Bookstores in Asia
26 May 2008
Bookstores for Japan are in a separate Japan listing.
Bookstores for Australia and New Zealand are in a separate Australia
and New Zealand listing.
Bookstores for Turkey are in the Europe listings.
Cities include (listed basically west to east, north to south by country,
alphabetically within country, but associated areas and language groups are
listed together; if anyone has a better ordering, let me know):
Tel Aviv, Israel
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hoi An, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Xi'an, People's Republic of China
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Taipei, Taiwan/Republic of China
other geographic areas
[Note 1: I collected these comments from a variety of people. I personally
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-) Phone numbers and precise addresses can be
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city. Call ahead
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.]
[Note 2: If you can add information for any of these, in particular
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.]
Steimatzky's (on Ben-Yehuda; on Jaffa Road; on King George Avenue). *The*
importer of English-language books for Israel. Just look for a
large green sign with "Steimatzky's" written in white in both
languages. You can't get away from them. They carry a decent
selection of Hebrew and English books, although they are *extremely*
expensive--$8 for a paperback?
Sefer ve-Sefel ("Book and Mug", on one of the tiny side streets near
Ben-Yehuda; you're going to have to ask a local for directions,
since it's one of the "in, up, and over" stores well off the
street). One of the best places to go. A used/new bookstore-cum-
cafe. They have a large selection of Judaica in both English and
Hebrew, and a *huge* selection of fiction--novels, mystery, romance,
and a SF section to shame many stores in the U.S. Their prices are
about the same as those in American used-book stores.
"Jerusalem is filled with small bookstores in every language, for every
price range and taste in reading. I was a dusty and exhausted archaeology
sla--I mean, *volunteer*--so I hit most of the used-paperback stores. I
got most of my directions from a friend, but I found out later that any good
guidebook will have a list of bookstores with directions, or at least
addresses--usually hidden and not indexed, but it's there."
The Reader's Corner (30 Shmuel Ha-Natziv, 42123, Tel/FAX 09-8345767,
firstname.lastname@example.org). Both used and new English books;
their selection is generally better than Steimatzky's. Warmly
recommended to science fiction fans, as the owner loves SF and keeps
a good stock. Has a bookcase of TSR books which are pretty much
unavailable elsewhere in the country. Open Sun, Mon, Wed, Thu
8:30AM-1PM, 4PM-7PM; Tue 8:30AM-1PM, Fri 8:30AM-2PM.
"Steimatzky's have branches in all major cities of Israel. They can
generally be found in almost every mall. All branches hold English titles,
and can order from the chain HQ anything that's in stock without additional
price. They also sell most major magazines."
Tel Aviv, Israel:
Dyonun Bookstore (Tel-Aviv University).
Halper's Books (Allenby 87, Tel Aviv, 65134, email@example.com).
Israel's largest bookstore for used English books. In business
for 12 years and has a stock of over 50,000 books. [12/04]
"Steimatzky's have branches in all major cities of Israel. They can
generally be found in almost every mall. All branches hold English titles,
and can order from the chain HQ anything that's in stock without additional
price. They also sell most major magazines."
The Kuwait Yellow Pages are not very helpful, listing only the names of a
few dozen shops and an accompanying phone number (no addresses or ads
The Kuwait Bookshops Co. Ltd. (Muthanna Complex Basement 1, PO Box 2942,
Safat (Kuwait city centre, beneath the Kuwait Finance House),
242 4289/3876; Al-Sour; Ahmadi; firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Muthanna Complex branch (the largest) is a largish bookshop,
mostly non-fiction and reference but very comprehensive; also a
large focus on technical and educational books. Disappointingly
small fiction section (with SF restricted to a few dozen Star Trek
titles), but classic literature is well represented in a different
section. Also a large children's literature section in several
European languages, plus of course Arabic. Plenty of magazines.
Open Sat-Thu 8AM-12PM, 5PM-9PM; Fri 9AM-12N, 5PM-9PM. The Al-Sour
and Ahmadi branches are smaller and not so well stocked.
[This part contributed by Peter Young.]
Gangaram's (MG Road). "One of the biggest book shops that I have seen in
India. Quite like a western departmental store."
Premier Book Shop (behind MG Road). "A very good book shop. I found this
to have a good number of books, but it was a bit disorganized."
Another poster adds, "However, the owner, a Mr Shanbag, can find
any title you are interested in within seconds, and does a good
line on offering a percentage off if he likes you!" "I second the
recommendation for Premier Book Shop in Bangalore, India. It is
very disorganized but the owner, Mr. Shanbag, can always locate a
book for you, or order it. And he gives discounts if you ask him
The Computer Book Shop (the Fort Road joining VT station to Flora Fountain).
Has the most comprehensive selection of computer-related books.
Crossword (Mahalaxmi Chambers, Bhulabhai Desai Rd). Crossword has a very
large selection of books, but its main drawing point is its
computerised library of all available titles. It also offers a
"Dial a Book" service by which you can order a book to be delivered
to your doorstep the same day. It stocks greeting cards, toys,
compact discs and audio cassettes in addition to books. It often
organises "Meet the author" sessions or book readings by eminent
personalities. They don't offer the most competitive prices but
it's well worth checking out.
Danai (Off Linking Rd, Khar). Danai is another bookshop which is willing to
order titles which may not be in stock. They also have a large
collection of magazines and music. Quite a good collection of books
but somewhat expensive too.
Lotus Book House (Bandra Reclamation, Bandra). Lotus Book House has the
reputation of being a more personalised version of Crossword and the
convenience of being located at the halfway point of the city and
suburbs. It is perfect for browsing and offers a computerised
ordering service. "Easily offers the finest inventory of books
especially some rather esoteric ones. If they don't have a book,
they will tell you exactly when they will be able to procure it.
