Independent bookstores still thrive in the city, amid the broad, bigger commercial names like MPH, and Borders. These independent book stores and cafes manage to withstand the changing trend, gaining ground in this growing market.
The Book Xcess brand is no stranger to bookworms and bargain-hunters with their super discounts book sales. With outlets in Amcorp Mall and Fahrenheit88, the proud parent of Big Bad Wolf Book Sales undercuts all the big names and makes reading very affordable at a fraction of normal costs. Popular paperback goes between RM12 to RM5, and hardcover books are under RM50.
Another leading community bookstore that has been championing local English literature is the 18-year strong Silverfish Books. This boutique publisher in Bangsar Village encourages and prints local submissions while regularly engaging writers in creative workshops. Readers can find contemporary names like Tash Aw and M. Bakri Musa in the collection, as well as nonfictions such as Farish Noor’s The Other Malaysia or Hungry in Ipoh by Hadi M. Nor.
Led by local writer community, Gerakbudaya is as good as its’ name, which translates to “cultural movement”. Its store in PJ is not just a bookshop but also a valued communal space for writers, poets, artists, intellectuals and academics. Gerakbudaya prides itself with its curated local and regional titles mainly on social sciences and Southeast Asian studies.
For readers who fancy a cuppa while cozying up to a good paperback, book cafes are plentiful. The double-storey Chinese bookstore City Book Garden in Sri Petaling offers a leisurely coffee house with a cozy garden and ferns by the windows for readers to lounge and read. They often hold readings and children activities in their activity hall upstairs. This magazine publisher and online bookstore provides a casual and calming space for readers.
Serious coffee lovers and bibliophiles may also want to consider another option; the Departure Lounge in Damansara Utama. The cafe mimics an airport lounge setup where readers can sit down for a chat while browsing their immense travel books. Manned by professional baristas serving quality javas, the hipster Departure Lounge is inspired by the time when people read and socialise the most; while traveling.
In the ever busy Chinatown, the Moontree House establishment serves the customers homemade cakes, cookies and brewed coffees. Opened in 2010, the scholarly Moontree is a popular hub for coffee lovers, artists and craftsmen. Moontree also sells artisanal puppets, bags and accessories made by Malaysian female artists. The café serves up delicious snacks to accompany the patrons with otak-otak and handmade buns, tiramisu, cookies and brewed coffees.
Photo Credit: Timeout