Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Misc Posting on Great River Co, a BookStore mainly selling Books & Magazines from China (Many Freebies)

Great River Book Co is a independent importer / distributor / retailer of mainly Chinese Books and Magazines in Singapore. They distribute Books mainly to the shops in Chinatown(Yes u all guessed it right). As for magazines, they distribute to many major bookstores which carries China Magazines. I have mentioned before that no Major Bookstore in Singapore self-import their China Magazines and Great River is what I could say the only company that is doing that. Eg of the magazines I bought are shown below.
Great River has 2 locations, one in Upp Bt Timah Road which is their main office and North Bridge Road which acts mainly as their store cum retail outlet. (Behind Bugis)

The books that they sell ranges from chinese history books,biographies of famous people to romance & kungfu novels. I have not bought any books from their shop before and upon entering their North Bridge Road Outlet, found it to be very packed. The front portion of the store are stacked with magazines as well as the shelves to my left. The cashier counter is just next to the door but piled up with books and magazines as well. In terms of competition, it is not expected to make a dent in the industry other than the fact that those looking for cheap China Books can go and buy from them. But given the close proximity to Bras Brasah Complex and Chinatown, people will rather not buy from them Cos it is really hard to find the books that you want to buy in the overcrowded and packed shop. The Boss(whom I think is from China) is quite friendly although the old aunty isn't so. Chances are if you ask them for something, you probably aint gonna get any answers or help.

Magazines-wise is a completely different matter. They have the largest selection of China Publications ranging from Men's Interest,Ladies Fashion,Current Affairs,Sports,General Interest,Health,Crafts and many other titles which many other BookStores do not carry.Although whether they sell well or not is another matter. The top selling titles are normally Women's Fashion Titles such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, GQ China(Men), & some China Current Affairs & Watch Magazines. China Magazines generally comes in quite well made freebies for the Bags(maybe factory in China). I have bought a few copies of Magazines with Lanvin, Viviene Tam, Vera Wong & Coach Free Bags in the past given with their fashion magazines. Their watch magazines gave out parts of the watch that lets you assemble the whole watch by yourself.. A point to note that despite many magazines giving out good premium freebies, I think the Boss is still not very aware of the trend which is a bad thing. I mean for the 5th Anniversary of Vogue China which gave out Vera Wang/Vivivene Tam Bag, they are like only bringing in maybe less than 30 copies for distribution in Singapore.... I am like WTF!....If Kinokuniya or Page One is to bring it in directly, I am sure it would pretty much outsell most local magazines such as Style SG or Female SG given that the prices are almost the same.

I feel sad that this shop is not really fulfilling its potential. If I were to run this place, I would probably concentrate on bringing in magazines with extremely popular freebies and probably concentrate on the fashion titles. I would also separate the books distribution services to another place and concentrate on the magazines retailing at the North Bridge Road Outlet. Then proceed to cut off supplies to MAJOR Bookstores(which have no capability to order so many magazines titles from China anyway) and only supply selected newstands only(the chinatown aunties and uncles need to eat). Then proceed to built up a reputation for the China Magazines in Singapore through proper title selection. In that way, competition is eliminated by the lack of supplies, magazines readership will improve(many read chinese) due to the attractive freebies given and sales will dramatically increase also. Too bad it is my idea only and the Boss of this company have no lack of money nor motivation to be competitive hehe.

For buyers of China Magazines, you can probably get your favourite titles from there. Advice is to do your homework 1st and check which titles are giving out the free gift and always order from them months in advance cos no matter if magazine giving LV or Giordano...the Boss brings in the same quantity. I also notice that sometimes the magazines does skipped issues in Chinatown probably due to short supplies(which is the norm I guess) so I suspect that some walk in customers tend to HIJACK the stocks meaning wait for the shipment days then buy direct from Great River.(my own deduction and thinking and not actual facts)I mean who can pass up the chance for a fast sale? rather than supply to shops and wait to see if it sells Haha...(Hint!)So if really die die must get then can go try lor...I guess it will work most of the time anyway....just that I pity the Bookstores that will not get the stocks...due to this reason....(my own deduction and thinking and may not be actual facts)

Hmm enough of the intro on this Bookstore...Hope its helpful in your magazines buying...just like Mine....


  1. Great read! I've walked past the store before but never bothered to go in, didn't think they would stock fashion magazines because all I saw were chinese manga(s). I'm hoping to get the latest issue of Vogue China! I'm glad I discovered your blog!

    Now I can get my supply of Chinese fashion magazines without having to find it online and go through the trouble. Thanks!