Hong Kong’s Bleak House Books Finds New Home in Upstate New York

The beloved independent bookstore is turning a new page and reopening in the U.S.

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5:41 PM HKT, Fri September 2, 2022 1 mins read

It’s no secret that independent bookstores have been struggling globally in recent years due to various factors, like stiff competition from ecommerce and the inability to serve walk-in customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Hong Kong, a national security law has also forced bookstores and libraries to pull specific titles off their shelves, impacting business.

Back in October 2021, one well-loved English bookshop called Bleak House Books in San Po Kong, Hong Kong, closed its doors. But to the delight of the quaint establishment’s fans, its owners moved to the U.S. and found a new home for their business in the small town of Honeoye, New York.

Founded by couple Albert Wan and Jenny Smith, respectively a former lawyer and a historian, in 2017, Bleak House Books was beloved by a vibrant community of bibliophiles in Hong Kong, especially consumers of English literature.

Fans of the independent bookstore, which has been praised for creating and inspiring a love of books and sheet music, called it a “really peaceful place in the organized chaos of Hong Kong,” and have been following the Wangs’ journey halfway across the world.


The original Bleak House Books in Hong Kong. Image via Instagram

After leaving Hong Kong, the bookstore owners settled in Honeyoe, a small sleepy town with just over 700 residents in upstate New York.

“It is a place where our family now calls home and where we hope to build and foster the same kind of community that kept us sane and gave us a sense of purpose during some of the darkest and hardest days in Hong Kong,” reads part of the caption attached to their latest Instagram post.

While Bleak House Books has yet to announce an official opening date in its new home, the news about its comeback has been reason enough for many to rejoice.

Cover image via Twitter

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