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The “How to Train Your Dragon” Book Series

The original book series that was published in 27 languages, had inspired millions of children to read and imagine, and caught the attention of a Hollywood movie studio to create a billion-dollar movie franchise.

While the original books and the movies are generally regarded as two different entities by their audience due to the many differences in the characters and story, the movies share many of the qualities that made the books so relatable and full of adventure:

Even the scrawny and underestimated can become the heroes in an impersonal grownup's world, when self-doubt and resignation are overshadowed by determination and resourcefulness.

The first book to feature the main character of the HTTYD book series was “Hiccup: The Viking Who Was Seasick”, published in 1999, and was a father and son story with no mention of dragons. In 2003, the first book in the HTTYD series was published, and in 2015 the series finished with the twelfth and final book.

Cressida Cowell standing in doorway to her garden shed
Source: cressidacowell.co.uk
The author

Cressida Cowell is a British children's author living in London with her husband and three children.
In interviews, she frequently mentions the importance of children not only reading, but learning to enjoy reading - Cressida often recounts the strong impression that was left by her father reading aloud children's books and tales of Vikings and dragons.

Nowadays as a children's author, Cressida makes sure that her stories themselves are written in a way that can be read aloud, because of the strong and positive lifelong effect that stories can have on children when spoken in their parents' voice.

Cressida often explained that her own stories of Vikings and dragons written when she was eight or nine, were not only inspired by listening to stories read to her, but also during several weeks each year spent on a tiny, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland with her family. To keep boredom away, she would read, draw and write and explore the island's hills and caves.
The ideas she came up with then would later inspire her How to Train Your Dragon book series.

PIC3The books & where to find them

Plenty of illustrations, easy to read paragraphs and an engaging storyline, the books have received overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic reviews from parents, often saying how much their kids enjoyed reading them.

With intentionally bright and eye-catching covers that seem to have an authentic Viking-era journal element to them, these books appeal to childrens' imagination from the first sight.

Due to their popularity, buying the How to Train Your Dragon books new won't be difficult, as they can be found at most department stores and of course online retailers. However, you don't need to buy a book new or even buy it at all, in order to enjoy reading it.
Below you'll find lots of places and ways to read these books:


Sometimes it feels like borrowing things has gone out of fashion, and that everything needs to be bought. Libraries have existed for thousands of years and can be found in every university and most schools as well. Even if you don't see a copy of How to Train Your Dragon available at your local library (ask them), if you're not a member yet, consider becoming one anyway. There's so much great stuff you can find at a library!

Have you considered asking a friend, fellow student or neighbour if they have a book to lend? It's a great way to start up a conversation or possible friendship.

Buy new or used

Consider searching the Internet for a business directory for your country or area, and look for book or department stores there - you might be surprised just how many more than you already know are in your area. Prices and stock vary, so make sure to call them up and check first.

If you live in Australia and want all the books new, then BIGW.com.au has the ten book box set for AUD$50 (ISBN: 9781444941944) and you can buy the remaining two books (How to Betray a Dragon's Hero, How to Fight a Dragon's Fury) for AUD$10 each, or look for the complete series twelve book box set for around AUD$130 (ISBN: 9780316347006) elsewhere as Big W don't sell it.
You can likely only get the complete series box set at online retailers and will need to wait a few weeks, as they're ordered from overseas. Many local Big W stores actually seem to have the ten book box sets and books in stock - check their website.

Just because Amazon.com.au are big, doesn't mean they're cheap - the complete series box set there costs over AUD$250, ouch!

If you know of a good and reliable place to go to and buy these books in your country, it would be great if you'd get in touch and let us know!

Audiobooks/Audio CDs

While eBooks can be inconvenient and cumbersome because they're just computer files you can't hold and still cost a lot of money, audiobooks on actual CDs can still make a nice exception. The How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks were read by David Tennant (Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter, tenth “Doctor Who” Doctor and lots more) and are great to listen to on long car or bus trips or at home too.

So that you're not just paying for a license to download a locked (DRM) file onto your device or “stream” it, it's best you consider going with the CDs instead - that way you've actually got something in your hand, and you can always legally copy the CD onto your portable music player of choice, if you want.

If you buy the CDs new, they're going to be as expensive as the books (just like a streaming download would be) or maybe even more, but apparently there's a “gift set” available of CDs with books 1-6 read out for under US$45, look for ISBN-10: 9781478922759 and/or UPC: 9781478922759 on the Internet to get started. If you buy the CDs, let us know how you did because they're not the easiest to find - “streaming” invisible downloads you can't hold or easily share with friends seem to be all the rage these days. If you can get the audio CDs 2nd hand, then that would certainly be a lot more affordable, but they're even harder to find then.

However, those are just the CDs for books 1-6! Here you may be able to find the CDs for books 7-12:

It may be easier to just look for the How to Train Your Dragon Audiobooks in general, with a single search. Try here: https://www.searx.info/?q=how%20to%20train%20your%20dragon%20audiobook%20-ebay%20-ost%20-free&categories=general&language=en-US

Online order

Ordering something online is certainly convenient, but it still takes time. Buying (or borrowing or swapping) the books in person rather than going online may be better as you can check their condition and read them right away. However, the following websites do appear to be a good resource and may even help you find a local book store you didn't know existed:

https://www.bookfinder.com is a kind of search engine for books that are for sale and ready to ship from various businesses. Although the listed businesses shown in the search results will almost certainly ship to your location wherever you are, the website is best suited for people living in the UK or USA. For someone living in Australia, they'll have to pay almost 50% more for a second hand book sent from the USA, than buying it new at a local store. So far, BIGW.com.au seems to be a good option for anyone living in Australia, as they also deliver.

