Booksmith by Papersmith
Next time you’re passing through BTS Chit Lom, make a pitstop at Gaysorn Plaza, where you’ll find this hidden gem of a bookstore in the walkway connecting the mall with the skywalk. Originally from Chiang Mai, Papersmith specializes in international art and design magazines. Hipster foodies can grab the final edition of foodie bible Lucky Peach (B580), which just announced it’s closing down. There’s also a whole heap to entertain design and photo junkies, including Domus (B695), the magazine of Milan’s Domus Academy, and the crafty Smith Journal (B625). If you’re looking for a long read, pick up a copy of Berlin Quarterly (B750), which offers ambitious, long-form journalism and cultural reviews.
Chula Book Center
Bear in mind that English books are limited here, but the university’s renowned bookstore keeps a well-stocked supply of reasonably priced architecture and fine arts books (two of Chula’s main faculties). There are two branches outside the campus, one in Siam Square and the other at Chamchuri Square. If you want to educate yourself on Thai art history, we can think of no better store. Some highlights in English include Thai Neo-traditional Art (B2,000) by Andrew James West and Pimphan Hansrisakul, and the Roots of Thai Arts (B1,695) by Piraya Krairish.
G/F, Chulalongkorn Soi 24, 02-255-4433. BTS Siam
4/F, 315 Chamchuri Square, Phayathai Rd. 02-160-5301. MRT Samyan
Chatuchak Secondhand Book Corner
One place which is thriving despite the recession in print media is the secondhand book area at exit 2 of MRT Kamphaeng Phet station. Thai students head here to root out bargains not just on academic text books and novels, but also heavy, English-language design, art and interior tomes—at half the price of Kinokuniya. Over-priced imported magazines like British Vogue, Monocle and Architectural Digest also become very affordable here (if you don't mind reading a two-month-old issue).
Section 1, Chatuchack Market, 587/10 Kam Phaeng Phet 2 Rd. MRT Kam Paeng Phet
Bangkok’s top name for art-and-design titles now has two branches, one on the third floor of BACC and another in the hi-so Central Embassy mall’s Open House complex. That’s the one we’re going to focus on thanks to its awesome selection of rare, limited-run photo books and ‘zines from the likes of Japanese artist-provocateur Araki Nobuyoshi. Sadly they don’t put the prices on rhe special stuff, which means approaching the till can be daunting experience—you might be holding something that costs B1,200 or B21,000. Down beneath the mezzanine they also stock incredible (and rare) art books from Taschen, Prestel, Nobrow and Serindia.
3/F, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Rama 1 Rd., 02-214-3155. BTS National Stadium
4/F, Central Embassy, Phloen Chit Rd., 02-160-5977. BTS Phloen Chit
Luxury publishing house Assouline has arrived in Bangkok in lavish style as part of a collaboration with Thai fine jewelry house Lotus Arts de Vivre. Inside the glamorously teak-paneled store, you’ll find Lotus’s mighty tome, Unexpected Creations, selling for B7,400—all 384 giant pages of it. Other luminary Assouline collector editions include Oscar De La Renta (B4,940), the story of Hollywood’s favorite gown designer, and Private: Giancarlo Giammetti (B9,870), which lifts the lid on the lavish lifestyle of Valentino’s founder. For something more affordable, check out Assouline’s cult In the Spirt Of travel series (starting at B1,980), which delves into the unique creative lifestyles of sunny, “gypset” destinations from Bali to St. Barts.
G/F, Ananatara Siam, 155 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-126-8866. BTS Ratchadamri