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Literary Hypermarts.

I find it extremely embarrassing but two of my favourite sources of cheap books happen to be hypermarkets, to be specific, both Tesco and Giant in Puchong. Both of these hypermarkets happen to have their cheap books sourced by the same distributor, who I sometimes suspect to have shady connections to unscrupulous book warehousers, but that's just irresponsible speculation on my part.

In any case, I don't mind, like how I don't mind that Times and Popular and Big Bookstore keep having Book Warehouse Clearance Sales every other month at suspiciously cheap prices.

At RM8 or thereabouts, the books are cheap, but this is mostly because the books are horribly creased in the spine or there's a noticeable cutting or printing error. The books are still readable of course, it's just that they're not in pristine condition fit for the bookstore, and are, I suspect, rejects from the publisher that are supposed to have been destroyed.

Nevertheless, dig through the pile (and my! what a huge pile it can be at times), you might find a few gems, gems you might be hard-pressed to even find in Payless. Most recently, I found Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds and a nice copy of Dashiell Hammett's Thin Man, as well as a couple of seldom seen Penguin modern classics (the titles escape me at this moment in time).

Sometimes I just go to Tesco or Giant to restock on coffee or earl grey, without the least intention of buying books, but then I step out with 5 books or so. Just goes to show... I can't escape book buying no matter where I go.


  1. oh ted, please do go and read this old post of leon's. it's so funny about the cheap penguins in hypermarkets.

  2. Thanks Sharon! Oh yeah... just noticed they're all penguins!

  3. Hi Ted!

    First time visitor here, from Tunku Halim's blog. I bought my copy of At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill at a Tesco too.

    Given how expensive books, especially hardbacks, can be these days, I'd say there's no shame in investigating these more affordable options.

    Any reason to read is a good one. ;)


  4. At Swim, Two Boys! What a marvellous coincidence!

    Actually, the reason I find it so embarrassing buying books at these places is because I don't usually associate them with buying books. If anything, when I go there it's NOT to buy books but groceries... especially because my TBR list is now in the hundreds, thanks to last year's non-stop warehouse sales!

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by, Kenny.

  5. This proves that I really need to get out more often. I never thought hypermarkets like tesco is selling books.

    Which section is it? Next to the cold storage or by the shampoo section?

  6. I'm only familiar with the Tesco and Giant in Puchong.

    That being said, in Tesco, it's to your left after you enter the main shopping area, hidden discretely in the stationery section. (It used to be in plain view some time ago.)

    In Giant, it's right in the centre, at the exit from the main shopping area... but here it's seasonal. It comes and goes every few months, but they usually have a much larger stock than Tesco's. Currently Giant doesn't have the books.

  7. Amaruhizat,
    The layout for all Tescos are the same, so as Ted said, you can find the books in the stationery section to your left (immediately as you enter the hypermarket proper).

    I believe some stores have better selection than others though.

    Question to everyone: Any idea how I can get on the mailing list (if such exist) for book warehouse sales? Another blogger informed me I just missed the last Pay Less warehouse sales. (Which my wallet is thankful for, actually, haha.) Thanks!

  8. With Payless, you can give your email address next time you visit one of their stores. I think you need to be a cardmember for the rest (e.g. Time, MPH, Big Bookstore).

    But no worries, just make sure you read Sharon's blog, and you'll never miss a sale!

  9. you've got a new look! love it!

    happy valentine's btw

  10. Glad you liked it Sharon! I've been sitting on the images for 2 years now and finally decided I'd do something with it...

    Happy Valentine's to you too!

  11. Hey, I LIKED the cow! Where's it gone? Put out to pasture? :-)

  12. Ah, interesting, interesting.

    *scribbling topo map*

    Thanks for the info guys.

    I am really amuse by this, I am imagining how it would be if Pasar Borong Selayang sell books. ha!

  13. The cow liked you too Sympozium! He hasn't been put out to pasture (yet...), he's been accepted into a writer's residency program and won't be around for quite some time. He sends his love.

    Amaruhizat, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. I wouldn't mind fresh crabs with a copy of Jude the Obscure or Man in the High Castle or something =p

  14. I liked the cow too.
    From a cute cow, you have evolved to an angry bear with a crayon strapped to his back. Hmmm... I wouldn't want to mess around with you.

  15. Well, the bear's angry and jealous the cow got chosen for the residency programme while he didn't. Besides, we'll learn to like him in time. He can be cute too, in a curmudgeonly sort of way... kinda like thor kah hoong. o_0

  16. animah, i don't think that's a crayon strapped to his back. My artist intuition tells me (and also by the shape and length) that it is a pencil.

    Which somehow became totally black.

  17. It's a pencil all right. Which got dropped into chinese ink by mistake.


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