The best bookstores in Singapore

From classics to graphics, these are the stores every bookworm should visit
BooksActually
By Cam Khalid |
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Nothing beats getting your nose stuck in a paperback. These bookstores line their walls and displays with a wide range of print publications including second-hand gems and specialty books and magazines to niche readers. Besides endless shelves of hard copies, these are also the best spots to check out the works of local authors and the literary scene in Singapore. Time to get lost in the pages of your new favourite book!

RECOMMENDED:  6 cool indie stores in Singapore 

Shopping, Bookshops

BooksActually

icon-location-pin Tiong Bahru

For those who digest the likes of Murakami, Sweeney, Capote, Salinger, and Nabokov, bring your appetites and dollars when you visit BooksActually. Aside from the classic titles, the bookstore also carries narrative and theoretical books in the disciplines of philosophy, political science, history, biography, science, travel, food, art and more. Head to the back of the store for an assortment of desirably retro, non-literary oddities to peruse, including old-school film cameras and typewriters. With its line-up of monthly events, BooksActually is also a great place to check out Singapore's literary scene and get your dose of Singlit.

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Littered with Books

icon-location-pin Tanjong Pagar

Browsing books promises to be a fun affair in this charming two-storey shophouse-turned-bookshop. The indie bookstore carries titles across all genres that range from specially selected literary, non-fiction, travel narratives and award-winning children's books. Additionally, the books on sale – ranging from bestsellers and literary classics to children's titles – are actually quite affordable or at least cheaper than you'd expect compared to other bookstores.  

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Woods in the Books

icon-location-pin Tiong Bahru

If pages full of words bore you, check out this shop that specialises in picture books. Woods in the Books offers a feast of pictorial treasures, including works by award-winning French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé – known simply as Sempé – plus quirky graphic novels, the popular 1980s Malaysian series Lat, pop-up versions of The Little Prince and of course, classic children’s books like Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are.

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Books Ahoy!

icon-location-pin Orchard

Books Ahoy! at Forum the Shopping Mall is the brainchild of Shannon Ong and Mark Foo – the same folks behind Tiong Bahru’s Woods in the Books, an independent bookstore that specialises in picture books. Just like its sister outlet, Books Ahoy! has its eyes trained on reading materials for children, with a thoughtfully curated collection of classics, new releases, graphic novels, as well as niche titles that are hard to come by in Singapore. Aside from the usual classics by Roald Dahl and Hergé, the store also carries books with a local flavour – think Samsui Girl, Wayang Girl, Gasing Boy and Coolie Boys from local publisher, The History Workroom. With books lovingly displayed like artworks on shelves and walls, Books Ahoy! mirrors a mini-museum of children’s literature more than anything else. 

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Basheer Graphics Books
Anna Chittenden
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Basheer Graphic Books

icon-location-pin City Hall

Basheer Graphic Books is no stranger amongst the art types in Bras Basah. A regular haunt for graphic designers and illustrators, the bookstore stocks the best and latest in disciplines that range from graphics and architecture to fashion and animation. There are also regular discounts offered on specialised magazines and publications. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Leave your name, number and the desired title(s), and you’ll be notified once it arrives.

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The French Bookshop

icon-location-pin Tiong Bahru

Whether you're a dedicated Francophile or have a liking for the language of love, get stuck in the books at The French Bookstore. As its name suggests, this specialty store carries French books – pre-loved and hot off the press – in a variety of genres for both adults and children. The cosy Tiong Bahru bookstore also offers stationery, vintage wares and art.

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Kinokuniya

icon-location-pin Orchard

With so many titles across so many genres and languages, this Japanese book giant’s computerised book search stations are a blessing. Located in a massive space, Kinokuniya's extensive collection of graphic novels, magazines, guides, fiction and non-fiction titles will have you browsing for hours. It also offers stationery and other knick-knacks to go along with your purchase. 

Shopping, Bookshops

Times

icon-location-pin Orchard

Stock up your shelves with newly released paperbacks, the New York Times bestsellers and the latest issue of your favourite magazine. Titles include fiction, non-fiction, lifestyle and children's books, but don't expect to find many specialist ones here. However, do keep your eyes peeled for exciting activities such as author appearances, book signings and workshops. With multiple stores around Singapore, find the nearest one on its website.  

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