A Bit of China Books History

We just updated our about page with a bit of history about China Books and thought we’d share it on the blog. Having been in the book business for over 50 years we’ve been through some interesting stuff!

Henry Noyes founded China Books in 1960 with the goal of introducing the people and culture of China to the American public. At the height of the Cold War this effort was no small feat as few bookstores dared deal in books from China, much less as the focal point of their entire catalogs. Henry, however, was different. Born in Guangzhou, China to American missionaries, he saw the potential in moving the conversation about China away from Cold War stereotypes to one that focused on China’s language, history and culture.

The China Books business grew quickly. Henry soon went from selling books from the back of his car to running thriving stores in in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. The books China Books sold were instrumental in helping establish university programs around the US, while the language textbooks helped educate a generation of Chinese speakers. By 2000, 40 years after its founding, China Books had accomplished Henry’s initial goal as Americans across the US had access to a previously unavailable wealth of resources about China.

Over the past decade, China Books has stayed true to Henry’s unwavering spirit while seeking new ways to inform a burgeoning public interested in learning about China. Along with universities, a growing number of elementary, middle and high schools now look to China Books for textbooks as they establish or expand their Chinese language programs. China Books has also started publishing its own titles, recognizing that many worthwhile topics have been overlooked by a book industry more focused on discovering the next Harry Potter than the next Edgar Snow.* Much like 50 years ago, China Books is actively filling an important and under served niche.

While the China Books store in San Francisco’s Mission District has closed, we still take orders over the phone and sell books to individual customers through the China Books website. We also have a small showroom in South San Francisco right next to our office and warehouse. If you are ever in the Bay Area and want to drop by our office, we would love to meet you and show you around.

*Don’t get us wrong. It’s not that we have anything against Harry Potter. In fact, we carry the entire series in Chinese!

Sinomedia International Group
China Books & Long River Press Imprints
Tel: 650-872-7076 / Fax: 650-872-7808
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360 Swift Avenue #48
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Phone: (1800) 818-2017
Fax: (650) 872-7808
Website: http://chinabooks.com
Email: info@chinabooks.com


Office Hours

Mon. thru Fri. 9AM - 5:30PM
(Pacific Standard Time)