From independent booksellers to the city's coolest concept retailers, here's our pick of the best bookstores in Jakarta.
There really is nothing quite like the look, feel and smell of holding a brand new book, or even a perfectly aged used book when you’ve found the right one. Yes, we’ve heard the argument about the convenience of the Amazons and the Kindles of the world numerous times, but give us a heavy duty book over a tacky e-reader any day. In honour of our fellow bookworms, we’re giving you a round up of the best bookshops in Jakarta.
Seumpama Books is an independent publisher and online bookstore that grew out of a project between two friends. Browse through to find treasured Penguin Classic paperbacks with titles by H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley amongst others, and keep your eyes on their socials as Seumpama Books also hosts reader events from time to time.
Seumpama Books, e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Art and Science
Art and Science is a concept store and collaborative project by 707 and Aksara bookstore. Its cool and covetable stock covers local home brands, hard-to-find travel magazines, design coffee table books, cookbooks and the latest on-trend sneakers. Wander in to find awesome gift ideas, unique knick-knacks and all kinds of other curiosities… you’re bound to leave with a much lighter wallet.
Art and Science, Grand Indonesia, East Mall, LG #40-41, p. +62 21 2358 1221
One of the most unique booksellers in Jakarta, POST Santa is a modest shop that occupies a teeny space in Pasar Santa (currently on renovation until the end of July 2016). With a reading list that is lovingly curated by fellow bookworms, this shop is indeed a literary haven. To top it off, POST Santa also regularly hosts discussions, writers workshops, and has a highly affordable second-hand books corner where you can pick up titles for the wee price of IDR 10,000 – IDR 50,000. Now that’s a bargain.
POST Santa, Pasar Santa, Upper Floor, e. email@example.com
If you’re scrambling for gift ideas, we highly recommend Aksara, the one stop shop for books, gifts, and music. Whether it’s CDs, DVDs, vinyls, headphones, cameras, and camera accessories, they’ve got you covered. They also stock rows and rows of the latest bestsellers, all-time classics, and children’s books. Once you’ve picked out the perfect gift, grab some wrapping paper and a greeting card to go with it, and make your way to the counter for their free gift wrapping service (it doesn’t get any easier than that).
Aksara, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Books and Beyond
Books and Beyond is great for educational gift ideas for the young ones and also carry a variety of bestsellers and magazines. There’s also a small selection of unique stationery. Get in early for great discounts leading up to Christmas.
Books and Beyond, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, p. +62 21 5421 3020
Periplus has a comprehensive range of quality books and specialises in local and imported cookbooks. Interior books are also a dime a dozen. The magazine racks will keep you up to scratch with the latest Hollywood gossip, fitness craze, and fast cars. For an extra cost, your fave magazines can be delivered to your door. Purchase your book, take a seat at their Hero Kemang café for a quiet read over coffee and cake. Thinking of taking a trip? Pick up their travel brochures and maps before you head off and learn all about your destination before boarding the flight.
Periplus, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, p. +62 21 4682 1089
Kinokuniya stock lots of Japanese odds and sods and manga comics galore. There’s an extensive selection of stationery too. It’s easy to find the book you’re looking for as the bookshop is clearly divided into sections and has the biggest range of English books in town. Choose from business, health, travel, fiction, non-fiction, paperbacks, and hardcovers.
Kinokuniya, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, e. email@example.com
Gramedia is a megastore that sells stationery, sports equipment, musical instruments, and multimedia products. It’s the best source for local books, autobiographies, and biographies of prominent Indonesians. You’ll also find lots of art and craft items for home projects.
Gramedia, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gunung Agung offers a huge selection of office supplies and stationary. They specialise in local textbooks and also carry some English books. Look out for their back-to-school specials to bag a bargain before school starts.
Gunung Agung, multiple locations in Jakarta, check website for details, p. +62 21 391 2345