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Source for books, audiobooks

RKSMT
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I remember I went through a lot of trouble trying to find Le Petit Prince a long time ago when I wanted to use it to help my French studies. I remember I had to, I think, buy off the french amazon page. And since I didn't know French its was a risk as to what i was pressing. Now I tried to find a book in Russian to do the same, but was not finding anything on amazon and I'd hate to go on the Russian amazon and do the same. Does anyone have any source for english speakers to buy books and audiobooks in other languages?

And then while I'm at it any suggestions on what book to read. I was thinking of reading Harry Potter since everyone has. My other preference would be a book written in Russian (I picked Le Petit Prince for that reason), but something more for children. Or does anyone suggest taking on more advanced vocabulary? It would have to be a book that is available in both written and audio form.

3 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Davu
Davu
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Many out-of-copyright books are available in both written and audiobook form free of charge. Try looking through the Librivox catalog: https://librivox.org/ Currently there are a 53 items in Russian and 429 in French.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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(Man, I've written a book here. But it ought to be useful to you, I hope.)

Are you talking about the U.S.? That's from where I order Russian (and French) books. You are right, ordering books from a foreign language website can make you a bit anxious at first! But it's great practice in using the foreign language.

I order in Russian but you don't have to: some of the sites list a phone number you can call. You can order in Russian by phone, I suppose, but if you do call you can ask (trot out your best Russian) and they will find someone to take your order in English. My wife has done this at the first site listed below (St-Petersburg Press), successfully and quite happily, without speaking any Russian. The second site listed (setbook.us) has a catalog number for each book and suggests that you order by phone. I haven't tried this but am sure they will be happy to find someone to take your order in English, if you have the catalog number(s) ready. The same site has an English language interface, but it used to (at least) flip back to Russian whenever you changed pages, which was rather inconvenient--I've never bothered mentioning it to my wife for this reason.

The 4 places I usually order from are:

  • ruskniga (or, St-Petersburg Press), which has a good selection of books, often lists books on sale, packs well, but is not quite so competitive in price (although much better than many other bookstores)
  • setbook.us, which has an excellent selection, has good prices when s/h is also considered, but does not pack all that well
  • ozon.ru, which is in Russia, all in Russian, has a great selection, and packs very well
  • ozonru.com, which is a U.S. subsidiary of the 2nd site, has a great selection (the same as ozon.ru or virtually the same), and packs very well.

Prices have gone up lately, but are still not bad. The cheapest shipping and handling for the U.S. is from St-Petersburg Press or setbook.us, last time I checked, but their price per book is higher. Generally the two ozon sites are least expensive overall (although their shipping and handling is high), but not by much. It depends on how many books you order. What you can do is format your order ("shopping cart") on several sites, have the merchants compute s/h, and order whichever works out best.

There are several other sites in the U.S. that are all in English except for the book titles themselves. Generally their selection is smaller and their prices higher. There are other very good sites in Russia, but generally their selection is not as wide as the above (although I haven't looked around lately).

Oh. audiobooks. Ordering them directly from Russia is not allowed--by law, I guess. You can order them from the first two sites listed (and others in North America with higher prices), but the selection is not as good as it used to be. Many Russian online bookstores offer download of audio books, but I have not tried this.

And the fifth place I order from is ebay. I have, literally, ordered hundreds of books from them in French and Russian. The merchandise is used, usually, but if you buy carefully you can procure plenty of good reading. There are some audiobooks offered there, but usually at high prices.

As you may have guessed if you've read this far, this is a favorite subject of mine. Especially in regard to audiobooks, and specific books for starting out with, there is more to say. Please don't hesitate to ask questions.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
RKSMT
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You've been more than helpful, which makes me hate to ask, but did you already know Russian before buying all those books or did you learn through the use of "reading books", if so how was that process, easy, hard.... Also/or what book would you suggest as a first book, bear in mind I know absolutely no Russian, zero? Thank you again.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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You're welcome. So I won't keep saying it: if you have any questions, just ask away. I'll try to be brief. ( . . . Yeah, well I guess that didn't work.)

