This is part of my series on Building A Chinese Library for the Kids. My previous post was on Where to Buy Books in Taiwan.
No trip to Taiwan is complete without a DVD shopping spree. Since my last shopping spree three years ago I’ve discovered YouTube. But I find that it is sadly not a source of Disney movies or non-fiction DVDs. (However, if you know where to look, websites abound that lets you watch these online!)
Our trip down the rabbit hole of DVD purchase started out innocently enough, first we went to Costo and found some interesting DVDs. Then, thanks to Dr. Miyazaki’s request to find some good marine-life related DVDs, we went to stores in Electronic shopping district. Eventually, I ended up going all over Taipei to look for DVDs for friends.
In any case, just like the bookstores, I did not go to every DVD store in Taipei. But after a few, we kind of saw the pattern in what’s carried in stock and didn’t seek out new ones.
Oh, another thing I learned during this trip is that, unless the film was made explicitly for children, you’re not going to find it dubbed. So you will not find Lord of the Rings or Star Wars dubbed in Taiwan, merely sub-titled.
1. Costco 好市多
中和 － 新北市中和區中山路二段347號 （20-30 min walk from 景安 MRT)
北投 – 台北市北投區立德路117號 （5-10 min walk from 關渡 MRT, exit 2)
內湖 – 台北市內湖區舊宗路一段268號 （taxied from 文德站）
Costco has a very limited selection of DVDs, but their prices are pretty much the lowest. We found recent Disney releases (Nemo, Dory), Dreamworks, and sets like Mouk, Robocarpoli, Charlie and Lola, and Harry Potter there.
HOWEVER, two words of warning, 1) Costco is butt far and 2) every Costco carries slightly different inventory. In our quest for DVDs, we ended up going to 3 out of 4 Costco in Taipei. 中和 one is easiest by taxi, though walkable by the end of our trip.
北投 was best commute, just a 10 minute walk from 劍潭 MRT station. We went to this one a few times because of its proximity to MRT, even if it was an hour ride away. It’s my favorite Costco because it’s so nice, huge and noone’s there on a weekday. To get there, turn right at Exit 2, walk awhile, and eventually you’ll see a little underground passageway on your right that takes you to it.
We happened upon 內湖 Costco because we had a class in that area and taxied there. It’s a bit far to walk from any MRT station around there.
You can pay cash, Costco credit card without foreign transaction fee, or with Taiwanese credit card.
Verdict: Must go for cheapest DVDs
A 10 minute walk from 西門町 Ximen MRT stop is a record store on the second floor. It had the most comprehensive collection I saw and we bought many of our DVDs here. Prices are middle of the pack, cheap on some DVDs, more expensive on others. Though, honestly, every DVD store we went to always had the following:
- Disney movies, including super cheap versions of their old DVDs like Dumbo
- Miyazaki films
- children’s TV shows
- Japanese anime
You can pay cash or a US credit card. But be aware that returns are going to be iffy.
Verdict: Go for most comprehensive collection
3. Electronic District 光華
a. 合友唱片 八德路一段82巷12號 （忠孝新生 MRT Exit 1
b. 巨彬科技 台北市中正區八德路82巷14號 (忠孝新生 MRT Exit 1)
c. 利得影音 新生南路一段16-3號1樓 (忠孝新生 MRT Exit 1)
I wrote a GYA16 post about my visit to the Electronic stores shopping district. That’s what I call it anyway. We went primarily to 2 stores (a & b) quite a few times, and then discovered store c on our last visit; so I’m fairly sure there are others around the same area. But again, they all kind of carry the same thing, just difference in prices. 巨彬科技 is the biggest and has the best selection out of the 3, with prices that are slightly better. But the price difference is negligible unless you’re buying tons of DVDs.
In addition to your usual collection, they have really really great non-fiction DVDs and also DVDs by 弘恩動畫 , a publisher of many international award winning anime. There were DVDs on cooking, BBC documentaries, Discovery, travel, etc. It’s where I discovered my $99 NT BBC Animals series. A lot of the BBC DVDs were $99. Crazy price!
For me, non-fiction DVDs are the truly hard to find resources and a must for homeschooler. There were so many I wish I could have bought there!
We paid 巨彬科技 with a US credit card. But be aware that returns are going to be iffy.
Verdict: My favorite stores with lowest prices. Must visit!
4. Carrefour 家樂福, RT Mart 大潤發, etc
In addition to books, these big box stores also have a DVD section with your usual DVD selection plus some strange $99 NT items. Prices are middle of the pack. The selection isn’t comprehensive, but it’s got your big name films.
Carrefour takes US Credit cards.
Verdict: Check it out if you happen to be there for grocery or books.
5. 勝立百貨 & 光南大批發
光南大批發 – 台北市中正區羅斯福路四段114-116號 (公館 MRT Exit 1)
勝立百貨 – 台北市和平東路二段291號 （科技大樓 MRT)
These 2 stores are like a Daiso, but bigger and has everything under the sun. It was where we went for random things we needed, like strings for our boxes, or pencils, yarn, slippers, even rainboots! We went here to buy DVDs after we had bought out all the stocks in other stores.
光南 actually has a huge selection with prices are on the mid to high end, depending. 勝立百貨 has a huge selection of $99 DVDs that look like they used to be rental DVDs. I bought my 小蜜蜂 DVD for $99 there.
Cash only for 勝立百貨. Though I think 光南大批發 took my credit card…..
Verdict: Check it out if you happen to be there.
6. Taipei Bookstreet 台北中山地下書街
Update Nov 2017: This closed and then got overtaken by Eslite.
At the 中山 Zhongshan MRT, If you walk away from Taipei Main Train Station 台北車站, there is an underground book street. As I mentioned in my book post, there is a company store operated by homemovie.com.tw, with prices higher than what you see on Electronic District. But, it’s a company store and has TONS of their BBC videos in stock there. So if there is a BBC DVD you really want, this is the place to go.
Around this DVD store there are a few other ones that carry basically the same, but smaller inventory. One of them is NHK documentary series. Sadly, you really have to look carefully at the back of these DVDs. None of the NHK and many of the BBC documentaries are dubbed in Chinese but others are only sub-titled.
Verdict: Go if you want to see what documentaries are available.
7. Online stores
As I mentioned, 弘恩動畫 myvideo.com.tw is a publisher of many award winning DVDs and you can go online to see what they sell. Some of them are non-fiction like DVDs geared toward children. For example, there is a series of 125 episodes of “Tell me Why” Prices obviously aren’t going to be the cheapest, but it’s worth checking out the website to see what great DVDs there are out there in Chinese.
Another bookstore we used was 博客來 books.com.tw. Costco was selling Magic Schoolbus DVDs for super cheap. But it turned out that after shipping and book.com.tw promotional discount, it was only $4 to ship to the US via air. So if you’re going to be just buying 1-2 DVDs, books.com.tw is actually a very very good choice because, as we discovered, DVDs are super light and doesn’t cost you much in shipping.
Another big name is 得利影視 http://www.homemovie.com.tw, pretty much the publisher of most of the foreign DVDs I saw in stores. Prices are mid to super high.
Verdict: Go check out what DVDs are available in Chinese.
Mollie actually has a separate audio/visual store in addition to carrying some in their regular bookstore. So does Yabook. However, because the selection on children’s DVD is slim to none in the bookstores we didn’t bother going to Mollie’s second hand DVD store.
I also called some of these stores to ask about group orders. But alas, the volume you’d have to buy to get a percentage off is so high it is not doable.
Lastly, I’m trying something (kinda) new. Instead of following my personal FB account, you can follow my Guavarama Page on Facebook and get notified when new posts are published.