3 Independent Local Bookstores You Need to Visit

Photo Credit: City Book Room

Do you know that Singapore’s National Reading Day will be in a month’s time, on 30th July? One’s first instinct when asked: “Where can I get a good book in Singapore?” may be to recommend large, reputable bookstores like Popular, Times and Kinokuniya. While such big name stores have given us access to many titles, the local bookshop scene remains thriving and greatly underappreciated.

In light of National Reading Day, here are 3 of such independent local bookstores which are offering something unique and are greatly in need of recognition. Running a bookstore is not an uncommon dream and it is definitely not easy. While we were not sponsored in any way, we urge you to take some time out to visit these great places and show them your support by purchasing a book to read on National Reading Day!

  1. Booktique

Located in Citylink mall, Booktique stocks a wonderfully curated selection of titles that consist of both local voices and prominent authors from beyond Singapore’s shores. The varied but purposefully chosen mix of both Singaporean and non-Singaporean topics and writing blends well, offering one a great insight into literature. We guarantee that you will find at least one title which catches your eye when you step into this bookstore. Interesting and worthwhile literary events such as Cats of the Streets (a cat photography event) are also held regularly here, so do go and find out more about them and their event line-up from their Facebook page!

(P.S. if you’re looking for a space to hold a book club or anything else, Booktique also rents out their space for events!)

  1. Basheer’s Graphic Books

One of the greatest hidden treasures of Bras Basah Complex, this independent bookstore is located at the 4th floor and supplies the most expansive range of print magazines, guides and other rare titles you will ever set your eyes on in Singapore. Those who usually visit Basheer’s are design students who know of him due to tricks of the trade. However, the sheer amount of titles that Basheer actively stocks will be able to engage any kind of reader. You can find creative and well-known visual and content mags such as ‘Cereal’, ‘Flow’ and ‘Monocle’ here at reasonable prices.

Basheer himself is a friendly and knowledgeable owner who is willing to recommend titles to you and lets you browse through his impressive collection. Want a particular zine or publication even though it’s no longer in stock? Basheer will note your details down and contact you when he’s got it stocked on his shelves. Remember to swing by this place the next time you’re in Bugis, and if you want to know just how varied they can get, like their Facebook page here.

  1. City Book Room

This newly opened bookstore stocks mainly Chinese titles in a quaint and well-designed space at the heart of Bugis. Almost directly opposite the road from Basheer’s Graphic Books, you can find City Book Room on the 3rd floor of North Bridge Center, which is mostly known for housing tuition centres and other small businesses. As such, City Book Room will certainly bring more activity and reason to visit the building. If you prefer to browse books in a quiet environment and at your own pace, we definitely recommend this place. City Book Room also stocks English titles, so don’t be intimidated if you’re more English-inclined. Come by and enjoy the ambience of this humble but ambitious bookstore when you’re done staking out Basheer’s Graphic Books (and vice versa). City Book Room’s Facebook page can be found here.

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