to purchase the books.

posted by demagogue to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have a specific school in mind? If not, there are already existing US-based charities dedicated to turning money into useful aid to students in rural China, e.g. the Hometown Education Foundation.
posted by escabeche at 8:38 PM on March 13, 2011

I sent about 100 children's books to a school in a small developing country last year. This place was so small that purchasing the books locally was not going to be an option. I shipped them from Australia. I found that friends and colleagues were really happy to donate books when they heard about it - even though I didn't even ask them for donations. I had been planning to buy all the books myself. In the end I bought about 20 books (from a church fair) and others donated the rest. Most people also offered to chip in towards shipping costs. The shipping ended up costing about $200, but if everyone donates even just one dollar along with each book they give you, that covers a lot of it.
posted by lollusc at 9:20 PM on March 13, 2011

It's maybe worth mentioning that Better World Books has used books starting from $3.48 (and lots of them at that price), and they have free international shipping. They also have a link to email them about bulk orders--I'm assuming that there's some sort of discount, in that case.

Even if there's not a discount, you're looking at $350 for a hundred books, including shipping--that's hard to beat, IMO.

Not affiliated, though I've purchased through them many times and been very happy with their service.
posted by MeghanC at 11:45 PM on March 13, 2011

There is a charity called Room to Read that builds libraries in remote locations in Asia and Africa. They don't service China (as far as I can tell) but they may be willing to give you some pointers and be the voice of experience.
posted by anastasiav at 8:10 AM on March 14, 2011

You might be able to set up a charity account on Been a while since I did it, but you would get free points to "mooch" books and you could look for kids books from people willing to ship to China, and it might be exciting for the kids to see all the places the books come from.
posted by thymelord at 12:06 PM on March 14, 2011

Be sure that used books are of good quality, not out of date, politically incorrect, ugly, deteriorating, etc.

Chinese children don't deserve the indignity of books that have been weeded out of American school and public libraries any more than African children do.
posted by bad grammar at 5:26 PM on March 14, 2011

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