Since the pandemic hit Myanmar, many industries have suffered and bookstores are no exception. Pete Evans, the owner of Bookworm Books, said the sales had been down by 40 per cent.
Bookstores are trying to connect with the readers online through live sales and discounts. But what online shops cannot replace is the feeling of browsing the books shelf by shelf while reading the descriptions. And you can help continue this lovely tradition.
Don’t buy reprints
Evans said the increasing availability of reprints had plagued the book market. “The death of books in Myanmar will be due to fake books and shops in Yangon who are breaking the law – not Covid.” So, support your favourite authors and bookstores by buying the originals.
Check local stores first
When we want an old book, we usually find it on Amazon. If you add the shipping fees and courier charges, the book usually becomes more expensive than the retail price. Instead, consult with some bookstore first. If they do not have it, they can order it with the next shipment. So you can get it at the retail price.
Explore preowned books market
Personally, I do not mind buying the preowned as long as they are in good condition. I often visit Bookworm on the Pansodan road in search of preowned English-language titles. Take a stroll to the 37th street in Kyauktada Township where Yangon’s largest deposits of rare and old books exist. Join Facebook groups like Treasure Island – Online Book Store where you can buy and sell preowned books.
Read along for some bookstores that have reopened. If you are looking for some recommendations, check the list of books I have read recently.
The Pansodan branch is the one I frequented since it is close to my place. Although it is now open just Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Pearl Condo branch is open every day. Besides brand new books, you may find the preowned ones in great condition. Follow it on Facebook for latest arrivals.
Address I: 229, Pansodan Street (Upper Block), Kyauktada Township
Address II: Block C Pearl Condo, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township
09 780 162 900
9am – 7pm
You might want to follow their page as they live-sell books with a 60pc discount every week. They have a wide range of non-fiction books to choose from, especially self-help, business and IT. Online only for now.
40, Nyaung Pin Street , Kyimyindine Township
09 45338 2151
3Myanmar Book Centre
Founded in 1995, MBC is one of the oldest book dealers in the country. They also take it online to promote the sales with live streams, discounts and lucky draws. Among the three shops, two are reopen.
Address I: 55, Baho Road, Corner of Baho Road & Ahlone Road, (near Eugenia Restaurant), Ahlone Township
Address II: 561-567, Room (3), Ground Floor, MAC Tower (1), Merchant Street
01 221 271, 212 409, 231 4708, 09 7314 7732
9am – 5pm
One of the largest private collections of rare and vintage books in Yangon. Be warned, you cannot stop browsing once you are in the sea of books! Follow their page for the updates.
37th Street (between Mahabandula and Merchant roads), behind Shwe Bank, Kyauktada Township
7:30am – 7:30pm
09 4200 53 798
5City Books & Music/Safari
The book chain by City Mart Holdings. While you can order books via the website, you can also shop physically. It has branches at Junction Square and Junction 8 and the main store is in Golden Valley.
403 / A, Dhamazedi Road & Golden Valley Road, Bahan Township
9am – 9pm
Junction Square and Junction 8 branches
9am – 7pm
6Yangon Book Plaza
An acclaimed Burmese writer Min Lu dreamt in his short novel “The Media Supermarket” of opening a bookstore that resembles a shopping centre. Many years later in 2017, Myay Hmone Lwin, an author/publisher, founded Yangon Book Plaza, a collection of numerous bookstores together with cafes, restaurants and recreation areas.
5th Floor, Than Zay Market, Lanmadaw Street
09 767 019 926
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!