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Pollux Books, Hong Kong

Joan Szeto, Manager of the children's bookshop Pollux Books, tells us about bookselling in Hong Kong.

Where is Pollux Books? It is in a shopping mall.

How large is the shop? It is 3,000 square feet.

How many books do you have on display at any one time? We have 20 to 30 books on each one-metre long shelf.

How many people work there? Three people.

What kinds of books do you sell? We sell mainly children’s books and they are all English titles.

How long have you had the business? For ten years.

Where do your customers come from? We have locals and tourists.

Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the current state of the book trade? Optimistic in a sense that parents do buy for their kids even in bad times. Books are being looked at as part of a learning tools so they would even encourage the kids to pick their books. Pessimistic like all other booksellers with the introduction of e-books; the market is shrinking.

What do you most enjoy about being a bookseller? I enjoy sharing good books with customers and I enjoy all the beautiful illustrations and the story lines.

Is there anything that you don’t like about being a bookseller? The administration part.

How do you choose which books to stock? We refer to weekly bestsellers charts from The Sunday Times and New York Times. And we mainly try to stock evergreen titles, such as the Carnegie Award winning books that are always good.

Do you organise events in your shop, such as book signings? Yes, we have semi-annual book clubs and story telling events.

Which books are selling well at the moment? Picture books. The bestsellers remain those by Julia Donaldson and Eric Carle.

Do you sell books online? Yes, we have an online shopping website with free delivery for orders of HK$300.00.

Do you sell e-books and e-readers? No.

Do you use social media for your business? We only use e-newsletters to introduce our authors and new releases every six weeks.

How do you get your books from the UK? We use a freight consolidator.

What are you reading at the moment? The Hunger Games.

Batch and Your Business

How long have you been using Batch Payments and Returns? For two or three years.

How does Batch help your business? It helps us a lot. When ordering, we know what is available and what is not. It is very important as for those out-of-print or out-of-stock titles, we will pick replacements. Also, less errors are made. In the past, we sent queries to the rep who then forwarded them to order entry, and it is unavoidable that mistakes are made on and off while ordering. But with us entering it ourselves, we are much more careful.

How does it save you time? In the past, we had to await the invoices to generate before being able to check against our order. Whereas ordering ourselves on Batch, checking is done at the spot. It saves time on administration, as to forward it to the rep and obtain their acknowledgement sometimes we have to wait for a few days before receiving a reply. It saves time for our accountant to check online for payment due and saves money to consolidate payment by wiring money to Batch instead of paying six to seven booksellers separately. 

Do you use use Batch for Claims? Yes. Claims can be done online with a few clicks without spending time writing to the rep again to obtain approval. It is more efficient to obtain invoices online.

Is there anything we could do to improve our service to you? Yes, for invoices be exported to PDF or Excel formats. Also, extend a US office so we can do the same with our US publishers.

Pollux Books
Rm 2101, Horizon Plaza
2 Lee Wing Street
Ap Lei Chau,
Hong Kong

Tel: 852-28736962