Monday, February 13, 2012

Bookmart @ The Central, Clarke Quay

Location: Clarke Quay, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Updated 30-Jun-2014: This store is permanently closed.

Never have I thought that I could get books at a bargain price until I came across Bookmart. Originated from Japan and with over 100 shops in that nation, the store just started the branch in Singapore a little over a year ago.


The reason why books sold here are cheaper lies in the fact that these books are not new - not firsthand anyway. Bookmart applies the concept of buy and resell, but even though the books are secondhand, most of them are still in tiptop condition, spotless save for a few wrinkles.

Located in a partially hidden aisle stood Bookmart, one of my favorite bookstore offering used books and medias at bargain price.

The books costs approximately half of the original's price or slightly lower, depending on the quality of the book in question. To me, the hardcovers are the real bargain as a fresh book will cost a lot. Getting it at half price and barely a dent in the book is what joys me. Imagine me getting the illustrated hardcover version of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, at half the price (that would be a very happy me in case you couldn't imagine).

Flip through your potential hunt seated on cozy chairs prepared just for that purpose.

Not all books are accepted to be resold here though. They do not accept technical books (e.g. engineering or medical), magazines or books in languages other than English and Japanese. So you will mostly see novels and some non-fiction books, along with lots of Japanese books. Yes, they really have a lot of Japanese books, including manga in their native language so if you are looking to improve your Japanese, how better to do that at a bargain price than to browse through their collection of Japanese books?

Manage to find the book you are looking for?

Apart from books, Bookmart also accepts and resells music CDs which are within 6 months of their release dates, as well as DVDs which contain Singapore sticker and with Board of Film Censors. So if you have unused books and medias, you could consider selling them to Bookmart to earn back some cash in order to satisfy your hunger for more books. Your books and medias need to be in good condition in order for them to be accepted, which is how books resold within Bookmart are still in good condition. The procedure for selling them to Bookmart can be obtained here.

So how did Japan get into this reselling book business? From what I understand from my one time Japanese teacher, his experience in Japan revealed the locals love to read. They would read in buses or in MRTs, but they could not afford to keep the books due to their usually small living area. The books were usually either left in the public transport (which were considered as dumped but the next person could pick up the book if he would like to), recycled or sold to businesses such as Bookmart.

In Japan, such stores are consider one of the ideal source of getting books at a bargain price and are thronged with book hunters. So whenever you enter Bookmart in The Central, you will feel that you are entering a piece of Japanese culture. As such, you will encounter Japanese there frequently, browsing through titles and enjoying their books in the cozy chair prepared for potential buyers to flip their books. Even the cashiers are English speaking Japanese, or at least the few whom I met are.

A cozy atmosphere for book browsing.

You could even order some beverages to enjoy there, sipping from your cup of coffee while enjoying one of their books. They may be doing business, but the atmosphere for reading is undeniably strong within Bookmart, with people reading like they are in a library and the employees will not disturb you or chase you away for occupying their space without spending a cent there.

The store is hidden behind the more visible rows of stores, but is not hard to miss with signs directing book hunters toward its welcoming rows of knowledge. When you chance upon The Central or Clarke Quay one day, why not pay the store a visit and see if you could get yourself a book or two at a bargain price. Who doesn't love bargains, especially a bargain in price and earning in knowledge?





View Book mart @ The Central, Clarke Quay in a larger map




Environment:         Book lover's haven
Suitable for:           A bookstore which originated from Japan, buying used books in good conditions and reselling for a reasonable and low price. A haven for Japanese books and Japanese language lovers.
Website:                 bookmart-sg.com




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