Books. I love books and so do my children.
But at a time where modern technology is almost obliterating the need for actual books, the question bodes as to whether we can actually do everything online, but I think not! Personally I think there is nothing better than picking up a good book, leafing through its pages and getting stuck into a good read.
While bookshops can be found all over, most of them in Korea (and understandably so) only stock books in the Korean language. Finding books in English can be tricky (but not impossible) and when you do find them, they can be absurdly expensive compared to what we’d pay in our home countries.
I’ve ordered online a few times and had them delivered to South Korea without hassle but, for those of you like me who just love to browse the shelves, I’ve just gone and found the next best thing in the form of ‘Aladin’ in Centum.
Not your typical ‘second-hand bookstore’ in fact it’s as beautiful as any shop I’ve ever seen! It’s clean, sharp looking, spacious with lots of light, and houses the most wonderful collection of books that I’ve seen here in Busan. While they clearly have a large amount of Korean books, there’s certainly no lack of other languages and they cover a wide range of subjects.
Upon entering you’ll see shelves packed with CDs and DVDs that shouldn’t be overlooked as they have international albums from everyone from the Beatles to Beyoncé!
There are classical compilations; children’s sing-a-long tracks and soundtracks from musicals and films. The DVD display, while not the latest of releases, does have a good choice from some Disney movies for the kids (think Cars, Ice Age etc!) and movies in English from the last 10 years or so as well as box sets from TV series.
If you’re looking for good quality books in English, the selection here really is great and I shall be going back with my two children because the kiddies section is perfect! From the classics by Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, and Roger Hargreaves to the latest hits like Dr. Seuss for the little ones and Twilight for the tweens, there was literally something for everyone. Dictionaries, encyclopedias and non-fiction books to boot, I have a feeling my two will be going on their very own shopping spree here very soon!
For any English teachers based here looking for TOEFL books, you’ll find everything here to pass exams, check your grammar and get ideas for classes.
They also have a large selection of books for those taking their TEPS, as well as text books and dictionaries in multiple languages.
If you’re an expat learning Korean you can pick up text books and other goodies here or if you’re planning your next trip, you may just be able to find the travel guidebook that you’re looking for. At the time I was there, they had Tokyo, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei and destinations further afield such as Norway, Florida, and Peru, to name a few!
Needless to say there are also novels with some of the later titles from the likes of Dan Brown and other trending authors.
If you love books, you’ll love wandering around this bookshop, or stopping to sit and read in the study area if you have the time. The staff members I spoke to had a good level of English and, with the exception of New Year’s day and Chuseok, Aladin is open every day from 9.30am til 10.00pm. As well as offering the books, CDs and DVDs, they have some quirky and original gift ideas from mugs and bags to stationery items. They also had a little corner dedicated to art supplies for kids with the ‘paint by number’ canvases tat would work well for gifts or birthday parties as prices started at as little as 5,000won.
The bookshop is located in Centum, in the block between Shinsegae and HomePlus. Their logo and shop front can be seen from the road and is above the Olive Young located on the main street. Use the main door and take the stairs (or lift) up one floor and you’ll have reached your little book heaven!
(For metro users, get out at Centum – stop 206. For bus users, there are so many that stop right outside, including the 38, 39, 40, 63, 115, 141).
Would like to know more locations?
Search ‘Aladin’ on our home page and you’ll be able to find a store near you.