It's in a pretty obscure location (somewhat hard to find) but it's
well worth it."
Nalanda (Colaba). A very good collection of books (but rather on the
expensive side considering that it serves a very upmarket
New and Second Hand Bookshop. (in one of the bylanes near St. Xaviers
College). "I have come across the most amazing collection of books.
And the prices are so reasonable, it's unbeleivable. For instance,
I've managed to lay my hands on first prints of H. G. Wells. I
can't think of any other place where i could find that. Yes, I
would find reprints...but not first editions. at just Rs.125...
that's approximately $3.50....amazing..."
Smokers Corner (a block from the Strand Bookstall). Running since the 1940s
or early 1950s, this is another of Bombay's institutions. As well
as being a bookstore, it also houses a small library.... This store
offers the best deals for new books. For instance on a lucky day,
one could get an original unused/sealed copy of LABYRINTHS by Borges
for Rs.25 (about US$0.75).
Strand Book Store (Dhannur, Sir.Pherozshah Mehta Road, about two blocks from
the Computer Book Shop). The most famous bookstore in Bombay. It
offers an impressive inventory of books. Though small in size by
American standards, the owners promise they can order any book that
is available. The store is constantly flooded by book enthusiasts
and sometimes "bumping" becomes necessary. :-)
? (down the road towards Flora Fountain). It is the "most" famous book
shop in that area of Bombay. Carries all the best sellers and
general fiction/non-fiction books.
"By far the most frequented book location is the street aound Flora
Fountain. This is a stretch of about 2 kilometers on which street vendors
have hawked books (for the past twenty or thrity years). Approx
100,000-200,000 books are up for grabs everyday. About 80% of the books are
used (thousands of books are sold/bought by these vendors). Books of all
types, fiction, non-fiction, technical and non-technical books are
available. Any self-respecting Bombaywallah would have bought at least one
book from these vendors at least once."
"This just covers a small section of south Bombay. If I cover all the
bookstores in Greater Bombay itself (not in the outskirts/suburbs), I would
require at least two or three hours (not counting the typing :-) ). I
could still cover the Lamingtoin Road area (and the Matunga area) which has
perhaps the finest collection of bookstores, selling technical books.... I
should mention, however, that the favourite haunt of book maniacs would be
the thousands(!!!!!!!!) of street vendors/stalls well littered all around
Bombay. It is at these book"stores" that one can get the best
bargains/choice and the joy of finding a rare book that one has been
searching, for a throwaway price not to mention the atmosphere where one
can chat with other "hunters" whilst browsing through the books! At one of
such vendors I picked up an original copy of VENUS IN FURS by Leopold von
Sacher-Masoch for a mere Rs.5 (about USD$0.16)!"
W. Newman & Company (the arcade of the Grand Eastern Hotel). Not much of
interest, except as an experience. Almost all the books are inside
glass cases and there are almost far more staff than books.
However, this mild-mannered bookstore is the home of "Newman's
Indian Bradshaw" and is the only place in India you are sure to be
able to find a copy. For the uninitiated, this is the consolidated
railway and airline time table book for India. You'll have to ask
for it, as they seem to keep them all hidden under the counter.
Oxford (Park Street near The Asiatic Society building). "This store has no
relation to the OUP. It is a clean, modern bookstore, with plenty
of titles, and even nooks you can sit and browse books in. Clearly
caters to the tourist crowd, and offers a 10% discount to students
(even american graduate students). Has an upstairs with some
specialty works in philosophy and religion. They also carry cards,
stationery, office supplies, music, videos and CD-ROMs. Oh, and in
case you were wondering, the Cambridge bookstore is across the
street in the next block but it was closed every day I was in
In Calcutta the major area for books seems to be in front of Calcutta
University near the student tank. The street is lined on both sides
with stalls full of text books, and near the stalls there are stores.
Mainly textbooks but you can find some other things. Wander around the
area there and you will find a number of small publishers, including a
Marxist theology, er, doctorinal press. You might also be tempted by
the Indian Coffee House nearby. There is also a bookstore in that
(This section provided by Kenton A. Hoover.)
The Book Shop (in Khan Market).
The Bookworm (B-29 Connaught Place, 3322260). Biggest collection of
English-language paperbacks I saw in New Delhi. Claimed to have
Hindi books upstairs but I didn't see any. "I strongly second the
recommendation. Mr. Anil Arora (the owner of the shop) is a very
nice and helpful person. He is one of the few guys who has the
titles in his computer's database. Also has a SF section. And yes,
some Hindi books do exist upstairs. The bargain sale price of
hard-backs and classics is fantastic. A good selection of Penguins
and Pelicans too."
Galgotias (B-Block of Connaught Place). Good for technical books and general
reading/fiction. They are close to the Bookworm and next door to
another bookstore (Capital Book Shop?).
Metropolitan Book Company (1 Nataji Subash Marg Darya Gang-2, 327-1661).
Claims to be the largest bookstore in Delhi. In the Old Delhi area.
Sehgals (in the South Extension market).
Teksons (in the South Extension market).
Divya Bookshop (Shopping Arcade #1, Maurya Sheraton Hotel & Towers,
Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi 110 021, +91 (0)11-611-2233).
"A small shop but with a wide selection of mostly UK editions
covering a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and a well-stocked
variety of Penguin India editions. Also travel, self-help,
spiritual and children's books plus magazines." Open 0800-2130
most days, but phone to check. [07/03]
There are two other book shops on Janpath (close to Connaught Place). You
get bargain prices in the book shop that is close to the Indian Oil Bhawan.
