Aug 4, 2014

One off the list: BooksActually, Singapore

ever since i happened upon this list and this list ages ago, these places have one thing in common: a gigantic ocean separates us. well, except for one. BooksActually sat quietly on my to-visit list for ages, waiting for the perfect time to visit. 

so when i visited singapore last month on a sort of birthday + meet up + airasia ticket frenzy, of course this gorgeous independent book store would top my to-do list! 

However, it wasn't until the final day that i got to visit this little bookstore that could. 
wonderfully soothing atmosphere with an indie soundtrack, a few patrons browsing (mostly ladies) and staff discussing something important behind the counter. 

(ok i know it seems like no one is in the pic but there are! those stacks of books are hiding em'!) 
this painfully cool store has walls of quirky literary artwork in abundance, and loads of gorgeous postcards (pricey, though).
ta-dah! long story behind meeting up with this girl. actually not so long la. we're supposed to meet up crazy early for breakfast and then proceed to have a nice browse at BooksActually for a few hours. but my phone betrayed me and i overslept by two hours. at the end i was late for our date by... three hours i think? 

thirty two missed calls and text messages threatening to call the police when i woke up T.T

so we didn't get to browse leisurely. after a hurried brunch with siauli at forty hands (VERY COOL PLACE right opposite BooksActually) she had something like 15 minutes to spend at the store :'(

(siauli's bf says 'no wonder you guys are best friends' HAHA but i definitely broke her record this time T.T)
sadly, they're fund-raising due to exorbitant rental rates.

c'mon. BooksActually plays a giant part in increasing Tiong Bahru's street cred and profile, and now they're driven out? bad move, landlords. bad move.
apart from a seriously cool selection of books, the back of the store houses a section of artwork and vintage knick knacks, as well as old records. these are vintage matchboxes. 
sexy copper shark pin. 
wax sealed cd! how cool is that! 
mooncake festival is coming soon we should try doing this with a seal and candlewax.
i'm really impressed by the books available. the attention to detail is insane. 

a wall is home to design books, another wall houses secondhand books, a third wall does fiction, a rack showcases interesting magazines (lol the only ones i could recognize is (something) and kinfolk), the middle of the store has an impressive malaysian and singaporean literature selection, and with the amount of readings they do, a lot of the books were signed!

BooksActually also does handmade stationery printed under Birds & Co, and their very own Math Paper Press publishes some local titles too.

i really really really wanted to buy a book from BooksActually. die die also wanna buy. 

travel book buying is a new hobby, afterall. 


HOWEVER. i visited kinokuniya the day before departing for Singapore in hopes of finding a book to accompany me on the plane, and found all sorts of amazing books. as a diehard kinokuniya fan, i noticed that there were lots of books in BooksActually that kinokuniya also stocks, but the prices at BA were significantly higher. 

i guess.... independent bookstores need to make a profit too, and i am sad to report that at the end, as a broke starving writer, i left the store empty handed. 

hmmph. the next time i visit, i'll just have to bravely dive into the world of local writing. 

now for the book stores in New York... 

BooksActually, 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore. 

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