Books Actually is what I’d call a non-traditional book store whose novelty lies in the ambiance and presentation. It looks cool from the outside and actually is on the inside except again, the stuff are quite pricey. I remember seeing this blank greeting card with a pug on it and wanting to get it for my tita. When I found out it was SG$6, I put it back.
There were quite a lot of tourists when we headed there to visit which is great. The place seems to be getting a lot of buzz. Apart from books, they sell really good local zines, have a great selection of international magazines, have interesting tidbits like notebooks, cards, prints and sunglasses and even functioning retro cameras. Book collectors will be interested to find random signed copies and vintage first editions at a segment on the side.
They also have these pencils for sale with names of famous writers carved in. Carina gave me an ee cummings pencil months back just because she knew I liked him. I didn’t know she got them here! I really like how they stuck the pencils in potato string canisters. Recycle chic! Somebody shoot me for saying that.
Books Actually doesn’t look huge at all from outside. I was surprised there was this whole section at the back when I entered. They had all this stuff for sale, I don’t even know how to classify them. They were pretty random, like toy instruments and stuff for the kitchen. I guess house stuff would be apt?
Inside one of their locally published zines. It was here I learned that Singapore has nice printers, the quality of their print and paper was just great. Coming from someone who lives somewhere newspapers make your hands dirty and a lot of local books are printed in bright white bond paper, it was refreshing. Carina bought a bunch of zines while we were there. Luis and I just agreed that we’d borrow hers. She spent about SG$40 on 3 different locally published zines.
I think overall, Books Actually is a must for anyone who enjoys reading. The locally published stuff are worth a look because it seems that the art scene in Singapore is vastly improving.