No one can deny that reading is important. Reading enriches our world, expands our vocabulary, stimulates the imagination and can increase the attention span in children who might otherwise be distracted by electronic games, TV, and the Internet.

At a glance it might seem that the reading culture here is non-existent and that people would rather disengage into a game on their mobile rather than literature. But if you dig deeper you will discover that Hong Kong’s inclination for books and reading is far from dead; it’s actually emerging, and this city has a lot to offer in terms of the quantity and selection when it comes to its bookstores, mainstream and speciality.  If you wonder where to buy or borrow books, this is the ultimate guide to unleashing your inner literati.

The best second-hand bookstores

These bookshops sell books that have been previously owned by other bookworms and that’s a perfect way to find gems you won’t find in other regular stores.

Books & Co

cosy book store in mid-levels in Hong Kong

Where the true bibliophile hangs out. Browse for hours and revel in that tell-tale used book smell, trawling through the piles and shelves of dog-eared copies (the place has a feel of a jumble sale at times). The shop is very chill, inviting you to relax with a tea or coffee in cosy surrounds.

  • Address: 10 Park Road, Mid Levels
  • Contact: +852 2559 5199

My Bookroom

storefront of my bookroom hong kong

My Bookroom has three locations: two in Prince Edward and one in Cheung Sha Wan. The flagship on 79 Lai Chi Kok Road is two levels packed from floor to ceiling of pre-loved Chinese and English books with genres ranging from novels, philosophy, economics, to manga and children’s storybooks.

  • Address: Prince Edward or Sham Shui Po
  • Contact: +852 6121 8222

The best all-purpose bookstores

Books aren’t just for reading! They’re also great gifts for friends and family, and these all-purpose bookshops will be perfect to find literatures and books on various topics, in English or in Chinese.

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Hong Kong Book Centre

Affiliated with Swindon Book Co and Kelly & Walsh, Hong Kong Book Centre is in good company in the local book scene. It offers a diverse selection of special interest books, covering art, design, business and travel. You can also find the latest best sellers here, and the little ones will enjoy the kids’ section.

  • Address: 25 Des Voeux Road, On Lok Yuen Building Lower Level, Central
  • Contact: +852 2522 7064

Bookazine

bookazine in hong kong

A very dependable selection of English language books, magazines, stationary and gifts. In their biggest store they stock over 900 magazine titles and over 20,000 book titles. All shops have a children’s section and in some they will host book readings, puppet shows, face paintings, competitions and other events for children of all ages.

  • Address: Multiple locations including Landmark Prince’s, Discovery Bay, IFC Mall, Lyndhurst Terrace, Times Square, Festival Walk, Repulse Bay
  • Contact: enquiries@bookazine.com.hk

Eslite

eslite bookstore hong kong

Founded in 1989, ESLITE is a bookstore chain that hails from Taiwan. Originally their focus was on art and humanities but the company has since expanded their selection. The shop in Causeway Bay opened in 2012 and has 3 floors chock full of good reads. ESLITE also has a children’s book section, in both English and Chinese titles.

  • Address: 8/F-10/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
  • Contact: +852 3419 6789

The best children’s bookstores

These booksellers offer a variety of books that are appropriate for kids and toddlers of various ages. Additionally, you might find clothing and accessories from their favourite anime characters.

Fun to Read Book Outlet

Fun to Read book store logo in Hong Kong

With stacks of discount books at two locations, not to mention a space large enough for the kids to wander, this shop is a favourite with local parents. Mum and dad are spoilt for choice with affordable English language books for babies, kids and teens, along with creative games to keep their imagination ticking.

  • Address: Kwun Tong and Causeway Bay
  • Contact: sales@funtoread.com.hk

Book Castle

book castle book shop in Hong Kong

This whimsical shop, with three locations in Hong Kong, has something to delight princes and princesses of all ages, from infant storybooks right up through reference materials and novels suitable for teens.

