If you love reading and buying books. You will love Hong Kong book shopping.
One of my favorite Hong Kong book stores
I love reading and buying books. Shopping in bookstores has always been one of my favorite past times. I am very fortunate to have been raised in this tiny city which exposed me to all the books from around the world. Any books written in languages other than English, will always be translated into a Chinese version.
If you love reading,you have to check out these bookstores:
1. Page One - It has the largest collections of English books in Hong Kong. Make sure to check out their branch in the Festival Walk Mall.
2. The Commercial Press - It has the largest collections of Chinese books. Of course, it does have English books as well.
3. Cosmos Books Hong Kong - It has the second largest collection of Chinese books with very reasonable price. Yes, it has English books, also.
Men...last time when I was there in Oct 2012, I had a blizz in Hong Kong book shopping for just 15 minutes in the store. I got my son 6 books and 5 sets of flash cards, it only cost me HKD200 (USD26) after all the discount. It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.
4. Swindon Books Co., Ltd. - Once upon a time, this bookstore was the largest English bookstore in Hong Kong.
5. Eslite - This bookstore originated from Taiwan. It opened a very big bookstore in Causeway Bay in 2012. It is located on the 8th and 10th floor of a new mall called the Hysan Place.
I was so excited to check this place out. But after my trip in Oct 2012, it was a little bit disappointing. 70% are translated books from any languages to Chinese. If you are interested in Chinese books like this, this is definitely THE place for you. But I was looking for books written by Chinese writers.
There are English books. It is not surprising that the original book put next to the translated version.
I bought a couple Chinese books for my little one. It turned out that they are also available in Cosmos which cost 30% less. So, Eslite is pretty expensive, comparatively speaking.
Throughout the store, there are small kiosks and stores selling jewelry, tea, body lotion, handbags and more. Most of them are concentrated on the 10th floor. The most crowded place is selling the Taiwanese sweet tea with pearl tapioca.
Although Eslite was below my expectation, I was still so happy that I got something in my first trip of Hong Kong book shopping. Haha....
6. Dymocks - I used to check this bookstore out almost every week. All of their stores are very small. But they always have the latest books there. What I love when it comes to Hong Kong book shopping at this place, I can always find some books in both Chinese and English side by side. It helps my hubby, Perry, to understand the Chinese culture. Now, it helps my son to know his root.
It used to have their branches in high-end residential and commercial areas. Our latest trip back to Hong Kong, they are everywhere.
Books written by Domestic Authors. The one on the left was written by one of my younger sisters.
The book on the left is about touring in the Silk Road, China. The one on the right is the box set of learning Mandarin for English speakers.
Other than the big bookstores above, always look for smaller book stores on the second floor of most any old buildings in Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok. There are many "second-floor bookstores" selling mainly Chinese books.
They are not on the ground floor because they are saving money on their rent. The prices of the books and their varieties are much better than the big chain stores.
In the last decade, simplified Chinese books were the big sellers because of their extreme low price. It allowed these "second-floor bookstores" prospered and survived. But in the last 2 years, the price has been increasing. People start to switch it back to traditional Chinese books.
Two of my favorite books translated in Chinese versions. It is very common to find other books of different languages translated into Chinese.
(Photograph by scmp.com)
The bird view of the Hong Kong book fair. Does it scare or excite you for a Hong Kong book shopping trip?
Another great place for Hong Kong book shopping would be the annual Hong Kong Book Fair.
It is usually held around mid-July in the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Center and lasts for a week. It is open to the public. This event has been around since 1990 and held by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
There are over 500 exhibitors and almost a million attendants throughout the whole event. The numbers are increasing every year. There are all kinds of books in the book fair. The majority of it is the Chinese books. And the best of all....most books are at discount price.
Some authors will be there for autographs. My sister was there in 2012 right after her first book was published. It was the best event for her to promote the new book.
Of course, it is great for readers, too. Having your favorite book(s) signed by the author(s), what can you say, huh? Yes, book signing is in the Hong Kong Book Fair, too.
Here is a tip for you. If you love and do Hong Kong book shopping, bring several sturdy and light-weighted recycle bags along with you. Believe me, you will shop till you drop. (My mom always describes the way how I buy books, just like shopping for a whole week of grocery.).
You can imagine how crazy I am. So, are you passionate like me? If so, get yourself well-prepared. If you are parents, you will find tons of children books here. There are also interactive and educational children games, software, CDs and DVDs. Doesn't it sound like a great place for your Hong Kong shopping for kids?
Besides, since you need to pay for the ticket for every entry, plan to be there first thing in the morning. If you decide to stay longer than expected, you have plenty of time to enjoy this event.
July is one of the hottest months in Hong Kong. Going to the book fair is one of the greatest past time during this season. And if you happen to travel to Hong Kong during this period of time, consider to check it out.
For more info, check out the HKTDC website here.
Hong Kong E-Books
As of right now, e-books are not as popular as in U.S. or U.K. One of my younger sisters just released a book a few months ago about her experience and adventure in England when she was an exchange student 2 years ago. Electronic version of her book is not available.
I checked with my other younger sister. Chinese e-books almost do not exist at all. If Hong Kong people are into reading e-books, they prefer to download apps into their cell phone or iPad to read.
Being a parent, I am very looking forward to Chinese ebooks getting more and more popular so that I can do my Hong Kong book shopping online at any time, anywhere and read them to my child.
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