You cannot talk about the charms of Haebangchon without mentioning independent bookstores. In the age of on-the-day book shipping and e-books, these little vendors have defied the logic of the big capitalist machine. Store owners curate and sell books that are to their tastes, regardless of how famous(or unknown) the author may be.
Thanks to this, at these indie bookstores in Haebangchon, you can read unique books that you can't see anywhere else. Most books sold here are limited editions with no additional printing. It seems to mirror the atmosphere of Haebangchon, a village with a mixture of unique vibes.
Walking into an indie bookstore in Haebangchon is like walking into the store owner's personal state of mind. Many books are sold with the owner's handwritten reviews and thoughts after reading. Some store owners even give out free fruit for those coming in to pick up some new books. Sharing tastes with the owner and other patrons is another fun communal aspect of these stores.
On our trip to Haebangchon, we found two interesting books to share:
The first is Architectural Shapes: Windows. The book is one of... you guessed it windows. By reading, you'll get an appreciation for the windows that you pass by in your daily life, and get to admire the beauty of them. The book contains 142 windows, including windows that can only be seen in old neighborhoods or residential areas in Korea. (131 Korean windows, 11 Japanese/Hong Kong/Argentina windows)
Next we found BGM Magazine No. 2 : Sleepless. This is a magazine created by Korean indie artist Standing Egg, in collaboration with a design studio. In this issue, it highlights playlists Seoulites listen to on sleepless nights. The contents of the magazine are in Korean, and this may be a good way to test your Korean reading skills. Even if you don't understand the language, you can still enjoy the unique illustrations full of character that depict the Seoulite lifestyle.
*All books are limited quantity with no restocks.
If you are looking to do something a little bit different, give Haebangchon and its indie bookstore a visit. You'll never know what you'll find around the corner.
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