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Thoughts about reading Dutch books

When I first decided to learn Dutch, I bought a Dutch dictionary and I bought a book in Dutch. Duolingo didn't exist at the time. I did take a class later, but for six months I just read one line at a time. Let me tell you, the first thing you get confused by when you try to read with a dictionary and no teacher is you find out that dictionaries do not have verbs conjugated. I took a 10 week class and that cleared a lot of stuff up. I kept reading.

Since Dutch books aren't easy to come by here in the USA, when I first started reading books in Dutch I would get them off E-Bay. There are not a lot of Dutch books for sale on E-Bay. Some. Since I was eager to read Dutch, that led to some hasty purchases and I quickly learned to wait and buy books in Dutch that I would probably enjoy if they were in English as well. That's extremely important for me. I read by favorite authors and by certain genres.

It's gotten easier to get newly published books direct from the Netherlands now since I've got a Nook, but I still browse Ebay looking for stuff I would like to read in Dutch on paper.

If you look for "Dutch books" on E-bay, let me give you a tip. You will come to depend on the advanced search form because there you can: 1) Exclude certain items from your search. I always exclude: Tamar Myers, Pennsylvania, Dutch Schultz, Oven. Tamar Myers has written a zillion Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries with irritatingly cute titles like "Crepes of Wrath." Pennsylvania Dutch stuff isn't what I want (that Dutch is actually Pennsylvania Deutsch - German), Dutch Schultz has written a dozen religious self help books in English. There are a zillion Dutch oven books. There are about 20 other words I would exclude, but E-Bay puts a limit at about 10. Some of the other words I exclude include "phrase", "dictionary", "Elmore" and "Reagan".
2) I also use the advanced search to limit the selling price. For me, if I can't get it for less than $12, I'm not interested. There are Dutch books on E-Bay for a thousand bucks, first editions.
3) I limit the location of the seller to the country I live in. That's just to save postage.

One of the other place I find Dutch books is on abebooks.com. It's a world wide collection of book stores, and mostly I limit my search to the country I'm in (USA), but surprisingly there are some places internationally whose shipping rates aren't bad; they just take a while. Powell Bookstore has more Dutch second hand novels than any other bookstore in the USA. Amazon has a few Dutch novels, but not many.

If you've read this far, you must like Dutch books. Things change, but usually I have a few I've read that I will part with. I don't sell them. I send them to other Dutch readers when I'm overstocked. You can message me and let me know if you want a Dutch book. If I can, I'll send it on. It's true, I do appreciate a note with the cost of postage I spent to send it to you, but I don't sell my Dutch books. I know how hard they are to come by. Just paying it forward.

January 8, 2015



I found a good deal of Dutch books on Amazon. There's like 200,000 available on Amazon! I bought one about how to talk to people with schizophrenia. I find psychology interesting, so maybe words will stick! :D


Friend, one day I would like to have a kopje koffie met jou! I love your enthusiasm and every time I look at your profile picture I laugh.


That's cool! I did that for German (read the whole Harry Potter series) and now I'm reading the Hunger Games in Spanish. However, I learned a good amount first, instead of trying to read a book from scratch.


I've read the Stieg Laarson series in Dutch and some of the Harry Potter (can't seem to find all of them here). Great idea to have or at least be familiar with a work before reading it in Dutch translation. I also do the same with some of Arnon Grunberg's works.


That's a great idea! If you only did Spanish instead of Dutch. Now that I think about it, I might need some Dutch oven books. Got Any? Lol


Thank you for that. I'm here working on Abstract Nouns, Part 2. I'm frantic to finish the tree so I can start the reverse course and try to consolidate what I've learned- so I can start reading Dutch. My goal is, of course, Het Achterhuis and then, at some point, Harry Mulisch's De aanslag. Of course, you've read the latter already but if by any chance you haven't, you must.


I have read De Aanslag, though in English. Found it at my brother's house on a visit. Great book. If you like De Aanslag you will probably like HHHH by Laurent Binet, originally in French, though now translated in a lot of languages.


Thank you friend. I've read The Assault twice now and really like it. I'll look out for the Binet book. I'm trying to read kids books in Dutch and I've started working with a online tutor through Italki. This compulsion to learn Dutch started when a friend introduced me to Duolingo and I decided to "brush up" my French. Now it's Dutch, all the time. I'm going to Amsterdam to visit a friend in July so I'll pick up a few books!

[deactivated user]

    For the Europeans try bol.com. It is like amazone but originally German ( I think, at least it is Northern European) As I live in the Netherlands I order my English books there but you should be able to use it the other way around too.


    I am a regular customer of bol.com, especially for the their E-books.


    If you already know enough dutch to navigate a dutch website you might want to try the site marktplaats.nl . It is like ebay with slightly different rules, but dutch people prefer it to ebay.nl . The main different is that bidding isn't binding and details have to be agreed on with the owner itself. Most dutch people speak reasonable English and you can contact them to ask whether they consider international shipping and international payment methods.


    Shipping to Britain is probably not bad but for the USA, international shipping is ridiculously expensive and I always avoid it.


    You could aslo try to read a 'digital' book. There are more of them available online, legally. Most of them are old books, so the language sometimes is a bit archaic. Have a look at http://www.gutenberg.org for example. Another good site is http://www.bulkboek.nl/klassieken . You can find short stories there, and dutch literary classics. I would recommend "Reinaert de Vos", as that is a very nice story to read. Hope you enjoy reading books!


    I will check it out. I have a Nook and digital has been great to bypass shipping costs and get new titles. One of the original classics was revisited as the novel De scheepsjongens van Bontekoe, by Johan Fabricius, which I have and enjoyed reading.

    [deactivated user]

      If you liked that book try the books of Tonke Dragt en Simone van der Vlucht. They are childrens books but like de Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe it is about kids going on an adventure.


      De Brief voor de Koning by Tonke Dragt has just been published in English- The Letter for the King. It has been published by Pushkin Press who also did a translation of Minoes by Annie Schmidt/The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof. I'm hearing very good things about The Letter for the King. It's a bit long but it was written for 12-15 year olds, I would guess, so it shouldn't be too, too difficult. Looking forward to reading it in English as a start. Next year in Jerusalem!

      [deactivated user]

        It is a great book one of my favorites. It is a classic knight story and indeed written for 12 to 15 years old. There is a second book as well. Geheimen van het wilde woud. Bloedgeld is a childrens book for 12 to 15 years old by Simone van der Vlugt and it is about pirates and the VOC so lots and lots of Dutch history as well.


        Thank you - very useful information!


        Regarding reading simplified stories in Dutch, if anyone is interested in that, I am publishing such stories, you can find info on that here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23942286

        Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.