Indie Bookstores in Seoul

If you’ve been in Hanyang (한양대학교) for a while, you’re probably familiar with big bookstores in Seoul (서울). Kyobo Bookstore (교보문고), Youngppong Bookstore (영풍문고) and Bandi&Lunis (반디앤루니스) are some of the biggest bookstore chains all over Korea including Seoul. While these bookstores mostly treat publications from major publishing companies, there are interesting independent local bookstores in Seoul where you can find unique books out of publishing conventions and norms. Sometimes these indie bookstores work even better for foreigners because they also treat books that have fewer or no text at all. In these places, you can easily find books that ask readers to focus more on art works and design rather than words. So whether you can read Korean or not doesn’t really matter! There are so many books you can enjoy without having to read or understand Korean. Out of all the interesting bookstores in Seoul, I will introduce three places you may want to take time to visit.

 

  1. Your Mind (유어마인드) / Hongdae (홍대)

Your Mind is one of the earliest bookstores that started out as an indie bookstore. It opened its offline store in 2010 and kept its place at a quiet neighborhood of Hongdae (홍대) until this February. It’s been about a month since it moved to a nearby neighborhood in Yeonhui-dong (연희동).

*before moving to Yeonhui-dong*

Tough Your Mind happens to be a bookstore, it treats a wide range of products; independent local publications, imported publications, records, design goods and etc. So technically even if you’re not a big fan of books you can still have fun at Your Mind(but I assume that you’re interested in books because you somehow chose to read this article).

I personally feel that Your Mind is one of the best indie bookstores that can represent the pas, present, and future of independent local bookstores in Korea. Bookworms or even just those who love going to bookstore for no reason, don’t forget Your Mind.

*the new store at Yeonhui-dong*

Address: 10-6, Yeonhui-ro 11ra-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (서울특별시 서대문구 연희로11라길 10-6)

Open from 1:00 to 8:00 everyday

 

  1. Bookstore Man-il (책방만일)

Bookstore Man-il is a small indie bookstore located in Mangwon (망원), a neighborhood with three great restaurants introduced in my previous article (Article on Mangwondong). It’s just as small as the old Your Mind, and it relatively focuses a little more on conventional publications compared to Your Mind. However this doesn’t mean that it’s limited to books with lots of text on. For instance, Bookstore Man-il treats unique stationery products you can’t find in larger bookstore like Kyobo. So just like Your Mind, a non book-loving person can find Man-il quite interesting too!

Address: 46, Huiujeong-ro 16-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (서울특별시 마포구 희우정로16길 46)

Open from 2:00 to 8:00, Tuesdays to Saturday

 

  1. Liner Note (라이너 노트)

Liner Note is a bookstore that treats books about music. It also offers many cool records from Korea as well as other countries. Its specific theme makes Liner Note unique even among indie bookstores, but it isn’t so hard to figure out why it chose to focus only on music. This is because Liner Note is a bookstore run by a music management and marketing company.

First thing that got my attention was the device that was playing the music. I know nothing about sound system but it sure looks great doesn’t it? It played soft jazz music over and over while I was staying and I loved every minute of being there. There aren’t that many books in Liner Note, but that is no surprise considering its specific theme is music.

Liner Note is located near a park in Yeonnam-dong (연남동; aka Yeontral Park), so if every you get a change to visit Yeonnam-dong, and maybe take a walk, drop by Liner Note!

Address: 4, Seongmisan-ro 29-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (서울특별시 마포구 성미산로29길 4)

Open from 12:00 to 7:00 on weekdays, from 12:00 to 8:00 on Saturday

 

Article by Jieun from Korea, a Senior in Business Administration

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