When beloved bookstore Borders closed down in Singapore, we mourned for ages. It was our favourite spot to wile the hours away with a good book plus the cozy children’s area was a godsend for when the kids needed a breather after pounding the bustling Orchard Road pavements all day. While longtime favourites like Kinokuniya and Times have endured, nothing quite gave us that fuzzy feeling (not even our handy Nooks and Kindles) till lovely independent bookstores started popping up in cool neighbourhoods in Singapore. Whether you’re looking for a child-friendly bookstore that hosts weekly craft activities or a quirky independent bookshop, our guide to the best bookstores in Singapore has got you covered.
This mega bookstore is our favourite stopover on Orchard Road shopping trips. Its Ngee Ann City outlet underwent a huge renovation in late 2014 and is the largest Kinokuniya store in Singapore (and one of the biggest in South Asia); this fact alone is proof of its massive range of books and magazines to please everyone. The handy Webstore is also a major plus – if you can’t get to a store you can order online and receive a nicely wrapped little (or large, if you’re anything like us) package within a day or two, with free delivery if you spend more than $50! Its other outlets can be found at Liang Court, JEM Jurong East and Bugis Junction.
Kinokuniya,#04-20/20B/20C, Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238872; www.kinokuniya.com.sg
Times Bookstores may be small, but it’s known for stocking a huge variety of travel-related books with a wide selection of guidebooks, maps and travel-related items. The store also holds fun events for families and kids including exciting storytelling sessions and cool craft activities. Our tip: the store has a great policy of returning or exchanging purchases within seven days of receipt date.
Times Bookstore, #04-41, Paragon, 291 Orchard Road, Singapore 238859, www.timesbookstores.com.sg.
Located in the hip suburb of Tiong Bahru, BooksActually is a popular post-brunch haunt for serious lovers of the written word. With its solid range of classic literature, books by local authors and self-published titles, it’s unsurprisingly frequented by those active in the literary scene here and is a regular venue for poetry readings and book exhibitions. Look out for the unique (and rarely seen editions) by cult favourites Murakami and Nabokov, and the beloved resident cats; Pico, Lemon and Cake. The store has recently launched a membership card with a 10% discount, and rearranged things a little to allow more space for loitering over the excellent range. Pssst: The back area of the book store is a treasure trove of vintage knick-knacks!
BooksActually, No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645; www.facebook.com/BooksActually
Woods in the Books
Specialising in adorable picture books, Woods in the Books is only a few doors away from BooksActually. On the walls are charming murals of animal characters courtesy of the store’s owner, and there’s always something here to catch the eye, including a small but very cool range of toys and knick-knacks. The store also organises art workshops for kids, so you can immerse your child in the best of both worlds: art and literature!
Woods in the Books, No. 3 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168642; www.woodsinthebooks.sg
Littered with Books
This quaint bookstore situated in a conservation shophouse is located amongst popular restaurants and cafes in the Duxton area – perfect for a stroll in after a nice family meal. You can find a great read for the whole family here – the carefully curated selection includes varying genres such as children’s literature, non-fiction, crime, fantasy and thrillers. With sunlight streaming in beautifully through the windows, here’s somewhere you can wile hours away with a good book.
Littered with Books, 20 Duxton Road, Singapore 089486; www.facebook.com/pages/Littered-with-Books
Basheer Graphic Books
This specialty bookstore for design books and mags is a favourite of many design aficionados. Texts are related to architecture, interior design, landscape design, graphic design, animation, fashion, and art & craft. Whether you work in design or just love the way these heavyweights look on a coffee table, Basheer Graphic Books has some stunning titles that are arguably works of art in their own right.
Basheer Graphic Books, Block 231, Bain Street, #04-19, Bras Basah Complex, Singapore 180231; www.facebook.com/BasheerGraphic
Founded by a group of passionate book lovers, Junior Page is all about quality children’s books at wonderful, affordable prices. Books range from educational ones (like phonics and introductions to numbers) and activity books to keep your kids duly entertained as they learn.
Junior Page, #02-40, Alexandra Retail Centre,460 Alexandra Road, Singapore 119963; www.junior-page-books.myshopify.com