As a writer I find it very hard to not go into bookstores – and even harder to not buy anything. Whenever I come across a second-hand bookstore this problem gets infinitely worse. How can you resist buying a few long-wanted books that are realistically budget-friendly? Well, you cannot.
No matter whether you are just browsing or are actively working on your private library-like collection, these 11 secondhand bookstores to buy used books in Singapore are tickets to another world.
Save this map of the best secondhand bookstore in Singapore for offline use.
1. Evernew Bookstore
Just across the street from the National Library one finds a little second-hand book heaven. Evernew Bookstore is located on the ground floor of the Bras Basah Complex, facing North Bridge Road. Offering a vast selection of books that are no longer in publication, browsing through the aisles will get you stuck on cheap rarities from the past. Besides English and Chinese novels, you can also find art books, comics as well as many textbooks and academic materials.
2. Knowledge Book Centre
Also situated in the Bras Basah Complex, the Knowledge Book Centre has been running for over 40 years. This independent bookstore in Singapore is one of the Singapore primary destinations for new and used textbooks and reference guides. Besides that you will also find alleys filled with very affordable novels and rarities. The Knowledge Book Centre will also buy used books from you (if they are in a good condition). So if you’re traveling, you can sell second hand books in Singapore and walk away with some new ones.
While you’re in the area, why not explore Bugis with our Neighbourhood Guide!
3. GOHD Books
Looking for a place to snatch cheap books in Singapore on all things to do with the mind? Well, tucked away in the Burlington Square, GOHD Books caters to book lovers with an interest in philosophy, history, science as well as religion and politics. Going through the shelves, I found a few books that are worth buying simply because of their magnificent cover art, uncommon bindings and leather-bound antique look. Those with a keen interest in languages can also take advantage of their Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit language lessons.
4. Books Actually
Opened in 2005 as Singapore’s first independent bookstore, Books Actually is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known stores on the island. However, besides offering the latest of Singapore’s literary scene and hosting regular readings, the store also offers a selection of second-hand books that are worth checking out. And figurines that live in your childhood memories only.
5. Sultana Book Store
Walking into the Sultana Book Store one is immediately flooded with books. While the aisles have books piled from floor to ceiling, the owner of the store is reading at his desk, which is surround by a hoarder’s castle-like structure made of books, making you wonder how he ever gets out of it. If you pass by, make sure you have enough time, as it might be difficult to come out of the store in less than one hour.
6. Grassland Book Store
Most Singaporeans will equate the word Grassland with express coaches. So it’s no surprise that the owner of the bookstore, Mr Chew Ching Suaa, also runs the touring company. The book store has humble beginnings, in the boot Mr Chew’s car actually. When browsing through the books here, you get a sense of history and understand why books were so important before the digital era.
7. Basheer Graphic Books
Designers looking for something tactile will love Basheer Graphic Books in Bras Basah. The store has always been a refuge for art and design students looking for some inspiration. It stocks some rare or hard to find magazines on design and all things artsy.
8. Teo Chew Book Store
Step into a piece of history that first opened its doors in the 1920s. While the store mainly sells stationary items and oddities today, it’s great to imagine how this meeting point of Teochew immigrants must have flourished back in the day.
9. Ana Bookstore
Sitting at the back of shopping mecca Orchard Road in Far East Plaza is this quaint yet clean place to find second hand books in Singapore. You will find all the newest titles at Ana Bookstore and some old ones at bargain prices. Here’s a tip for comic lovers: there are some vintage comics laying around the store. Try flipping through them all to find a diamond in the rough.
10. Book Point
Another Bras Basah bookstore selling used paperbacks is Book Point. After piling through the mountains of new, old and rare titles you’re sure to find something at the fraction of its usual price. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to ask the owners as they do stock many more books offsite in a warehouse. They also have an impressive first-edition collection for all the history buffs. It is also one of the only second bookstores online in Singapore.
11. Book Treasure
Book Treasure isn’t really a store as it is a bunch of tables in the middle of Parklane Shopping Centre. But, and I use this expression wisely, do not judge a book by its cover. There are titles of all kinds displayed on the table and you’re sure to find the odd treasure at a great price. There are no clear sections, so be prepared to spend some time fishing for the best publications.
We just thought we’d give an honourable mention to Kinokuniya in Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Orchard Road. Although it’s not a second hand bookstore, it’s one of our favourite places to spend ours and get lost in the written word. The Japanese franchise has a few locations around Singapore, but this one is our top pick due to its size and the amount of books they have on tap. We’ve found some gems in here. Only negative, unlike Kyobo bookstores in Seoul, there’s no place to sit and read. The floor was comfy enough.
After you’re done getting some books, how about watching a movie in one of these alternative movie theatres?