Continuing with our topic of reading Swedish books, there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed.
- 1. Where to get Swedish books abroad?
Hmmm… That is a very good question indeed. Bokus no longer ships orders to the US, due to problems with the US Customs.
This is very annoying, I know, and I will try to find out who is still willing and able to sell and ship to America. As you’ve probably noticed, the info you can find about it on the internet is painfully outdated. I have sent out a few emails and as soon as I get a reply, I’ll post it here, of course.
In the meantime, if anyone knows of any place that sells Swedish books in the US, and accepts phone or internet orders, please tell us!
If you live in the UK, or Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and so on, you’re in luck, because Bokus still ships to your countries.
Ms. Peters from the Swedish Council of America kindly suggested this internet retailer: Skandimport. However, she also mentioned that she hadn’t used them personally but they did seem to have a nice selection of Swedish language media, including books. Other than that, the cost of importing books from Sweden is simply too high for most North American businesses specializing in Swedish imports.
- 2. Thank you so much for mentioning ljudböcker (audiobooks)!
This is a fabulous idea, indeed. Personally, I’m not a fan of audiobooks – I like the smell and feel of pages of paper, but I agree that ljudböcker can be an excellent language learning help. Especially, if you manage to get a printed copy as well and can follow along while listening.
The nice thing about audiobooks is that you can purchase an MP3 download without bothering with the customs, shipping fees and so on. But if you want an actual CD, this company says they will ship to the US, too: Ljudboken.
They do ask for personnummer when you fill out the registration form, but that is not a required field for foreign customers.
Alternately, if you have friends or relatives in Sweden, you can ask them for help. It will end up costing more, but at least you will get the book you want.
- 3. Reading newspapers and magazines is, of course, a great idea, too.
But do they give the same sense of accomplishment as opening an actual book and reading it from cover to cover in a foreign language? At least for me, they don’t. I have the same problem regarding the reading material on the internet. It’s a great resource, it provides tons of useful information, but can it compete with reading an actual book? I think not.
If someone already reads newspapers, magazines and websites in Swedish, he/she is that much more prepared for tackling an actual book. However, if you want to start with a more advanced book, say, about politics or horticulture, because that’s something you love and already know the appropriate terminology, then go for it. But even if the topic is something that really interests you, such first book can be a very discouraging experience. Therefore, picking an easier read would be a better idea. (Bryce, while I normally would totally agree with you, I also know some people need simplistic as their first book attempt in a foreign language. Otherwise, they may not try reading a book at all – just ask my husband! LOL!)
- 4. Bottom line, only you know your individual preferences and Swedish proficiency level.
What I’m trying to say is that you can start reading books in Swedish at almost ANY language level from intermediate up. It all depends on what kind of book you want to read and ultimately choose.
PS. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll try to sort something out regarding a Swedish book club on the blog.