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How to find and buy books (written in English) in Israel

Non-fiction books in a pile

 As an oleh chadash (New Immigrant) from North America, I like to get my fix of English books. Due to the amount of books I read, I decided to look for a reasonable price for some of the non-fiction books that I read. 

Surprisingly, many book store chains such as צומת ספרים or סטימצקי actually have 1 or two shelves with english books. I have seen Game Of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and even Startup Nation. Unfortunately, it seems like they carry only the extremely popular fiction books, they do have a decent amount of children's books and teen literature as well... But it isn't my cup of tea...and the prices seem to be more expensive than in other countries...

If you like to get the newspaper, they also have the international version of the New York Times, Jerusalem Post (english) and several other newspapers/magazines. 

If you don't mind used books, there are some cities with the ESRA organization and they have used book stores in Modiin and Raanana (in addition to some other cities). 

Interestingly, the train station also has a "library" in which you are allowed to take a book for your journey with the expectation of returning the book to one of their bookshelves (the location doesn't matter). On occasion, I was able to find some English Literature which comes in handy. Some cities also have lending libraries and Jerusalem even has a street corner one. 

For those of you with an e-reader or tablet, you can buy or rent e-books for much cheaper than  a hard copy. One of the major downsides is that you are not permitted to read from an electronic book reader (of any type) on Shabbat or Yom Tov. 

If you want a book that isn't available locally (whether it's new, not as popular or not in circulation), this is for you! 

Here are several sites that you can order books from with free shipping, it is worthwhile to shop around and compare prices if you can:

Also note that if you spend $75 or more, there is a chance that you'll have to pay VAT of 17% in addition to other fees... It is best to split up your order (if possible) 

I have used the following sites personally and can give a recommendation 

Amazon - free shipping to Israel on eligible orders of $49 and up (they also sell used books and e-books)

These have free global 2 week shipping but unfortunately there is a chance of delay or issues with shipment: 

BetterWorldBooks (They sell both used and new books)... they occasionally have coupons, try ARCHIVE25, STOCKUP22, BOOKS4GOOD, etc.

Project Gutenberg has many free book downloads - this is due to the fact that their copyright has expired making them free to sell/use/giveaway

I haven't used the following personally, but they are worth looking into:

Rebooks (Israeli company) - second hand book store, mostly Hebrew books (from 20 NIS and up)

Eva's Used Books (Israeli company) - second hand books in english (in Israel) 

Blackwells (UK Company) - free shipping to Israel

Waterstones (UK Company) - reasonable prices but no free shipping

AwesomeBooks - they charge shipping for the first book only (everything else is free)

BookDepository (owned by amazon) - free shipping but with no tracking. They often have coupons and promotions! - check the code SUMMER10 for 10% off (expires July 24th 2022). In addition, it is worth while turning on a VPN and trying to check prices from different countries. Lastly, some group members recommended comparing book prices with their competition.  

Book depository has since closed down

Free books:

Local library: unfortunately the library system is privatized for the most part with very few libraries receiving municipal or government funding. Some cities like Beit Shemesh have a for profit library but other larger cities are more fortunate. In addition, you may be able to access a library at a college or university near where you live. 

If you are still a member of your city's library in the US, you can try to sign up for one of their e-book programs such as OverDraft/Libby. 


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