One of my hobbies while travelling is to visit secondhand bookshops or markets.

I find that many countries which are "literary", that have a book / reading culture will have either a part of town full of used bookshops, like Mexico city and Paris do. Or will have a large undercover book market, I think either Barcelona or Madrid had one. Japan has major book chains all over the country with used books. Even Ulan Bator had an area between the teachers' college and the river with a bunch of used book dealers.

Is there an equivalent to any of these in Beijing.

(I'm not looking for English books by the way.)

1 Answer 1


Before I list a few recommendations, I'd like to present two realities for anyone else ever wondering about this in the future:

People in China don't really buy books.

So many books, like music, film and television, is easily downloaded in China. Mainstream book stores exist in China (ex: the Xinhua Bookstore chains), but mostly these stock text books and books on DIY, self-help, business management, the classics, etc... They have very minimal fiction or new Chinese writers, and certainly nothing reflective of a 'reading culture.' If people at all are buying books, they are buying them online (Taobao, Yihaodian, Tmall, etc...) Even Amazon has a site in China now!

People in China don't really buy used things.

Purchasing things is related to quality, which in China is deeply connected to how you are seen by other people, and so the idea of buying something used (or of low/lesser quality) usually seems absurd to most upper-middle class.

With that said, here are some recommendations, but I can't verify that they are still open:

  • Zhengyang Shuju (正阳书局), 76 Langfang Ertiao, (Off Qianmen Dajie), Chongwen district, Phone: 6303 9616

(正阳书局 is probably your best shot)

  • Beijing International Book City (北京出版发行物流中心), 13 Taihu Zhengfu Dajie, Hechuanye Park, Tongzhou district, Phone: 8080 8888

  • Page One, 3B201, China World Trade Centre Phase 3, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district, Phone: 8535 1055

  • 1
    I'm actually intending to buy a copy of a translated world fiction by a nobel winning author. I've found it in several Xinhua outlets but I always prefer pre owned copied for my collection and can always get one from Xinhua in my last city before leaving the country. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 12:31
  • I tried to visit the Beijing Antique Market today (潘家园) but as I walked there and found many distracting things along the way it was closed by the time I got there. I expected it would have more antiquarian/rare/collectible genuine and/or reproduction things rather than just pre-owned books. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 13:38

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