"As with the cities above, there is at least one major bookshop in the
downtown area of any big city. A rambling walk in the down-town area
is sure to turn it up. Books are comparatively cheaper in India. The prices
in Germany are really atrocious. DM 20,- for a paper-back in English !!"
(They're also cheaper in India than in either the United States or Britain,
even for British books. There is a shop that sells books at the airport,
and it's not a bad way to get rid of those final rupees.)
The Bookstore at Spencer Plaza (Ground Floor, Anna Salai (Mount Road)).
Bit of a tourist stop, but in the back and near the register they
have alot of religion in Hindi, Sanskrit and Tamil. Some music as
Fountain Head (Dr.Radhakrishnan Salai or Edward Elliots Road near Jammi
Buildings). Started as a rival to Landmark to attract the young
yuppie crowd. Very similar to Lanmark, but is split into three
levels and has a bargain section downstairs. One poster writes,
"Except for hunting bargans, its not worth the trip. Anything
that Fountainhead has, Landmark has."
Giggles Bookstore (arcade of the Connemara Hotel, Binnys Road). "A *must*.
Open until about 2000 hrs most nights. This is the ultimate
experience in bookstores. Giggles is about ten feet wide and
thirty feet long, and the books are in vertical stacks leaned
three deep against the walls. The woman who runs the place has
had it for years and has an uncanny ability to not only know the
exact location of any book on any subject in the store, but can
also size up a prospecitive client so quickly as to know exactly
what to offer them. They also have a very clever advertising
scheme; they put their ads directly in front of every other
bookstore in town."
Higginbothams (Mount Road, a.k.a. Anna Salai). India's largest bookstore in
terms of area. It has a good section on technical books on all
subjects, but lacks the ambience and class of Landmark. Has a good
section on India, travel and tourism. Also sells tapes and CDs of
Indian classical music. Very popular with tourists, partly because
of its location. One poster writes, "Sunday is the holiday for
Higgenbothams. Higgenbothams is great for techical books or school
books, but otherwise you might give it a miss. They have branches
in most of the train stations in the south, plus a branch in Anna
Nagar (which I have not been to)."
The Karnatic Music Book Centre (14, Sripuram First Street, Royapettah
(near Ajantha Hotel), Madras 600 014, +91-44-826-0147).
"The owner, Mr. T.N. Balasubramanian speaks English well and is
very helpful and knowledgeable about South Indian Classical music,
also known as 'Karnatik Music.'"
LandMark (Nungambakkam High Road near the U.S. counsulate). Truly a
landmark, for the young and the restless, and the old alike.
It's your best bet for foreign books. It boasts of a wide variety
of books on almost every subject, very nicely classified, spacious,
and a quite ambience without any nosy salesperson. Also has a
section on gift articles and children's toys and books. If you
can't find it at Landmark, chances are that you will not find it in
Madras. Good collection of paperbacks, omnibus and a seperate
section on computer books. "Good selection, but pointed towards
fiction. Well worth the trip. It's in the basement of the
building, in case it's unclear where to find it." Open 0900-2100;
closes earlier on Sunday.
Moore Market. "I dont know how much of it is left, but was the *definitive*
treasure house for rare books in India before a fire burnt the
place. A lot of books were destroyed, but a few shops still remain,
and you can take a chance. I found the entire collection of the
original Faust (both versions by Reynolds and Goethe) for a measly
300 Rs. (US$10).
Oxford Univerity Press Outlet (behind the US Consulate on Mount Road).
"They have quite alot of stock available, but don't expect them to
be prompt on your exit; we bought eight books and it took them about
twenty minutes to check us out (and we were the only people there)."
"What to Avoid: American Book House and Kennedy Book House on Mount Road,
where the sales people are very nosy and pester you into either buying
a book or ask you not to loiter around reading books. I walked out in
"As a pointer, Dr. Radharkishnan Salai (Salai means Road, btw) is the
continuation of Cathedral Road, which is what Nungambakkam High Road
becomes when it crosses Mount Road). This makes for an easy bookstore
run; start at Fountainhead and take an autorickshaw to Landmark.
Should cost you Rs. 20 (given a small haggle). Then walk back to Mount
Road to go to the OUP outlet."
Also Madras has a very famous book fair in Dec-Jan (Dec 15 to Jan 15
usually, but dates vary). So if you are there around that time, check that
out. There is a 10-15% discount on all books at that time.
There are many speciality book stores too, but these are your best bets.
[Most of the section was contributed by Balaji ThirumalaiKumara, with
additions from Kenton A. Hoover.]
Crossword (Sorabh Hall, Near Pune Railway Station). "Contains a good
collection of books on all subjects and also magazines. They also
have a great audio section." [01/05]
The International Bookhouse (Fergusson College Rd by the Garware flyover).
Great, takes credit cards, and will ship your books home for you.
Manny's Bookseller (in Camp).
Oxford Press Showroom.
Technical Book Services (Hermes Nest, Dastur Meher Rd, Camp). "Great
collection of technical books on all subjects. Can procure any
technical book if unavailable at shop. Usually offers some discount
on any purchase." [01/05]
Pilgrims Book House (B27/98-A-8 Nawaganj Rd, Durga Kund (near the Monkey
Temple), +91-542-314060, FAX +91-542-314059,
http://www.pilgrimsbooks.com). New and used books on India, Nepal,
and Tibet, travel guides, etc. Their web page mentions they also
offer "hygenic rest rooms."
Pilgrims Book House (next to Kathmandu Guest House, Thamel, POB 3872,
+977-1-424942, FAX +977-1-424943, http://www.pilgrimsbooks.com).
