San Po Kong bookstore closes last chapter - RTHK
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San Po Kong bookstore closes last chapter

2021-10-15 HKT 17:59
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  • Customers visited Bleak House Books for the last time on Friday. Photo: RTHK
    Customers visited Bleak House Books for the last time on Friday. Photo: RTHK
Readers took a last opportunity to browse the shelves of Bleak House Books before one of the city's few independent English-language bookshops closed its doors on Friday.

The bookstore in San Po Kong that sells both new and old books was closing after four years.

Founder and owner Albert Wan said on Friday it was "happy, thriving and successful", but he decided to close the shop as he and his family plan to leave the city.

He said shelves were emptying and online orders surged in the past two months after the closing announcement, and he was surprised by the response.

Wan said one of the reasons the store had a good following could be the different genres it stocked, including law, history, philosophy, comics, cooking and children's book.

One of the customers on its last day, Tye, said that was exactly what he liked about the shop.

"There are many books that I have never heard before and authors I didn't know. If it's not for this bookshop, I wouldn't have known these quite obscure authors," the student said, noting he bought a book on LGBT issues from the shop.

Another book lover, Ella, said it may now be harder to find non-mainstream books in Hong Kong.

The teacher added it was a pity that the literary events the shop used to host would no longer take place.

She said she joined one of its poetry-sharing sessions recently.

"I feel like this bookstore brings people together... I think it's very special in that way, other bookshops are not very intimate the way this bookshop is. They don't have these small gatherings," she said.

Wan said he'll donate the remaining stock to other independent stores, but he also said he's not sure how many outlets specialising in English books remain in the city.

"I don't know how many English-language independent bookshops are there in Hong Kong. I don't think there are many, we might be the only one," he said.

He hopes he'll reopen the store in the future.