Hong Kong’s best bookstores
A relatively new literary establishment in Hong Kong – it opened its doors in February 2017 – Bleak House Books is an indie bookstore and community space that specialises in new and vintage English books, as well as the odd bit of sheet music or two. Located in San Po Kong (not somewhere you would generally expect to see an English-language bookstore), the two owners personally curate all the shelves at the shop. The Bleak House team also host regular weekend walks and readings, so check their Facebook page for the latest happenings!
Sham Shui Po may be known for its cheap electronics and street markets selling all kinds of fabric, but it’s also home to an awesome, locally owned independent bookstore. Tucked inside of Common Room and Co – a concept coffee shop and art gallery – Book B has a fascinating collection of handpicked books. Best of all, you can savour brilliant brews and ice drip coffee while you browse.
Tucked away on a steep Sai Ying Pun slope sits an unassuming bookstore café that’s filled with stacks of second-hand books. The folks at Books & Co are huge bookworms and welcome readers to pop along to the shop, pick a title off a shelf or one of the overflowing stacks on the ground and dive into it to escape reality for a couple of hours. Pair it with a well-brewed cup of joe and this store is the perfect reading nook.
With the closure of rival bookstore chains like Dymocks and Page One, Bookazine is one of the last remaining English-language chains remaining. With branches in accessible locations like IFC and Festival Walk, Bookazine is a go-to place for the latest bestsellers, lifestyle magazines, classic and cheeky birthday cards and a whole host of gifts and souvenirs perfect for any last-minute gift shoppers.
This three-storey Taiwanese megastore is massively popular. Housed in Hysan Place, Eslite sells a dizzying collection of both Chinese- and English-language books and has an entire floor dedicated to stationary and accessorises. There’s also a cosy reading corner where kids can take their time to immerse themselves in a new world. Bibliophiles can easily spend hours here. There’s also a Haibitu café right next door on the eight floor for you to chill, enjoy a cuppa and get stuck into your new book.
Under the same management as Swindon Books and Hong Kong Book Centre, Kelly & Walsh is basically a fancier, more upscale version of the former two. While there’s only two branches – at the Landmark and Pacific Place – this is a good spot to pick up special interest and coffee table books ranging from art and design to business and travel. They also have a pretty decent collection of children’s books and biographies for the grown-ups.
A bibliophile’s oasis, Kubrick offers a good range of books by literary authors from across the world, from Akutagawa to Cortázar to Hrabal. Aside from these and other usual and unusual suspects of fiction and non-fiction, the Kubrick is also well-stocked in poetry books and indie magazines. Located next to Hong Kong’s only commercial arthouse cinema, Broadway Cinematheque, it should come as no surprise that Kubrick has a great selection of titles on art and cinema too. Grab a coffee, relax and lose yourself between the pages.
Look no further than Lok Man for rare literary treasures in Hong Kong. Housing a meticulously-collected range of first editions and important folios, this is a place where you can pick up signed novels, antique books across all genres including classic literature, history and economics, as well as rare illustrated maps. The interior of the shop looks akin to a library from a millionaire’s mansion, replete with plush armchairs.
More into comics than novels? We’ve got you covered. So long as you can read TC, make a trip to Mong Kok’s Sino Centre and you’ll be rewarded with one of the city’s biggest collections of manga. Each shop has its own specialty ranging from the brand new releases to secondhand material, and trending series to obscure ones. Whatever you’re after, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for. Do a round of all the stores first before making any purchases in order to find the best bargain.
When it comes to book shopping, it’s hard to go wrong with Swindon. One of Hong Kong’s oldest and most trusted booksellers – as well as Tsim Sha Tsui’s premier English-language bookstore – Swindon has got everything you could want, spread across two floors: fiction, non-fiction, best-sellers, travel books, magazines, you name it. The second floor is dedicated to kids’ stuff and academic textbooks, but there’s also a sizeable section dedicated to Hong Kong-related history downstairs. Swindon is also a purveyor of Kobo e-readers, if you’re looking to go digital.
Coffee and books – the perfect combo
Sheung Wan is pretty much known as Hong Kong island’s coffee hub thanks to its growing community of great cafés. Follow this guide to discover all the best coffee shops in Sheung Wan and our recommendations on the best brews to order.