If you have a good tip on where to get them new or used in your country, preferably from brick-and-mortar stores, then please send it to me and I'll take a look!

Local book sales

You never know what you can find at a book sale, and therefore may never get a copy of the How to Train Your Dragon book you want, but if there's a local sale and can find the time, then why not give it a try? The people selling the books are often busy volunteers, but try asking them if they've seen the books on their table. Books at these events are usually cheaper than anywhere else. Libraries sell their books as well, but you'd have to be even luckier to find these books, as they tend to get snapped up quickly.

If you're in the USA, probably the best place to find a book sale is the very aptly-named https://www.booksalefinder.com website. Do you know of another good place to find used local book sales in your country? Let us know and we'll take a look!

Online and newspaper classifieds

Online classified websites can have a lot of scammers, so there won't be links to any here.
If you decide to look through such a website; instead of searching just for the title of the books, try searching just for “books” or “book sale” and also looking at garage sale, community event and non-profit fundraiser ads - a lot of them sell books.
You'd be surprised how much you can still find in local newspaper classifieds, that's not on the big online classifieds websites. Garage sales and fundraisers are your best bet here. If there's a contact phone number, you may be able to call or text and ask if they've got the HTTYD books, but most people probably won't hold them as you may never show up, and they'd want their stuff sold without much hassle.

Download eBook

Generally, eBooks aren't really the best, as there are several serious studies which have shown that reading from a screen or any electronic device reduces “retention”, meaning that anything read is less likely to be remembered.
While eBooks have their positives (especially when using as a quick reference), they do seem like a less efficient alternative to printed books. Books are generally meant to be enjoyed, and part of the experience is turning an actual page and touching the actual cover of the book.
Also, there's so much trash and nonsense that can be found on Internet-connected electronic devices, that when reading a good book on the same or similar device, it can be more difficult to subconsciously separate the nonsense you saw earlier, from the good book you're looking at.

When you're holding an actual book, it's right there in your hands and can be stored on a shelf, and could still be read 100 or more years later. When you're reading it on an electronic device, you've just got a bunch of electronics displaying digital information. How many times have you known someone to lose a file to a virus or not be able to open a file they saved years ago?!
It's not a book - just a digital file. When sharing it with someone, would it be worth more to them if it were an actual book or just a computer file?

Best stick with actual books whenever you can - you can always give a book to someone else when you're finished with it. There's something special about having your own favourite library of real, actual books. As with most books today, the How to Train Your Dragon books can also be “bought” online as eBooks. To look for places to buy and download, you can try this search: https://www.searx.info/?q=How%20to%20Train%20Your%20Dragon%20ebook%20buy&categories=general&language=en-US

How to Train Your Dragon movie books and and comics

The movie and TV series franchise has spawned its own impressive series of books and comics created by various other authors, with lots of related information about the different dragons, their classes, stats and various adventures with the Dragon Riders and their dragons.
These books and comics can usually be found or ordered from the same places where you can get the original book series from.

More information

For more information on these books and comics, the best place you can visit is the amazing “How to Train Your Dragon Wiki” at Fandom.com, and at the menu go to “Media -> Books and Comics”.
See this page for a broad overview of just how many books and comics were made (it's a lot!), and links to their Amazon.com page, although there are a number of broken links: https://howtotrainyourdragon.fandom.com/wiki/Books_Related_to_the_HTTYD_Franchise

Hey! Have you got any other ideas on how to best read or listen to these books in your country? Send us a message and we'll consider putting them on this page! Let us know how successful you were using the tips here, as it'll help us clarify them for everyone. Thanks!

This page may get more updates in the future, that will clarify the difference between the original book series and the books from the movie franchise. That would include adding more information about the books from the movie franchise - are there any that you really like, and would like to see mentioned here?

Also: There's a lot of information on this page on actually how to read or listen to the books, rather than just an overview of the books themselves, which is the main purpose of this page. Maybe that extra information will be moved to a blog post in the future, and then more "overview" information added to this page.

  • https://www.angelsandurchins.co.uk/lifestyle/books/interview-with-cressida-cowell/
  • https://www.cressidacowell.co.uk
  • https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-4887396/How-Cressida-Cowell-captured-imagination-millions.html
  • https://howtotrainyourdragon.fandom.com/wiki/Comics
  • https://howtotrainyourdragon.fandom.com/wiki/Cressida_Cowell
  • https://www.medicaldaily.com/e-books-are-damaging-your-health-why-we-should-all-start-reading-paper-books-again-317212
  • https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/children_sbookreviews/10100992/Cressida-Cowell-my-real-life-dragon-island.html
  • https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/19/readers-absorb-less-kindles-paper-study-plot-ereader-digitisation
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cressida_Cowell
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Train_Your_Dragon

Stock photos by Pexels.com and Pixabay.com.
Header image is a montage of photos of the original How to Train Your Dragon book series by Cressida Cowell.
Photo of Cressida Cowell from cressidacowell.co.uk.
Other images found at: https://howtotrainyourdragon.fandom.com/wiki/How_to_Train_Your_Dragon_Wiki

(Accessed December 2018 - January 2019)

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