|Kinokuniya from Paul Bakery at Ngee Ann City.|
Books Kinokuniya (紀伊國屋書店 Kinokuniya Shoten) is a Japanese bookstore chain operated by Kinokuniya Company Ltd. (株式会社紀伊國屋書店 Kabushiki-gaisha Kinokuniya Shoten), founded in 1927, with its first store located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It means "Store of Kii Province". The company has its headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo.
Books Kinokuniya is known for the immense size of its bookshop. For 10 years its store in Ngee Ann City, Singapore, was the largest in South East Asia, until the opening of the new Gramedia flagship store in Jakarta in 2007.
Fellow international bookstore chain Page One (headquartered in Singapore) began as the magazine agent for Kinokuniya but later became independent.
I have visited this place since it’s inception in the 90s. At that time, within the same complex, there was also Maruzen, but it specialised more on stationeries. When Maruzen finally closed, Kino (as it is affectionately known) became my go-to place for all things literary. From art to design books, from classic to modern literature, from text novels to graphic novels and even right down to the most obscure of art materials, their independently sourced merchandise is always a pleasure-haven for a geek like myself. Even when they do not stock it, they can get it for you: they are like the Jewish-wonderland for bookish nerds.
When I took on the role of a professional educator, their wide selection, well curated and properly organised array of books for children from 0 to young adulthood became my extended playground.
Kinokuniya is a haven, in more ways than one, for a book-nerd, a literary-geek. Now that they are downsizing, I hope they will still maintain its character that we have all known and have grown accustomed to: a pleasuredome for the literarily inclined…