Wanted: A home for 30,000 books
With no place to store about 30,000 books, she is looking for someone to take over them.
Madam Yap Hui Hong (right), 65, owns VTS books, a second-hand bookstore at Irving Industrial Building at Irving Road, off MacPherson Road.
She must vacate the premises soon as her lease ends on Nov 23.
Because she has nowhere else to store the books, she is willing to sell the entire collection to anyone at a negotiable amount.
But if it is for a charitable organisation, she does not mind letting them go for free.
The books, which cover a range of subjects including science, religion and the arts, mostly belonged to her late husband, Mr Aravinakhsan Nair, who died five years ago, aged 62, from heart problems.
VTS Books is named after their three children: Vinod, 33, a real estate agent, Tamara, 27, a research officer, and Sheila, 26, an accounting officer.
Mr Nair's love affair with books began when he was 17. His interest in topics such as religion, politics, and literature led him to buy many books.
WHEN THEY MET
Several years later in 1973, he met Madam Yap when they were both studying at the University of Singapore and he took her to bookstores and warehouse sales while they were dating.
Interestingly, he did not read the books from cover to cover.
Mr Aravinakhsan Nair and Madam Yap Hui Hong. PHOTO COURTESY OF MADAM YAP HUI HONG
Said Madam Yap: "When he buys, he just flips through and reads the synopsis."
She added that he believed every book was a good book and enjoyed the feeling of being surrounded by books. He then became a hoarder.
After they got married, the number of books grew and their flat in Potong Pasir was cluttered with cartons of books.
Books could even be found in their bathroom. Once, several cartons toppled in the master bedroom. Thankfully, no one was injured.
But their three children complained they were running out of space at home.
So the couple opened a second-hand bookstore in Chinatown nine years ago.
Even after setting up the shop to clear the books, Mr Nair could not stop himself from buying more books from warehouse and garage sales. In 2010, the couple moved out of their Chinatown shop.
Madam Yap does not charge more than $10 per book unless it is an antique book.
She said: "My objective is to find a home for these books, that's why my prices are low because I want people to come back."
Kew Yu Jing, 17, a secondary school student who has visited Madam Yap's store, said: "It's so sad that nobody would read these books anymore and they will probably get locked up in some warehouse somewhere."
Anyone keen on the books can visit the shop at Irving Industrial Building, 3, Irving Road, or call Madam Yap at 9386-0818.