It’s all very well ordering your reading needs from Amazon and other online retailers, but you know, somehow buying online takes away a small (or large, depending on your opinion) part of the book buying process.
Sure, if you’re a Kindle convert, then this won’t be the case, but then you probably won’t be reading this article if that’s the case… But for many, buying a book is all about holding it in your hand, reading the back cover, and perusing the first few pages to see if it hits the spot.
And Hong Kong does pretty well when it comes to stocking English language delights. The following is our pick of the best 7 in the city:
So popular that there are 10 locations within Hong Kong to choose from! But don’t think that being so prolific means the stores have lost their identity, because nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the size is positively advantageous when it comes to what they stock. If they don’t have a particular book you’re looking for, they can ring through and get it in from one of the others if they have it there.
The largest of the Bookazine stores is in Prince’s Building, Central, and over 20,000 different titles line its shelves. Along with this, they stock some nice, eco-friendly gifts. One thing the store is excellent for is book signings – both for local authors and those visiting.
2. Lok Man Rare Books
Looking for something a little “off the wall?” Then Lok Man Rare Books might just have what you need.
Located on Chancery Lane, Central, this busting-at-the-seams bookstore stocks an eclectic selection from the fairly mainstream to the downright weird! Browsing the shelves here (allow some time for your visit, it’ll be far longer than you intend) is pretty sure to see you coming away with something you never expected, that’s for sure.
Most of the books are pre-2000, but as time goes on, books from the 21st century are appearing on the shelves. First editions, out of print, one offs… You’ll find all kinds of literary marvels from practically every genre you can think of.
A slightly hard to find store in Causeway Bay, Basheer is the place to head if you fancy an uninterrupted hour or two browsing its somewhat chaotic shelves.
From self-help to interior design, how-to to business, shopping here is going to give even those with the most varied tastes plenty to search through. This independent store is a delight for bookworms – it’s no wonder it has a legion of loyal fans throughout the city and beyond.
As in Stanley, one of the best things about this travel, humanities, art, and music bookstore is that all of the books (and many magazines) are free of any packaging, and the owners are more than happy for you to look, browse, and read to your heart’s content.
In fact, they even provide a cafe where you’re encouraged to take a book or two, buy a coffee, put your feet up, and take your time… You can find Kubrick in Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei. The store boasts a creative, artsy crowd.
Okay, so we can’t talk about Hong Kong’s bookstores without mentioning the largest of them all – Dymocks.
It’s somewhat more mainstream than the others on the list, but this makes it a great choice for the latest releases and finding your favourite, current authors. In addition to this, they also stock large format, high-end books, as well as a super children’s book section.
There are nine Dymocks stores in the Hong Kong region. The flagship store can be found in the IFC Mall on Harbour View Street.
If secondhand books are your thing, then enjoy the great selection you’ll find nestling alongside new prints at Flow. Now in its 20th year, this is the place to come to find the unexpected. First editions, novels, textbooks, magazines, out of prints… You’ll find everything here.
In addition to the thousands of books on offer, there’s a fabulous collection of CDs,
DVDs, and Blu-Ray too (both new and second hand).
And from time to time, Flow also offers auction items for sale – a real treat and one that’s always well attended. You can find the store in the Lyndhurst Building, Lyndhurst Terrace, Central.
7. The Book Attic
With a name like The Book Attic, you just know you’re in for a treat when you walk through the door. This secondhand book haven on Elgin Street, Central not only sells a wonderfully diverse selection of secondhand books – they also offer a specialist book restoration service.
You never know what you’re going to find on the shelves – from the regular, used versions of popular fiction, right through to classical favourites and other literary titles.
Browsing is not only encouraged, but virtually expected. Be sure to take advantage of the complimentary Chinese tea as you wander down the packed aisles.
In addition to the books, the store offers regular events such as poetry evenings, story time sessions (great for adults, as well as the kids), and book/poetry clubs.
Keep an eye on the noticeboard, or sign up for email alerts to be notified about the extra, non-regular, events that take place, such as lectures from various authors and other people of interest.
Bring your unwanted second hand books with you – you can exchange them for credits for your new purchases.
There are way, way more bookstores than the above mentioned, but these happen to be seven of our favourites.
Others worth a mention include, Traveller’s Home in Tsim Sha Tsui (the name gives away the specialty here), the Tai Yip Art Book Centre at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Eslite in Causeway Bay for anything non-mainstream, Kelly & Walsh at Pacific Place, Admiralty for general and academic reading, and Page One in Kowloon for all things art and design.