Where to find books on Samui

What we say: 3.5 stars

Sure, many people now travel with their kindles or iPads, but sometimes there’s nothing better than paging through a real book while swinging in a hammock. Most resorts on Ko Samui have a book-exchange shelf, where, as the name suggests, you can grab a new book and add one you’re finished with, based on an honesty system. But if your resort only has books in other languages or none of the titles grab you, you’ll need to find a bookstore. Here’s a round up of where you can buy books — plus magazines and newspapers — on Ko Samui.

Now all I need is a good book.

Now all I need is a good book.

For the best selection of new books, try one of the Bookazine branches. There’s one along Chaweng Beach Road opposite McDonalds as well as one at the airport and at the two biggest Tesco centres, which are at Chaweng and Lamai. This is also where you’ll get international magazines and newspapers – at a premium.

SE-ED bookshop has a store at Tesco Lotus Chaweng and a branch upstairs at Big C too. But our favourite has to be Island Books in Lamai, known for its selection of thousands of used books in several languages. What’s great is that all books available are updated to their website daily – quite unusual for a used-book store. Books can be reserved in case you’re worried they sell before you get there to collect. It’s easy enough to find, being signposted off the ring-road close to Buddy Resort.

There’s a another used-book store near the traffic lights in Mae Nam; unlike Island Books, they have no idea what they stock and the dust is evidence that they’ve had the same books on their shelves for approximately 10 years. Their prices are only marginally cheaper than new books and they don’t particularly seem to mind if they sell a book or not. Instead of heading here, try the walking street market road, where you’ll find Ink Books, a smaller but busier bookstore, which also runs writers’ circles for locals.

Now what to do when that book is finished...

Now what to do when that book is finished…

Jim’s Bookshop in Nathon is another well-known used-book store, located just off the road running along the seafront. Jim’s was the first bookstore on the island, but is now under new management, as Jim is sadly no longer with us. The shop is down the short one-way side-road running between the police station and the original ferry pier. As with all the other used bookshops, this one also has huge sections of books in several languages.

Of course, if it’s travel books on Southeast Asia you need, you could always browse the rest of the Travelfish.org site… just saying!

Last updated: 9th March, 2015

About the author:
Rosanne Turner relocated to Thailand in 2010 from South Africa. She enjoys sharing her discoveries of Samui after walking every beach, hill, coconut grove and forgotten path in search of that memory-making beach bar. You can follow her blog at Travelling Pen.
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