Located in the heart of George Town’s world heritage site, the two Gerakbudaya Bookshops are an essential part of the city’s cultural life. The bookshops are places for people who love books to meet, talk and, of course, browse – all in the name of the great conversation between authors and readers.
Opened in 2014, the first bookshop at 78 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling has an in-depth selection of literary fiction, poetry and translations as well as hard-to-find titles from smaller, independent publishers. The second bookshop, opened in 2018, is located in the new Hikayat arts and letters space at 226 Lebuh Pantai – and concentrates on non-fiction titles.
We are passionate about the books that matter. Our selection of over 6,000 titles in stock ranges from books about Penang to current affairs and politics, Southeast Asian studies, not forgetting a large display on the arts, culture, popular science, the environment, food and drink, lifestyle and travel. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for we can order it online from a choice of thousands of titles, with prompt delivery ensured.
Whether you are based locally, visiting the area on holiday or just passing through, there are lots of reasons to drop in. And if you aren’t able to visit us in person, we hope our website and online bookshop will give you a flavour of what makes Gerakbudaya Bookshop unique.
The original Gerakbudaya Bookshop, focusing on fiction, poetry and letters, is located on Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (formerly Pitt Street), right in the heart of George Town’s world heritage site, close to many fine historic buildings. The bookshop is directly opposite the Sri Mahamariamman temple, and down the road from the Kapitan Keling mosque, Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) temple and St George’s church – a true ‘street of harmony’. We are also a stone’s throw away from the bustling streets of Little India, the hawker stalls and cafes of Chulia Street, and the creative enclave of Armenian Street with its galleries and museums.
The new Gerakbudaya Bookshop, focusing on non-fiction, is located on Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street) on the ground floor of the arts space Hikayat, near the junction with Lebuh Ah Quee, well known for its street art. The bookshop is along the street from both Cheah kongsi and Lim kongsi, two of Penang’s great clan houses. Nearby you’ll find ChinaHouse, with its galleries and live music venue, and Black Kettle.
You can find the bookshop easily by bicycle, car or on foot. The major transport hubs of the Jetty and Komtar are also nearby.
Tel: +60 (0) 4 261 0282
Tel: +60 (0) 4 261 8001
Opening Hours: Every day 11.00am—8.00pm (Late night shopping: Thursday)
Gareth Richards | Director
+60 (0)16 309 5290
A former academic, Gareth Richards is a researcher, writer, editor, bookseller and activist who has long been associated with the arts scene.
In 2008 Gareth established Impress Creative & Editorial, an agency providing a range of high-quality editorial services and creators’ representation. One of the founding team of Gerakbudaya Bookshop, Gareth believes that a good bookshop is both illuminating and distracting: a place to find the thing you were looking for as well as an unexpected world of surprises. He also believes strongly in taking books to the people, through pop-up bookstalls and special events. In 2018 he co-founded Hikayat with Bettina Chua Abdullah, an arts space for books, letters and beyond. He has a particular interest in critical social sciences, people’s history, literary fiction and the arts. His favourite writers are those who have engaged the world critically and with humanity – Pramoedya Ananta Toer, John Berger, Albert Camus, Toni Morrison and Eduardo Galeano .
Gareth is the co-author/editor of Asia–Europe Interregionalism: Critical Perspectives, and wrote the texts for two books of photography, Portraits of Penang: Little India and Panicrama. He is writing a book on the artist Ch’ng Kiah Kiean. He is on the juries of the Penang Book Prize and the Epigram Fiction Prize.
Sim Fong Ling | Manager (Accounts)
+60 (0)4 261 8001
A native of Penang, Sim Fong Ling has many years of experience in administration and accounting for a range of businesses, notably in hotels and hospitality.
Fong Ling is a founding member of the bookshop team in 2014, and today is the manager responsible for trade accounts. She reads extensively, particularly contemporary fiction, and counts the Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng as among her favourite writers.
Siti Aishah Kamarudin | Manager
+60 (0)12 413 7202
Siti Aishah Kamarudin is from Penang. During her studies, she enjoyed literature and language, and began writing short stories while she was still young as a way of reimagining her ideas. She has presented her work at a number of open mic events.
Siti is the manager of the new bookshop, opened in 2018, which specialises in non-fiction titles. She is responsible for helping to grow the bookshop organically. She also manages the bookshop’s website and coordinates outreach events.
Siti loves to read, an obvious asset for a bookseller. Her favourite genres include crime, history, mythology and literary fiction, and she enjoys the work of authors such as Jeanette Winterson and Haruki Murakami. As a writer she believes that one day she will be successful and hopes that her words, her self-created metaphors and her storylines will inspire other young writers.
Chan Seau Huvi | Assistant Manager (part-time)
+60 (0)17 976 2153
Originally from Kuala Lumpur, Chan Seau Huvi moved to Penang more than ten years ago. She trained as a visual artist in France for seven years, working across different media.
Huvi is an assistant manager at Gerakbudaya Bookshop, with particular responsibility for the large section on the arts – painting, sculpture, photography, design – as well as Chinese-language titles. She reads extensively, in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a keen student of contemporary art, and interested in body art in performance and happening form. She loves poetic images and films. She thinks she has a sleeping Indian Tibetan soul.
Huvi also manages Cerita Café at Hikayat, situated at the back of the bookshop.
Dhurey Santhanasamy | Assistant Manager (part-time)
+60 (0)4 261 8001
Dhurey Santhanasamy was born and grew up in Penang. She is currently pursuing a degree in business administration at Wawasan Open University.
Dhurey is a part-time manager at Gerakbudaya Bookshop and is responsible for the time-consuming task of collating orders. Her interest in books and reading has really blossomed since she began working in the bookshop in 2018, and she says that books have allowed her to travel without moving her feet. She has a strong interest in feminism and women role models, with Frida Kahlo’s life and work a particular inspiration. She is also interested in films, music and dance.
Adam Harris | Assistant Manager
+60 (0)17 306 5151
Adam Harris grew up in Petaling Jaya. He has an MSc in fusion energy from York University, Britain, and hopes to do advanced research in nuclear fusion in the future.
Adam is an assistant manager at Gerakbudaya Bookshop, with responsibility for developing the science titles. He reads scientific papers in depth and, in addition, he enjoys fantasy, science fiction and popular science books.
Chammaine Tan | Assistant Manager (part-time)
+60 (0)4 261 8001
Born and bred in Penang, Chammaine Tan graduated with a degree in psychology at De Paul University, Chicago, USA. She is currently engaged in a number of marketing projects, both locally and internationally.
Chammaine is a part-time assistant manager at Gerakbudaya Bookshop, with responsibility for developing the arts shelves, with a particular focus on photography and film. She also runs the bookshop’s social media accounts. She acquired the habit of reading from her best friend. She has very broad tastes, ranging from the literary fiction of Kristin Hannah and Veronica Roth to the psychological thrillers of S.J. Watson and Gillian Flynn. Chammaine’s other interests include films, interview podcasts, board games, music, photography and travel.
Chammaine is also a director and principal agent of Impress Creative and Editorial, responsible for creators’ representation.