I like to buy books in every language I can when I travel so I'd like to pick up some literature in Malaysian.

Yesterday I found an enormous Kinokuniya bookshop but was puzzled to find it sold books only in English, Chinese, and japanese - if they have a Malaysian section I didn't find it!

Is there another big bookshop that covers the Malaysian publishing market? Or does everybody in Malaysia do their reading in other languages? Or is there maybe something like a secondhand book market or a part of town with lots of little bookshops?

  • 2
    Nit regarding this question and all answers so far: the national language of Malaysia is Malay, not "Malaysian". Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:27
  • @jpatokal: Well I don't know if it has an official English name. I read that the official native name went back from Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu so who knows? (-; Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:38
  • Its Malay: "Malay (/məˈleɪ/;[6] Bahasa Melayu; Jawi script: بهاس ملايو) is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the national language of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia and it is one of four official languages of Singapore. It is spoken by 240 million people[7] across the Malacca Strait, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo." (Bahasa just means Language). Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:45
  • @BurhanKhalid: And yet both Malays and Indonesian speakers very often refer to it simply as Bahasa. Many languages in their own language include a word for "language" in their name. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:50
  • True, but definitely its not "Malaysian" :/ Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


Kinokuniya (I think in KLCC but it might have been Pavilion Mall on Bukit Bintang) has books in Malaysian.

In Utama Mall (aka 1 Utama) there is a bookstore named "Popular". It has books in Malaysian too. It seemed a bit larger than Kinokuniya.

The language of higher learning in Malaysia is English, it's required in the public schools and unites the three cultures. Consequently, it's easier to find books in English than in Malaysian or Tamil.

  • I was in the Kinokuniya in the KLCC and couldn't find the Malaysian section. I might have to check the other branch. Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 8:09
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    Not sure if there was one in Pavillion Mall. I was looking for, and found, kids books in Malaysian where I was at. Both books I bought are translations of English books and the company that did it is INSTITUT TERJEMAHAN NEGARA MALAYSIA BERHAD (itbm.com.my). The website has a catalog and a phone number. They could probably direct you to a reseller.
    – Will
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 8:20
  • I think you mean books in Malay the language is called Malay not Malaysian. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:44
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    @BurhanKhalid: Since you favour perfectly correct language usage, I think you meant to put a full stop between "Malay" and "the" and a comma before "not". Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:52
  • @BurhanKhalid If we are speaking of a language that is spoken in Malaysia, it's called Malaysian language, Malay (colloquial) and Bahasa Malaysia in Malaysian itself. It used to be called Bahasa Melayu, but that implied it's a language of the Melayu people only and it is now used less. What you have linked is a name for a group of languages that are spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei which share grammar and most of the vocabulary, but still differ in their standardized forms. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 12:12

The reason why foreign books are seldom translated is simply that in Malaysia majority of book readers speak English very well. But there are books in Malaysian (Bahasa Malaysia) as well.

You can buy books in Bahasa Malaysia in every large bookstore including Kinokuniya, simply ask the staff. But your best bet is to visit MPH bookstore. They have by far the largest collection of local literature. You can find MPH in some shopping malls including the new mall near KL Sentral train station. There is one at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (BTS-TBS), the newest and biggest bus terminal in KL. For more locations check the official page.

Other locations where you can buy books are KL Sentral 1st level, where you can often find a temporary book market. These are often found in some smaller malls as well. Most of the stations will have convenient stores that sell cheap Romance literature.

Source: I lived four years in Malaysia and can speak survival BM.


The range of books available in the Malaysian language is quite restricted. Probably because people wanting to read beyond a certain level can and do read in a world language such as English or Chinese.

Books in Malaysian seem to fall into categories such as Religion, Children's, language study, local paperbacks, etc.

I was actually looking for world literature in Malaysian translation. I'm sure there's some of this in existence, but it must be very little since I did not see a single world author in Malaysian translation in any bookshop. I did see plenty of them in English.

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