Life Hack: Secondhand Books

Finding books in English has thankfully become much easier with Amazon. However for those of us that like the experience of browsing for books, it’s still a bit of a struggle in Paris where most books are in French.

There’s the obvious options of course. You can go to Shakespeare and Company or WHSmith but you are going to pay an incredible markup for a book. Not to mention supply is limited so stock will mostly be popular books.

There’s also the option of Giberte Jospeh. I happen to like them because they have relatively low prices, and you have the option of buying second hand. But again the stock is limited.

I’ve heard the American Library has a sale from time to time but I’ve never had the luxury of catching one. Check their website for details on upcoming ones. I think they probably only happen once a year.

You can also stroll around and check out the numerous book stores around the city. I used to find some English second hands at the newsagent in my neighborhood when I lived on rue Cler. The number of Americans in the neighborhood really helped. 

I also found some by chance when I was walking around Notre Dame des Champs and spotted some English titles. The titles available aren’t always great. It can be hit or miss, but the hunt can sometimes be the best part. When you actually find some dusty old book with English words amongst the hundreds of French, it’s like finding gold. 

Luckily I found out about the SOS sales given by the American Cathedral in the 8th. They only happen twice a year but when I tell you I clean up at these sales, I come out with so many books I had to take two trolleys. And if you happen to forget to bring a trolley, they are so nice they provided Monoprix bags (the rice paper ones) to lug them home. Check Facebook for the info on their next sales.