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We can't talk about bookstores without taking a look at the book store that made such a hoo haa when it opened. Borders has been around for a while ('97 or '98?), and today, Singaporeans still flock to it. Know what that proves? We're cheapskates who prefer to sit at the bookstore all day and read, instead of buying it, and also we're not the uneducated freaks who cut off their hands if they litter in public either. Still, Borders is good for the casual reader who likes popular fiction, or any kind of fiction. There's a good selection of professional books, and literary texts, but more often than not, they don't have it there. So if you like Tom Clancy, science fiction or what not, go ahead. Just don't count on getting "Rabelais and His World", unless it's your lucky day.Borders, #01-00 Wheelock Place 501 Orchard Road, Phone: 6235-7146, Hours: Monday - Thursday 09:00 am to 11:00 pm, Friday - Saturday 09:00 am to 12:00 am, Sunday 09:00 am to 11:00 pm
KinokuniyaNow we're getting to the good stuff. Japanese companies are full of resources, and Kino is one of them. Kino is FULL of books, and a treasure-house of great finds. Seriously, you can bet that if there's a book they don't stock here, or can't order for you, no where else in Singapore will be offering it. Unfortunately, this amazing range of collections comes at a price: literally. Expect to pay anything between 10% to 30% more for most books, unless you're lucky. Then again, since nowhere else is offering it, there's really no basis for comparison is there? But don't bother yourself with the two outlets at Bugis or Liang Court; it's the Takashimaya (rumoured to be the biggest bookstore in Southeast Asia) outlet you want to concern yourself with. Kinokuniya, 391 Orchard Road Ngee Ann City #03-10/15 Takashimaya Shopping Centre Singapore 238872, Tel: (65) 6737-5021 Fax: (65) 6738-0487, Opening hours: Sun to Fri - 10am to 9.30pm & Sat - 10am to 10pm
It's in an corner of Tanglin Shopping Centre (not Tanglin Mall), and rather well-hidden from the common eye. However, Select Books offers a wide selection of Asian literature, of various genres, and is rather exclusive in that respect. Art, architechture, fiction, non-fiction, post-colonial texts, even information on piracy (though I'm not sure why anyone would need it). And if you're looking for an Asian writer or publisher, for a specific text, feel free to order with them, and if they can't ferret it out, no one can.Select Books, 19 Tanglin Road #03-15 Tanglin Shopping Centre, Singapore 247909, Telephone: (65) 6732 1515
The Book Cafe
Few places in Singapore have been so able to successfully marry two passions together, to the point where you wonder which one is more important to you, and hence, what is the real reason you go there. The Book Cafe, at the bottom of the hill that is Mohamed Sultan, is just one such place, in that their food is great, and the eclectic selection of interesting reading materials also whets your palate. This euro-style bistro doubles as an independent bookstore, and you can dine outside in the shaded walkway, or kick back on one of the overstuffed couches and while away your day getting lost in the pages without worrying that sustenance is far away. They serve breakfast all day long, and a rather extensive range of dishes, from tom-yum noodle soup to bangers and mash, the latter being less inspiring that some of the selections on the shelves, but you'll never go wrong with the almond cake with vanilla ice-cream, so good you will never want to share it. Seriously. The saddest part, and the only bad thing, is that there aren't more wonderful places like this in Singapore.The Book Cafe, Martin Road, #01-02 Seng Kee Bldg
It's not Acme, but it's close. Acmabooks is an online store, much like Amazon, so I'm sure you're wondering if I can order from Amazon why bother with Acma? Well, they have a warehouse in Singapore itself, so that means that if your book is in stock, you can get it in a day or two, not a week or two (and sometimes three!). And with a million volumes, there's a good chance they might have what you need. If you're the patient kind, and well, have no choice but to order online, Acmabooks is a good bet. And if they don't deliver, at least you have a place to go to and bang your fists on the table, demanding for your purchase.
It's not Acme, but it's close. Acmabooks is an online store, much like Amazon, so I'm sure you're wondering if I can order from Amazon why bother with Acma? Well, they have a warehouse in Singapore itself, so that means that if your book is in stock, you can get it in a day or two, not a week or two (and sometimes three!). And with a million volumes, there's a good chance they might have what you need. If you're the patient kind, and well, have no choice but to order online, Acmabooks is a good bet. And if they don't deliver, at least you have a place to go to and bang your fists on the table, demanding for your purchase.acmabooks, www.acmabooks.com, Acmabooks.com Pte Ltd 17 Jurong Port Road, Singapore 619092, Customer Service: 65 6268 1655
Bras Basah Complex
Blk 231 Bain Street, Bras Brasah Complex, Singapore 180231
Of course, not everyone can afford to pay $50 for a book. And books aren't exactly cheap first-hand. With the pay I'm getting (hint hint, Jeff), I scoot around second-hand book stores to find treasures. Bras Brasah Complex is famous for second-hand bookstores. I've gotten really good books. "Ulysses" at $6? Read and weep. V.S. Naipaul at $8. And all in excellent condition, nary a scratch or pencil mark. Of course it takes some effort to find, so if you're the kind that's likely to start pulling your hair out due to impatience, I wouldn't recommend it. The best thing is, they have Chinese bookstores, English bookstores, and well, strange bookstores too. But do take note, the shops close early, so if you want to busy yourself, go down early, or you're gonna miss the boat. Err, book.
Some fine shops there:
Awareness Place - Bras Basah Complex #01-63, Causeway Point #04-15
Basheer Graphic Books - Bras Basah Complex #04-19
Music Book Room - Bras Basah Complex #01-63
Youth Book Co. - Bras Basah Complex #02-2