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Reading Lolita in Times Bookstores Jakarta

Published 01 April 2009   

Indonesians seem to love franchising international brands and the latest brand that our beloved city Jakarta has adopted is the Times Bookstores. Originally from Singapore, this bookstore chain has been established for more than 30 years. They recently expanded their business in Jakarta working together hand in hand with James Riady’s Matahari Group, which is part of the Lippo Group. FRV homes in for a quick read and a quicker coffee.

Text by Erza S.T.

It was only a matter of time to have Times Bookstore open in Indonesia, especially after their expansion across Malaysia and Macau. In Indonesia, they offer more than 100,000 book titles with 30,000 books and magazines to meet all reader’s diverse needs. They also provide gifts such as stationery, fine-writing exclusive, reading accessories and greeting cards. In the future they are planning to host activities that entertain, educate and inform, including book signings, book reviews. Also mini-workshops on various topics.

One of the Times Bookstores that caught our attention is actually their first one in the Lippo Karawaci area. Located alongside the famous Pelita Harapan University, this Times Bookstore really looks sleek and modern. Not only from the wall-to-ceiling glass walls, the modernity of the design can also be seen throughout their interior where they have built giant cocoons on the first floor. It is a unique experience to sneak into one of these cocoons with your favorite book and have a quiet read inside. With music from your i-Pod it is perfect!

This two-storey building is not only inhabited by books and magazines but also a comfy little café on the second floor managed by Imperial Cakery. Still carrying the same tone and style of the bookstore’s interior, this café reminds me so much of Singapore. You will wish that you actually lived in Karawaci when you are there. Looking outside, you can actually see squirrels running on the trees just outside the building.

Right away I feel that this is the perfect place to end my Nabokov’s Lolita. It is really a perfect set up that makes you just want to go into one of the corners and start reading. However, the squirrels were not the only thing that caught my attention, after seeing the delicacies that Imperial Cakery offers. If you enjoy reading accompanied by a cup of coffee, then you are in the right place. Using our own local beans from Toraja, called Makadoro, this café offers the standards from simple long blacks to lattes. They also have an impressive selection of food from salad to pasta.

It is interesting how Imperial Cakery understand good accompaniment of food and beverages while reading. Though presentation might not be their key strength, the taste is sublime! For example, their so-called “Cakery Club Sandwich” may not look all that great, but after one bite you will immediately change that perception. For sure this place has lots of potential. It has good food, friendly prices and a very cozy ambiance.

Times Bookstore itself continues to expand and recently added another two outlets in Pacific Place and Kemang Village. Of course, this is good news for those who want to experience Times Bookstores, though our love with the first one in Karawaci for its strong concept and nice ambiance is still irreplaceable.

The two new stores might be closer to me in distance, but they are smaller size and don’t have that nice café inside. Hopefully, one of the upcoming outlets will adopt the similar concept as the first one. For that occasion, I have David Wroblewski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle to finish.

Times Bookstore and Imperial Cakery
Gedung A UPH
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 2
Lippo Karawaci
Tel: +62 21 5421 3020