Secondhand Book Store In Bras Basah Complex Closing Down By July Due To High Rental Costs

Knowledge Book Centre In Bras Basah Complex Closing Down By July

Many of us might remember going to Bras Basah Complex and visiting the homely bookstores there with our parents when we were young and excited children.

However, as we grow older, these happy trips have become few and far between.

People these days tend to read fewer books due to social media, which also means that secondhand bookstores are finding it extremely hard to survive.

One secondhand bookstore in Bras Basah, Knowledge Book Centre, will sadly have to cease its operations soon.

bras basah bookstore

Source: on Instagram

The decision was made due to the owner’s old age and high rental expenses.

Knowledge Book Centre at Bras Basah closing due to high rental fees

The heartbreaking news was first shared on a TikTok by @thestudyhustle on Saturday (4 Jun).


this is not sponsored. I just feel sad that he looked so sad. #studytok #study #books #bookworm #bookrecs #tiktoksg #books #school #studywithme #studygram

♬ original sound – Diego R

Tucked away on the third floor of Bras Basah Complex, Knowledge Book Centre will, unfortunately, close down by Jul 2022.

Speaking to MS News, the owner of the secondhand bookstore, Mr Ismail, 69, said in a dejected tone that there were a few reasons behind the store’s closure.

He shared that the first reason was the high costs of rental. When the pandemic hit, business, unfortunately, became stagnant.

Fewer people were visiting the bookstore, resulting in a drop in sales. He related that the store’s revenue couldn’t cover the rental costs, much less the staff’s salaries.

bras basah bookstore

Source: @books.bmmd on Instagram

Secondly, Mr Ismail revealed that he wishes to retire from this business soon. MS News understands that the sexagenarian does not plan to move the business elsewhere.

Thirdly, as with many other small businesses, he shared that he couldn’t find anyone willing to take over the bookstore. He added that his family members already had their own careers.

Granddaughter & bibliophiles hope locals can show support

After the TikTok video went live, many bibliophiles said it was a pity for this secondhand bookstore to close down.

A few recalled how they would rush to the bookstore to get their textbooks and revision papers during their schooling days.

bras basah bookstore

Source: @thestudyhustle on TikTok

One even said that the bookstore was like a “life saviour” during poly and secondary school.

Source: @thestudyhustle on TikTok

Mr Ismail’s granddaughter also commented on the video, saying that the “rent is so crazy expensive” that they cannot afford to cover the lease anymore.

Source: @thestudyhustle on TikTok

Along with many other locals, she urged the public to visit the bookstore and get “everything you (they) want” before the store eventually closed down.

Owner looking for a passionate bookstore owner

Mr Ismail also told MS News that despite all the struggles he had faced before making the tough, final decision to close down the bookstore, he did not forget all the support and help given to him during these trying times.

He shared that the bookstore had thankfully received assistance from the government during the pandemic in the form of monetary aid to help his business cope.

bras basah bookstore

Source: @hemanchong on Instagram

He also contentedly recalled the happy moments while the business was still flourishing, adding that he had met a lot of customers along the way and regular ones throughout the years.

For now, he hopes to find a potential bookstore owner who is passionate about carrying on the business. If not, he will not continue the bookstore business anymore.

Anyone interested in taking over the store can contact Mr Ismail at 90234533.

Knowledge Book Centre opens daily

The store currently has a 50% off closing down sale on all book items – fiction and non-fiction – until the store closes in July.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a trip down.

Address: 231 Bain Street, #03-35/37B Bras Bash Complex, Singapore 180231
Opening hours: 10.30am-7pm (Mon-Thurs & Sat), 2.30-7pm (Fri), 11am-6pm (Sun & public holidays)
Contact: 63367530
Nearest MRT station: Bras Basah

Support our favourite local bookstores

The pandemic has badly affected many local small businesses like Mr Ismail’s.

Plus, as everyone becomes more tech-savvy and grows accustomed to reading online, bookstores may find it even more challenging to stay afloat.

In times like these, we should always keep a lookout to support secondhand bookstores that have endlessly tried their best to offer us the resources we need, often at relatively reasonable prices.

We hope that Mr Ismail can forge as many precious memories as possible before the store’s closure. Those who remember the store can make a trip down to bid it a proper farewell.

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Featured image adapted from @hemanchong on Instagram.

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