New and used books on India, Nepal, and Tibet, travel guides, etc.,
as well as a variety of other services, classes, concerts, etc.
They ship worldwide, but surface mail, so expect books to take five
months or so.
Pilgrims Book House (opposite Himalayan Hotel, Kupondale,
+977-1-521159, FAX +977-1-424943, http://www.pilgrimsbooks.com).
New and used books on India, Nepal, and Tibet, travel guides, etc.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:
Junk Book Store. "The people running the shop certainly love books, but they
don't have an extensive knowledge of their stock or of books
generally. The person who does the pricing has a sound appreciation
of what a book can fetch, but otherwise this is a shop in which you
are on your own." Little if any organization, both within and
across categories, and uses the Chinese alphabetizing system (by the
author's *first* name).
Campus Bookstores (National University of Singapore). Best technical
bookstores. "Theoretically, you can get any book you want in
Singapore if you are willing to order and wait for a few weeks for
it to arrive, and the price will more expensive than buying in US
if they have to order from US. However, some publishers do have
local student editions (mostly paperback) that is significantly
cheaper than you can get in US. Don't expect to find much (if any)
Springer Verlag books there; McGraw-Hill and Addison-Wesley have
larger selection there. I am not too sure about World-Scientific."
"They have some international editions at great prices, but the
selection is very limited."
Computer Book Centre (Funan Centre). Excellent selection of computer books.
Dymocks (B1-26, City Link Mall). "This underground Mall's only bookstore
with reasonably good selections of most popular subjects plus
magazines, though what makes this place worth visiting (apart from
the late opening hours) is the excellent adjoining cafe with plenty
of seating space and a dozen sofas on which to lounge... " Open
Mon-Thu 9AM-10:30PM, Fri-Sat 9AM-11.30PM, Sun 9AM-11PM.
Kinokuniya (Raffles City, at the Sogo Supermarket; Shaw House, Lido Cinemas,
Isetan; Liang Court, River Valley Road, The New Otani Hotel; and
Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City). Like everywhere else in
the world, these stores are very good. The Takashimaya branch is
*very* large, well sorted, and even has (for Singapore) large sections
of German and French books. This bookshop is abouty twice as big (or
even larger) as the Borders at Wheelock Place. "There are slight
problems with their information counter. Their computer inventory
system seems to lack some books (General Fiction) which they do have
in the stalls. They also distinguish between General Fiction and
Literature, but where they draw the line is not obvious :-("
MPH (Stamford Rd & Armenian, and other locations). Chain with okay selection
at their main store, presumably smaller elsewhere.
Popular Bookstore (Bras Basah, near to Raffles City MRT stop and the
refurbished Raffles Hotel, and other outlets). "The prices were not
that competitive compared to Hong Kong (or even Sydney!), but it was
the largest bokstore I came across, and there were other large
bookstores in the same building." "Popular Bookstores are mostly
stationery and only carry a few books, half of which are Chinese.
They cater more to textbooks and schoolbooks." The latter is a bit
harsh, I think, based on the branch in Plaza Singapura.
San Bookshop (Funan Centre #03-29/30, 339-3619; Suntec City Mall #02-087,
334-2326; OUB Centre #03-03, 438-7369; West Mall #04-20, 898-9013;
The Herren Shops #05-18/23/24, 235-4052). Carries new and
second-hand books for sale or rental. Books are arranged in
categories and within a category alphabetically by the author's
*first* name (and from right to left). Books have two prices
marked--they sell for the upper and will be repurchased within two
months for the lower (that's the "rental" part). Each time they get
re-sold, the price goes down, so it pays to check the prices of all
their copies. Has a lot of books from the United States, particularly
in the science fiction section, but also British books unavailable in
the US. Cash only--no credit cards. (Luckily, I had just hit the
Select Books (the third floor of the Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin
Road, #03-15, Singapore 1024, 65-732-1515, FAX 65-736-0855). "This
is the only bookstore I've visited where I would like to order 'one
of everything.' It is a remarkable collection of social sciences,
political science, architecture and art of Asia, currently and in
history. For Asia buffs, there is nothing better."
Sultana Book Store (Paradise Centre). A *very* messy place. But if you
find something rare, you'll probably get it for an outrageously low
Times (many locations). Seems to be about half stationery and such. As with
most bookstores, heavier emphasis on computer and business books and
not much of a fiction/literature selection.
World Scientific Publisher. Unfortunately, they don't have a proper
showroom. You can go to their warehouse, which is kind of far.
They sometimes have some books at the campus bookstore.
Someone had once said:
"It's difficult to find good bookstores in Singapore. Most stores are
chain stores with a limited selection. The used book stores mostly
carry paperback fiction. Books tend to be expensive. The only
redeeming feature is that some books are available in international
editions. In particular, computer books are much cheaper than in the
US. Bras Basah has lots of stores, some of them used and some of them
with a good Chinese selection."
However, with Kinokuniya's new flagship store at Takashimaya, and
Borders at Wheelock Place, the balance has shifted away from the older
chains of Times and MPH, and the bookstore situation has gotten much
There are several computer bookstores at Sim Lim Square shopping center
(Bencoolen St & Rochor Rd) and Sim Lim Towers (Jalan Besar & Rochor Rd),
quality of selection very good to so-so.
[During my three-day trip in March 2001, I went to a few bookstores. The
situation still seemed poor--heavy on computer and business books, light
on fiction, literature, and so on, and high-priced since most seemed to
be US or UK books. For example, the main MPH store had lots of guidebooks,
but neither the Rough Guide nor the Lonely Planet for Vietnam, which is not
that far away. No one seemed to have Nevil Shute, though Stephen King was
everywhere. And so on.]
