Culture and history buffs get all the attention when it comes to travel. But today, we are giving the book lovers some spotlight by highlighting some of the best literary spots across Asia. From the street to the stores and even literary festivals, we got you covered.
Malaysia – Bookxcess
The biggest Bookxcess branch in Malaysia offers a plethora of books from thriller to self-help for a fraction of the price in a normal bookstore. Bestsellers like the young adult series by famed authors like Meg Cabot and Richelle Mead can go for as low as RM17.90.
The T-Site is known on the internet to be the best bookstore in the world. Its award-winning design complex has a theme of a library in the woods. Magazine Street is the book haven that stocks periodicals on topics like travel, cars and art in both Japanese and English. The Anjin Library & Lounge is an archive for old magazines, storing over 30,000 of them from as way back as the 1960s. Coffee and hard beverages are even served here so you can inspect your books with a cup in hand.
17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
1st Floor: 7AM – 2AM, 7 days a week
2nd Floor: 9AM – 2AM, 7 days a week
Iran – Tehran Book Garden
This is no ordinary bookstore, it’s a futuristic – looking complex of literature spanning 13 blocks across 700,000 square feet of land. The whole structure was built to expand the mind of Iranian kids as the complex also has art galleries, a drama theatre and auditorium. And the books? It is recorded that there are 400,000 titles for children’s book alone but do cater to adults in various genres.
Haghani Highway, Tehran
10AM – 9PM, 7 days a week
Indonesia – Aksara
Though there are 3 outlets for the Aksara brand, the standalone store in Kemang is our favourite. Their unique book selection is the highlight with a plethora of coffee table books, random fact books and a shelf filled with enticing local bestseller s among hipster knick knacks like artisanal leather wallets.
Jalan Kemang Raya No. 8B, South Jakarta
10AM – 10PM, 7 days a week
China – Librairie Avant-Garde
This Nanjing literary haven is uniquely located in an abandon underground carpark. The space can hold up thousands of books and promotes the love of reading with long reading tables for visitors to get engrossed in the pages. They also have an impressive literature section shelving the classics in both English and Chinese.
173, Guangzhou Road, Gulou District, Nanjing
10AM – 9PM, 7 days a week
Georgetown Literary Festivals | Annually in November
This festival in Penang invites local and international writers and poets to share their opinions of the world of publishing. Immerse yourself in workshops like the art of translating for budding raconteurs. Plus, the pop-up book sales sells work from some of the best regional writers.
The Shanghai International Literary Festival | 15 – 28 March 2018
Acclaimed and emerging writers converge in this English festival that include hosted talks by Pulitzer Prize winners. Workshops, literary lunches and even sessions for kids come together over a span of two weekends which is documented through their festival podcast.
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival | 24 – 28 October 2018
The cultural centre of the island plays host to intimate talks by some of Indonesia’s prolific writers on their journey to stay relevant in the current publishing landscape. Workshops on poetry and language together with art exhibitions make this a go-to event in Bali.
BOOKSTREETS IN ASIA
Surrounded by higher institutions like the University of Kolkata, this stretch of road is also known as the second largest second-hand book market in the world. Tiny stalls with books stacked to the ceiling, spilling out on the streets sit adjacent to bigger bookstores selling rare editions. Get your second-hand books of popular titles to educational volumes and even first editions.
Nguyen Van Binh Street
Next to the Notre Dame Cathedral and Post Office, sits a humble cobblestone street lined with shops run by many Vietnamese publishing houses. Locals can find a diverse selection of international titles translated to Vietnamese and but if you are a tourist that looks hard enough, you can find some popular book titles like the Harry Potter collection among hardcover classics.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
EVENT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Comic Con Asia 2018 | 24 – 25 March 2018
The famed Comic Con event is coming to Asia for the first time with Philippines taking big honours in hosting it. Creators from every avenue will attend the event but what’s exciting is that the King of Marvel, Stan Lee himself will grace the event. The genius that created loved comics like Spiderman and X -Men will sure to get comic lovers riling.
Words by Aishah Azali