Cover Photo: @kedaifixi/Instagram

Go on a digital detox and pick up the classic pastime of thumbing through page-turners at these humble indie bookstores that highlight alternative content

Kindles and e-books may be all the rage now, but nothing beats a physical book in your hand. The feeling of leafing through a book and holding the weight of a good story is fondly associated as the crux of knowledge. Call us romantics or call us old-school, but print will never die as long as there’s a story to tell — a belief these local independent bookstores firmly stand by. If you’re a book lover or simply in search of a hobby that doesn’t involve screen time, we highly recommend a visit to these quiet enclaves to pick up a book and immerse yourself in pages of diverse topics.

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1. Gerak Budaya

Gerak Budaya was established in 2000, and carries books exploring social awareness, critical topics, in-depth history of Malaysia as well as the world. In tandem with its academic imprint of Strategic Information and Research Development Centre (SIRD), Gerak Budaya publishes thought-provoking books on Malaysian politics, history, culture and society, with hopes to generate progressive discussions. On weekends, after working up an appetite, make way to Projek Dapur Umar café for a spot of refreshment.

Address: 2 Jalan Bukit 11/2, 46200 Petaling Jaya

2. Lit books

Short for ‘literature’ and also referencing the illuminating wonders of good reads, Lit Books is owned by a couple hailing from a journalism background, that specialises in handpicked English literary books. From classics to the contemporary, from collectors’ items to new launches, this bibliophile haven frequently organises author sessions and book discussions with renowned writers, nurturing a community filled with a robust love for books and wide-ranging current issues, peppering its bright and cheery space.

Address: Unit P-1-11, Level 1, Tropicana Avenue, 12 Jalan Persiaran Tropicana, 47810 Petaling Jaya

See also: 9 Books Every Ambitious Woman Should Read

3. Tintabudi

Describing itself as a modest bookstore, Tintabudi is by no means small at heart, with a wealth of knowledge it’s eager to spread. You’ll find probing books on philosophy, arts, history and literature that also promotes Malaysiana themes. From used books to collectibles, curious readers who step in are privy to rare gems containing eye-opening explorations, and a chance to rub shoulders with radical thinkers of this era. Brush up on your academia at Tintabudi or check out one of their readings and thought-provoking discussions.

Address: 80 Jalan Rotan, Kuala Lumpur 50460

4. Silverfish Books

One of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic independent bookstores since its establishment in 1999, Silverfish Books is an institution that has survived the changing reading landscape by supplying rare Malaysian literature. They pride themselves as the leading publishers of Malaysian writing in English; their first book, the Silverfish New Writing 1, introduced an anthology of short stories. Here, you’ll find rare titles unavailable in mainstream bookstores, handpicked ‘for people who like to read by people who read.’ Till today, Silverfish Books upholds Malaysia’s history, heritage and ideas through a buzz of activities.

Address: 20-2F, (2nd Floor), Bangsar Village 2

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5. Moontree House

You rarely find books that zoom in on 1 specific topic, and that’s where Moontree House fills the gap. Tucked in a cosy bookstore + café space in Petaling Street, Moontree House is the haunt for weary tourists and bright-eyed bookworms alike, who will typically end up enjoying cake whilst purusing a selection of feminist literature. Most of the books are in Mandarin with exception of some English ones, but here’s the perfect spot to polish up on feminism and gender studies in a relaxing environment.

Address: No. 6, 1st Floor, Jalan Panggung, 50000 Kuala Lumpur


6. Bookalicious!

There’s something for everyone at this family-friendly bookshop established in 2010. The boutique bookshop prides itself on selling books at attractive, discounted prices by procuring stocks directly from publishers. An extensive list of genres are curated for every age and interest, including fan memorabilia like boxed sets, figurines, posters, and more. Bookalicious! also carries Malay titles too, with staff who are happy to suggest book recommendations. There's also a pair of cartoon mascots to pique the interest of youngsters.

Address: Lot G22 Ground Floor, The Summit USJ Mall, 47600 Subang Jaya\

See also: Storyteller & Photographer, Kenny Loh, On Framing Malaysia's Diverse Residents

7. Fixi

Dedicated to urban Malaysian pulp fiction, Fixi feeds a community of knowledge-hungry readers by frequently highlighting bestselling titles on their Instagram. The store carries books from local publishers like Dubook Press, Lejen Press and even graphic novel publishers like Maple Comics, for added variety. Another draw to the store would be Fixi’s ongoing promotions like RM10 books, 6-pack Fixi for RM84 and 3 Fixi books for RM50, to stock up your home library.

Address: L4.41, Level 4, Sunway Putra Mall

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