Hong Kong's secondhand bookstores

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 9 comment(s)

While poverty is a growing issue in Hong Kong, it is still a city of plenty for many. Consumption is a way of life, but the mindset for recycling is still not very popular nor widespread.

A few years ago, I started to change my buying habit and cut down my consumption on non-essential items like fashion, dvds, cds and books. I started to rent films from online film rental company or the local library, downloaded music from itune, sold unwanted fashion items, books & cds on ebay and Amazon, and even joined book exchange clubs. Instead of accumulating more things, I am finally getting rid of them, slowly but surely.

 

flow booksbook atticflow booksflow booksbook attic

Top left, bottom left & middle: Flow books; Top right & bottom right: The Book Attic

 

In Hong Kong, it is not easy to run secondhand bookstores especially because of the outrageous property rental prices; hence, it is almost a miracle to find these bookstores still around! But thanks to the persistence and passion of their owners, these bookstores are attracting more supporters and making people become aware of the importance of recycling and living with 'less'!

Here are some that are making a difference in this city:

The Book Attic ( Cockloft, 2 Elgin Street, Central) - I first visited The Book Attic when it was still located in Wan Chai, but sadly it had to move because of regeneration in the area and the landlord took the opportunity to increase the rent outrageously. The owner, Jennifer ( a passionate book lover and collector) told me that the landlord would rather have the space empty than to settle for a lower amount ( which is surprisingly common in Hong Kong). It took her a while and help from her loyal customers to find this new upstairs location in SoHo.

The book shop is bright, tidy, quiet and specialises in English books. Most books are in excellent and like-new condition, and donors would get discounts when they purchase books here. Not sure if it is a coincidence or it is related to Jennifer's Buddhist background, but there is very good selection of books on Buddhism and spirituality here (* Update: the book shop closed in Feb 2014 and there is no further notice on when or if it will reopen again).

Flow books ( 1A Wing On building, 38 Hollywood Road, Central) - Flow has been in business for over 12 years and has moved from Lyndhurst Terrace to Hollywood Road ( twice) recently. Although more cramped and less organised than The Book Attic, Flow sells a wide range of books and dvds ( slightly more mainstream and with an emphasis on fiction), and provides free dvds and books rental regularly to their customers.

 

books & cocollectiblescollectiblesbooks & co

Top left & main: Books & Co.; Top middle & right: Collectables

 

Collectables ( 2/F, 11 Queen Victoria Street, Central) - When I first discovered this secondhand books and music shop, I was quite stunned by its record collection and its hidden but central location ( in the middle of Central)! This shop has been around for 21 years and has the largest vinyl collection in town. There are also a wide range of classical, jazz, soundtracks and world music cds, art house and foreign language dvds and even old magazines. The book selection and condition is also very good with both English and Chinese books available.

Coffee books/ Books & Co. ( G/F, 10 Park Road, Mid-Levels) - this rather unknown secondhand bookshop and cafe is one of a kind in Hong Kong. It feels like it could be in Europe or U.K. because of its laid back and low-key atmosphere. The selection of books here is wide, ranging from educational to cookery, travel, fiction, non-fiction, hobbies and children, with cds and dvds available as well. Aside from coffee, tea and cakes, the cafe also serves simple dishes at lunch time ( catering mainly for students nearby). It is so rare to find a quiet and 'slow' place in this city these days, so this cafe is ideal for those who want to relax, read, linger, and pretend that you are sitting inside an antique bookshop in Europe rather than a fast-paced Hong Kong.

 


This post was posted in Hong Kong, Shopping, Shopping guide, Travel, Eco living & sustainability, Read & write and was tagged with Hong Kong, shopping, books, recycling

9 Responses to Hong Kong's secondhand bookstores

  • Jo says:

    I would like to add my website to your list of places to buy, trade or consign your used books - not a physical store as yet, as you rightly pointed out - HK rents are prohibitive!
    www.readbookshk.com
    enquiries@readbookshk.com
    booksearch@readbookshk.com
    On Facebook too ... and Etsy

    Posted on November 13, 2013 at 3:53 am

  • Rebecca says:

    Great, I am glad you found this blog entry! Good luck with your business, H.K. definitely needs it!

    Posted on November 13, 2013 at 11:25 am

  • Akshara says:

    Hey! I am an undergraduate architecture student at HKU. I was looking for the following second hand books:

    Modern Architecture: A critical history by Kenneth Frampton
    Modern Architecture by Alan Colquhoun
    Please let me know if you have them!

    Thanks :)

    Posted on April 8, 2015 at 8:32 am

  • Menrad says:

    Hi, I am interested in buying all kinds of used books in bulk to ship to kenya. Please give me more information on what you have.

    Menrad

    Posted on May 27, 2015 at 9:51 am

  • Hi Menrad, sorry but I have no idea nor info. We don't sell used books on this website!

    Posted on May 27, 2015 at 10:40 pm

  • m g says:

    Hi, which of the bookstores you mentioned would have the best selection and prices for used children's books (preschool to teenage)?

    Posted on June 3, 2015 at 9:34 am

  • Sorry but I really don't remember as the entry was written a while ago. Please check the bookstores' websites for more details.

    Posted on June 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

  • Hi Akshara @ Hong Kong University. Have you been able to locate copies of:

    Kenneth Frampton: Modern Architecture ( A Critical History )

    Alan Colquhoun: Modern Architecture.

    May be able to help via my OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKSEARCH SERVICE

    Email me if interested

    Regards

    Geoff

    Posted on August 28, 2015 at 5:56 pm

  • andries says:

    Dear Sir,
    Do you have chinese editions of books of Frans Masereel ?
    Kind regards,
    c.andries

    Posted on January 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm

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