There’s a bookshop in Sincheon-dong, just a few steps away from Jamsillaru Station where you can find shelves and shelves of second-hand books. The place is called Seoul Book Repository or Seoul Book Bogo. It ended up being one of my favorite spots in Seoul.
A week prior to my Seoul trip, I was watching a Korean drama called Hotel del Luna. I was drawn to its creative portrayal of death – a topic I have always been fascinated about. In episode 2 of the series, there was an elderly ghost who took comfort and solace inside a library. She stayed in the library all the time because she wanted to read all the books she has not read while she was still alive.
So many books, so little time? Not possible in Hotel del Luna.
Photo: Korean Dramaland
I fell in love with this particular scene so I did my research if it is possible to visit the filming location. Turns out, the filming location is a popular second-hand bookstore in Seoul!
The magic of second-hand books
I grew up buying or bartering books in second-hand bookstores. When I was in grade school, my aunt would let me tag along to look for old bookshops and thrift stores in Cebu City.
Going to second-hand bookstores isn’t always about the money. Of course, it’s good to find great books with an added bonus of a lesser price. But what I really love about it is the hidden joy of discovering an old book you didn’t even know existed.
Second-hand bookshops will always surprise you because you simply don’t know what you will find. You will find piles and piles of a seemingly infinite amount of books. After spending hours, scouring for some interesting titles, there is a big possibility of finding editions of books that are not even printed anymore. You could even score first-edition copies for a lesser price!
Interesting finds in Seoul Book Repository
Seoul Book Repository is the city’s first public second-hand bookstore with around 120,000 titles. The place used to be an old warehouse but has been transformed into a stunning space for book lovers. You will find many collections of poetry and literature. All of them are pretty cheap too. Most of the books only cost 2000 to 3000 KRW.
Most of the stock in Seoul Book Repository is in Korean, but I was thrilled to see a lot of English titles as well. My heart would skip a beat every time I’d find an English title because I can’t read Hangul.
I spent 3 hours inside the bookstore and ended up buying a 1930 edition of Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man. I found it beside first edition copies of Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Bronte books. Most of them were quite expensive so I only bought one. So many books, so little money!
Here are some of the English titles I found in the bookstore.
How to get there:
Get off at Jamsillaru Station Line 2 (Green), and find Exit 1. Walk towards the left for about 3 minutes. The bookstore is on the other side of the road.