Sun, 14 Oct 2001

On the prowl for the best magazine spots

Kenny Santana, Contributor, Jakarta

It seems everybody is reading magazines these days. From teenagers on the bus to grannies on a comfy couch at home, people are flipping through the pages of everything from serious news magazines to the latest fashion glossies.

We are interested in the magazines themselves, but the best places to find magazines, whether they be local or foreign titles. Take a look at these choices:

Rubino: Plaza Indonesia LB#55 (tel: 310-7537)

This is the best place to buy foreign magazines, with lots of different titles, from National Geographic to InStyle. But you have to ask the staff to get you the magazine you want to look at because they are kept in racks behind the counter. But don't worry, the staff are friendly enough folks so you won't feel intimidated even if you are flipping through your third magazine and haven't show any signs of buying anything.

The magazines arrive a bit late compared to other larger bookstores, explaining why the prices here are cheaper (surface mail vs. airmail).

They also sometimes offer big discounts on back issues. Some local magazines also available.

Newsstands: Pasar Festival Kuningan UG#35 (tel: 5296-2552)

A nice spot to shop for used and old magazines. Even though its collection is not as large as those found in Senen, this place is far more convenient. If you think foreign magazines are too expensive for your budget, then come to this place.

But the idea of buying used magazines seems a bit odd. I mean, why buy magazines from a year or two ago when magazines are meant to be read for the latest news, rumors and styles?

Don't get me wrong, some people (me included) like to flip through old magazines and look at the glossy pictures, sort of like pop culture reference books.

If you're lucky, you might find a collector's edition hiding somewhere on the racks. But not all magazines are in good condition, and your likely to find coffee stains and such, but that's the risk you run when you buy used magazines.

Here's a tip: take the magazine out of its plastic bag and examine it carefully before deciding whether to purchase it.

Senen: Pasar Inpres Senen

Famous for its collections of used local and foreign magazines, which are probably the largest in the city.

Please note that there is nothing fancy about this place, though it is a good spot for bargain hunters. That's why lots of college students come here. The magazines don't always come in mint condition, so they need to be check first.

The most important thing you should know is to beware of criminals. They grab your wallet or just come out and demand you give them money. Don't come alone if you don't want to be a victim.

But all the hassles are worth it when you can get great bargains like three old Playboys or Hustlers for Rp 50,000!

QBWorld: Gema Building, Jl. Sunda No. 9 (tel: 315-2011); Kinokuniya: Sogo Plaza Indonesia (tel: 310-7575) & Plaza Senayan (tel: 5790-0055); Aksara: Kemang Raya No. 8B (tel: 719-9288)

These three bookstores have basically the same magazines at the same prices. It seems that the three get their magazines from the same importer.

Not really for die-hard magazine hunters, but if you like comfort and convenience these are the best bookstores in town. But beware, the magazines in these places play second fiddle to the book collections.

There are some differences -- Kinokuniya has some Japanese magazines, and in QB and Aksara most of the magazines are free of plastic covers so you can look at them before buying.

Bursa Media Dora: Mal Ciputra LG2#12

A good place to look for local magazines and also newspapers, with just about every local title you could want available here. Just a small kiosk in the corner, so sometimes when it's crowded it can be a bit difficult to get your hands on the magazine you're looking for.

Most of the magazines are sealed in plastic, except the cheesy tabloids. Still it's a nice place to grab your favorite local magazine. Some translated comics also offered here.

Remember these places are just a few options when you're in the mood to get your hands on a magazine.

And remember, there are always other ways to get ahold of your favorite magazines, subscriptions for example, which are sure to make your life easier. Or in Jakarta simply roll down your car window and wave over a magazine seller. Besides feeding your brain, you'll be feeding their stomachs as well.