Livres and Bücher

Abingdon is a curious place in lots of ways - one day I'll get round to blogging about Abingdon in a bit more depth (the mysterious Abingdon blogger does a good job anyway). For those wanting to know more, we've amassed a goodly selection of books about the town and surrounding area in the shop. One thing about Abingdon that impacts heavily on us (in a good way!) is the large community of French and German language speakers who live here. There are many reasons for this: proximity to Oxford, location of UK headquarters of Miele, the European School down the road at Culham, and various internationally-renowned research centres dotted about nearby (notably at Culham and Harwell - in fact, having just checked now, Culham have the best location map of any website I've seen in a while - why does this look like something produced by Douglas Adams?). As well as a chance to try out my slightly rusty German occasionally, it does mean (for example) that we have quite a few books in translation (for our size), and books from publishers like the splendid Winged Chariot have done very well in the shop. But now we'd like to stock a small but significant range of French and German-language children's books - but I really don't know where to start on this. Someone once told me that ordering French-language books can be a bit of a challenge (most are not carried by the UK wholesalers), but at the moment it's knowing what the "must-haves" might be in any range we carried. "Le Petit Prince", "Le Livre Des Mots" by Richard Scarry and "Harry Potter A L'Ecole Des Sorciers" is about as far as I've got (I'm sad to say). We shall be discussing this with customers over the next few weeks...I'll let you know what the final line up is...


  1. I don't know about what's top and what's not... will ask kids tomorrow, but Folio Junior seem to have a monopoly on children's books over here in France. I believe they are an imprint of Gallimard.

  2. Andy Laties3:18 am

    I would suggest you test the market with graphic-novel/albums as Tin-Tin and Asterix, in French. This genre of long-form comic-book is absolutely a gigantic opportunity, I think. You might need to plan a buying trip to the continent to stock up.

  3. Thanks for these suggestions - I've also been asking some of our customers for recommendations as well, so I'm developing a small list. The shopping trip idea is a good one Andy (although when that will be fitted in I don't know!). Purchasing French-language books through UK wholesalers (apart from the obvious ones) is a bit of a non-starter as far as I can gather.

    I'll look into Folio Junio (and dust off my O-level standard French no doubt...)

  4. Anonymous11:50 am

    Hi there

    just to let you know our next publication will be french we are delighted our books have done well



  5. Thanks for making us your featured bookseller as well Neal!

  6. I might be able to help there if not to late. I am french and i am opening my own bookshop in UK. I will stock some french books for children. I can send you my list (and publishers) once it will be finalised if you want.