Friday, August 31, 2012

Walking Tour: Eslite Hong Kong

You may remember that when I went to Taiwan last year, I raved about Eslite, the famous 24-hour bookstore. It was packed with readers sitting on the floor, in the corners, hidden behind shelves. It was a refreshing change from the smartphone worship that happens around Hong Kong (I'm guilty of this too). My weekly bookspotting posts started because I was surprised that I could often count the number of readers on my long daily commute on one hand. Taipei was noticeably different. It remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on the reading culture here, but Hong Kong now has it's very own Eslite.

Yesterday, I went to the Hysan Place shopping mall in Causeway Bay to check it out.

The bookstore takes up three floors at the top of the mall.

It has an eclectic mix of Chinese and English books.

The escalators go straight through the middle of the three floors, and you can wander around them in a wide circle as you peruse the books.

The place was packed.

It was nice to see so many people in the shop on a Thursday afternoon.

There were lots of kids, who are about to start school next week...

...and there were tons of people sitting around and reading.

The building itself is lovely, with light wood details and lots of different sections.

The layout might make it difficult to find exactly what you need, but it was a great place to browse.

I liked seeing the Chinese and English books mixed together, though it might have been frustrating if I had been looking for something specific.

They had a large fiction selection, everything from historicals... novels of chivalry.

There were some tall windows looking out on the city, and even those were filled with books.

It was fun to see the American Lit section full of Chinese translations.

The Forum is an area on the second level where there is space for cultural events, readings and bands.

Because there was nothing scheduled that day, it was just full of readers. This also happens to be the spot where the travel narratives are located, which is of course my favorite section.

It's also next to the tea room.

On the literary fiction table nearby, I picked up a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I bought One Hundred Years of Solitude at Eslite in Taipei, so it seemed fitting.

I took the escalator up to the third level...

...which had business books and a number of merchants selling leather goods and miscellaneous jewelry.

Completing the tour, there was also a stationery shop with a nice selection of Moleskins, laptop bags and cards. Overall, it was a lovely bookstore and I was happy to see it doing well so far. It'll be open 24 hours on Thursday-Sunday for the next month, so you should pop in whenever you can.

I will leave you with this inspiring word from one of the binders in the shop.


  1. Have not been over to the island since we came back, I want to go see this soon. It had some bad press in SCMP, mainly to do with the mix of Chinese/English language and oddly some complaints about the smell of food cooking in adjacent outlets.

  2. This is amazing! I've never seen so many people at a bookstore in the US. The photo of the kids reading in the travel section reminded me of how kids used to study at Kai Tak Airport at all hours of the night because it was always quiet then. I wonder if Eslite will become another hot place to study? As the book business in the US dwindles, it's very refreshing to see it improve in Hong Kong. There might be hope for all of us yet.

  3. I think I need to put this bookshop on my list for our next trip.

  4. Wow! That is a lovely bookstore!

  5. Awesome bookshop. I like their spacious and organized shop. Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.


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