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May 03

A Tale of 3 Bookstores in Seoul–Part Three

Kyobo Books

교보문고 광화문점

South Korea, 서울특별시 Jongno-gu, Jong-ro, 1

This has been a fun trip for me to relive the experiences I had visiting these three bookstores in Seoul, South Korea. With one more to share, I’m hopeful to return to them someday and spend more time. If you get there before me, please send pictures of the stores, and you’re favorite books in Korean. Would love to hear other’s experiences at these places, and recommendations for other bookstores in the area that one should visit.

The third bookstore, Kyobo Book, was the furthest walk, approximately 3 blocks from the subway, which in the downtown area, street blocks are long. There are several vendors in small structures, selling magazines, food, maps, and other items that you might find useful in an urban area. I almost did not find the last location. The first person I asked for help, one of the vendors, only spoke Korean, and I only knew a few words. Need to brush up for any future trips. I showed the name of the store on the map, but she could not help. She called on someone else on the street to help, but no luck there. A pair of police officers pointed me in the right direction: 30 yards away, stairs went down. From a distance, one would not know there were stairs. Below was the store logo. Glass doors opened into what can be best described as a mall. Rows of books, jewelry, technology, clothing, food court, and…did I mention books. The space was larger than the other stores. There was much activity and merchandise that it would take hours to fully appreciate it all.

The English Language section was expansive enough to compete with a small bookstore in the US. It was in this store that I purchased my keepsake: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, in Korean. Like the stores previously shared in posts, the store was well organized and pristine. This store had a feel of elegance beyond the other stores that from my experience is only rivaled by Books Kinokuniya in Sydney Australia (a future post). The place is only one level, but expansive. It’s the place to take your family and friends where they can find something to do while you peruse the books to your heart’s content. Get a coffee drink, a snack, or meal while passing the time with a book, as your partner is shopping for clothes, jewelry, or any of the other many options that this store provides. I’m sure there are other stores like this one and the other two in the world. I hope to have the opportunity to share those with you some day.

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