43-Year-Old Bras Basah Bookstore Music Book Room Closing in March


If you’re a frequent patron at the National Library near Bugis, you may have come across the old-school building located a stone throw’s away—Bras Basah Complex.

Bras Basah Complex is described as home to a “curated selection of speciality stores” that feature “Singapore’s unique cultural heritage”.

Amongst the various tenants and bookstores, one of the notable long-standing occupants of Bras Basah Complex is Music Book Room.

Unfortunately, come March 2023, this iconic and beloved store will be closing its shutters permanently. This is not the first time a bookstore at Bras Basah Complex closed for good.

Music Book Room Is Closing After 43 Years

If you’re a fan of heritage bookstores, a collector of analogue music records or just an expert on all things in Singapore, you probably have heard of or visited Music Book Room at some point in time.

In business since 1980, this shop has been in business for a lengthy 43 years but will be “permanently closed in March 2023”.

For those unfamiliar with Music Book Room, it is a bit of a chapalang (mix of various things which may be slightly random) shop.

The goods on sale range from music books for instruments such as pianos, drums and guitars to CDs and vinyl records of Mandarin music in a huge offering of genres. We’re talking about classical music, Mandopop, modern pop, Disney songs to opera music.

Music Book Room is also your go-to place for other items like xiang qi (Chinese chess sets) and writing tools like fountain pens.

According to The Straits Times, the owner, Mr Kwek Boon Watt, said that a driving force behind the closure is Mr Kwek’s planned retirement.

Mr Kwek is 75 years old.

He laments that he is getting old and that his kids “don’t want to take over”. It also requires “big change” to maintain the shop.

Despite the “steady” business for the shop, the increasing popularity of online shopping and changes in music consumption via streaming sites have caused their customer base to decrease over time.

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Music Book Room Is Having a Closing Sale

If you’re planning to pay a visit to this cultural shop before it’s too late, do note that the last day of operations has not been revealed yet.

The official Facebook post announcing this closure has not specified the exact date for the store’s last day of operations.


However, the store’s replies to the fans’ queries in the comments section reveals that the closure date will be in “early March”.

Image: Facebook (Js Lee, Music Book Room – 书城音乐书局)

You’d better chiong down soon if you want to take a look at this shop!

While you’re there, you may even be enticed by some quaint items to bring home.

The Facebook post announcing Music Book Room’s closure also mentioned that the shop is currently having a “clearance sale” for its items so you may find some treasures at a bargain.

We’re no crystal ball gazers, but we’re certain that both hardcore supporters and curious passers-by of Music Book Room will be troughing its nostalgic lanes in the next month.


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Featured Image: Facebook (Music Book Room – 书城音乐书局)