About to head out on the bus to Battambang or Siem Reap and need a good book for the trip? All along the riverside you’ll be able to find children selling genocide-related literature, but please don’t buy books from them — purchase from one of the many adults selling books on the riverside instead (Ed: do remember that authors get no money if you go the pirated route). But, if you’ve already read all of the Cambodia backpacker favourites, head to one of the English-language bookstores in town to find a wider selection of notable novels and treasured tomes.
D’s sells mostly used books, and mostly ones that wouldn’t be at the top of your list. That said, they’ve got more than a few decent novels lying around so it’s worth a look. They also have some copied books (books that are Xeroxed copies, or photocopies, but look real) of backpacker classics like The Beach and First They Killed My Father for $4.
79 St 240, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 221 280
Bohr’s Books is my new favourite bookstore in town — they have a large selection of used books and new copied books for $3 or $4. They’ve got a good selection of current best sellers, popular non-fiction ala Freakanomics, and a solid selection of classics and travel literature. They’ve recently opened a second store that is larger, and includes a selection of French books and a more extensive books-about-Cambodia collection.
5 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
St 172 and St 5, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 929 148
If you think that buying used or copied books is ethically dubious, the one bookstore in town that sells new books with ostensibly all taxes paid is Monument. That said, they sell many of their titles at well over the list price, perhaps to cover the spacious digs and blasting air-conditioning. The literature selection is good, though, if you’re willing to pay, and Blue Pumpkin has an outlet upstairs where you can enjoy an ice cream or coffee with your new purchases. They also have an outlet at the airport.
111 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 217 617
Phnom Penh International Airport
T: (023) 890 563
Another bookstore with a large selection of random used books, Boston is a great place to visit if you want to browse cookbooks from the 1980s (big selection), crime novels or other odds and ends. Their children’s and young adult section is quite good. They also have a coffee bar, free WiFi and comfy seats, so it’s a great place to hang out and browse.
8 St 240, Phnom Penh
T: (077) 938 254
By Lina Goldberg
Last updated on 9th August, 2014.