[Most of this section was contributed by Helmer Aslaksen, with updates
from Mathias Koerber.]
Click and Drag Books (upstairs in Plaza 21 Shopping Centre, next to Glodok
Plaza, in the downtown Kota area). A fair selection of computer
books. A similar but perhaps inferior selection is a shop on the
third floor of Glodok Plaza itself.
Gramedia (Blok M and Pondok Indah Mall). A chain that carries some
English-language titles with an emphasis on business-related titles
and academic textbooks.
Gunung Agung. A chain that carries some English-language titles with an
emphasis on business-related titles and academic textbooks.
Kinokuniya (in the Sogo department store on the 5th floor of Plaza
Indonesia). A bookshop carrying both English language and Japanese
books and magazines. It's not cheap and the selection is smaller
than the Singapore branches, but it has a lively children's story
time on Saturday afternoons. [01/05]
Maruzen (first floor of the Wisma Koei Prince office building, Jalan
Sudirman). Carries English-language and Japanese books. Similar to
Kinokuniya but slightly smaller. "I believe they are planning to
open a second larger branch soon in a new development next to the
existing Pasarya department store in Blok M."
QB Books. "A good chain, stocks most categories, including
bestsellers, and has a reasonable range of American/Australian
magazines. There are several branches, including small but always
busy in Plaza Senayan, and larger one, with cafe, on Jl Kemang
Rubino (several near-identical branches mainly in shopping centres). A
magazine store carrying cheap US paperbacks as well. "I'm not sure
the magazine selection is better than the Times Bookshop but it does
carry a different selection of titles."
Scientific Bookshop (Jalan Melawai IV, Blok M). Carries a big stock of
(sometimes dated) academic (including social sciences, etc.)
textbooks but getting what you are after is a bit erratic. As in
Gramedia some Asian student editions are available and priced
competitively but other titles can be prohibitively expensive.
Times Bookstore (Plaza Indonesia, Jalan Thamrin; Pondok Indah Shopping Mall,
South Jakarta). Like its sister in Singapore, this is basically a
best-sellers/picture books/how-to bookstore. You can get many types
of magazines, but there is a better magazine store (Rubino) near the
escalators from the basement to the main level in the Plaza
Indonesia. Both branches are smaller than their Singapore relations
with a smaller stock and higher prices."
There is a small chain of bookstores operating under various names with
limited ranges of books very similar to Times the bookshop. An example is
the Family Bookshop at Kemang Club Villas in South Jakarta. I believe the
same company run the newsstands in some of the international hotels which
carry reasonable ranges of international newspapers.
A second-hand book store sells mainly English language paperbacks at
reasonable prices located in Jalan Kemang Bangka I in Kemang. The American
Womens Association have a selection of second-hand books for expats at
their thrift shop at Jalan Gaharu I, number 15, Cipete Selatan (and a
lending library for members). I understand there is English Language
Teaching Materials specialist called Triad located at the Slipi building on
Jalan Parman in the Slipi area but I have never been there.
"Overall, finding English language books in Jakarta is a frustrating
experience with limited selections at mostly expensive prices. A major
barrier to the development of the book business here is that many
photocopying shops exist that will copy and bind whole books incredibly
cheaply (about 2c a page or less). This greatly limits the market for
[Most of this section was contributed by Simon Delay.]
Asia Books (ten branches: 221 Sukhumvit Road (between Sois 15 & 17),
651-0428/9, 252-7277/4373, FAX 251-6042; 2/f, Peninsula Plaza
(adjacent to the Regent Hotel), 253-9786/7/8, FAX 254-0737;
1/f & 3/f, Landmark Plaza (The Landmark Hotel), 252-5838, 252-5655,
FAX 251-5993; 3/f Thaniya Plaza, Soi Patpong 2), Silom Rd,
231-2106/7, FAX 231-2108; 2/f, Times Square (opposite Robinson Dept.
Store), Sukhumvit Rd, 250-0162/3, FAX 250-0164; 3/f, (Skydome Area),
Rajdamri Rd, 255-6209/10, FAX 255-6211; 3/f, Central City Plaza,
Central City Bangna, Bangna-Trad Rd, 361-0743/4, FAX 361-0745; 2/f,
(from the main atrium towards Lotus Super Center), Seacon Sq,
Srinakarin Rd, 721-8867-8, FAX 721-8869; 4/f, (near the connecting
walkway to Siam Center), Rama 1 Rd, 658-0418/19/20, FAX 658-0421;
3/f, (next to main entrance to the Emporium Dept. Store), Sukhumvit
Rd, 664-8545/6/7, FAX 664-8548). A Bangkok institution. "All good
quality and generally well-stocked with small selections of most
English-language categories, evenly divided between British and
American publishers,plus some Australian editions. Most branches
have good selections of recent paperback fiction. With current
exchange rates, prices at Asia Books actually work out cheaper than
the cover prices whether in US dollars or UK pounds, despite being
imported. Asia Books also supplies to the small newsagent shops in
major Bangkok hotels, but prices are higher." The Sukhamit branch
has three compact floors of mostly British editions, plus the
complete Asia Books publishing catalogue. A good variety of
fiction, plus reference and coffee-table books on the top floor.
The Rajdamri Road location is a "small shop but with especially
good sections on the arts and sciences, and a large section on
business & finance in Asia. Very small SF selection, plus a
selection of recent & classic general fiction amongst the very cheap
remainders always at the entrance." "Asia Books on Patpong 2 is the
closest thing to an island of literary sanity you will find in the
area; just a shame it is not up to the standard of some of the other
branches. Best for local interest books, guidebooks, technical &
cookery books, non-fiction leans toward the scientific/new-age end
while fiction is poorly represented with only a small smattering of
UK titles; SF titles are hard to find and included on the same
shelves. Also some magazines, but again, not a great range."
