Originally published by Jenny Leung. Last updated by Inés Fung.
Header image courtesy of @sophiemak_
There's nothing more satisfying than curling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea when the temperature suddenly drops. With this in mind, we've created a list of the best book stores around the city, in no particular order, so you can grab yourself a good read and snuggle up tight. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin!
As one of the most popular bookstores among the English-speaking community in Hong Kong, Bookazine prides itself on offering the best selection of English language books and magazines available in the city. Stocking over 900 different magazine titles and 20,000 books at its flagship store in Landmark, Bookazine also hosts regular book launches and signings, readings, and fun activities in its Kids Corner, such as puppet shows and face paintings. It's also decked out with an incredible range of fun and novelty gifts and cards, making it a great spot for gift shopping. Where else could you find The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time sat next to a giant wine glass that holds an entire bottle?
Bookazine, locations vary
With over 15 store locations dotted across the city, Joint Publishing HK works hard to source the very best literature around. Boasting a diverse range of books from shelf to shelf, this store also hosts regular events, workshops, book signings, and art exhibitions. Its Wan Chai and Yuen Long locations even have a small cafe which invites bookworms to settle down and enjoy some tasty bites with their reads. Having been around since 1948, these guys are well established to say the least.
Despite not being applicable here in Hong Kong, Eslite was the first 24-hour bookstore in the world with many locations dotted around Asia, and the brand's uniqueness has won it several awards. More than your average bookstore, Eslite is a cultural hub that offers everything from books and stationery, to some of the latest and trendiest lifestyle products imaginable. Whatever it is you need, you're likely to find it here.
Certainly the grandfather of all bookstores, Swindon Book Co. is a straight-forward, no-fuss sort of pace that has been in business since 1918. You won't find any fancy gadgets or novelty stationery here, just endless shelves of books for the taking. Don't worry if you feel a little overwhelmed when you come face to face with the extensive range on offer as the staff at the information desk are more than happy to help you find what you're looking for. Phew!
Swindon Book Co., 13-15 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2366 8001
Residing inside Broadway Cinema in Yau Ma Tei, Kubrick is an urban bookstore that is full of life and culture. Apart from regularly hosting a series of talks, workshops, and even mini concerts with local and foreign musicians, the store is also a publishing house with more than thirty book titles under its belt. To round off your relaxing afternoon shopping for page-turners, don't forget to stop by their beautiful cafe too.
Kubrick, Shop H2, Cinema Block, Prosperous Garden, 3 Public Square Street, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2384 8929
Whether you're looking for a unique gift for a book lover, or searching for a rare literary collection, Lok Man Rare Books is here to help. Offering a wide range of signed and rare books, first editions, and important folios, this treasure chest covers every category, from historical classics to books about food and wine, relying on its sources and contacts from every corner of the world. The store also uses its venue for private cocktail parties, wine tastings, and other exclusive events - perfect for those Book Club get-togethers.
Lok Man Rare Books, 6 Chancery Lane, Central |(+852) 2868 2056
As its name suggests, Flowbooks is literally overflowing with books, and this time round they are second-hand. Not only can book lovers browse through stacks of pre-loved books at the shop, they can also bring their collection of unwanted books from home into the store and donate them to charities or individuals in need. This is a great way to de-clutter your home, help reduce waste, and do good in the community!
Flowbooks, 1/F, Kai Fung Mansion, 189-205 Queen's Road Central, Sheung Wan | (+852) 9278 5664
Located in the Landmark and Pacific Place, Kelly & Walsh is known for its cosy and intimate setting where you will find a refined selection of books on art and design, architecture and fashion, as well as cookbooks and classic literature. What's more, the folks at the store often host events such as author signings and discussions in order to help encourage the love of literacy in Hong Kong, so fuel your passion and come check them out.
With a dedicated passion for providing nothing but books of the highest quality and building a local literary community, Bleak House Books buys and sells used books of all genres. Established in early 2017, Bleak House Books is the new kid on the block. Apart from their new shop space and website where book lovers can browse through the carefully hand-curated inventory and make purchases online, you can also find these guys at the Sai Kung and Discovery Bay street markets, so be sure to stay up-to-date with all their latest news on their Facebook page.
Bleak House Books, Unit 2705, 9 Pat Tat Street, San Po Kong |(+852) 3705 0251
If you're looking for airport fiction and glossy magazines, then you might want to look elsewhere, because Hong Kong Readers is an academic book store that carries an extensive range of books on humanities and social sciences. Quietly hidden away in bustling Mong Kok, this small and humble store works hard to create a community where its customers can gather and interact with one another. While you're there, don't forget to look out for their adorable book store cat purring around too!
Hong Kong Readers, 7/F, 68 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok | (+852) 2395 0031
Mount Zero is a hidden gem of a book store tucked into the quiet but hip PoHo neighbourhood. There's a quaint and cosy space upstairs to get lost in the pages in, and the books on offer at Mount Zero come from the owner's careful curation, specialising in local and Taiwanese art and literary works. Though there are less English options available here, the space is well-loved and tended to by friendly staff and book lovers alike. There's also an assortment of handcrafted stationery and homewares for sale, as well as an occasional selection of free or under $10 books outside the shop. They also love hosting book clubs and fairs around the neighbourhood, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Mount Zero, 6C Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan
German publisher Taschen opened their first and only retail space in Asia in the most fitting location in Hong Kong: the beautiful Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts. The space is modern and organised, with a small terrace perfect for sunbathing and reading. Taschen is known for their beautiful and glossy tomes on a wide variety of topics from art to food to travel to fashion, but their specialty are their limited-run, "sumo"-sized books which are so large they’re sold with an accompanying table, and can run you a pretty penny (their art book on Ferrari, of which there were only 250 prints, cost $480,000). Check out their "sexy books" as well, a naughty but tasteful collection for adults' eyes only.
TASCHEN Store Hong Kong, Shop 01-G02, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2544 8016
There is no better feeling than being surrounded by books from floor to ceiling, and at Books & Co., you will be so comfy you won't want to leave. Located just a minute away from Sai Ying Pun MTR Exit C, book lovers are welcome to order a cuppa and some snacks and curl up on one of the many eclectic chairs around the shop with their favourite book. The new and used selection of sci-fi and mystery novels will easily transport you to a different world, but to be honest, so will their cheesecake.
Books & Co., 10 Park Road, Mid-Levels | (+852) 2559 5199