  • Address: Multiple locations including Lee Gardens Two, Ocean Terminal Harbour City and Yoho Mall 1
  • Contact: info@activemindsltd.com.hk
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Book Buddy

book buddy book shop in Hong Kong

Book Buddy goes above and beyond with a fun range of storybooks, Novelties, Pillow Storybooks, Workbooks, Flash Cards, Educational Games & Materials, Puzzles, Infant Toys, Stickers and stationery.

  • Address: Windsor House and PopCorn
  • Contact: info@activemindsltd.com.hk

The best art bookstores

If you wonder where to buy books that would be about design, photography, film, architecture or fashion, you will certainly find what you’re looking for in these stores.

Kubrick

kubrick bookshop in Hong Kong

Most likely named after Stanley Kubrick . When it comes to film and music Kubrick takes the crown; a visit to this shop will inspire you to get matinee tickets for the next art house movie. Although mainly Chinese, there is a good selection of English language books, graphic novels and magazines. Their support for the arts can be seen first hand as they sell art, design and handcrafted accessories from local and foreign artists.

  • Address: Shop H2, Prosperous Garden, 3 Public Square St., Yau Ma Tei
  • Contact: +852 2384 8929

Kelly + Walsh

kelly and walsh logo hk

Formed in 1876 through the partnership of two local Shanghai booksellers and then established itself as a local retailer in Hong Kong in the 1950s. This bookstore offers a well rounded selection of topics but mainly focuses on art, architecture, design and fashion.

  • Address: Shop 204, Level 2, Pacific Place, Admiralty
  • Contact: +852 2522 5744

The best speciality bookstores

Other more specific bookshops exist in Hong Kong and these places will be your best bets if you’re looking for some special types of literature.

Lok Man Rare Books

Lok Man Rare Books in Hong Kong

One of the more handsome stores on the list, with plush chairs to lounge in as you savour the wide range of rare books, first editions and important folios. A great place to hunt down the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy people in your life, as they also have signed books on hand. The inviting setting doubles as a party destination, where you can attend private cocktail gatherings, whisky or wine tastings and author readings.

  • Address: Ground Floor, 6 Chancery Lane, Central
  • Contact: +852 2868 1056
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Hong Kong Reader

Hong Kong Reader Bookstore

Most of the books here are in Chinese and academic-themed, however, it’s a great place to learn more about local culture as they often hold talks and community events in English. The bookstore was opened by an aspiring group of young people who wanted to provide a space for discussion, increase social and cultural consciousness, and promote reading. Drop in, meet some interesting people, and walk away with a rich read too.

  • Address: 7/F, 68 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mong Kok, Kowloon
  • Contact: +852 2395 0031

Bloomsbury Books

Bloomsbury bookstore HK

It’s business as usual (pun intended) at this store which has a mammoth selection of books on law, business, human resources, finance and other professional titles. To switch gears it offers a brilliant selection of children’s books and other literary titles.

  • Address: 1/F, Chung Sheung Building, 9-10 Queen Victoria Street, Central
  • Contact: +852 2526 5387

Tai Yip Art Book Shop

Tai Yip Art Book Shop in Hong Kong

Tai Yip has a terrific selection of books about Chinese history, symbolism and art including titles about archeology, lacquer ware, jade, snuff bottles, ceramics, costumes, tea ware, etc. This is a good place to look if you are planning to collect Chinese art or antiques.

  • Address: Room 1, 3/F Conwell House, 34-38 Stanley Street, Central
  • Contact: +852 2524 5963

Parentheses

parentheses book shop in Hong Kong

This store is dedicated to promoting French language and culture. It opened it doors in 1987 and since has remained the only French bookstore in Hong Kong. In addition to books the store sells comics, textbooks, dictionaries, travel guides, stationery and DVDs.

  • Address: 2/F, Duke of Wellington House, 14-24 Wellington Street, Central
  • Contact: +852 2526 9215

Besides the numerous book stores available in Hong Kong, the city also has a large network of public libraries available in most of the districts (see the full list here). Books, magazines, newspapers, computers and printers, books for children and students, you can find pretty much everything there. You can borrow books in Hong Kong libraries for free, for two weeks, only with your HKID.

Header image credits: Books & Co.

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