Can’t resist a good book? Same as us! Expat Living loves taking a trip to a great bookstore from time to time. Here are 12 of our favourite book shops in Singapore selling interesting reads that range from design and fiction to fashion and history (and even some vintage collections) to satisfy all types of readers.
This store is every creative’s dream. It features an array of design books and magazines, plus you’ll find titles related to graphic design, fashion, architecture, art and more. Whether you’re looking for some artistic inspiration or an interesting book to feature on your coffee table, the store is a good spot to explore.
#04-19 Bras Basah Complex, 231 Bain Street | 6336 0810
A treasure trove for any bookworm, and considered one of the first independent bookstores in Singapore, this quirky shop is a favourite among the local literary community. Now entirely online based, it sells a diverse range of books including independent literature and self-published titles, along with its own label of vintage stationery (Birds & Co.), CDs, tote bags and even clutches that look like books.
If you love Woods in the Books (see below), we have no doubt that you’ll also love this one! Opened by the duo that started that popular nook for books in Tiong Bahru, this store aims to encourage the love and interest of reading amongst little ones.
#02-03 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road
Although Cat Socrates is largely an independent lifestyle store, its collection also includes a small selection of books on typography, drawing and more. It’s easy to get lost in the eclectic mix of items that they have here, including furniture, accessories and more!
* #02-25, Bras Basah Complex, Blk 231 Bain Street
* 448 Joo Chiat Road
A café-cum-bookshop run by Epigram Books and Huggs Coffee, this is the only store in Singapore to sell Singapore-centric books – that is, books about Singapore and books written or published by Singaporean authors. You can purchase a wide array of books from the website, or come in and buy while enjoying Huggs’ specialty coffee and treats. The store has also hosted various events in the path, including those featuring well-known Singaporean writers like Cyril Wong, Felix Cheong and Ng Yi-Sheng.
45 Maxwell Road, #01-01
This Japanese bookstore is known for its well-curated selection of books. You’ll find plenty of popular book titles, magazines, comics and more. Get lost among the shelves and walk away with another book to add to your collection; or check out the handy webstore if you don’t have time to do a physical shop!
Four outlets across Singapore
From the moment you walk in, this quirky bookstore will charm you with its warm and inviting character. Check out the many genres available across the two-storey space. Then, after you’ve settled on a book of your choice, get comfortable at one of the reading areas.
20 Duxton Road | 6220 6824
A children’s bookstore that offers a diverse collection of local and global books at affordable prices, the bookstore’s layout is designed for little ones, with lower shelves and small grottos that they can explore. It’s the perfect store to get your kid into reading!
KINEX, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #03-15
This online bookstore is especially useful when you’re in a rush, but you need a good read. With delivery for just $4.90 per order (rather than per book) throughout Singapore, it’s easy to see why Open Trolley is so well liked. You can also collect your books at no cost at partner store Toy Outpost in Bugis Junction.
Singapore’s most notable chain bookstore by far, with outlets spread out across the island. Although it doesn’t have the widest variety of literature, this retail giant is well stocked with books to assist your child’s education. It also sells an assortment of stationary, electronics, software and even snacks.
Multiple outlets across Singapore
If you’re looking to delve into the rich culture and history of the Asian region, this is the place to go. Situated on a beautiful heritage site, Select Books retails, distributes and has published some of the most important works in Southeast Asian history. The store also hosts regular book-related events and has an in-store café.
#02-06 St Michael’s Industrial Estate, 65A Jalan Tentaram
Like Cat Socrates, Tango Mango is more of a place for knickknacks than an outright bookshop, but its book section is wonderfully stocked. With all sorts of magazines available, as well as stationery and quirky gifts, you can spend many happy hours in this eclectic shop.
163 Tanglin Road, #03-11A, Tanglin Mall
True to its name, this store specifically sells French literature from a range of genres. Aside from the titles on the physical shelves, you can also purchase books from the store’s website. Whether you’re a native French speaker or a novice learning the language, this is one book shop you should check out.
55 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-53C
An independent bookstore located near Outram Park MRT, Grassroots is a Chinese-focused store selling Chinese and foreign history books, Chinese modern literature, and Western and Japanese books translated into Mandarin. It strives to promote Mandarin reading and encourages others to pick it up.
Grassroots also hosts various cultural activities, such as reading sessions, film and drama discussions, and live music performances. What’s more, there’s a small kopitiam-style café in the back that sells coffees and nibbles.
25 Bukit Pasoh Road
A cute little bookshop with a very small café attached, The Moon focuses its attention on more marginalised authors and their works, as well as selling a variety of merchandise from Singapore- and SEA-based creators. It also hosts a wide variety of events in the event space on the third floor, including poetry nights, art exhibits and music performances.
The café serves a wide range of food and drinks suitable for a range of dietary requirements, so you can visit safely knowing you’ll have something there to enjoy.
37 Mosque Street
This is the perfect place to reminisce on the books you grew up with. From Tin Tin and The Hungry Caterpillar to The Giving Tree, this niche bookstore in Tiong Bahru specialises in both classic and new picture books. Besides evoking some childhood nostalgia, it also makes for a fun outing with mums and bubs.
3 Yong Siak Street
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.