Most open 10AM-9PM daily, Sukhamit open 9AM-9PM, Patpong open
Bookazine (Nai Lert Building, 87 Sukhumvit Soi 5, Bangkok 10110,
66-2655-2383/4, FAX 66-2655-2384). Two floors of well-stocked fiction
and non-fiction, with a small SF section seemingly devoted to Asimov,
Clarke, Eddings and Tolkein. The upper floor has a good stock of
children's books, cookery, art and atlases. Open 9AM-11PM daily.
Books Kinokuniya (3/f, Emporium Shopping Centre, Sumhumvit Rd (between
Sois 22 & 24). "Well worth visiting, a large, extensive
English-language bookstore with comprehensive stock of all subject
matter, clean and well laid out. A good fiction section too
including a decent range of SF; also a large children's section.
Prices generally on par with UK or US cover prices."
Orchid Books (Shop 411, 4/Fl, Silom Complex, directly off the Saladaeng
BTS/Skytrain Station, 191 Silom Rd, (02)-231-3300,
http://www.orchidbooks.com). Specializes in books on Asia and
Asian cultures, religions, etc. Mostly new, with some used and
antiquarian books. [05/07]
Underground Store (is that the name?) (203-205 Sukhumvit Road between Soi
15-17, Bangkok 10110). An assortment of secondhand paperbacks
and hardbacks, mostly English language but also French and German.
Also beers, drinks and very cheap Internet access. Open 9AM-10PM
Librarie Vietnamienne Francophone (64 Pho Trang Tien, 825-7376).
Foreign Language Bookshop (61 Pho Trang Tien, 824-8914).
Thang Long Bookshop (55 Pho Trang Tien, 825-7043).
Trang Tien Bookshop (53 Pho Trang Tien, 934-2782).
Hanoi Bookshop (Hieu Sach Hanoi) (34 Pho Trang Tien, 842-1616).
These are several bookstores on Pho Trang Tien. These have books in
Vietnamese, including translations of American and British fiction, and
some books in English often re-written in Basic English). (Well, not
the French one.) [04/01]
There was also a brand-new one opening the day after we left that
looked to be at least twice the size of the current largest one, for
which I have no name or number, but it was between Trang Tien and Hanoi
Bookshops, on the even-numbered side of the street.
There are also street booksellers selling the usual pirated guidebooks
and fiction set in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam:
In the Pham Ngu Lao section (where all the backpackers' hotels and
cafes are), there are a lot of sidewalk book dealers. Each book is
wrapped in plastic, whether to protect it from rainstorms or to prevent
browsing isn't clear. These are all books aimed at tourists--novels in
English (mostly), French, and German; Lonely Planet guides; etc. Some
are used, and some are "new," but the "new" ones are all pirated
editions. We got a book of short stories to have something to read in
the room. The cover looked used, with creases and such, but when we
unwrapped it, that was because they had photocopied it from a used
copy! And they had set the pages out of order in the first signature!
This would explain why the selection of books was so similar from stall
to stall, and indeed they seemed to be replenished by people bringing
in stacks a meter high of the same assortment. These folks also wander
in the various cafes trying to sell you books while you're eating.
Standard price seems to be 30,000 to 35,000 dong (US$2 to US$2.50) for
a book, with smaller ones like the LP Vietnamese Phrasebook cheaper.
Hoi An, Vietnam:
Book Exchange (85 Tran Phu).
Hieu Sach/Khai Tri Bookshop (52 Le Loi).
Quay Sach/Le Loi Bookshop (48 Le Loi).
All used (with some pirated). All do exchanges as well as sales.
Hong Kong, People's Republic of China:
Bloomsbury (Alexandra House) on the first floor near the elevators, on the
right as you come in from Prince's Building). Specializes in
professional books (e.g., law and business), but also contains
books on the English language like dictionaries, dictionaries
of quotations, "The History of the English Language", etc.
Bookazine (Alexandra House on the first floor near the elevators, on the
right as you come in from Prince's Building; Prince's Building,
on the second floor on the right side of the building if you go
up the escalators). General bookstore and stationery shop,
selling everything from SF to magazines to sport books, etc..
Cave's Books (main store: Ferry Street, just north of Jordan Road; small
store: Central MTR station, near entrance at Mandarin Oriental
Chapter House (end of Main Street in Stanley Market). "I'm not sure
of the quality as it was closed the day I went--but was
assured by local shopkeepers that it was still running. A
banner also said they stock CDs and DVDs as well as books."
Coffee Book (G/F, 10 Park Rd, Mid-Levels). Browsable second-hand book
shop and coffee shop combined. [04/06]
Collectables (B/F 31 Bonham Rd, Central, Sun Leung Building, Hong Kong
Island). Similar to Flow, could be a source for some first
editions but mainly paperbacks at $1-10 each. [04/06]
Commercial Press (main store: North Point; branch: Sha Tin Town Centre
(near Yaohan's). Learning materials for Chinese language.
Cosmos Books (Wanchai near the MTR). Has two floors. The basement holds
Chinese books and the second floor has English books. Cosmos
also has a store in Central and it carries a lot of educational
materials for the local schools.
Flow (2/F 40 Lyndhurst Terr, Central, Hong Kong Island). Full of
mainly secondhand books, mainly paperbacks. [04/06]
The Government Publications Centre (GPO building next to the Star Ferry).
This is not your typical bookstore but it has some really neat
government publications as well as books about Hong Kong and
China. Great place to get some maps. You can also pick up a
Hong Kong Yearbook here (~HK$50).
