Thursday, November 6, 2014

English books in Turkey

I love books, but getting books in English here in Turkey is a bit of a challenge. In the US I bought a lot of used books. We do have a Kindle, but I still find it difficult to pay 10-15 bucks for an e-book. I know I can sign up to borrow books on the Kindle, but I'm such a slow reader that I would never finish the books in time. I takes me a good 6 months to read a book. Before you judge, let me say that I'm usually reading 3 books at a time. I don't know why I do this. I just do. Psychoanalyze me if you must.

As far as new books go, there's always Amazon UK or even Ebay UK, although they usually end up costing an arm and a leg because of shipping. A few bookstores here also sell new English books, but, still, the price is pretty steep. Still, it's a nice option to have. For those in Turkey, Remzi Kitabevi seems to have the best selection, and they have stores in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

On to used bookstores, called "sahaf" in Turkish. There are actually used bookstores with a decent selection of English books here in Izmir, and if I'm just looking for some casual reading, that is the place I go. The books there are usually 3-5 bucks. If you live in Izmir or Ankara, here is a website that lists the used bookstores for those cities: Used bookstores

Now with Moonpie in the picture I'm thinking more about building a children's book library since she won't have access to a real library in English like I did when I was a kid. There is a library of leftover books from the old NATO library in Izmir. It's called Kent Kütüphanesi, and it's located across from the Alsancak train station. However, most of the books there are older (from the 70s and 80s). Still, it's a nice resource to have. Here's a website where you can search their catalog (it's in Turkish).

Enter resource #1 - Better World Books. This is a website that sells new and used books, usually for a slightly higher price than Amazon, but they offer free shipping to anywhere in the world. This is amazing for me. The books take a good month to arrive, but Moonpie usually isn't in a rush, so we've placed a few orders now. To me the slightly higher prices are worth not having to lug suitcases full of books around the world. And as a bonus, they are a "social enterprise", which means your purchase with them also supports literacy initiatives around the world.

And my new favorite resource #2 - This is a Turkish website, so if you don't live in Turkey you'll probably not be very interested. Basically, used bookstores all over Turkey have put their inventory online, and you can order through this website. There are also quite a few English books, and you can use the advanced search option to find them. Not an amazing selection, although I did find five books that I had on my wishlist. Most of the children's books were 3-5 lira, which is about 1-2 dollars, and you'll pay another 5 lira or so on shipping, so it's a pretty good deal all things considered. And again, these are books I now won't have to lug (or ask someone else to lug) from the other side of the world.

If you know of another resource for English books outside of the US or UK, please leave it in the comments!