Singapore bookstore sells bricks to secure a permanent home

By Muneerah Bee

As part of its 2018 fundraising campaign to build a permanent retail space, BooksActually — an independent bookstore in Singapore — is selling unique bricks for S$50 (US$36).

Measuring 21 x 27 x 73mm, each palm-sized brick is individually handmade by the bookstore’s staff. On BooksActually’s website, the store stated: “Over the past 13 years, we have struggled with sky-high rentals and a challenging book business environment.

“But on the flip side, we have also grown BooksActually and run it decently well. To continue to do what we are doing, we have decided to buy a place of our own so that our books and cats can roam free.”

After the money is raised, customers can sign the bricks they bought and hand them over to the new store to be mounted in the permanent space “for all eternity as a testament to [the purchasers’] dedication to Singapore literature”.

Kenny Leck, founder of BooksActually, said in a video that the best way to continue running the bookstore is to own a commercial property, a move which he described as “the biggest leap ever”. He explained: “There’s a lot of money involved and to be honest, selling books alone is definitely not enough for us to earn, raise and save that amount of money [needed] for us to make the leap. So, we came up with this idea of the BooksActually Shophouse Fund.”

Produced at ceramic studio Mud Rock Ceramics, slight variations in size and make are to be expected for each brick. The bricks can be purchased at www.booksactuallyshop.com/products/booksactually-shophouse-fund-50-brick.

As of September this year, the bookstore said it “still got a long way to go” in its fundraising efforts.

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