Swedish Language Blog

Reading Books in Swedish, continued… Posted by on Apr 28, 2009 in Swedish Language

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 As you’ve probably noticed, the info you can find about it on the internet is painfully outdated.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.

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  1. Len Whitney:

    I had the same problem getting books shipped to the US, but megastore.se, which is a CD/DVD/videogame/book internet store, does have a good selection of currently popular books.

    The prices are reasonable, but the shipping fee to the US is a flat 10 euros, so it’s best to place a hefty order to not end up spending more on shipping than the books themselves.

  2. carol goller:

    1a. Buying books in Swedish: This woman in San Diego, California has books for sale and will do mail order. (Of course, it’s just the books she has but she might be able to order from Sweden.)


    1b. I am a volunteer at the library at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Los Angeles, California where we lend books in Swedish as well as Norwegian. We sell our overflow books for fifty cents each and if you are ever anywhere near the harbor in San Pedro, you are welcome to come in and check the sale shelves (there is no list but I think I remember that we have some Liza Marklund and Håkon Nesser, for instance, and some children’s books). However, you can look at a list of the books in the library collection by going to the website , clicking on “Bibliotek” and clicking on the booklist. Do a “find” on whatever you are looking for. I think you will be impressed by the number of bestsellers and classics in our collection. Contact me or the church if you have any questions.



    4. I agree that reading what you need or are interested in is the best thing. I particularly recommend “how-to” stuff in general because you pick up necessary vocabulary quickly. They are not interested in style or variety but always use the same word to mean the same thing and are not subtle. Folk dance instructions were my beginning reading while I know people who began with embroidery or sewing instruction or recipes.

  3. Carol Goller:

    Buying books in Swedish (continued)

    Here is one more source I’ve ordered from:

    Tina Sjöbeck
    268 Bush Street, #3331
    San Francisco, CA 94104

    Phone 415 508 3733
    Fax 408 762 4498

  4. Charlie Anderson:

    Here is where I made my latest purchase:

    Antikvariat Erato
    e-mail: mailto:order@antikvariaterato.se Karlavägen 12, Box 6329, SE-102 35 Stockholm, Sweden
    phone: +46 8 654 96 00 fax: +46 8 543 531 51 business hours: Wed-Fri 4 pm-6 pm.

    I have found other booksellers in Sweden that will ship to the US as well. Most accept a VISA card.


  5. Peter Miller:

    Hi Anna
    How are Mother’s Day and Fathers day celebrated in Sweden?
    Grattis på Mors dag. Är detta korrekt?

  6. tahir:

    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.

  7. Cattis Lundborg:

    *FOUND* Swedish books in America.
    [b]Thank you![/b]

    I followed the suggestions above as a starting point, and a bit of research on my part paid off.

    I found three sites I can recommend:

    Scandinavia Express

    Nordic Books Online

    (Also recommended by Ms. Peters from the Swedish Council of America, above)