Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is home to some excellent book shops. As a frequent traveler to Kuala Lumpur (KL), one of the highlights of my trip is browsing for books, buying books and even enjoy coffee and snacks at several of the city’s book shop cafes. For books in several languages, including English, Malay and Chinese, check out these best bookstores in Kuala Lumpur – and, while you’re at it, have a nice lunch at their in-store cafes.
Kinokuniya, KLCC Mall – One of my favorite bookstores in Kuala Lumpur is the Kinokuniya book shop on the top floor of KLCC mall. Selling English, Malay and Chinese books, the store has a huge selection of books – everything from politics to religion, coffee table books to cheap paperbacks, fiction (from many different countries) and, of course, an excellent variety of books on Malaysia, Malaysian culture and from Malay writers.
Kinokuniya’s magazine section isn’t bad (although the enormous Borders book shop at Berjaya Times Square is better), and they have a cute cafe selling lunch, snacks and coffee on a mezzanine above the store. The only thing I hate about Kinokuniya is all their books are wrapped in plastic, so you can’t look at anything properly before purchasing unless you ask the reception desk to remove the plastic cover. Get to Kinokuniya, KLCC by taking the train from KL Sentral to KLCC station.
Borders, Berjaya Times Square – The largest, and I think the best, bookstore in Kuala Lumpur is the American chain, Borders bookstore, in the massive Berjaya Times Square mall. Promoting that it has more than 250,000 books in the store, the one thing that makes Borders the best bookshop in Kuala Lumpur is that it doesn’t wrap its books in plastic, so you can browse to your hearts content.
Borders also has its usual ‘special promotion’ books right at the front of the store, where you can buy a beautiful coffee table book for as cheap as $3. They have a huge fantasy fiction section, the best comic book selection of any store in KL, and have 3 books for the price of 2 tables all over the store. By far one of the cheapest bookshops in KL, Borders will always be my favorite place to shop for books. Easy to get to, it’s right next to the Bukit Bintang monorail station. Borders also has four other branches throughout KL.
First Edition – The bookstore that’s open more hours than any other in KL is First Edition. It’s an independent bookstore, which is also nice to support, and is in the Damansara suburbs of the city. It opens at 9am, every day, and doesn’t close until midnight, so if you’re jonesing for a good book, First Edition is the place to go. They also don’t close right at midnight as, if there are customers still looking around, they allow you to take your time.
First Edition has a large selection of English language books and a good variety of magazines, including a fair few imported versions at not-too-expensive prices. The bookshop is also right in front of a huge food court, so you can eat, browse, eat some more, browse again…..Easiest way to get here is to take a taxi, just not during rush hour. Call 03 7727 1932 for directions.
MPH Bookstores – The bookstore with the most branches in KL is MPH Books. It sells books in English, Malay and Chinese and, in some stores, also has CDs and DVDs. They sell a large variety of books (have an excellent selection of history, fantasy fiction and fiction books), as well as a good Malaysian area. Prices are slightly cheaper than the other chains and, every month, their promotion on 20% off on certain books is well worth checking out.
My favorite branch of MPH books is their megastore in the MidValley Mall as it has a cozy cafe where you can sit, enjoy a very nice latte and read what you just bought. Get to the MidValley MPH store by taking a RapidKL bus.
Borders (US Site)