10 Under-the-Radar Bookstores in the Metro You Need to Visit
Skip the usual book haunts and find unexpected titles in these stores.
(SPOT.ph) Stumbling upon a new bookstore is like discovering a secret hideaway you can escape to whenever you feel like looking for new reads or skipping the usual book places. Aside from the under-the-radar bookstores we’ve come to love, there are still places around the Metro that are waiting to be discovered. These bookstores don’t just offer the usual titles: there are some that carry rare and vintage copies, a few have picture-perfect interiors, and there are a couple that will keep you coming back for books and more.
Here are 10 under-the-radar bookstores in Metro Manila worth checking out:
Beyond the buzz of Tomato Kick is a quiet spot that bookworms from all walks of life would love to visit. From being an online store, Bookfellas has opened a physical store at the end of the restaurant’s driveway—with shelves of books taking up most of the space. Owned by Dan Gaffud, the same person behind another bibliophile favorite, Bookay-ukay, Bookfellas offers books that cost P10 to P200, from different genres.
Bookfellas is at 19 Malingap Street, Diliman, Quezon City. It is open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays; and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong is always busy with zooming cars that it’s easy to miss the glass door of artbooks.ph. The sign in front clues you in on what to expect once you step inside—it’s an independent store specializing in Philippine art and culture. Wooden shelves and white walls serve as the perfect backdrop for the thick volumes you can check out. It has books on visual arts, design, film, and other published works that talk about Philippine art and Filipino artists.
artbooks.ph is at 123 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City.
Are you within the vicinity of UP Town Center? You might want to check out UPper Shelf, the newest branch of the University of the Philippines Press. Aside from housing books by Filipino authors and references, UPper Shelf also hosts events like book signing sessions, poetry reading, and meet-and-greets with authors. Done with your book shopping? Complete the UP experience by grabbing a bite at Rodic’s and sampling desserts at Chocolate Kiss—both food stops are located on the second floor of the mall as well.
UPper Shelf is at 2/F UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City.
JERVS Pocketbooks Store
The horrible traffic on EDSA and the constant flux of people in the MRT can make it difficult to spot a gem that might be right in front of you. JERVS Pocketbooks Store is located just below the Guadalupe station of the MRT and it sells secondhand books for as low as P10. The store has been around for over two decades and has over a thousand of books that cover classics, romance, and history, to name a few. If you’re a master at book hunting, you’ll like their titles from John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, and Mark Twain. Spending a few minutes to an hour at this bookshop is the best way to wait for rush-hour traffic to pass.
JERVS Pocketbooks Store is at G/F Guadalupe Commercial Complex, EDSA Guadalupe, Makati City.
There’s nothing like a new branch of Booksale to make a bibliophile’s heart skip a beat. Booksale Greenbelt opened in March 2019, a corner space filled with secondhand books waiting for new owners. Similar to what you’d find in other branches, the Greenbelt 1 store also has hardbound copies, paperbacks, and a mix of reads for adult and young readers. If you’re on the hunt for back issues of magazines, you can browse through the collection available. Pro tip: Greenbelt 1 closes at 8 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday—earlier than most malls—so it’s best to drop by early if you wish to browse for titles.
Booksale Greenbelt 1 is at G/F Greenbelt 1, Ayala Center, Legazpi Village, Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City.
Quaint and welcoming, Quriocity is a picture-perfect hangout for bookworms and the whole family. It’s an indie store that offers rare items related to design and culture, and picture books for kids. While it’s not the first place you’ll go to for sci-fi reads and thriller must-reads, it’s still worth a visit if you’re looking for a cozy place to pass the time. Quriocity also offers workshops and pop-up classes for kids, with lettering and art classes, to name a few.
Quriocity is at 2/F Crossroad Center, 77 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City.
You might not know it, but Popular Bookstore has a strong following—thanks to the rare and hard-to-find books they have in store. The shelves are filled with titles from local and international publishers, giving visitors a ton of options to choose from. Based on one of the reviews, Popular also has a wide array of books on history, economics, politics, philosophy, and social history. With a friendly and accommodating staff to boot, getting your hands on the books you need will be a pleasant experience. Popular Bookstore can also deliver books to your house—just message them on for inquiries.
Popular Book Store is at 305 FLP Building, Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City.
Roel’s Bookshop offers softbound books, paperbacks, and references. They update their Facebook page with their newest arrivals and followers can simply comment “mine” or “reserve” to let them know you’re interested in purchasing the book. Only sure buyers are encouraged to comment on the posts to give those who want the same book a fair chance. Walk-ins are welcome at the store to check out the titles available on hand. The books for sale have prices that range from less than P100 to P700, depending on the title. Book sets and collections are also available starting at P1,000.
Roel’s Bookshop is at 176 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.
Playbook Video Game Lounge + Bookshop
A gamer-slash-geek haven, Playbook has limited books for sale, but if you love sci-fi, fantasy, and thrillers, you’re likely to find a copy to take home with you. Have a few rounds of video games with friends before calling it a day to pore over the titles available. If the books aren’t to your liking, they’ve got collectibles available, too.
Playbook Video Game Lounge + Bookshop is at 2/L Circuit Lane, Circuit Makati, Hippodromo Street corner AP Reyes Avenue, Makati City.
Kwago Book Bar
What better way to enjoy a new read than with a cup of coffee? Kwago Book Bar is a bookworm’s dream, as it’s part-library, part-bookstore, and part-café and bar—you won’t need to step outside to get your caffeine or cocktail fix. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the book bar’s literature-inspired drinks, like the Hemingway and Dark Hours. Since the owner started Kwago to “make people fall in love with reading,” the store also serves as an events place for reading clubs, publishing events, poetry readings, and artist’s talks.
Kwago Book Bar is at Warehouse 8-A, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.