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Readers > French Books: The Cheapest Way

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message 1: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Current personal reality requires economy in buying books. So I've been wondering about how to buy French books without all those horrendous trans-ocean shipping costs. Looked at Montreal bookstores. Am familiar with Gallica and ABU for the golden oldies. Have dealt with Schoenhof's in the past. What say ye all? What are the best ways you have found to acquire specific French books at the lowest possible cost?

message 2: by William (new)

William Graney I recently spent about $30 on a €12 cookbook from so I'd be interested in knowing that as well.

message 3: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Sorry to hear it, William! There's got to be a better way!

William wrote: "I recently spent about $30 on a €12 cookbook from so I'd be interested in knowing that as well."

message 4: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 16, 2012 12:35PM) (new)

Rozzer I just found that if we go to "edit profile" and click on the "book links" tab, we can then find foreign book suppliers if we change the country in the "popular links" column on the right. It only uses abbreviations, and they're not in alphabetical order (strange) but they're there, and they have FR for France if you look down the list. They have all the usual suspects, but nothing I consider new and potentially cheaper. Take care!

message 5: by Rozzer (new)

Rozzer Well, I found "French Books Online", an apparently American operation somewhere here. Looking around what they have I guess they're possibly a bit better than ordering from France but I haven't quantified it. The Pleiade "Monte Cristo" that I bought twenty years ago for $60 is now $100. Not all that terribly outrageous. But I haven't compared it to FNAC plus shipping or plus shipping. Also, they have no book search on their website, nor any provision for special orders. If they have what you want, great. If not, look elsewhere. They're at:

message 6: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 16, 2012 12:37PM) (new)

Rozzer Here's another: I've used Project Gutenberg since they started up, but hadn't ever realized that you can search the Gutenberg catalogue by language. Here's a link to their books in French:

Browse By Language: French

There are some interesting ones here that aren't the classics of which we think automatically. For example, there's the Histoire de Pierre Lapin (Beatrix Potter) rendered into French:

And then there's Marie ou l'Esclavage aux Etats-Unis by Gustave de Beaumont ( Beaumont was Tocqueville's buddy and companion and co-worker when they visited the States in 1831 or whenever. Beaumont was truly appalled by southern slavery and returned to France to write this book about it (long before Uncle Tom's Cabin) while Tocqueville was writing "De la democratie en Amerique." No one knows about either Beaumont or his book, but here it is.

And then of course there's the world renowned "Des homicides commis par les aliénés", by Emile Blanche

As well as, of course, Les mystères de Paris in five volumes:

In other words, an interesting place to while away the hours.

Take care!

message 7: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 16, 2012 12:55PM) (new)

Rozzer Okay. Paydirt. Never heard of these guys but here they are:

French Books Literature Main Page, European Book Company in Oakland, California:

They have a LARGE French discount page ("Bargain French Books, Out of Print, Older editions") at this address: that everyone should read. These are some of their prices (with shipping being domestic from Oakland): Derriere chez Martin (Ayme) $3.95; Le lys dans la vallee (Balzac) $4.95; Cesar Biroteau (Balzac) $3.95; Les paradis artificiel (Baudelaire) $2.95; etc., etc., etc. In other words, everyone needs to check out this place. I haven't ordered from them yet (no money), but as soon as I can, this is a place I'll examine very, very closely.

message 8: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 16, 2012 12:55PM) (new)

Rozzer This is a very classy and clickable list of all bookstores in Montreal created and maintained by McGill University:

Individual Montreal Bookstores

Very interesting. Haven't had the time to explore it fully, but there are lots of interesting websites for French books.

message 9: by Khouloud (new)

Khouloud Khammassi (khouloud_khammassi) | 2 comments Chroniques Hebdo by Tahar Fazaa

Ce best seller tunisien d'humour noir est gratuit le 12 et 13 juillet

message 10: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (reweiher) | 2 comments I've personally found a good number of books in French through Amazon, and not even Amazon France, but US Amazon. They're also often Prime eligible.

message 11: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 92 comments Recommendations are always welcome, Rachel!

message 12: by Rachel (last edited Sep 22, 2016 04:19PM) (new)

Rachel (reweiher) | 2 comments Leslie wrote: "Recommendations are always welcome, Rachel!"

You've got it! Here's a general link to French language books on Amazon:

And here are some personal recommendations (though it really depends what genre/difficulty level/etc. you're looking for):

Older French lit, including plays:
Manon Lescaut, Prévost (
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Molière (This is the same edition I used in school, and it's really nice:
Voyage dans la Lune, Cyrano de Bergerac (

20th century:
Fin de partie, Samuel Beckett (not technically French, but written in French -

Contemporary Francophone lit, spec. about the immigrant experience:
Le Ventre de l'Atlantique, Fatou Diome (
Bleu, blanc, rouge, Alain Mabanckou (

And so on... honestly, I just type in the titles I'm interested and only a rare few have actually not come up with any results. Most yield at least one French edition that's Prime eligible, and if not - then it's usually a few French editions that are sold through Amazon Marketplace (for example, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Volume 1 is widely available in English, but the French editions are only available through Marketplace).

Hope this helps!

message 13: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 92 comments Thanks, Rachel! Come to think of it, I have gotten French language books through Amazon from time to time; I'd love to find more for Kindle, because it's so easy to look up unfamiliar words on that!

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