Hong Kong often tops the list of cities with the highest rents, and so it’s certainly not easy to set up a bookshop here and keep it going. If you want a good read, or simply want to lend your support to our indie bookstores, here are some of our recommendations.
This second-hand English bookshop in Sheung Wan has just survived a financial crisis with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. Much loved by its readers, visiting Flow is like going to a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find. And above all, it’s the concept of “flow” – the sharing and exchanging of books – that sustains the spirit of this 20-year-old bookstore.
Right next to the Broadway Cinematheque in Yau Ma Tei, this book café is named after film director Stanley Kubrick, and it has a diverse collection of books, DVDs and CDs. But Kubrick is more than just a bookstore: it is a place for all bookworms and cinephiles to gather, and a regular platform for holding poetry readings and cultural events. If you’re something of a hipster, Kubrick might be where you find your spiritual home.
Books & Co
Up in the Mid-Levels, you can easily spot this shop’s exquisitely decorated storefront faced in red bricks, with door and window frames painted green. Books & Co is a book cafe which combines afternoon tea with a variety of Chinese and English books. If you want a place to chill out and read, you know where to go.
The Book Cure
Located in Plover Cove Road Market in Tai Po, the juxtaposition of a bookstore with grocery stalls is certainly different. Inspired by The Novel Cure and Miracles of the Namiya General Store, The Book Cure sets out to provide peace amid the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, and to cure the unsettled hearts of the city’s people.
Hong Kong Reader
If you climb from the busy streets of Mong Kok to the floors upstairs, you will find yourself in a completely different world, and Hong Kong Reader is one of these hidden shops that make up such a distinctive part of the city. Set up by three philosophy graduates, the bookstore stocks not just mainstream fiction, but books ranging from classic literature to politics. It is also a place where talks and lectures are frequently held.
Sam Kee Book Company
We’ve seen enough cat-themed cafes, but a cat-themed bookstore is somewhat refreshing! Located underground in North Point, Sam Kee has large numbers of books piled up on the floor, offering lots of choice for booklovers. What’s more, it is home sweet home to plenty of stray cats which can be found lounging in unexpected corners of the store.
So far we’ve only listed bookstores selling English and Chinese books, so why don’t we take a look at the one and only French bookstore in Hong Kong? Parenthèses in Central sells books exclusively in French, providing an alternative to French speakers and learners of the language. Allons-y!