Hong Kong Art Museum (in the Cultural Center at the bottom of Nathan Road,
on Salisbury Road) has a good art bookstore. You can go in
without going into the museum.
HK Book Centre (Hong Kong side, near Central MTR Station; take MTR to
Central MTR Station, exit to World Wide House on De Voeux Road
Central, proceed East (right) along the north side of the street
a very short distance to entrance of store below street level).
Indosiam Rare Books (89 Hollywood Rd, 1st Floor, 28542853). "A unique
antiquarian bookshop, specialising in rare and out of print
documents and books on China, Indochina, Japan and East Asian
countries." Open Wed, Fri, and Sat. [03/07]
InfoSources (moved, location currently unknown). Technical.
Joint Publishing (in Tsuen Wan above the Pizza Hut in the Fou Wah
building). Has some English language books (but not many). It
specialises in books published in China. The books from China
are interesting especially if you notice the publishing dates
are usually related to the topics.
Leisure Book Shop (Shop 6, G/F Block 1, Sai Kung Garden, Chan Man St,
Sai Kung, http://www.leisurebookshop.biz.com.hk/). [04/06]
Lok Man Rare Books (192A Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, HK side,
http://www.lokmanbooks.com. According to them, "We focus
on first editions and antiquarian English books, presented in
a beautiful art-deco setting of leather club chairs, lamps and
antique board games." [03/07]
South China Morning Post Bookshop (Star Ferry, HK side).
Swindon's (Kowloon side, Tsim Sha Tsui, Lock Road; take MTR to Tsim Sha
Tsui Station, exit MTR station at Kowloon Mosque, proceed one
block west along Haiphong Road, turn south (left) 13-15 Lock
Road. Store is on the right about halfway to Peking Road.)
General. Carries British and US imports as well as books
published in the Far East in English, primarily on Oriental
topics. A good place to stock up on the Chinese classics.
Other branches of Swindon's located on Queen's Road, 246 Deck 2
Ocean Terminal, 310 and 346 Ocean Centre, and Shop KP1-3 Star
Ferry (Tsim Sha Tsui).
Times Book Centre (in HK Club Building, diagonally across from the
Legislative Council Building at the corner of Nathan and
Travelers' Home (2/F Hankow Rd, TST). Looking to be a backpackers
cultural meeting place, focussing on travel books. [04/06]
YMCA (Kowloon, 41 Salisbury Road, just west of the Peninsula Hotel, enter
from Salisbury road, at front of building). Small but pleasant
Note (7/97): I can only assume that some of these entries will be
changing, either street names, or descriptions, or whatever.
"I was told by a friend that the Englsh School Foundation (the folks
who run the schools for ex-pats) has a small bookstore in one of the
schools. Good bargain if you find a way to get in. When I was in Hong
Kong a couple of years ago, I came across a few used bookstores near
Hollywood Road. I found a couple interesting books that were published
in the 50's. Even you can't find the bookstores, you can go for a walk
in the neighborhood. In Mongkok, you can find numerous bookstores,
some are on mobile carts. However, most of them only carry English
textbooks, reference books or Chinese books."
"By the way, if you have a chance to go to Macau, make sure you check
out the bookstores there. I can't remember the names of the stores,
but there aren't too many, just look them up from the telephone
directory or ask at the tourist office."
Beijing, People's Republic of China:
Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore (Weiwen Shudian) (235 Wanfujing Ave;
North of Wanfujing Bookstore, beyond the clock tower. Phone
010-6512-6903 (1F) 6512-6938 (3F)) "Specialist of foreign
language books and foreign language study material. 1F: Travel
guides, Chinese language texts and foreign language books printed
in China. 2F: Language study material. 3F: Imported books.
Many English books, but not many technical books. Many Japanese
books, comics and magazines. About a shelf or two each French,
German, Russian, Italian and Spanish books. Independent section
for art books. 4F: Audio-video material. Many Chinese cities
have a 'foreign languages bookstore' catering mostly to students
of foreign languages. This store has an exceptionally large
stock of books from overseas." [09/07]
Friendship Store (17 Jiangguomenwai, ground floor). One of the best
selections of magazines and general fiction paperbacks. They
even have special sections for mystery/SF, something unheard of
anywhere else in China. Here is also one of the best places
for locally published and richly illustrated books about
Wanfujing Bookstore (Wanfujing Xinhua Shudian) (218 Wangfujing Avenue,
Dongcheng District, Beijing 100006; Subway Wanfujing. Near
south end of Wanfunjing Avenue, on east side. Wanfujing
(pronounced "Wanfooching") is east of Tiananmen Square and the
Forbidden City. Phone 010-6513-2842, http://www.wfjsd.com/
(Chinese)) "Large collection of Chinese books. Perhaps
largest store in country. Some imported books. Belongs to the
Xinhua Shudian chain." [09/07]
Beijing Book Building (Beijing Tushu Daxia) (jia-7-xi Rongxian Hutong,
Xicheng District, Beijing 100031; West side of Tiananmen Square.
