Growing up in Malacca, we only had 2 bookshops, which were located next to each other very near the Clock Tower (where all the red buildings are). The building facade of one of them still has the bookshop's name, Lim Brothers. This shop, and its competitor, Tai Kwang/Tai Kuang (can't quite remember now) are no longer in business. The shop wasn't painted in red when I was a young girl. One day, some smart ass from the government suddenly decided to paint this entire row of shops here a ghastly red to match the Stadthuys (Dutch for Town Hall) nearby.
Googling Lim Brothers, I found out from this site that the shop closed its doors in 2001, 66 years after it first opened. The website's owner is the grandson of Lim Jit Chiang, who started the bookshop. There are some beautiful photos posted on the site, as well as fascinating history about the bookshop through the years.
We didn't have Times nor MPH or any of the big-named bookstores, just this tiny one and its neighbour (which didn't stock as many nice books) but this is where many Malaccans inculcated their love of reading. I remember spending afternoons here (after school and before activities like swimming or band) reading my fill of Enid Blyton. Couldn't afford the hefty price tag of Famous Five and Mallory Towers then, I think the books were about RM5 each, back in the late 1970s, which was a fortune for me :) We only got books for birthdays and after examination results.
So I would crouch here along the shop's aisles and read as much as I could of the books I love. I don't remember ever being chased out. I wasn't always free-riding, I do remember buying an Archie comic once.
Today in Malacca, you have the big-named, faceless, bookshops in the big malls, and bookshops which we grew up with like Lim Brothers are no more. It's the same with all other things, the modern replaces the old, and I don't really recognise my hometown very much anymore.