A couple of people have suggested that I visit the Seoul Book Bogo. It’s hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and is used to “house old, secondhand books they gathered from old bookstores around the city.” It’s a bookstore, book depository, a library, a cafe, an art gallery and an event space.
It draws is everyone, people going for interesting photos among their unique looking book cases, people who want to read, children running around to business people in suits on breaks, to students sitting with a coffee and computer.
It was a really peaceful place to visit. There’s no pressure to buy any of the books and plenty of cushions to sit down and read whatever you want off the shelves. If you like the book, if it’s not one of the library ones, then you can buy it. Library books are marked with a sticker like at any other library and seem to mostly be along the edge.
They have so many different types of books and they’re not really in much of an order. It’s not a place to go if you’re in a hurry but more for a relaxing afternoon wandering around seeing what all they have. They have new books and old old books.
The other thing they have is book art on display. Something I learned in my college’s book and paper department is that anything can be made into a book. There’s a lot of different kinds of books and book art styles and Seoul Book Bogo has a lot of these on display as well as some, local independent pieces and zines for sale. I knew Chicago had a pretty strong book art and zine culture but to see that Seoul had one too was really cool.
They also offer bathrooms, head left through the bookcases towards this art piece and then the men’s bathrooms are to the left and women’s are to the right. You cannot however go this way with any un-purchased or un-checked out book from the store/library or you will set off the alarm.
On the other end, to the right of the entrance is the event space with the cafe. Among this is also a little machine where you can put books you bought or are borrowing into and it’ll “clean” them or at least disinfect them. I watched a little girl do this with about 5 children’s books and it was fascinating. This area is also filled with seating, zines and independent books and book art to be purchased and also a stage for events.
I’m really glad I found time to visit. If you have time to kill and are in the area I highly suggest visiting and resting in the peaceful Seoul Book Bogo. It’s located outside of Jamsillaru Station exit 1. However do be careful crossing the street as there are no pedestrian lights.
The Seoul Book Bogo is open from Tuesday through Friday from 10:30am to 8:30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am until 9pm.
The Seoul Book Bogo is closed on Mondays, Chuseok, New Year’s Day and Seollal (Lunar New Year).