http://www.bjbb.com/ (Chinese)) "Another large branch of the
Xinhua Bookstore chain." [09/07]
Also, like everywhere else in China, it's worth checking out the big
international hotels, some of those have small selections of
"I speak very little Chinese. I have trouble ordering from a menu. I
got around writing Chinese. The same characters are used in China and
Japan. Japanese high schools teach classic Chinese literature. If you
study this seriously, asking directions and such is possible. It seems
that people who do this are now a small minority in Japan and Korea,
though I have not seen statistics about this kind of literacy. For one
thing, schools here are teaching less and less classic Chinese, and
students don't take things seriously. (Some important Japanese books
were written in Chinese.) For another, colleges offer modern Chinese
Xi'an, people's Republic of China:
Foreign Language Bookstore (it's on the right side as you walk along Dong
Dajie in the direction of the Bell Tower, near the Friendship
Store). Very, very small selection of English books in the
first room. Walk through the doorway at the end of the room,
past the stairs, and you enter the "forbidden" room, which is
unguarded in this store! Here you'll find lots of illegal
copies of recent American scientific text books, which you'll
have to smuggle out of the country, since they all have a stamp
that tells you to not take the book out of China ... an average
300-page book costs about $1-$2! Most Foreign Language
Bookstores seem to have such a section, but usually they are
guarded by a frail old lady who raises hell when a foreigner
approaches. Good Luck! :-)
Shanghai, People's Republic of China:
Friendship Store (40 Beijing Donglu). Basically the same selection as the
Peace Hotel. There are also some books about Shanghai's
history which are hard to find outside Shanghai.
Peace Hotel (20 Nanjing Donglu, near the Bund). There's a tiny bookstore
on the second floor with a small selection of general fiction
and SF paperbacks.
Shanghai Shucheng (465 Fuzhou Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, 200001;
About 8 minutes from Subway Nanjing Road East, to the south,
021-6352-2222) "Largest bookstore in Shanghai. Six floors.
Foreign books 6F (mostly English books). Cheng = castle, city"
Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore (Waiwen Shudian) (390 Fuzhou Road;
2-3 minutes by foot from Shanghai Shucheng, to the east. North
side of same street. Many specialty bookstores in the area,
021-6322-3200, Fax 6351-6864) "Many foreign language study texts,
some imported books." [09/07]
Lu Xun Memorial Hall Bookshop (200 Tian'ai Street, Hongkou District; 2F Lu
Xun Memorial Hall. 10 minutes from Subway Hongkou Zuqiuchang
(Football Stadium). Bus route 21 stops in front of Lu Xun Park.
Phone 021-6540-2288 (memorial hall), Fax 5696-1181) "Gift shop of
the Lu Xun Memorial Hall. Books by and about Lu Xun. Some
translations into Japanese, English and other languages. Also some
bilingual books. The shop has a name board which reads 'Neishan
Shudian' in Chinese, 'Uchiyama Shoten' in Japanese, in honor of Mr.
Kanzo Uchiyama, a Japanese friend of the novelist who owned a
bookstore nearby. (Uchiyama Shoten is still in business in
Tokyo Jimbocho.) The memorial offers a fine exhibition for those
interested in modern Chinese literature." [09/07]
Seoul, Republic of Korea:
English + (almost directly between Kyobo and Jongro book stores). Major
English-language texbook store for the northern half of Seoul.
I'tae Won Foreign Book Store (533 I'tae Won-dong, yongsan-gu, 793-8249).
"A good used book store across the street from Gate #3 of Yongsan
Army Garrison. Because there are so many GIs close to the
store, it carries a good selection of American fiction, and has
a whole wall of SF, much of it out of print. They also have
few books about various Japanese animation series in good
condition for less than you'd pay for them in Japan. As
always, though, their stock varies quite a bit." Another
person writes, "It's a small bookstore stacked high with
books. Grouped by main themes, but if you want an author you
have to look or look for the title. Not alphabetized and not
automated. Cost more for the most part than half.com,
however. It's there if you want it, but it takes a while to
search through it. I spent a few hours that night--had fun
Jongro Book Store (about 2 or 3 blocks east of Kyobo Building). "Covers
six floors of a building (I think)."
Kyobo Book Store (basement of the Kyobo building--it's a big red brick
building located between the Chosun hotel and the US Embassy.
Citibank is housed on the upper floors). The entire basement
is one bookstore, but gives the impression of "many small
bookstores" because the store is sectioned by books of
different topics. Thus each "section" will have its own
cashier, helpers, etc. "They had a good selection of English
Language books--I bought Knuth's Vol 1-3 books there."
The Ulchi Bookstore (in the underground shopping mall of the Ulchiro-1-ga
subway station). "It's got a wonderful selection of English
books: everything from Lonely Planet Guides to Korean language
instruction to science textbooks to recently published novels.
Not as big (nor as manic) as Kyobo, but with a friendly,
accessible staff who will help you with your purchase if
necessary. Enter across the street from the Lotte Hotel, on
the Doosan Building corner, and you'll see it when you descend
on your left." ?
"Good used book store across the street from Gate #3 of Yongsan Army
Garrison. Because there are so many GIs close to the store, it
carries a good selection of American fiction, and has a whole
wall of SF, much of it out of print."
Taipei, Taiwan/Republic of China:
Bookman Books, Ltd. (5, Lane 62, Rossevelt Rd. Sec. 4, Taipei; 2F-5, No.88,
Hsin-sheng S. Rd. Sec. 3, Taipei). One of the famous
bookstores selling books in English and other "foreign"
languages (i.e., not in Chinese). Lots of literature text,
fiction, poem, textbook (reading, writing, etc) especially
literature theories and critique.
Caves Books, Ltd. (103, Chungshan N. Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei 5414754, 5371666).
Near a university which many foreigners attend. They sell many
textbooks, English books about Taiwan/China, and many English
translations of Chinese books. Mentioned in the Lonely Planet
The Eslite Bookstore (249, Sec. 1, Dun-hua S. Rd, Taipei; 1 Kuan-chien Rd.,
Taichung--*not* Taipei). One of the largest bookstores in
Taipei and Taichung. Though various kinds of books are sold,
fine art is its celebrated category (e.g., books from Taschen
[Most of the section was contributed by Deng Liu.]
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