When founders Kenny and Karen first brought their wares to Singaporean college fairs in 2005, students lacking literary leanings were stumped. “So what do you sell?” The duo cheekily replied, “Books, actually,” and their store name arrived. The bookstore has come a long way from its humble beginnings and found its home in Tiong Bahru two years ago after sussing out several locations that lacked the right fit. The store is brimming with books but organized by title and genre, and don’t even think about asking how many titles it holds. BooksActually is ground zero for any literary junkie visiting Singapore, and even the most well-read will find a depth of modern writing that’s second to none in the region. One of the store’s most famous offerings is Math Paper Press, a private publishing company that puts out books centered around a single theme and has brought unknown Singaporean writer’s works to international acclaim. One title, Balik Kampong, asked writers to contribute stories relating to a place in Singapore they spent 10 years in, and the results are a varied selection of nostalgia-inducing prose. If you stop in the store be sure to say hello to the resident cat, Cake, the store’s unofficial mascot and most popular attraction.
9 Yong Siak Street; 65/62229195; booksactually.com