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Bookstore in Seoul, Korea

  Tags: Korea | Bookshop
 Language Learning Forum : Language Bookstores Post Reply
9 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
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 Message 1 of 9
18 March 2005 at 10:23am | IP Logged 
The only reliable source for foreign books in all of Korea is Kyobomungo. In recent memory they were just as good for French and German, somewhat less for Spanish and Chinese, but these days, bowing to popular demand, they have gone over fairly exclusively to English and Japanese, though you can still order the others. That said, the bookstore of the Waegookau Taehakyo has a good number of happy random surprises every semester.

Edited by Fasulye on 02 March 2010 at 9:25am

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 Message 2 of 9
18 March 2005 at 10:44am | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, this is quite interesting for those of us that will visit Seoul and look for non-Korean books, but how about some tips about buying books in Korean in Seoul or abroad?
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 Message 3 of 9
18 March 2005 at 11:54am | IP Logged 
How foolish of me not to mention this! Well, I have not yet tried to purchase Korean books abroad, but I imagine that it would be a very difficult thing to do. In Korea itself, I never really noticed a difference between bookstores as to selection beyond the absolute size of the shops.

It is a complete mystery to me that there is no used book market in Korea, so one is limited to books in print. Thus, here the Korean mentality that big = good does bear itself out. The main branch of the first place I mentioned (Kyobomungo) is a cavernous underground book mall in the heart of downtown Seoul, so if you cannot find something there, you are unlikely to find it anywhere. However, this place is directly connected to the subway system and browsing there is often quite difficult because of the crowds. For a more legitimate bookstore feel (something like Gibert Jeune in Paris or the Strand Bookstore in either New York or London), I prefer the Youngkwan bookstore in downtown Pusan (Korea's second metropolis), where the selection is only immeasureably smaller.

Edited by administrator on 18 March 2005 at 3:50pm

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 Message 4 of 9
16 July 2005 at 5:30am | IP Logged 

Edited by andee on 25 May 2009 at 3:05am

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 Message 5 of 9
16 July 2005 at 1:23pm | IP Logged 
There is also another bookstore, near Kyobo (, called Young-Poong ( It's about a 7 minute walk from Kyobo, and although not as big (but close), it is definately less crowded, and I prefer Young-Poong to Kyobo.

As for English books, both new and used (a huge collection of used books, I might add), there is a bookstore in Itaewon called "What the Book" ( I went there for the first time yesterday, and it's not a big bookstore, but it's all in English, and most of them are used. I think the owner gets his books from, and you may be able to request him to get some books for you.

By the way, "What the Book" does have a collection of books on languages, though they are all used books. It's also a small collection. However, as I said in the previous paragraph, you may be able to request books you'd like. I did see Linguaphone's Korean language program there yesterday for about W100,000 (about $100 US).
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 Message 6 of 9
07 August 2005 at 8:36pm | IP Logged 
About getting books in Korea: There IS an electronic used book market now for Korean books, and you can access it through That said, I haven't had much success with it, probably because the book titles I was searching were somewhat obscure. Someone I know has made some successful purchases of reference-type books through it. Not sure if they ship overseas though.

I'd agree that if it's not at Kyobo, you're not likely to find it elsewhere. I was in Korea for the past year studying and doing research, and when it came to books I could find in the library but couldn't find on the market, I resorted to the old Korean stanby: ordered a bound photocopy of a library book. I confess that I've never looked into the legalities of this, but I do know that it's standard practice for Korean academics and foreign visiting academics, and most university libraries have a copy room specifically for this purpose, where you can get a nicely bound copy of a library book.

Edited by administrator on 08 August 2005 at 12:24am

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 Message 7 of 9
09 December 2007 at 7:43pm | IP Logged 
You can get used books at The Beautiful Store.
It's like a Korean version of the Salvation Army store, but presented more charmingly.

There are used bookstores in Korea. I've seen one near a subway.

You can order books from overseas through Daum's website, , or through (Kyobo's site). I've ordered other things through Daum and it was very simple. Of course, I am living in Korea right now. But overseas ordering should not be so different.

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 Message 8 of 9
09 December 2007 at 10:03pm | IP Logged 
There used to be many used bookstores near Dongdaemun back in the mid-nineties when I frequently visited Korea. I don't know if they are still there.

I do know that my favorite bookstore (for English books) has closed: Chongno Book Centre. A shame, they had an interesting choice of academic books in English.

Also, if you're looking for non-touristy books about Korea, try the Korean branch of the Royal Asiatic Society near Dongdaemun.

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