Seoul’s Kyobo Bookstore

Many levels in this huge bookstore


Kids section

Last time we were in Seoul, I met up with our Korean friend, JiHye and her daughter Sophia. We’ve known them for ages, since her husband did a Phd here with Rod. Sophia was born here in Urbana, and I’m her “unofficial American grandma”. We’ve kept in touch and see them whenever we go to Korea.

First we went to the Simone Handbag Museum (see here )

After lunch, Jihye wanted to take me to her favorite bookstore, a huge place called Kyobo Bookstore. It’s in Sinnonhyeon, in Gangnam, not far from the Gangnam Station. Gangnam is an upscale Seoul area just south of the Han River that runs through the city.


JiHye reading to Sophia

It was fascinating to wander around this enormous multi-storied bookstore, with every imaginable type of book and magazine, plus gift items. It was pretty crowded, so is obviously very popular and JiHye told me that books are still relatively cheap in Korea—in fact many other Korean students have told me the same thing.


Me reading to Sophia 
TOEFL books

We read to Sophia and she picked out a couple of books to buy, then I perused the section with books to learn English. The Korean people in general believe that it’s really important for them to learn English and put a lot of time, effort and money into doing that. English language institutes abound, and special schools and after-schools for children, even as young as pre-schoolers nowadays (they tell me these schools are really expensive).

TOEIC is another test Koreans often take
“Hot Book” section

There were not that many English or other language books per se, but interestingly all the sections in the store are marked in both Korean and English.

A fun afternoon.




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