Gone are the days of mainstream bookstores (think Popular, Kinokuniya, and Prologue) as we swap those mass-appeal shops for better-curated ones. We’ve put together a list of 5 independent book havens that will satiate all your literary niches in Singapore.
One of the first independent bookstores in Singapore, BooksActually is among the pioneers of gentrified (hipster-fied) Tiong Bahru. This charming shop is a favourite among the local literary scene, and regularly holds events and exhibitions by homegrown authors and artists, both established and emerging. Their range of books center around classic literature, local writing, and self-published titles. Look in the corner when you’re there, and you’ll find a pretty little room filled with self-produced stationery and vintage trinkets, courtesy of their in-house label Birds and Co.
BooksActually is located at No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645. Operating hours are from Mon: 11am-6pm, Tue to Fri: 11am-9pm, Sat: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-6pm. See their website here.
Woods In The Books
Woods In The Books is a brilliant place to bring out the inner kid in you. Though marketed towards children, the bookstore is more than just a children’s bookstore. With a wide variety of classic titles, it’s a perfect opportunity to relish in nostalgia with the books you grew up on, not to mention a cosy place for mums and pops to bring the kids. Woods In The Books stocks stories by local writers, such as the Sherlock Sam and Bobo Cha Cha series, and also specialises in picture books—they even have The Little Prince and Wizard of Oz in pop-up version! This is one space that will surely take you down memory lane.
Woods In The Books is located at No. 3 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168642. Operating hours are from Tue to Sat: 11am-8pm, Sun: 11am-6pm. A second outlet is located at Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, #02-32. Operating hours are from 11am-8pm daily. See their website here.
If you’re a passionate history major or just simply interested in the rich cultures of Southeast Asia, this is the go-to place to find some of the most important works in Southeast Asian history, whether it’s an analysis of Singapore’s political climate or an account of the Malayan Emergency. The store organises regular book-related events as well, and has several reading groups that try to promote the importance of Southeast Asian cultures. While their Armenian Street outlet was recently closed, sales go on as usual on their online store. Select Books plans to reopen better than ever at a spanking new location at the end of the year.
Select Books’ website can be found here.
Basheer Graphic Books
Chances are that if you’re any sort of creative, you’d have heard of Basheer Graphic Books. Featuring an array of categories, you’ll find texts related to architecture, graphic design, interior design, fashion, animation, art & craft, and more. Not restricting itself to just design, the store also stocks an assortment of independent lifestyle and travel magazines. Whether you’re a design aficionado or just a venturing hipster looking for something to place on your coffee table, Basheer promises not to disappoint.
Basheer Graphic Books is located at Blk 231 Bain Street, #04-19, Bras Basah Complex, Singapore 180231. Operating hours are from Mon to Sat: 10am-8pm, Sun: 11am-6:30pm. See their facebook page here.
Littered With Books
Located in one of those quaint conservation shophouses lining Duxton Road is Littered With Books, a charming little bookstore that distributes a carefully-selected collection of fiction and non-fiction literature. You’ll see a bit of everything—from fantasy, classics, sci-fi, thrillers, and children’s stories. Travel accounts, recipe books, and books by local authors are aplenty as well. With beautiful glass skylights allowing natural sunlight to stream in, it’s easy for customers to be mesmerised and lose themselves in the little world of books that the owners created.
Littered With Books is located at 20 Duxton Road, Singapore 089586. Operating hours are from Mon to Thu:12pm-8pm, Fri: 12pm-9pm, Sat: 11am-9pm, Sun: 11am-8pm. See their Facebook page here.