Whether you’re a fan of digital books or physical ones, there is just something about bookshops that have always been a quiet enclave for book lovers (and hoarders alike, we don’t judge!) to discover new adventures to dive into.
In the past year and a half, there is no denying that the pandemic has made it tricky for these small independent establishments to navigate the uncertainty and never-ending lockdowns.
With businesses slowly re-opening up in Klang Valley, we’ve compiled some of our favourite local independent bookshops for your weekend pleasure.
Keep your eyes peeled for some recommended reads too! *wink*
Run by booklovers Elaine Lau and her husband Fong Min Hun, Lit Books is an independent bookstore-cum-cafe that specialises in curated English literary titles. From critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction to books for little readers, this bibliophile haven also aims to nurture a reading community through frequent literary events, quiz nights, author sessions and book discussions.
“We’ve learnt to take in stride things that are beyond our control and perhaps more importantly, we’ve also learned to be a bit more confident about who we are and to have greater faith in our customers.”
Having faced the in-store traffic restrictions when the pandemic hit, Lit Books managed to set up their online shop within 2 weeks of the first MCO. Talk about being agile! “We’re glad that we were forced to go online, as it has widened our reach considerably. We’re very thankful for the outpouring of love and support from old and new customers alike,” said Elaine.
Lit Books is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 1pm-7pm, if you’ve been yearning for the ultimate bookish experience. If not, you may #supportlokal by adding to cart online!
Lit Books Picks:
P-01-11 Tropicana Avenue, 12, Persiaran Tropicana, Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, 47410 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Located in the creative enclave of The Zhongshan Building in Kuala Lumpur, Tintabudi is your modest neighbourhood bookshop that carries a wide range of lesser-known gems that you might not find in other commercial bookstores.
Founded in 2016 by avid reader Nazir Harith Fadzilah who moved from small-town Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, Tintabudi specializes in books of humanities; literature, philosophy, history, arts and others. Prior to the pandemic, Tintabudi also ran literary events and topical discussions which brought together a community of loyal and like-minded people.
Books sell out quite quickly due to limited copies, so have a browse at their online catalogue or drop by their cosy little space for a quick pick and pay.
80, Jalan Rotan, Kampung Attap, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
With a mission of sharing books about lost Southeast Asian histories and sparking informed discussions amongst Malaysians, Gerakbudaya is a bookstore and publisher of a plethora of fiction and non-fiction titles under its belt; ranging from Malaysian politics and history to Southeast Asian arts and culture.
The pandemic has nudged Gerakbudaya, which began as a small community in 2000 just before the social media boom, to pivot their business digitally - something they struggled with at first. Now, Gerakbudaya has since thrived on several online platforms, reaching out to readers via their website, e-commerce marketplace and shareable content on social media.
“Readers of Malaysia are out there. The bookseller’s challenge is to seek them and, particularly for us, to convince them on the merits of books by and about Malaysians.”
With restrictions being slowly lifted, you can now visit Gerakbudaya only on weekdays. But feel free to scour through their titles online and #supportlokal.
P2, Jalan Bukit 11/2, Seksyen 11 Petaling Jaya, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Possibly one of the last bookshops in downtown Kuala Lumpur, The KL Commercial Bookstore started out on Jalan Sultan over 60 years ago providing local readers with their fix for Mandarin books and calligraphy tools.
This iconic bookstore on Jalan Sultan has now expanded from selling stationeries, translated titles, travel biographies and children books to now also holding literary events for adults and kids alike! For those who are looking for a good Mandarin book or a trip to a bookish haven in town, KL Commercial Bookstore is now open from 10am - 5pm.
63C, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Borne out of love of seeking knowledge and the desire to share the beauty of Islam, Nur Innai Bookshop started in 2009 as a small, family book business which then grew into a safe haven for faith-based learning and community.
“We learnt the importance of having faith and empathy when things don’t go our way, agility in planning and courage to navigate new paths.”
“When the world was stunned by the pandemic, we were lucky, being small and flexible, we were able to bring stock home and thus work from home,” said Aida Ismail, Founder of Nur Innai Bookshop, who relied on inventory planning, delivery partnerships, faith and teamwork to continue fulfilling reader requests.
Nur Innai Bookstore is back in business, open from 10am - 5pm, every Tuesday to Saturday and 1pm - 4pm, every First and Last Sunday of the month.
Nur Innai Bookshop Picks:
C-0-5, Plaza Damas, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas 50480, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A true-blue urban Malaysian book publisher, Fixi, not only publishes a wide variety of books by local authors but also carries books from other local publishers like Dubook Press, Lejen Press and Maple Comics.
Since its establishment in 2011, Fixi has been a pivotal enabler for many local writers and authors, enriching the Malaysian urban publishing scene across genres. From horror, love to science fiction, take advantage of its ongoing promotions like 6-pack Fixi for RM84, to quench your reading thirst!
L4.41, Level 4, Sunway Putra Mall, No. 100, Jalan Putra, 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
If you do make a trip to visit any of these bookstores, remember to jaga SOP, wear a mask and social distance! Are there any bookshops that you frequent, that we might have missed out on? Let us know in the comments below!