“Six long years of hard toil, not to say about financial losses, for Harris in Great World City! End result? Landlord’s rent increase exceeding 100%!

So, goodbye, our loyal customers. Harris’s last day, 19 February 2012.”

This from Harris Bookstore’s press release on their website.

Credit: asiaone.com

The company had just closed a bookshop in the Jurong Point shopping mall in November.

It was the latest in a string of recent bookshop closures including that of two outlets of Borders in August and September last year. In December, art and design bookshop Page One announced that its store at VivoCity would close on Feb. 19 as the cost of renting the premises was no longer viable. The company which started in Singapore said it would continue to operate its stores in Thailand and China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

To thank their customers for their support over the years, Harris will be giving away $10 cash vouchers to be used at Harris Great World City during the Great Farewell Sale at their sister companies, {prologue}, UrbanWrite and Harris Planerds. There’s also a 20% storewide sale till 19 Feb 2012.

Increasing rentals, weak sales and the rising popularity of e-books make book selling anywhere a tough business.

How does the books world survive these back-to-back closings of Harris and Page One? Is this the end of the book as we know it? Will stores wither as more readers embrace e-books?

Owning and operating a bookstore has NEVER been an easy way to make a living. And booksellers are most often an obstinate and romantic lot. Remember Shakespeare and Company’s George Whitman? We’re sad to see one of Singapore’s most recognizable bookstores close its doors, especially one which ignited a passion for reading over the years.

However, we believe the book as a physical object will continue to be appreciated and treasured. Did people stop collecting manuscripts when printing came along? Of course not. If anything, the rising popularity of e-books makes notable and beautifully printed physical books all the more appealing.