Book clubs and events in KL

Featuring book clubs, swaps and events you should know about
By Time Out KL editors |

If you're looking to engage in book discussions or swap titles with other book-loving individuals, check out these book clubs, festivals, sales, discussions and literary gatherings in town that promote lifelong learning.

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Photo: Christopher Futcher/iStock

Book clubs

KL Book Appreciation Club
The KL Book Appreciation Club (KLBAC) began as a book exchange forum, facilitated by Diana Yeong. The buying and selling of books naturally comes with literary discussion, which led to the start of the KLBAC where bibliophiles can talk about books online and offline. Join their monthly book discussions (previous reads include ‘Station Eleven’, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’) on the last weekend of each month, or check out their bimonthly book meets which combine book discussions, readings, book sales, book exchanges and sometimes, blind dates with books.

Paperback Book Club
Book enthusiasts, fuel your love for the written word at the Paperback Book Club, where one can talk books in an informal setting (coffee or tea in hand). Started in 2011, the Paperback Book Club is one of the longest-running book clubs in the city. Meet-ups are generally held monthly and books are chosen democratically (members get to suggest a fiction title for the month that’s less than 400 pages). Recently they have also branched out into poetry readings.
Subang Jaya Book Exchange

Book exchange/swaps

KL Book Exchange Club
With a membership of over 4,000 and growing, KL Book Exchange Club is a community for book lovers to buy, sell and trade pre-loved books on the cheap. First, a few simple steps: Join the club on Facebook, upload photos of books you want to sell or trade, and wait for interested buyers or swappers to contact you, or buy and trade from other members. Titles, mostly English, vary wildly from Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and Jeffrey Eugenides’s ‘The Virgin Suicides’ to chick lit, crime titles, romance novels, self-help books and young adult fiction.

Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme (pictured)
An avenue for people to donate and take home books, this community programme run by volunteers takes place twice monthly; the bulk of the books are English fiction, but there are smaller sections dedicated to non-fiction and Malay titles. There’s also a children’s corner for tots and toddlers, as well as a reading zone.
Held every first and third Sundays of the month, 3-5pm.
Big Bad Wolf book sale

Book events

The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale (pictured)
BookXcess presents this annual book sale with even bigger savings of up to 95 percent discount. We suggest bringing a trolley bag with you.

BookFest @ Malaysia
Co-organised by POPULAR Malaysia and Sin Chew Daily, the festival features hundreds of booths from various publishing houses and stationery distributors.

Buku Jalanan
Buku Jalanan is a library on-the-go that encourages borrowing and donating books. Follow their Facebook page as they meet up at various locations, once every two weeks.

KL Alternative Bookfest
Hosted by Art for Grabs, this festival presents a mix of book launches, film screenings, readings and discussions relating to the arts and crafts of Malaysia.

World Book Fest
In conjunction with Unesco’s World Book Day, Atria Shopping Gallery converts the centre court area into its own book festival to celebrate reading.
My Date is a Book

My Date is a Book

There’s already an unspoken mystery about books (the ending is never what it seems unless it’s, well, ‘Twilight’). To add to the mystique, My Date is a Book sets you up on a blind date with books by concealing the title. These ‘hidden’ gems span different genres – each book is wrapped in brown paper and scribbled on the cover is just a quote from the book. What you get, of course, is anyone’s guess.

Co-founders Arlina Arshad, Anis Suhaila and Fikri Azzim source their books from wholesalers, but there are some that were also donated – which is why you’ll find pre-loved versions on their website. Purchasing the books is simple: Go to their website and click on the book with the quote that appeals most to you. And since they’re wrapped, they instantly make convenient (and almost romantic) gifts.

Books from RM10.

Biawak Gemok

Where to buy zines

Biawak Gemok (pictured)
Biawak Gemok Distro specifically sells zines concerning social issues like LGBTQ and religion. Besides international titles, they also have local titles such as 'Race-ing and Dating' and 'One Big Longkang'. Sales from the zines go to SEED and Justice For Sisters. Read our interview with the duo behind the distro.

Kedai Buku Mak Ali
At this little book corner in Kajang, you'll find self-published books and zines alongside the usual array of books. Selections here are diverse, ranging from punk and anarchy to literature and film.

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