July 9, 2018
A Singaporean bookstore is selling more than books in hopes of buying itself a permanent home
by Alex Primiani
All over the world, the rent is too damn high, and one bookseller in Singapore hopes to be released from the shackles of rent and buy a permanent home for his bookstore by selling miniature bricks through a crowd-fundraising campaign.
As Matthias Ang reports for the Singaporean media company Mothership, BooksActually and its owner Kenny Leck hope to raise two million Singaporean dollars to purchase a new location in the city-state’s Balestier neighborhood.
In a Facebook post on June 20, the thirteen-year-old independent bookstore, located in the “hipster central” district of Tiong Bahru, announced its grassroots efforts. They wrote:
As we continue our bookselling journey, we know that to ‘plant’ the roots that will weather any storms ahead, we need to own the space permanently. Drawing from an old school fundraising idea, and our obsession with bricks, we have handmade (with support & love from Mudrock Ceramics) miniature bricks that are going at $50 each. We call it the “BooksActually Shophouse Fund $50 Brick…”
Besides the obvious allusion to ownership, owner Leck is a brick collector himself; on the bookstore’s website he explains further: “Each brick purchased brings us a little closer to our goal of buying a permanent space. Each brick is handmade by us! Each brick is symbolic of your support, and this crazy dream & leap of housing the bookstore in a permanent space.”
At $50 a brick, BooksActually needs to sell 40,000 bricks to reach their goal. As Ang succinctly writes, “That’s a bodacious plan.” Best of luck to the intrepid indie!
Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.