Photo Credit: brewbooks, Flickr
Although E-Books and ipads allow the modern reader to access the plenitude of global literature with the flick of a finger, any bibliophile will tell you that nothing quite beats a casual browse through a descent bookstore. Fortunately, Kuala Lumpur has some excellent places where you can find that perfect page turner.
The largest and most stylish bookstore in KL, Malaysia, the Kinokuniya in Suria KLCC offers a colossal variety of books to choose from. In addition to showcasing a generous selection of locally published works, shoppers will be able to find books to suit virtually any interest including some rare treasures. Art lovers will be particularly delighted to find the second floor of Kinokuniya filled with plush graphic books and painting materials and fans of the comic medium can chose from an extensive range of titles. Stacks of international magazines are also available to peruse.
At Kinokuniya, the customer can take advantage of that most blissful of combinations: a great read, a delicious coffee and an excellent view. The O’Coffee club on the second floor of Kinokuniya overlooks the sleek KLCC Park, the perfect backdrop for an inspiring book shopping experience.
Although, sadly, the Borders Company faced bankruptcy and liquidation in 2011, there are still several active stores still left in the Kuala Lumpur region. These remaining bookstores more than live up to Borders past reputation for providing a large variety of quality books, stationary and multimedia. The Borders at The Gardens Mall, Midvalley, is particularly impressive. This is largely due to their voluminous fiction titles which encompass more genres than your average mall bookstore. Borders also regularly host a number of inspiring talks and events, usually featuring local artists sharing their experiences and answering questions.
Several Borders in Malaysia, including the one at the Gardens Mall and the Curve, house a Starbucks for the visitor to complement their reading buzz with a burst of caffeine. It should also be noted that, unlike Kinokuniya, the books displayed at Borders are left unwrapped so the potential customer can skim through at their leisure before deciding whether to buy.
With 28 outlets throughout the country, MPH is the preferred book shop chain for the vast majority of Malaysians. Though the outlets tend to be much smaller than your typical borders, they do stock the most popular new releases, the classics and a great selection of Malaysian-publications. The MPH in One Utama has two stories, and lovers of self-help and business books will find a colossal catalogue to choose from. MPH has regular sales events and bargain stalls that can be found in most malls where the stalls are located. If you enjoy cruising shelves to your heart’s content, Borders and Kinokuniya may be more your speed, but if you want to quickly acquire what’s new and popular, look no further than your local MPH.
Though just as ‘popular’ for their large assortment of music, DVD’s and stationary goods, the Popular Chain does not disappoint when it comes to books. A fair mix of fiction and non-fiction works can be found at most of the chain’s stores and, if you are a fan of the internationally acclaimed “Chicken Soup” motivational series, the Sunway Pyramid Popular is the place to go.
Though the subject sections are quite small, one often finds that the books on offer are not just the stock-standard commercial editions found at most MPH stores.
Popular is also an excellent place to buy Magazines.
The four chic Times bookstores in KL (Pavillion, Bangsar, Cap Square and Hartamas) house a range of exciting works for all ages and interests, but what sets them apart from the other stores on the list is the workshop programs they offer (the latest of which can be found here). Local and international authors are also known to give talks at Times Bookstores every now and then. Multiple promotion deals are offered by Times on a monthly basis, offering deals on specific book series and genres. With a minimum purchase of RM200 (and for a moderate RM10 fee) Times are also willing to deliver your books right to your office or doorstep!
For the book lover who prefers something more visual, Basheer Graphic Books is for you. Located in Bukit Bintang Plaza, the store is crammed with the very best design, art, architecture, fashion and photography books you will find anywhere in Malaysia. Big, glossy volumes displaying the current vogue in the avant-garde gallery scene or catwalk lineups are juxtaposed with smaller, more modest works describing the essentials of interior design. Book prices at Basheer are comparatively cheap, and shipping services are also offered.
Looking to find a wide variety of books at exceptionally low prices? Look no further than Book Xcess. This relatively obscure treasure trove of titles old and new has enjoyed increasing popularity ever since its foundation in 2006. The reason behind the success of Book Xcess can be found in the name: the store purchases the excess bulk of what the major bookstore chains are marketing, and sells it at a much cheaper price – some times as much as 70% cheaper!. The result, according to founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng, is a shop that has all the comforts and conveniences of your typical book outlet with the added benefit of every day seeming like a warehouse sale.
Book Xcess can be found at the Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya.
Book Xcess also hosts the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Events, held at various locations throughout Malaysia, which offer further discounts on all books (up to 95% off in some instances!). The last Big Bad Wolf Sale took place this year at Johor Baru’s Danga City Mall, and garnered a massive crowd of book buyers. If the 100,405 likes that it has amassed on Facebook is any indication, the Big Bad Wolf Sales Event looks set to expand and continue well into the future.
Held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center KLCC, the massive Book Fest Malaysia features the very latest publications from Asia, America and the UK. With 680,00 visitors in 2012, the Book Fest is a steadily growing testament to the passion that Malaysians throughout the peninsular reserve for reading. Aside from the staggering amount of books on offer, a number of events are held at the Book Fest including live readings and performances, contests and even games for all ages. The next Book Fest (promising to be the most successful yet) will be held 3-11 of August this year.
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