Readers' Haven

At Treasures n Books, shelves are stocked with books
arranged in alphabetical order according to authors' first names
In Cultivating a reading culture, (Johor Streets, 22 October 2012) I said that Gerard, my friend who has a passion for Han Suyin’s writings, was disappointed because he cannot find any good second-hand book store in Johor Baru.  This sent me on a relentless quest for used book stores and I was delighted to discover a place with a wide collection of well-thumbed volumes.  Finally, I found a host of popular authors like Jeffrey Archer, Judith Kranz, Jodi Picoult and Harold Robbins as well as Han Suyin, in a pre-loved book store – right here in JB! 


Facade of Treasures n Books in Bandar Baru Permas Jaya
When May, another avid reader friend, told me about a used book store in Permas Jaya, I made a mental note to go and see it for myself.  One day I happened to be in the neighbourhood and decided to track down this store.  When I saw the signboard with its familiar name, Treasures n Books, it was like finding a long lost treasure.  The door was partially opened but I remembered too late, that May said they are still stock-checking and will usually see customers by appointment only.

As I approached the partially opened door of Treasures n Books, I earnestly hoped that Annie Khoo would let me in without an appointment.  Coming in from the sun, it took a while for my eyes to adjust as I peeked into the dim interior through a glass panel on the door.  I was thrilled to see shelves upon shelves, chock full of books but as it was difficult to speak through the glass, it took some serious gesticulating to seek her consent for entry.  I was relieved that Khoo found me rather familiar looking and welcomed me in!

A collection of books by Jefferey Archer
I got acquainted with Khoo several years ago in her tiny shop in Danga City Mall and even though a used books store is not a lucrative business, Khoo had a regular clientele.  With an expanding collection of books, she had to shift into a shop-lot for more space both for storage and to increase the shop-floor.  When she moved out from the mall, she asked for some time to settle in before I visit her shop but I inadvertently misplaced her telephone number and without an address, I lost touch with her.

When Khoo, a self-confessed book lover, moved into their new home with her family, she devoted a room to the storage of her precious books.  While she ensured that her book collection is properly stored, Khoo made her family comfortable with the limited space in their small flat.  Her books are clearly a priority and as every available space was taken up by books and more books, Khoo told me she was even prepared to sleep in the hall!

Older novels like these by Harold Robbins, are found here!
It is interesting to discover that Treasures n Books has books arranged on shelves in alphabetical order according to the authors’ first names.  So you will find authors like Jeffrey Archer, Judith Kranz and Jodi Picoult grouped together under the letter, “J” instead of by the first letter of their surnames.  To me, it appears that Khoo understands that avid readers are so familiar with their favourite authors that they are on a first-name basis!

On the other side of the coin, a friend who works with a public-listed corporation said she recently met with a corporate trainer and learnt a sad truth from him.  Apparently the trainer will usually gauge the participants by asking questions and one question was to indicate by a show of hands, if they read books.  When only one or two raised their hands, he was appalled to discover that so few working people read as a hobby.

Books are arranged according to the authors' first names!
Since rediscovering Treasures n Books, I have been sharing their contact details with people who were also searching for a used book store to buy or borrow books and to donate their old books and collectibles.  Khoo said she has plans to open another store and maintain one shop for storage purposes because she has such a vast collection and unless there are regular stock-checks, she may not know what books are in stock.  For instance, when I asked for books by Han Suyin, Khoo admitted that she was unsure where her collection was stored among the thousands of books! 

Check out priceless classics like these by Han Suyin
The good news is Khoo has found this priceless collection and I can tell Gerard that here is where he will find rare tomes by Han Suyin but it will take a great deal of persuasion to convince Khoo to part with them.  You see, Khoo is also a great fan of Han Suyin and she is now reluctant to sell or rent out Han’s books that are now collector’s items since this author’s demise last November.  For Gerard’s sake, I just hope Khoo has duplicate copies of Han’s books to share with him and other fans of this author who once lived in JB for about 10 years and worked here as a physician.

Treasures n Books is located at No. 3 Jalan Permas 10/8, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru.  Visits are by appointment only so call Tel: 6012 – 7900 928 or email: anniejb@live.com.my before going to browse around to your heart’s content.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 29 January 2013

UPDATE 7 Oct 2015:

For some time now, readers and friends who are keen on old books have been asking me about Khoo and her book shop which has moved out from Permas Jaya.  I tried calling Khoo, left voicemails and messages on her phone but I only managed to get a reply from her today!

I learnt that she is looking for a suitable spot to reopen the bookshop and planning to restructure the business in a partnership. Khoo is blessed with a grandchild and has her hands full with minding the baby, so it would be ideal if she could pursue her passion in books with the help of good partners. Khoo has a vision to reopen a big library/bookshop to sell, rent, collect books and help to cultivate good reading habits. Meanwhile, we have to be patient until something is worked out and she may reopen the bookshop for readers to enjoy again!

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/11/2013

    any book for children/toddler?

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    Replies
    1. Do contact Annie at Treasures n Books to answer your query on books for children and toddlers. Glad you are nurturing your children with a reading habit! Well done!

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  2. Thank you very much for the information! i've been looking for used bookstore for ages!

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  3. This location is closed now. I visited it today. Any idea where it has moved to?

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  4. Please read my update info above and share it with book lovers and readers. With the support of partners, Khoo may reopen again sooner!

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  5. Hi Peggy, any news about Khoo reopening? Would really love to get some new books! Much appreciated, Brad

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  6. Hey Brad, Khoo has relocated her store to Puteri Wangsa, you may refer to the store's FB page :)

    https://www.facebook.com/Treasures-And-Books-169381529840035/?fref=ts

    ReplyDelete