As more and more things are moved online — from entertainment to education — there’s still no substitute for sinking down into a comfortable chair with a good book. For children there is great joy in cuddling up with a loved one and transforming the written words into what an imaginative four-year-old described to me as “a movie inside his head.” Luckily, there are several great options for buying books for the entire family, kids to adults, in Phnom Penh.
One of my favorite places to buy books in this great city is a hidden gem, and one of the longest operating book stores in Phnom Penh — D’s Books. Owned by female entrepreneur Vantha Douk (affectionately known as “Mom”), D’s Books is nestled in leafy Street 240, just behind the Royal Palace. Boasting an impressive range of over 50,000 new and pre-loved titles from practically any genre you can imagine, you’ll find everything from science fiction to comic books and history to romance.
Children are well catered for, with enough classic fairy tales, picture books, young reader novels and new box sets to delight any little bookworm, and despite their huge range, D’s Books are also happy to source and order in specific books for you. D’s offers straight to your door delivery, but you should definitely make time to visit the store and browse their range, while relaxing with a coffee, juice or smoothie.
Open daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
No 79 Street 240, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 (0) 12 726 355
Popular with children because it doubles as a toy store, Monument Books and Toys has a good range of shiny new children’s and adults books in both fiction and nonfiction.
Operating in Phnom since 1993, Monument also carries student course books and teacher’s guides. While prices are relatively expensive, they have frequent sales where you can grab a bargain at up to 50% off. Monument Books and Toys have several locations, and also offers regular story-time sessions for children, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for details.
Monument Books and Toys (Norodom)
No 111, Preah Norodom Blvd (41), Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 (0)17 899 599
Monument Books (Aeon Mall 1)
1st Floor, Aeon Mall, Samdech Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 (0)17 422 722
For new books in multiple languages — including English, Japanese, Chinese, and French — Kinokuniya bookstore can be found in Aeon 2 (Sen Sok). Set out like a typical mall bookstore in the west, you’ll be forgiven for lingering a little longer to enjoy that new book smell. The books are all originals (as opposed to the photocopied version you’ll sometimes find in other stores), so expect to pay list pricing.
Open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Unit: T127, Aeon Mall Sen Sok City, Street 1003, Phnom Penh Thmey, Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 (0)23 900 191
Specializing in second-hand children’s books, English Books Club is a Cambodia-based online store aimed at providing affordable pre-loved early readers, story books, picture books, pop-up books and resource books, delivered straight to your door.
Prices start from just $1.50 for smaller paperbacks, and go up to around $8 for hardcover science and reference books. The store is run through their Facebook page, and the owner Minh is easy to communicate with through Facebook Messenger. They regularly update their page with new stock. Be warned that titles tend to sell out fast, so be quick to grab a bargain. While the store is technically online, when COVID-19 restrictions are not in place, Minh will allow you to come to her home to have a browse by appointment.
English Books Club (Cambodia)
Tel: +855 (0)69 225 888
Maisy Bookshop & Gifts stocks quality new books for children ages 0-14 years old. Specializing in boxed sets, they offer a great range of popular titles covering all your child’s favorites including Lord of the Rings, the Treehouse Series, Elmer, Curious George, and nonfiction National Geographic. Though I’ve never been to visit Maisy’s bookshop in person, I was impressed by their fast response to my enquiries online and as a teacher as well as a parent, I find their range of early readers, phonics ,and sight-word books impressive. They offer free delivery within Phnom Penh city for orders over $50, and accept online orders and payment using ABA and Wing.
Maisy Bookshop & Gifts
2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Closed Mondays.
Shop B05, Tower A&B, Rose Garden Condo, Koh Pich, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 (0) 789 689 84
The Big Bad Wolf annual pop-up book sale is a favorite event with expats, offering new books at up to 90% off. With everything from children’s books to adult self-help books and all that’s in between, I’ve been known to set my alarm for midnight to get in first once “doors open” as it’s just too hard to resist! There are many payment options online and books are delivered around 2 to 3 weeks after the order is processed. As venues change each year, it’s best to follow their Facebook page.
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