Book Stores in Kuala Lumpur


With the advancement of technology, people are shifting more of their attention to digital content. You see it in the news, big bookstore chains are closing down one by one.

Just like everyone else nowadays, I spend way too much time staring at screens and would like to give my eyes a break and regain my reading habits.

I even went so far to unsubscribe from Netflix which was USD10 a month and replaced it with an unlimited ebook subscription that is USD8 a month. Talk about commitment.

My first e-reader that I left behind in an AirAsia plane

Although I still read most of my content online or in ebook format, due to convenience and my admiration to live a physically minimalist lifestyle, there are some personal benefits that I get from buying physical books:

  • If I know that I’ll constantly be referring back to the book over and over again.
  • Reading on paper is much easier on the eyes. We already spend most of the days staring on our phones and computer screens, this is a much-needed break for our eyes.
  • You will retrain your mind to focus on 1 thing, which is reading rather than being tempted to Google random things if you would read using your phone.

Despite the general decline of physical book sales worldwide, there’s still a generous amount of book store choices in Kuala Lumpur that is not too far from Balkoni Hijau.

Buying New Books in Kuala Lumpur

The best bookstore personally for me that I recommend is Kinokuniya located in Suria KLCC mall. But before you spend full retail prices on books, I recommend you to first head over to BookXcess to see if they sell the book that you want for much cheaper. Read on to see what I’m on about:

Kinokuniya

My personal favorite book store in Malaysia. It has the widest selection of physical publications. If you’re looking for a specific book that was recently released, chances are, you’ll find it here.

They let you test drive the book for free. Just bring any wrapped book to the counter and they’ll open it for you. However, there’s no sitting area to read (they want you to buy it of course).

Great selection of new books
Second-floor book selections

They are also one of the authorized sellers of my favorite premium notebook brand, Moleskine located on the upper level opposite their cafe.

Not a lot of bookstores carry Moleskine, but Kinokuniya does

I particularly like this notebook because they have it in plain (no rules), the paper is of good quality to write on and it opens flat on the table regardless of the page that you are on:

Moleskine notebook

This bookstore chain brand originated from Japan and sells unique stationaries that are imported from there that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Great selection of weird Japanse Stationaries

Kinokuniya bookstore website.
Business hours: 10 am to 10 pm.
Location: Level 4, Suria KLCC Mall.

MPH Bookstore

MPH bookstores sell international books but focus slightly more towards the local taste. There are 3 different franchises of this book store near Balkoni Hijau. All operate from 10 am to 10 pm, standard mall operation hours.

If I had to pick between the 3, I would go to the one in Mid Valley as I think that has the biggest selection of books. MPH MyTown is the smallest. MPH website.

Times Bookstore

Times bookstore is located in the Pavilion mall and therefore caters to a more international crowd, reflected in their book selections.

Times bookstore website.
Business hours: 10 am to 10 pm.
Location: Level 6, Pavilion Mall

BookXcess

BookXcess is probably the most interesting bookstore in Malaysia. They sell brand new books that are around 80% less than the retail price!

As I understand it, they take the unsold brand new books from bookstores that are often thrown out and resell it at BookXcess for a lot cheaper than retail. Take a look at the savings below:

nuts right?

But because the business model is to get unsold books, you might have problems finding the exact book that you want especially if it’s a new release.

BookXcess – Fahrenheit 88

So to me, BookXcess is the perfect place to go to finally buy that book that you always wanted but never had the chance to because you don’t want to pay retail.

BookXcess website.
Business hours: 10 am to 10 pm.
Location: Nearest from Balkoni Hijau: at Level 2. Fahrenheit 88 mall

24 Hour BookXcess – Cyberjaya

Entrance above Village Grocer

There’s another BookXcess that is quite far away from Kuala Lumpur, around 40 min drive but is quite unique that is worth a mention because:

Dedicated study area with free WiFi
Attached indoor cafe where you can do work while eating/drinking
Sample of how cheap the books are
The lush and unique setting of Tamarind Square

Big Bad Wolf – Giant Book Sale

Image from www.bigbadwolfbooks.com/

The same folks that founded BookXcess are also running a massive book sale to promote reading culture by selling books cheap that otherwise, people would never buy.

It’s called the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale. The locations will vary so check out their website for more details. Their website.

Why do These Book Stores Let you Read for Free?

Some of the big bookstores like Kinokuniya & BookXcess let you open and read literally any book in there for free (except for the comics and magazines).

This always screws with my logic because they have bills and employees to pay. So letting people read for free sounds counter-productive for sales. But from my guess, they let you do it because:

  • It’s an excellent marketing strategy. You think you’ll read for free, but you most likely will like the book so much that you decide to buy it anyways.
  • There’s no dedicated reading and sitting area so you just read it standing or sitting on the hard floor. At some point, you want to continue reading the book but be comfortable, so you’ll end up buying it and bringing it home.
  • By letting you test-drive the book ensures that you really want and like the book and thus dramatically reduce any returns.
  • Generally, if you are intelligent enough to want to read a book, you most likely have some common decency to purchase the book and not be a freeloader. This explains why the magazines and comics are wrapped in plastic though.

Buying Second Hand (Used) Books

The entrance

This bookstore sells old books and magazines. It’s great to pay a visit. What you can get out of this place will be old novels that are not on sale anymore.

That being said, considering that the books are so old, they are selling for a min of RM13 a book which I think is pretty expensive. BookXcess sells brand new books for around RM17. But it still worth a visit especially to get an old school vibe in the city.

Very retro insides

All books are wrapped in plastic so there are no testing before you buy.

2nd floor
  • Junk Bookstore Hours: 8:50 am – 5 pm.

Resources

  • Unlimited ebook subscription: www.scribd.com. for USD8 a month. Use my link here to get 2 months free.
  • Check out my Studios for your visit to Kuala Lumpur.

Helmi

Business owner and online content creator for balkonihijau.com.

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