Buying Books in Singapore 2021

Too much anxiety-inducing news and screentime these last few months, am I right? Grab a chunk of dead tree and travel in your mind to another world, learn a new skill, or come to understand some interesting idea. Your year needs more books. This post will tell you how or where to get them.

See below for lists of:

  • Book Shops at Bras Basah Complex
  • Other Indie Book Shops in Singapore
  • Local Sources for Children’s Books
  • Local Retail Book Chains
  • Local Publishers
  • Local University Book Shops
  • Local Online Booksellers
  • International Online Booksellers
  • Special Book Sales
  • Person-to-Person Websites

Book Shops at Bras Basah Complex

At this HDB complex just opposite the National Library, you can find several bookshops. These days, they have at least some of their inventory for sale online.

Basheer Graphic Books
Sells new books on art & design.
Evernew Books
Selling used books since 1988. Now has an online shop!
Book Point
Selling used books since 2006. Now has an online shop!
Knowledge Books Centre
Selling used books since 1975. Technically they also have an online shop.
Popular
Popular is a retail chain selling new books, stationery, media, electronics and “assessment books” (study materials and test-prep books for children and teens).

Popular at Bras Basah

Other Indie Book Shops in Singapore

The Moon is “an inclusive bookstore and vegan-friendly cafe and event space” in Chinatown. They offer a monthly subscription box.

The Moon (exterior)

The Moon (interior)
The Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop specializes in books published in Singapore, by Singaporeans and PRs, and books about Singapore.

Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop
Littered with Books is a general bookshop at Duxton Hill.

Littered with Books
Book Treasure sells books at #01-31 at Parklane Shopping Mall.
EMF Bookstore sells used books in Fusionopolis and Holland Village.
First Draft Bookstore sells books at International Plaza in the CBD. (It apparently absorbed another shop called Precious Words Bookstore.)
Ana Book Store sells used books.

ANA Book Store in Orchard at Far East Plaza
Tango Mango is a retail shop at Tanglin Shopping Mall at Orchard selling stationery, gifts and some books.

Local Sources for Children’s Books

Woods in the Books is at Tiong Bahru.
Books Ahoy is the sister store of Woods in the Books.

Books Ahoy in Orchard at Forum Shopping Mall
Junior Page sells children’s books at Alexandra Retail Centre and online.
The Groovy Giraffe sells remaindered children’s books online and offers free shipping for orders over $50.
Closetful of Books sells children’s books online.
Fables sells children’s books online.
Josh and Cherie sells a book box subscription for children.
Friendly Giant Books is by the same team as Josh & Cherie Books.
My Greatest Child sells new children’s books at Plaza Singapura, City Square Mall, Chintown Point, SingPost Centre, United Square, and online.

My Greatest Child at Plaza Singapura
My Greatest Child at Chinatown Point
My Greatest Child in Paya Lebar at SingPost Centre

My Greatest Child in Novena at United Square

Local Retail Book Chains

Zall Bookstore just opened in February 2021 at Wheelock Place selling books in Chinese and English. The shop incorporates a small art gallery, a cafe, and a children’s reading corner. Located partly on the first floor (behind Marks & Spencer) and partly on the second floor.

Zall Bookstore at Wheelock Place (2nd floor entrance)
Kinokuniya is the Japanese bookstore chain that owns the biggest bookshop in Singapore (located in Ngee Ann City at Orchard), as well as a couple of smaller outlets (Bugis and Jurong East). With a paid membership, you can get some discounts.

Kinokuniya at Orchard in Ngee Ann City
Kinokuniya at Jurong East Mall

Kinokuniya at Bugis Junction
Times still has a few outlets. Discount with paid membership.

Times at Waterway Point
MPH has one remaining Singapore shop.

MPH at SingPost Centre
Popular has a ton of locations. Discount with paid membership.

Popular at Tampines Mall
Popular in Paya Lebar at PLQ Mall
Popular in Novena at United Square
Popular in Harbourfront at Vivo City

Popular in Jurong East at Westgate
Du Yi operates book and gift stores. The West Mall branch has the widest range of books.

