Kinokuniya Singapore's flagship store - Kinokuniya Singapore Main Store (SIMS) stands at a massive 43,000 sq. ft., providing an extensive collection of over 500,000 quality titles from all over the world, including English, Japanese, Chinese, French and German publications.
The only problem with these covers is that they have set sizes for different sized books. I had to buy three sizes ranging from 1000 yen to 1400 yen each. Well, it was worth it because the cloth material made it so much nicer to hold a book.
If you don’t want to let people know what you’re reading or if you simply want to decorate your books, you should get these book covers. Plus they’re eco-friendly!
A visit to Kinokuniya is mandatory for me whenever I’m in town -- it was the place that made me fall in love with books. A few years back, when Kinokuniya was still in it glory days, it was so big, there were reading areas for anyone. I remember taking the first volume from A Series of Unfortunate Events and after reading through the entire book, I knew I had to buy the entire series from this place.
It is a bummer it has shrunk immensely but I can make do with that. It still remains a great place to hang out with people who have similar interests in books.
With one of the largest and widest selection of books that you can find in one place (aside from the public library), Kinokuniya (or Kino for short) is a maze of shelves and ceiling-high bookcases, with almost every genre, from crime novels to culinary guides. Kino has a huge foreign-language section with Chinese and Japanese books. I could spend hours there wandering through the different sections, or at a corner skimming through a poetry anthology.
Kino was downsized in 2014, now occupying only about 80% of its previous shop space. I find their new layout more cluttered as compared to their previous space, and searching for a specific book can prove to be rather difficult. However, the staff is always on hand to help. If you wish to avoid the crowd and the snaking queues, go there on weekdays.
Located at Ngee Ann City, it's central location is easily accessible. From my experience, the staff are all friendly and approachable people. Not to mention, there's an enticing stationary shop and coffee lounge inside the bookstore, that allows you to stock up on those school essentials and enjoy a nice sip while indulging in a brand new buy!
I'll definitely recommend Kinokuynia to all my friends, in fact, I do! It's a wonderful bookstore, always readily available with the latest and exciting new reads!
Their service has generally been good. It's also great that Kinokuniya's staff don't find it necessary to bore their eyes down customer's necks as they thumb through the books. Many stores do this and it's truly off-putting.
Though, Kinokuniya usually sells books at a really high price.
What I love about Kino is how neatly the books are segregated into their respective genres. Aptly labelled and categorized, it helps when one is trying to familiarize oneself with a certain topic as all the related books will be easily accessible.
Kino's wide array of selection will cater to almost everyone's interests. There has only been one occasion where the book I was looking for was not stocked, and even then, the staff pointed me towards other outlets and other stores that might have it. However, on all the others, I had great ease in locating what I wanted. It was made especially easy since most staff were very well-trained and knowledgeable, as well as the automated book locator services that Kino provides.
It is definitely my go-to place for book shopping.
Even if many Japanese books and magazines can be shipped directly from Japan at a similar or slightly cheaper price, the convenience of getting it straight off the shelves and lovely ambience does the price tags justice.
The service provided is definitely above average too. Once, when I was looking for a book that was not stocked, the staff kindly offered to help me source for the book from their suppliers. They're really pleasant and helpful!
Still, if you're looking to buy books not exclusively sold there, it would be good to check out other bookstores first, as Kinokuniya's prices tend to be on the steep side.
Kinokuniya is a book paradise - the store is so massive that I had to ask the staff for directions around the store multiple times in that one hour I spent at the store. They had books of every genre and books that appealed to all different kinds of people - from sport magazines to manga to adult fiction. Furthermore, the staff are knowledgeable and extremely helpful.
As I was pressed for time, I could only spend about an hour in the store - however, one hour is definitely not enough if you want to see most of what the store has. It's definitely a book-lover's paradise!
Spanning a wide range of genres, you can find anything from limited edition comic books, Japanese manga or its impressive collection of English literature. If you're looking for an obscure book that the library doesn't carry and don't have access to an e-book, then Kinokuniya is your best bet.
The best part is that Kino allows you to read the books before buying it. A book is a relatively large commitment, especially in our time-starved society, and the 20 minutes or so to spent browsing before making the purchase helps to make each read a good one.
With Popular depleting their range of books, and Borders sadly out of town, Kinokuniya definitely tops the charts of "Bookstores You MUST Visit", even if you don't have a book to buy - or a question to solve.
My experiences there are definitely enhanced by the ambiance of the bookstore. It is simply celestial. The entire space feels like a library, just with a more comfortable buzzing, instead of a scary hollow silence. Besides, everyone there just seems inevitably overwhelmed and absorbed by the mere grandeur of information and knowledge and wisdom packed in those books, noise is automatically minimised, keeping the place fit and apt for some soul-time. So you could pay a leisurely visit just to soak up the peaceful atmosphere, especially if you're feeling down and alone. It offers you your own personal space to think and heal, away from pervasive eyes and scrutiny (yep, no probing staff).
Staff service is easily available too, besides the kiosks provided for book search. My personal experience was definitely pleasant and warm. It was relatively late, and I was searching really hard for a book I really wanted, "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children". And this staff approached me, most likely cos of the line between my brows, and offered his help warmly. He actually went off to locate the last available book for me alone as he asked me to continue browsing. I, an extreme service cynic, was definitely warmed and lifted by this experience.
Although prices in Kinokuniya tend to be higher, I find it a worthy deal, for the mere provision of variety and atmosphere. Besides, most books aren’t easily available at cheaper platforms like ‘Popular’ (grimaces in disappointment) in Singapore. If you’re a frequent book-spender, I recommend signing up for the membership. It might appear costly initially, but after some calculation, it’s actually really worth-it.
On the whole, if you’ve got nothing to do around town, this is the place to spend your evening. ;)