5 Local Independent Stores to Consider for the Best Bookshop in Singapore
The ever-constant development of technology has toppled over many an industry, especially in this largely digital age. Nevertheless, even the existence of digital books and audiobooks can’t seem to get rid of a good old-fashioned paperback. Goes to show that the timeless nature of literature is here to stay.
While physical books can be conveniently delivered from an online store, visiting physical bookstores carries a unique experience that similarly can’t be beaten. So if you’re a bookworm looking for the romance in perusing classic titles while brushing your fingers along the shelves of a charming little book store, then a local independent bookstore is your best bet!
Let’s take a look at some of the best bookstores in Singapore to visit for that local indie feel in this article. But first, let’s talk about WHY you should buy from local book stores.
Why Should You Support Your Local Indie Bookshop?
Apart from the inherent romance of visiting physical book store locations and the smell of new and used books alike, why should you make a point of buying books at a local independent bookstore?
For starters, it’s great for your local economy. Supporting local businesses, in general, contribute greatly to uplifting your area, likely even helping up property values in your neighborhood.
Secondly, it’s a great way to find more books of your taste, especially in the case of specialized bookstores, whether it’s non-fiction books, classic titles, science fiction books, or rare and unique titles.
Finally, it helps support writers and the bookstores themselves. Many local novels find a home in independent bookstores, and giving your support helps keep the country’s literary talent working, and local bookstores running.
5 Independent Bookstores in Singapore that Bookworms Should Definitely Visit
Now that we’ve established why you should check out indie bookshops for both the classics and the modern literature books alike, let’s walk you through some of the places you should definitely be checking out to satisfy your literary cravings!
There are many independent bookstores in Singapore that are worth checking out, but these are worth a special mention. Here are some of the best bookstores in Singapore, all independently-owned:
Betime Building246 MacPherson Rd,#07-04, Si#04-19, Bras Basah Complex, Block 231 Bain Street, Singapore 180231
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: +65 8951 7716
Having been around since 1985, to call Basheer Graphic Books a staple of local literature culture would be a complete understatement. You’ll find this timeless place at the lovely Bras Basah Complex, sporting its checked floors, and stacks upon stacks of books.
You’re always going to find the place teeming with arts students as the bookstore specializes in various design books covering arts, fashion, architecture, interior design, and animation! But you’ll also find a handful of local and international titles, magazines, children’s books, mystery novels, and more.
- Specializing in Design Books. Whether you’re a student or a hobbyist, artists are sure to have a great time with the non-fiction design section. Basheer Graphic Books covers many areas of design, and can surely help you with any project you’re undertaking.
- Varied Selection. Aside from their design book selection, Basheer Graphic Books has a great selection of other choices that might tickle your fancy. Don’t forget to browse!
- Online Availability. Can’t make it to the store but would like to purchase from them anyway? Check out their online store for the latest stock on their catalog!
Reviews (4.7/5 on Google Reviews):
“After three years here on the Island, I’ve finally found a brilliant bookshop with very competitive prices. I have found books in Singapore incredibly expensive compared to prices in the U.K., so stumbling upon Basheer Graphic Books made my day. This is a specialist shop however, you won’t find the same materials as in general bookshops, but great for interiors, photography, art and design as well as philosophy. The choice of books is varied, with some rare and beautiful coffee table finds.” – Jayne Chughtai
“Love this place and the books they carry. You will be able to find all types of art, design, fashion, architecture, typography, photography, etc related books. Used to come frequently during my school days as a graphic student.” – Yamhwee Go
Does the aging of books just make you love them more? Do you fancy yourself an intellectual? Then Gohd Books is the store for you! Starting in 2009 over a karaoke pub on Serangoon Road, this store was more than a store—it was a place to be, hosting art exhibitions, flea markets, and more!
It also houses a collection of rare and collectible literature, from academic books that are older than you are and other niche titles from bygone eras. If you’re a fan of vintage and the knowledge of the past, then this place is for you.
- Rare and Collectible Books. From rare Japanese reproduction prints, to aged leather-bound versions of the Canterburry Tales, Gohd Books has a massive catalogue that every vintage book collector will love.
- Wide Selection with Different Subjects. Gohd Books is sure to have copies of great texts in philosophy, religion, science, history, and other intellectual subjects, but it also has children’s and illustrated books, fiction, and more.
- Online Store. As of writing, Gohd Books has transitioned into an online bookstore for the meantime. Peruse their great selection with an intuitive system!
Reviews (4.7/5 on Google Reviews):
“First thing I noticed were the leather-bound, gilded and engraved books from the 1800s, beautifully-aged and wonderful to behold. If you are looking for a 200 year-old copy of the Odyssey, the Mahabharata or Shakespeare’s plays, you’re in the right place. There are also carefully curated titles on art, philosophy, spirituality, classics, fantasy which you won’t find anywhere else.” – Wee Kwang
“Nice old book shop. I can’t believe a city this size has only small antique book shop. Book lovers should visit to support them.” – Sub Euclid
Serving the area since 1995, Grassroots Book Room has stayed true to its name and remained a local delight for the last 2 and a half decades. Providing more than nostalgia, this bookstore is a cozy haunt for book nerds and vintage lovers alike.
