Kinokuniya in Liang Court Closing After 35 Years; Last Day is on 21 Apr 2019

Image: tanpanamanoob / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)

If you’ve watched Captain Marvel, which is set in the 90s, you’d have noticed a few things.

Firstly, Captain Marvel has such a resting bitch face, it’s uncomfortable to see her smile.

Secondly, cats in Singapore could be aliens that can eat you, so crazy people in Yishun should really wake up their idea.

Thirdly, many of the shops or things you see in the film no longer exist. From Blockbuster (kind of like Video Ezy in Singapore) to Game Boy, these household names have became alien to the bubble-tea-loving generation, though the movie was only set in 1995: that’s like 24 years ago.

With technology moving faster than what we can accept, it’s no surprise that businesses are collapsing as fast as technology advancement unless they adapt.

Just think of the music industry: can you still find CD shops in Singapore? No?

And just think of the book-selling industry: can you still find bookstores in—oh, wait, there are still bookstores in Singapore.

Which is baffling, considering that even schools using e-books (or to be more specific, e-notes) for their lessons.

Though, from 22 April 2019 onwards, one more bookstore is leaving us, and it’s one that could well be older than you.

Battle of the Survival in the Book-selling World

If you’re a bookworm, you’d know about Kinokuniya.

Back in their heydays, they were competing with Borders and you were either #TeamBorders or #TeamKinokuniya.

The Japanese chain won the battle when all Borders outlets closed down on 26 September 2011. It was resurrected by POPULAR but that didn’t work as well: soon after, it was converted into POPULAR Giftshop Stationary Shop Tidbits Shop Bookstore.

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In recent years, more major bookstores closed down, from the book rental store Sunny Bookshop to POPULAR’s Harris.

Now, what is left in Singapore is a few chains like POPULAR Bookstores (which also sells cookwares), MPH Bookstore (which also does book distribution and publishing), Times Bookstore (which has a parent company that does distribution, publishing and printing), Kinokuniya Books and a few independent bookstores.

That market is going to get even smaller next month.

Kinokuniya Liang Court Last Day to be on 21 April 2019

Kinokuniya now has four outlets, namely the main one in Ngee Ann City, one in Bugis Junction, one in Liang Court and the last one, which is also the newest one, in JEM.

While all stores sell mainstream books, Kinokuniya is also known to be the champion of local titles, having stock countless local books and hosting numerous events in their main store to promote local authors.

As a Japanese brand, they also stock Japanese books and comics, which has often been one of their unique selling points. In fact, I’ve a friend who go to Kinokuniya regularly just for their Japanese books.

And lest you’re unaware, Liang Court is a Japan-centric mall: it’s like Golden Mile to the Thais and Lucky Plaza to the Filipinos. The mall, located in Clarke Quay, has housed Kinokuniya since its opening in 1984.

Yeah, that means the store has been there for almost 35 years (though it was mentioned in their notice that it’s 36 years).

The store has just announced that the store is finally closing down as they “seek to consolidate and channel our limited resources for better deployment amongst other business units.”

Here’s the full announcement:

Image: kinokuniya.com.sg

In other words, their last day of service would be on 21 April 2019.

There’s no mention of whether there’s going to be any massive discount, but let’s face it: you’re not looking forward to any discount.

Because once again, another part of our memory is going to be part of history again.

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