4 Unique Bookstores to Check Out in Shenzhen

By That's Shenzhen, 2019-07-29 03:00:00

In today’s fast-paced internet-fueled world, information can quickly be found by a simple click or swipe. Since there is no need to go to bookstores to access information (thanks to smartphones), why do some people still favor physical bookstores?

Along with the emergence of e-books and online shopping, traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores have been hit hard. Unfortunately, book sales have declined and, as a result, many physical bookshops have closed. To survive, traditional bookstores have had to adapt by creating a relaxed, personalized environment to draw readers in.

Here are four unique bookstores in Shenzhen that have done just that. Perfect for studying, working or just hanging out – check these places out:  

Sisyphe Books (西西弗书店)

WechatIMG182.jpgImage by Angel Zheng for That’s

You’ve probably come across Sisyphe Books, as it has 12 branches in Shenzhen and many more in other cities. The shop front is dark green and deep red, reminiscent of a Harry Potter-esque bookstore – one cannot help but be intrigued. The shop boasts a large variety of books and the layout is well organized, making it easy to find the book you’re searching for. 

Image by Angel Zheng for That’s

In addition to books, there is an assortment of handicrafts, bags and stationery for sale. The shop occasionally hosts community events – you may even stumble upon a book signing held in-store!

Once you find your book, head upstairs to UPCoffee, Sisyphe’s in-house coffee fix. Order a cappuccino (RMB39) and cheesecake (RMB26), then get ready to sit back, relax and let your book transport you to another world. 

See listing for Sisyphe.

Old Heaven Books (旧天堂书店)

WechatIMG433.jpegImage via Xiaohongshu

Old Heaven Books, located in the unique area of OCT Loft, not only has hardbacks and coffee on offer, but also records. A wall divides the space in half, one area for books and vinyl and the other side dedicated to coffee. Swing by and you might catch a music performance or book reading during the evening. 

Image via Xiaohongshu

The owner, Fei, is a guitarist and former lead singer for a band. With his love for music he decided to open a multipurpose space: a record store, a bookstore and a performance venue all rolled up into one – enter Old Heaven. 

See listing for Old Heaven Books.

24 Hours Bookbar (24书吧)


Image via Foursquare

Located in Central Book Mall, this is the first bookstore in Shenzhen that’s open ’round the clock. Here you can enjoy books, coffee, light meals and music – making it a central hub for people to read, relax and learn. This sleepless bookstore acts as a place of refugee for bookworms and night owls. It’s also a great spot for students, digital nomads, freelancers and professionals alike. You’ll be sure to find people typing away on their laptops, drawing in their notebooks, hashing out homework, or deep in thought with their books. 

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Not only does the store sell books, but there’s a very popular cafe inside called Gaga. Readers can move to Gaga to read, work, drink, eat or just have a quiet rest, as the seating in the bookstore area is often full.

See listing for 24 Hours Bookbar.

Shangshu Bar (尚书)

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Shangshu Bar is also located in Central Book Mall but it’s a little different than the aforementioned stores. In addition to paperbacks, this shop also sells used books and wine! The bookstore is a modern space that still retains traditional Chinese elements of design. 

Ma Dao, the owner who hails from Hong Kong, was a bartender for many years. He traveled frequently to Shenzhen and bought lots of magazines and newspapers from street newsstands. In 2006, he decided to set up his own shop that would integrate wine, coffee and books. This popular bookstore even attracts readers all the way from Beijing and Shanghai! Sao Hong, Ma’s wife, has also written a funny book about the history of Shangshu Bar appropriately titled Shangshu Bar’s Stories

See listing for Shangshu Bar.

For more helpful guides to living in Shenzhen, click here.

[Cover image Angel Zheng, Xiaohongshu@DusenSheji/Wechat, Dianping]