- < $20
- < $50
- < $100
BooksActually (est. 2005) is an independent bookstore specialising in Literature (including obscure and critical works). In our bookstore, you can often find literary trinkets in the form of stationery and other lovely tchotchkes. We publish and distribute books under our imprint Math Paper Press. We also hand-stitch notebooks and produce stationery under Birds & Co.
Of course this place is awesome for books but that's not the best part. There is a whole load of vintage collectibles in the back room and I literally can spend hours looking through the old photograph section for lovely black and white glimpses into old Singapore. And they are so many affordable antiques here its like a haven for any vintage lover. (Me, its a haven for me)
The cat is so cute and lovely too!
Books Actually seems to be a local start up, bringing in really interesting and cool reads. In fact, one of my favorite books from Sagmeister was discovered from Books Actually. They have alot of quirky books - a good deviation from the mainstream novels that we are exposed to in major bookshops! Some of their books are just exclusive to them, whereas some are available outside! I wished they had some membership scheme going on - so gonna be their member!
I haven't been to their actual store at Tiong Bahru, but would love to pop by someday. :) Will definitely recommend it to a friend, and drag her/him along with me!
The decor at the shop is pretty attractive. It looks like a cosy, homey shop, full of little knick knacks and the books are displayed in quite an inviting manner. The quantity and variety of books is definitely less than a larger chain store, however if you are looking for publications from Singapore or around the region, I think Books Actually is the place to go as their stock includes plays, poetry and prose by local playwrights, poets and authors. The prices are also competitive with the larger stores, and I don't think they are very much more expensive.
The back of the store also sells a range of items such as bags and stationary and there is also a stock of non-fiction books right at the back. The items are sold are pretty cute and unique, but they are more novelty items. If you like cute things like stenciled bags, vintage pencil boxes, or mugs and glasses with cute motifs, then you might want to head down to have a look. The prices are pretty steep though, and I don't think they are worth the price.
The thing that I didn't enjoy about my trip to Books Actually was the staff there. I was alone and I didn't feel comfortable there at all. The stall was empty at the time except for me, and I felt that my every move was being watched by the staff member. When I went to the cashier to pay for my books, the cashier had a very haughty attitude. From my experience the service staff at Kinokuniya is definitely more friendly and polite.
Books Actually also has regular reading sessions if you are interested. The store is an interesting one, but I do think that it is over rated overall. However, if you are in the Tiong Bahru area, you should just drop by to check it out, not to mention there are many great cafes just a stones throw away!
What surprised me was that the store also sells vintage furniture. The rattan cane rocking horse definitely brings back childhood memories! What's more, there's even a vintage cluedo table. Browsing through the store felt as if I'm walking down a memory lane. Oh do take note of the date and time during the furniture sale. Simply click the "like" button on their facebook page for new updates. BooksActually also holds monthly exhibitions.
They have a range of exquisite stationery under their Birds & Co. brand. The wooden pencils with names of authors and the BooksActually logo served as beautiful gifts.
Service was wonderful. As I was chatting with the staff, I felt as if I was on a literary journey with them.
Unfortunately, there's only one outlet in Singapore. That said, the travel part can be rather daunting. Not to mention about the inconvenience... In spite of this, I would say the store is still worth a visit.