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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it just me or are books on Amazon France very expensive compared with UK/USA?

I was looking at some very ordinary Livre de Poche books and many are 10 euros or more. And then the shipping?! Thank goodness I will soon be in France, but I was looking at one 8 euro book and it was around 18 euros shipping! From Amazon whose shipping is really cheap from UK/USA?

Anyway, can anyone recommend books or series of books that would help improve my French? Can be biography, history, culture, sci fi, police, or just anything with everyday life in France topics (not romance). Ideally with a lot of dialogue so I can pick up useful conversational phrases.

I remember from my time studying in France the wonderful Sunday morning second-hand (and cheap) book stalls. Are these still a common thing (around Dinon, Jugons les lacs, Megrit areas)?

These really would be throwaways once read, hence my looking for cheappos.
 

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Books on Amazon France are "expensive" because of the law that prohibits booksellers in France from making any discount on the publishers' prices of more than 5%. There was a court ruling here stating that Amazon (and all booksellers) could not sell books by mail without charging for "shipping" - so Amazon France now charges a fixed 0,01€ for shipment of any book within France.

Outside France is a whole 'nuther story. And shipment to Japan has always been expensive (and I suspect involves import taxes of some variety, too).

Can you download e-books from Japan in French? (possibly through Amazon.com the US branch)

Anyhow, for specific recommendations - I'd suggest any of the novels of Marcel Pagnol. Lots of description of the southern French countryside and plenty of repetition of key words and phrases. The stories are more or less a part of French folklore at this point, and at least I found them a fairly easy read. (If you get stuck, you can always find the film versions.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bev

Unlike France, where it seems if you fart you pays VAT or some tax, Japan is Heaven. Never have to pay import taxes/VAT until you get into the hundreds of euro/pounds. And in 20 odd years, I've never been taxed on Amazon buys - and I've bought a lot.

Maybe I should stay here....:)

I'll try Pagnol, but really would prefer just modern everyday cheap pap writings rather than literature.
 

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If you've got an e-reader, a site like Kobobooks has PLENTY of current best sellers and modern pap <g> though you will find the prices to be standard French publisher prices (i.e. expensive). You could also try a freebie like one of the French news sites (hard to find freedies, I admit). I have the l'Express app for daily news and find that I pick up lots of current issues and the relevant vocabulary. There is also a fair amount of French language stuff (cooking lessons, etc.) on YouTube.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If you like "policiers" I recommend Fred Vargas' books. She's a very clever writer and has a real flair for writing natural sounding dialogue that reflects the little verbal ticks that some people have. Detective fiction, but literature rather than pap. Her early ones got me totally addictied and I've read every one, though a couple of the later ones were disappointing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you like "policiers" I recommend Fred Vargas' books. She's a very clever writer and has a real flair for writing natural sounding dialogue that reflects the little verbal ticks that some people have. Detective fiction, but literature rather than pap. Her early ones got me totally addictied and I've read every one, though a couple of the later ones were disappointing.
Thanks. Nice prices from 2 euros, yeah!

But what's with Amazon.fr book previews? Been like this for a couple of days.

Fonction non disponible
Nous sommes désolés mais cette fonction n’est pas disponible pour l'instant. Veuillez réessayer plus tard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you've got an e-reader, a site like Kobobooks has PLENTY of current best sellers and modern pap <g> though you will find the prices to be standard French publisher prices (i.e. expensive). You could also try a freebie like one of the French news sites (hard to find freedies, I admit). I have the l'Express app for daily news and find that I pick up lots of current issues and the relevant vocabulary. There is also a fair amount of French language stuff (cooking lessons, etc.) on YouTube.
Cheers,
Bev
Nah, not into these newfangled e-whatsits. I like a book to look and feel like a book, all tactile like...:)
 

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I remember from my time studying in France the wonderful Sunday morning second-hand (and cheap) book stalls.
You will be pleased to know that in many towns now you can 'borrow' books free from a stand-type arrangement where people can drop off books they no longer require and/or select a book to take away, the bibliothèques de rue - here's an article from back in 2014, and these have expanded throughout France since then - very handy and my experience is that you get a surprising range of books to choose from :) TENDANCE - Les bibliothèques de rue, un best-seller français' - L'Express

Also, I find that the French often give or lend each other books, so a lot of personal exchange also goes on - make friends here and you are bound to have people offer you books once they know you read French.
 

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Definitely, once you get to France, your options will multiply. At our book group within the AVF, we have a couple of participants who haunt all the used book places in the area and in Paris. (Plenty of used book shops in the student district in Paris.) The charity Emmaus has a shop where they have lots of used books at very reasonable prices (i.e. a euro or two, no more).

Those free "libraries" are popping up all over, too. There's one at the local Maison de Santé (something to read while you wait for your appointment?) and there's another one at the shopping mall I go to quite regularly.

If you can wait until you get here, you'll be spoiled for choice.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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