You don’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of a bookstore. And despite books going digital, there is nothing quite like holding and flipping through a physical book in your hand. Bookstores are a treasure trove of collected stories, told either in fiction or non-fiction, bound by simple covers or elaborately-designed eyecatchers, as these stores prove.
Sadly, Covid-19 has forced esteemed bookstores like Books Actually and GOHD Books to go fully online, but there are independent bookstores that you can visit in person to get your fill of books and a brew.
Fancy having a cuppa or teatime snacks while you browse for your books? Here are some bookstores with cafes where you can relax after browsing for books.
Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop (Maxwell) – shuttered in Aug 2021
The Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop retails only Singapore books – ones about Singapore, written by Singaporean authors or published by Singaporean publishers. Located at the URA Centre, browse novels, children’s books, cookbooks, and more, and relax at the cafe where you can savour cakes, wraps or pastries.
Grassroots Bookroom (Bukit Pasoh Rd) – with cafe
The Grassroots Bookroom is an independent Chinese bookstore located on Bukit Pasoh Road, boasting an impressive collection of Chinese and Western philosophy, art, film, drama, as well as a range of local and international titles. At the back of the store is Katasumi Koohii, a small cafe for coffee/tea and cakes.
The Moon (Chinatown) – with cafe
Located in Chinatown, The Moon is a beautiful cafe, event space (upstairs), and bookstore that highlights works by non-mainstream authors, with a focus on female writers and people of colour. Browse through fiction, graphic novels, poetry, cookbooks, and more. The cafe sells drinks, vegan-friendly pastries, toasts, and cakes.
Jing Si Books and Café (Sims Ave & Yishun)
Jing Si Books and Café – with branches on Sims Ave and in Yishun – is more like a spiritual space than a bookstore, where you can bask in the aroma of books and tea. The quiet and cosy space offers Chinese-language books of Buddhist teachings where you can savour a cup of tea in a space reminiscent of a Taiwanese tea house.
Zall Bookstore (Wheelock Place) – with cafe
Located at Wheelock Place, Zall Bookstore isn’t an independent shop as it’s the first international outlet of a China-based bookstore. The two-storey space stocks more than 30,000 (mostly Chinese) books in a trendy black-and-white interior, boasting an art gallery and a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.
Spend a quiet time browsing through a treasure trove of printed books, whether it’s a non-fiction, a novel, children’s books, or more.
Littered with Books (Duxton Road)
Littered with Books is a charming two-storey indie bookstore along Duxton Road, with titles across a wide range of genres, from literary to non-fiction and travel to children’s books. You can get lost for hours browsing in its homey nooks and crannies, where you can find staff recommendations on all genres.
Woods in the Books (Tiong Bahru)
Woods in the Books is a quaint space in Tiong Bahru specialising in picture books and illustrated books catered to readers young and young-at-heart. They have a second branch located at Forum (Orchard Rd), called Books Ahoy! which offers picture books and chapter books for young independent readers.
If you’re looking for a wide range of non-English titles or books dedicated to Islamic philosophy, you’re in luck. It’s a pity that GOHD Books, which specialises in rare and antique books and prints, has gone completely online.
City Book Room (North Bridge Centre)
Celebrating Singapore stories, City Book Room is an indie publisher and independent bookstore that sells local publications, mainly in Chinese. Located in North Bridge Centre, it features literary works in the categories of fiction, poetry, history, and social critiques, with the aim to spread knowledge of Chinese culture.
French Bookshop (Tiong Bahru)
As its name suggests, this specialty store carries French books, both pre-loved and the latest titles in a variety of genres for both adults and children. Located in Tiong Bahru, the cosy space of French Bookshop also retails stationery, vintage wares, and art.
Wardah Books (Bussorah Street)
Wardah Books specialises in Islamic philosophy, art and architecture, history, picture books for children and translations of the Quran. Available mostly in English, the books focus on Sufism, and is a treasure trove for those who want to find out more about Islam.