Book corner makes way for other business

Chong putting away some of the materials on display on the last day of operation at Book island in Weld Quay, Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

A BOOK corner at Weld Quay, Penang, that has been functioning since October 2019 has ceased to operate.

Book island’s co-founder Chong Lee Choo, 49, who initiated the project during the Penang Coffee Festival in 2019, said the space would now be rented out.

“Due to the pandemic, the premises owner found it difficult to sustain financially and we, too, did not have many readers coming in on the weekdays.

“However, we used to have our regular book lovers, and some used to come all the way from the mainland, especially on weekends.

“The venue provider is one of Book island’s founders who has been allowing us to have the space for free.

“We understand that times are hard now and we have to move out so that other businesses can rent this space for the premises owner to earn some income, ” Chong explained.

She said they would now probably start a pop-up book store at Hin Bus depot.

(From left) Wong reading a book  to her daughters Wen Hui, seven, and Wen Si, 10, at Book island.(From left) Wong reading a book to her daughters Wen Hui, seven, and Wen Si, 10, at Book island.

Chong added that when Book island was first started, it was to encourage people to read, relax and unwind.

“Those who came to our book corner could sit here and read as long as they wanted and there was no time limit.

“Our aim was to provide a comfortable environment for the public to read and unwind.”

Chong said last Saturday was the final day for the book corner.

“We used to have some 1,000 books here and some of them were flown in and sponsored by the Taipei economic and cultural office.

“Some of the books are written by award-winning writers and we have different genres of books and magazines including romance, poetry, comics, fiction, research and history.

“We also had publications from Taiwan such as children’s picture books, comics and books on literature, history, humanities, design and local interests.

“Not forgetting the books featuring local history, human interest focusing on Penang and Southeast Asia countries, ” she said when met at the book corner recently.

Kindergarten teacher Carine Wong, 38, who brought her two daughters aged seven and 10 to visit the book corner for the last time, said she was sad to find out that it was closing down.

“I took the opportunity to bring my children here for one last visit.

“We first visited this place last week and decided to come again today as my daughters enjoyed themselves here during their previous trip.

“There are many picture books catering for children and the icing on the cake is that the books are all new and in mint condition.

“We managed to spend quite a lot of time here last week and I am happy that it has encouraged my daughters to read more, ” she said.

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