This bookstore stores texts on foreign history, particularly China, along with Chinese philosophy and modern literature—as fans of the shop since the beginning should be delighted to know. Nevertheless, they add a smattering of other titles and genres to their shelves, from illustrated picture books, translated foreign works, and local literature.
- Chinese Titles and More. Grassroots Book Room’s main specialty is Chinese literature. You can find any and all texts on their shelves, including politics, history, culture, narrative, and theoretical books. But they aren’t a slouch when it comes to other genres either!
- Cosy Atmosphere. The place comes furnished with leather chairs and designed to give off a nostalgic feel of days gone by. Feel transported as you brush through their shelves.
- Regular Events. Grassroots regularly hosts themed exhibitions every month or two. Be sure to visit to check out what may be in store that will pique your interest!
Reviews (4.7/5 on Google Reviews):
“Beautiful bookstore that carries mainly Chinese and some English books. There is also a small cafe at the back.” – CK C
“Beautiful, bright and cosy place with cafe inside the book store..love the ambience and the staff is very friendly. The book store focuses on Chinese books but there are English book selections as well. I was looking at the artworks (postcards, files etc) of Ah Guo, he is a local illustrator. The staff approached me telling me that Ah Guo was having a meeting at the cafe area. Delighted to buy some of his artworks and got his signature.. Overall, a great experience here.” – Chui Choo
#02-03, Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884
Woods in the Books
3 Yong Siak Street Singapore 168642 Woods in the Books
Monday to Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Woods in the Books
Saturday to Monday: 10:00 am – 6:00pm
Wednesday to Friday: 10:00 am – 7:00pm
+65 6684 0138
Woods in the Books
+65 6222 9980
Are you a parent who would love nothing less than to involve your child in the joys of reading? Woods in the Books can give your little one a literary tour into more than just your ordinary titles, stocking all sorts of text that are perfect for early and independent readers.
Along with its sister store, Books Ahoy!, this bookstore stocks everything from recognizable literary brands to more subtle titles, quirky graphic novels, illustrated books, chapter books, and more. Woods in the Books and Books Ahoy! are certainly the havens you need to nurture them into a lover of literature.
- For Nurturing Young Readers. Woods in the Books is dedicated to creating an environment that is conducive to your young one’s learning. This is why it regularly stocks award-winning children’s books and other literature that is perfect for their age.
- Regular Events. Take your kid to one of the regular events that happen in Books Ahoy, from book launches, book signings, book readings, and more.
- Two Store Locations. Woods in the Books and Books Ahoy! are both from the same owners, and largely offer the same experience but often will be ideal for different kinds of people. Woods in the Books is a quaint little storefront, while Books Ahoy is a larger store within a shopping mall.
Reviews (4.8 & 4.2/5 on Google Reviews):
“Love the variety of extensive kids selection they have, will spend quite a while to be immersed in the interesting titles they carry. Like their green acts too and how each book is twined to prevent browsing (good and bad).” – Jez L (Books Ahoy)
“Fantastic book shop, my daughter and I loved it. Helpful staff, well curated. I’d have bought out the whole shop if I could!” – Gerard Milligan (Woods in the Books)
Tiong Bahru Rd, #01-53 Block 55, Singapore 160055
Wednesday to Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm,
Sunday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fancy yourself a Francophile? Are you a lover of the language of love? Then the French Bookshop is without a doubt the place for you to be!
The French Bookshop sells loads of great titles from the country’s literary canon, which makes it such a paradise for people who are very much into French language books.
- French Titles. Predominantly a French bookstore, The French Bookshop largely houses a collection of multiple works in the language of love. Take a literary tour of the country through its shelves!
- Stationery and Vintage Products. The shop also sells a variety of stationary products and vintage wares, like DVDs, CDs, and art.
- Online Store. Take a tour of their handy online store catering to French speakers!
Reviews (4.6/5 on Google Reviews):
“Super friendly owner, proud of his bookstore! Glad to see an independent bookstore in Sg giving the French language some love!” – Jyk Wong
“The place is a little secluded, but attention is excellent and prices fair. The proprietary is French and very helpful.” – Cuauhtémoc González Chípuli
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Bookstores cater to different people, especially independent ones! It’s up to you to find something that suits your exact tastes.
- Not every local favorite can make it on the list. It would be wise to explore other options since there are many to choose from!
- Looking for specific items? It’s a great idea to check if they offer them through their online store, or contact them to inquire!
- Opening hours may vary during public holidays. Be sure to double-check!
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