I spent a full afternoon recently checking out what Seoul offers for english readers in search for cheap used books in english. I headed to Itaewon to check out the infamous Itaewon Foreign Bookstoreand the clean and spaciousWhat the Book?
My research lead me next to Dongdaemun's Pyeonghwa clothing market where a street of used
bookstores outlined the outside of it's building and ran next to Cheonggyecheon stream.
This street of old, rare, and used books date back to the 1960's and many of it's vendors have been
in business for decades. While the street is already a destination for Koreans for Korean books, my
visit there found that the street is also home to many english books and they are sold here crazy cheap.
All you need is time and patience, as these shops aren't your usual organized and spacious
bookstores. They are extremely small and require some digging. I love this kind of stuff,
but I know it's not for everyone.
In going to each vendor and asking for english books, some didn't offer any, some offered a small
selection, and others specialized in english books.
At one of the shops that carried english books called 책사랑(chaeksarang: "Book Love"), novels
were 2,000 - 5,000 won. There were a great selection of design books, novels, encyclopedias and
The owner also boasted that if you for instance buy many books and want to have it delivered, they
have that option for the delivery fee of 4,000 - 5,000 won.
Looking through here, I did not expect to find but did, this published a few years ago in 2012, large
hardcover Taylor Swift book (I love her) by Andrew Vaughan on her achievements, family roots,
philanthropy and music. It was 8,000 won.
The bookstore that boasted the biggest english selection was called 창문사 (Changmunsa).
The had a great selection of design books, magazines, novels, and everything random.
Magazines ranged from 5,000 - 7,000 won.
They also had a large inventory of Time Magazines, each from 2,000 - 3,000 won.
I found The Starbucks Experience brand new and retailing here for 5,000 won.
His collection of story books were 2,000 won.
The owner began to tell me how these used book businesses worked here in Seoul. When foreign
books and magazines arrive here in Korea, places like Kyobo buy them and sell them at more than
double the import price. The vendors on this street sell them at half this import price.
As well as english, you could find at his store, books and magazines in Chinese, Italian and many more languages.
The bookstores along this street all ran at similar opening hours, opening around 11:00am and closing at 7:30 - 8pm.
If you're also a fan of the hunt for a special used book that has some time to kill, this street is full of
treasures at next to nothing prices.
My time after, sitting by the Cheonggyecheon stream, shopping for clothes at Dongdaemun's Doota
mall, and eating tons of hot street food along the way made up a perfect autumn afternoon and
Tel: 02 2265 3227 (Only in Korean)
Mobile: 010 4781 8697 (Only in Korean)
Address: 서울특별시 중구 을지로 6가 16 평화시장 1층 다 27호.
책사랑 (Chaeksarang: "Book Love")
Tel: 02 2275 8809
Mobile: 010 8229 1796
Address: 서울특별시 중구 을지로 6가 16 평화시장 1층 다 21호.
Address : 17-56 Euljiro 6(yuk)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul-si > All Area
Dongdaemun Station (Line 1 and 4, exit 8)
Walk straight and cross the bridge over Cheonggyecheon Stream.
After crossing the bridge the market will be on the right next to Pyounghwa Clothing Market.
A lost world wanderer with a background including New Zealand, New York, Paris, I now take refuge in motherland, Seoul. With a soft spot for art, fashion, culture, and history, you can find me at the > READ MORE
A lost world wanderer with a background including New Zealand, New York, Paris, I now take refuge in motherland, Seoul. With a soft spot for art, fashion, culture, and history, you can find me at the latest exhibitions and bookstores or here! > Less more