Du Yi in Paya Lebar at PLQ Mall (mainly selling Chinese children’s materials, stationery… and socks)

Local Publishers

Epigram Books publishes “thought-provoking and exquisitely designed fiction and non-fiction books and graphic novels”.
Asiapac Books is “Singapore’s leading publisher of educational comics and illustrated books on Asian culture”.
Ethos Books creates “books that capture the spirit of a people and reflect the ethos of our changing times”.
Marshall Cavendish, “dedicated to raising the quality of teaching and learning in Singapore via a holistic approach, is the leading provider of K–12 educational solutions.”
Straits Times Press is a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, “Asia’s leading media organisation”.
Editions Didier Millet is a publisher of “illustrated general and reference books with a strong emphasis on Southeast Asia”.
World Scientific publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities.
Monsoon Books is a “publisher of English-language fiction and nonfiction with Southeast Asian themes”.
Balestier Press is “an independent publisher proudly presenting the hidden gems of contemporary world literature, picture books, comics/graphic novels, memoirs and other non-fiction books”.
NUS Press is the publisher of academic titles on “Singapore, Southeast Asia and East Asia” based at the National University of Singapore.

Local University Book Shops

NUS Coop at National University of Singapore.
BookHaven at NUS University Town
Booklink at SMU, NTU, RP, James Cook U and online

Local Online Booksellers

Sg Book Deals sells discounted books online at BookMarket.

pre-Covid SG Book Deals warehouse sale
Thryft sells second-hand books, free delivery over $15.
Times sells online at Goguru.
GOHD sells rare books.
Books Actually was a literary hub in Tiong Bahru, now online only.
Retail chain Kinokuniya also sells online.
Open Trolley offers paid delivery or free pickup.
Select Books is a distributor of books about Asia.
Ho Printing and SGBookShelf sell books selected for the local market at Shopzone.

The Novel Encounter is a… highly specialized premium bookseller. Worth a click.
Books Beyond Borders sells used books to raise money for education.

International Online Booksellers

Amazon.sg has products in stock locally in a number of categories, including books. With a free Amazon account, local deliveries fulfilled by Amazon are S$2.99 if marked as One-Day Delivery; Standard Delivery is free for orders over S$40. You can order from international suppliers (delivery charges vary).
Amazon.sg Prime, which a monthly S$2.99 Prime subscription, gets you free local delivery with no minimum order, among other benefits. International shipping for eligible items is free for orders over S$60.
Blackwell’s is an online retailer based in the UK. Prices are marked in SGD (among other currencies). Shipping to Singapore is included free.
Fishpond is an online retailer founded in New Zealand. Prices are marked in SGD (among other currencies). Shipping is free on every order.
Book Depository is an online book retailer founded in the UK. Prices are marked in SGD (among other currencies). Shipping is free on every order.
Big Bad Wolf Books is a discount online retailer originally launched in Malaysia. Prices are marked in SGD (among other currencies). Shipping to Singapore is included free for orders over SG$99.
Book Xcess is a discount online retailer based in Malaysia. Prices are marked in SGD (among other currencies).
Better World Books ships worldwide for free. Their website is better than it used to be, and maybe their service is too. They’re big on reusing and recycling, and they raise money for literacy. Prices are in USD.
Wordery claims to ship worldwide, but… everything is “Currently Unavailable” when I visit the site from a Singapore IP address. Thanks, Covid. =\

Special Book Sales

Before Covid, Singapore brick-and-mortar retail book chains and traveling booksellers would go on “roadshows” and set up tables in shopping mall hallways and atriums.

pre-Covid atrium sale at The Centrepoint

Social distancing rules have more or less put a stop to that for now, though I have seen advertisements for a couple of discount book sales where you book a slot to go and browse.

Books & Beer is a social book-swapping event held in partnership with various food & beverage outlets. They are proceeding cautiously with meetups in accordance with local restrictions.
The Singapore Expo used to have warehouse sales organized by Penguin, MPH, and Popular. Those are cancelled or postponed because of Covid.
Popular holds an annual event called BookFest in December. Before Covid, it was at Suntec City Convention Centre.

Person-to-Person Websites

There are some free classified ad platforms that help individuals sell stuff to each other. Some of that stuff is books.

Carousell
(Let me tell you how much I love Carousell!)
Facebook

Check out the Facebook Group “Books Don’t Throw” to give books away or claim books that others are getting rid of.

There are also books for sale in Facebook Marketplace.

Gumtree
Not as easy to browse as Carousell or Facebook.

Honorable Mentions

Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores sell second-hand books. I visited the Praisehaven Mega Family Store.

 

Dignity Mama second-hand book stalls are located in four Singapore hospitals (Khoo Teck Puat, Ng Teng Fong, NUH and SKH). The stalls provide employment opportunities for young adults with special needs.

Not Listed Here

  • shops selling only comics or manga
  • shops selling only non-English language books
  • shops selling only religious books
  • shops that mostly sell other stuff
  • shops that have closed permanently

.. and shops that for whatever reason I don’t happen to know about.

My other “Buying Books in Singapore” post is outdated.