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HedgePig

Singapore Bookshops

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HedgePig

Hello

Can anyone recommend bookshops in Singapore which might be worth browsing for Chinese learning materials?

I'm going to be there next week and hope to have a few evenings free.

I did come across this linkmentioning the Kinokuniya bookshop for books in Chinese and teasingly alluded to another massive store with lots of material for students of Chinese.

I'm also interested in any good English language bookshops, including second-hand books shops.

Regards

HedgePig

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Daan

Let's see. The biggest bookstore in Singapore is probably indeed Kinokuniya's at Takashimaya on Orchard Road. It has a huge collection of Chinese books, although I'm not sure about learning materials. I think that when I was there two years ago I mainly bought some easy books to read, since they didn't really have a lot of textbooks for learning Chinese.

There is also a chain called Popular which stocks a lot of useful reference works and textbooks. They also sell all the textbooks used in Singaporean schools, including the ones for the Mandarin classes. But some of their branches seemed to be stationery stores more than bookstores, and so didn't quite stock as many books. I went to the one at Marine Parade, I think, which was pretty decent and had a lot of textbooks, although it's certainly not as big as Kinokuniya's at Takashimaya. Of course, I'm not sure it's still there, but you could check their website.

I haven't got a clue what shopping centre with over thirty bookstores PeterMUC is talking about in that other thread. I should think I would've known about it if it still existed, though...

There's also a Borders at Orchard Road, by the way, which is quite alright as well. Enjoy ;)

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creamyhorror

The big complex full of bookshops is Bras Basah [shopping centre], which is 5 minutes' walk from City Hall MRT. You should absolutely visit it if you're interested in books. There's a very big branch of Popular Bookstore there, as well as a number of used book stores and a few specialised Chinese bookstores. (Be warned that the last can be quite expensive.) I like the used book stores at one corner of the complex facing Raffles Hotel; they have some dictionaries and old comics in Chinese (Old Master Q, Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan) for cheap, as well as a good range of used books in English. Also, there are sometimes bazaar-style clearance sales going on in the ground-floor common areas of Bras Basah, so you can pick up random books relatively cheaply (Chinese books included).

Popular is the average Singaporean's bookstore, i.e. it carries a small selection of general books and a whole load of educational and school materials. You'll find a boggling array of affordable Chinese practice books (we call them "assessment books"), grammar and vocab guidebooks, textbooks, readers, essay compilations, dictionaries, etc. there. There's usually also a full section of Chinese books from China and Taiwan if you feel like tackling those. I recommend you stock up on the learning materials, because you probably can't get them so cheaply and plentifully at home. (Don't feel bad about picking up grade school stuff!)

The big branch of Popular at Bras Basah caters more to professionals than students/parents, so you may get less of the educational stuff. But there are more typical, pedestrian branches of Popular in probably every major shopping area.

For typical Western megabookstores, go to Orchard MRT station, from which you can walk to Borders (at Wheelock Place) or Kinokuniya (in Ngee Ann City). In terms of Chinese, however, these are probably mostly like what you have at home and don't carry local educational material.

I know either Parklane Shopping Mall or Peace Centre (they're side by side) has two or three small bookstores with decent prices, so you might want to go explore those. They're maybe 10 minutes' walk from Bras Basah. Also, the Central Branch of the National Library is right next to Bras Basah, so you can check it out if you're interested.

Have fun shopping in Singapore! Don't forget to try all our food!

edit: P.S. I should mention that books in Singapore are generally expensive since almost all of them are imported. You get slightly/somewhat better prices in the smaller stores, which tend to stock mostly used books, in comparison to the more high-profile, classy bookstores like Borders and Kino.

The exception to high prices is of course locally-printed mass-market books, like the educational materials I mentioned. Parents generally buy them in every subject every year that their child is in school, so the market is pretty big and quite competitive.

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HedgePig

Thanks for replies, everyone!

Creamyhorror, you mentioned Bras Brasah as a shopping center. I'm not familiar with Singapore - is that the one between Victoria and North Bridge? It's close to but not actually on Bras Brasah road? Anyhow, it sound great and I'll have to spend some time there. I really don't need any more books but I'm always hoping to find the unknown wonder that will take me from completely ignorant to totally fluent in 10 easy lessons (of only 5 minutes each) At least, I have a lot of fun looking.

HedgePig

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Daan

Wow! I'm kind of regretting missing the Bras Basah shopping centre when I was in Singapore two years ago, then. Sounds like I need to be paying another visit, as I'm exactly like HedgePig: I have too many books, but simply love browsing bookstores :wink:

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creamyhorror

Creamyhorror, you mentioned Bras Brasah as a shopping center. I'm not familiar with Singapore - is that the one between Victoria and North Bridge? It's close to but not actually on Bras Brasah road?

Yes, should be. It's across the road from Raffles Hotel. There's only one "Bras Basah" in Singapore, so anyone will be able to tell you where it is.

Anyhow, it sound great and I'll have to spend some time there. I really don't need any more books but I'm always hoping to find the unknown wonder that will take me from completely ignorant to totally fluent in 10 easy lessons (of only 5 minutes each) At least, I have a lot of fun looking.

Haha, I'm totally the same way. Spent many hours browsing in Bras Basah. To be honest, it's nowhere near as good as the Strand in NYC, for example, but it has Chinese books.

Don't miss out on the Chinese practice books in Popular, though - those are handy to have in your library.

Wow! I'm kind of regretting missing the Bras Basah shopping centre when I was in Singapore two years ago, then. Sounds like I need to be paying another visit, as I'm exactly like HedgePig: I have too many books, but simply love browsing bookstores :wink:

Hail, brother! :)

If anyone is coming to Singapore and wants to meet up for dinner/browse Bras Basah, drop me a message!

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HedgePig

Thanks creamyhorror. Now I've just to got to make time to get there.

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chrix

I hope I'll be able to stop by in Singapore some time this summer ;)

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creamyhorror

HedgePig and I may be meeting up sometime next week for dinner and book browsing. If any of you are interested to meet up and will be in town, let us know.

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evermind

I shop at GOHD Books - http://www.gohd.com.sg and I can't imagine buying books anywhere else. They offer free delivery within Singapore, always reply promptly, and it's the cheapest place to buy books in Singapore (cheaper than Kino, Borders, MPH). Plus, you can buy online and you can request any book you want - it's delivered to your doorstep.

Got sick of going to Bras Basah to be honest. The bookshops are always closed there, and you have to go all the way to town.

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