Exploring Burma’s Bookshops: Sarpay Lawka

Sarpay Lawka (World of Books) is the granddaddy of bookshops in Yangon.  Though there maybe one or two specialist shops focussing on Buddhist liturgical texts that are older, Sarpay Lawka is accepted as the oldest general trade bookshop.  Begun in 1956 as a mobile bookstore from the back of a small open topped truck which stopped at street corners, Sarpay Lawka has grown into one of the biggest and most respected bookshops in the country, with 8 locations already in operation and a 9th soon to be open in the pedestrian shopping arcade ‘The Avenue’ opposite Inya Lake.  As well as bookselling, Sarpay Lawka also publishes their own titles and are known for the clean and simple formats, so much so that their literary design style has become a de-facto standard for many publishing houses in the country.

Sarpay Lawka

Its founder died in at the turn of the 21st century, leaving his 10 children to run his legacy.  A third and fourth generation are all working for this heritage company.  The fact that this shop has not only survived but grown despite the decades of censorship and control from successive military administrations and still remained within the family is something of a miracle.

Open daily from 8.00 to 6.30 pm

Main Location: No. 173, 33rd Street, Upper block, Kyauktada

Tel. 09 795 277 962

 

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