. . . did you already know Russian before buying all those books or did you learn through the use of "reading books" . . ..

Already I knew some Russian--from years ago in college, and then from starting to relearn it. There's probably no way I could have ordered books in Russian without knowing any Russian, and as it was the first time or two of ordering in Russian was pretty nerve racking. You know what it's like from your experience with French. Often ebay entries are in English and Russian, and I often ordered among them at first.

Also/or what book would you suggest as a first book, bear in mind I know absolutely no Russian, zero? Thank you again.

Do you want a primer (a textbook) or some kind of reading book?

If you want to start w/ Le petit prince, as it's familiar to you, there are some print copies advertised on ebay: Маленький принц--Le petit prince in Russian. You can enlarge the photos of the text and see what you think. Or you can try listening to some of it on YouTube.

Other books are available. If you don't mind reading such books, there are translations of Dr. Seuss (i.e. audio and text, which is different on a few lines) and well-known Russian stories for little kids that you could try. Lots of books at the level of Pippi Longstocking can be found. Are there any books from your childhood that you would like to try? Many, many books have been translated into Russian. Audiobooks may be a problem to find to buy. You can often find "samples" online, if you want to try listening first.

. . . was that process, easy, hard . . .

If you know no Russian, I really think even simple books like these could still be too hard. Use your experience with French to guide you. In any case, don't be discouraged if a book does not work out, but just put it aside until your skills improve, and maybe write back for different suggestions. Learning Russian this way is do-able. You just have to figure out what works best for you, and you just have to keep working at it.

FWIW, what worked for me was to work partway through a primer and then to start trying to read what I was interested in while continuing through the primer. Then I worked on other primers and other reading books and on browsing the Internet. There's a book that describes this fairly well that's not hard to find (How to Speak Any Language, by Barry Farber, which is llinked to here at the bottom of the page), or I could say more if you like.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
RKSMT
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I'm going to take your advice. Thankfully I found a Russian only bookstore, a drive away, but in my city. So I won't have to go through the website issues we've talked about. However, I will record the websites you provided and once I know a little Russian I'll manuver my way through them to further my studies. So I'll buy a book, I'll see what they have hopefully something with low vocabulary that has a matching audiobook (so I can hear the pronounciations) and again as you say if it prove to be too much, I'll just set it aside get a primer and pick it up again when I'm ready.

I don't think there should be a problem, the little prince has been pretty straight foward for me. Open the book, look up each and every word. I may not know the grammer, but with the combination of words I'll get the gist of it. Then little by little I look up less and less words as I learn more and more words. And then through simply reading I'll get the grammer through inference.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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> Thankfully I found a Russian only bookstore

This is great! (I'm jealous.) I hope you find some really good books and audio.

Chugging through a book as you are doing definitely works. Keep it up. If you have questions about particular books, ask and I'll tell you what I can. Or study methods (although I doubt mine are worth emulating), or anything. You might want to take some cues from that Barry Farber book I mentioned should you feel uninspired at some time..

Enjoy yourself. Russian like any other language is a lot of work, but it is really a marvelous language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RKSMT
RKSMT
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Yeah, the typing is going to be a challange to look up words, I almost want to take the more expensive option and buy a dictionary to sidestep that boulder of an obstical. Either way well worth it, as you say Russian is a marvelous language. For me, Romance languages aside, Russian has to be the most beautiful language.

I will check out that book when I have the time and of course take advantage of all that you provided. Thanks again and take care.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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> typing

Yes, until you learn it it will definitely slow you down on the keyboard. There are a few option for how to proceed w/ typing in Russian, and a "crutch" or two that may help. Ask if this is something you are interested in pursuing.

What may help right away if your text is on the computer is to install a browser extension that does simple translations. It would not be as good as a good dictionary (either software or in print) but these extensions are extremely convenient. There are probably several good ones. What I'm using right now with the Chrome browser on Windows 7 is one called TransOver, which works just fine.

You can find used dictionaries (printed) fairly cheap on ebay, and the Russian bookstore should have some that aren't terribly expensive.

3 years ago