the old bookstore on Dongmun Street Rediscover the beauty of second-hand literature
Jeonju has 90 regional libraries, 11 Jeonju-style libraries, and 12 metropolitan libraries. In addition, as a city that attaches importance to literature, there are 6 directly managed “small libraries” and 134 regular “small libraries”. But there is a special place outside of the modern library. “Hanga’s Bookstores” is one of the oldest bookstores in the middle of Dongmun Street, selling used and used books for our literary fans.
*Source, Jeonju Metropolitan Library
Once upon a time, East Gate Street is lined with more than 200 bookstores. Sadly, only three bookstores remain, leaving the rest to the annals of time. Now it’s time to take a look at these three survivors!
Hanga’s Bookstores – Jeonju Future Heritage #34
Address : 102 Dongmun-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeollabuk-do
Phone Number : 063-285-5670
Opening Hours : Monday ~ Friday 9:00 – 20:00 / Saturday & Sunday 10:00 – 20:00
* For more information on our opening hours, feel free to call us!
Despite the current vogue for all things analog and new-tro, this bookstore has managed to survivefor decades and is once again riding the wave of its own popularity. You might be wondering; with the convenience of online shopping, do we still need used sescond-hand bookstores? It’s always thrilling to learn something new. Let’s dive in!
During that half-hour, I saw a wide range of customers, from grandfathers in their twenties and thirties to kindergarteners holding their mothers’ hands. Also, t he bookstore proper had more floor space than I had expected. The whiff of old books and paper adds to the unique ambience as 50,000 books graciously glide into my field of vision. There’s a mountain of books here; it would be impossible for even one person to walk through! People The person on the opposite side of the hallway had to move out of the way so that the other person could pass. The harmonious mingling of people and books felt both novel(hey!) and welcome.
I asked around for <The Stranger> by Camus, and a person who looked like a regular patron gave me the guidance to ask the manager in quite a eloquent tone. I was expecting to have to look for a book all by myself, so I was surprised to learn that the manager knew exactly where one of those hundreds of thousands of books could be found. When I asked about <The Stranger>, the manager provided me with a general area in which to search. Sadly, the manager told me the book must have already been sold, so he invited me to come back another time.
The Satisfaction of Discovering Your Favorite Book Within a Huge Mountain of Literature-
Then one of the regulars recommended the book “The First Man” by Camus, and he gave it to me. I also sought out Sisyphic myths, but to no avail, unfortunately. The manager invited me to return on my next visit, assuring me that even if the book wasn’t currently in stock, it would be in the pile of books. And then there was Confucius’s The Analects, which I also purchased. It’s the combination of the thrill of the hunt, and the knowledge that these books are hard to come by that makes me feel like I’m gaining something of great value!
Only after much searching did I notice that the shelves on which the book rested were loosely divided into sections. Not just novels, but also books on religion, philosophy, art, and culture. When a customer in his twenties asked about a Chess textbook, the manager went to work finding it. Hanga’s Bookstores has my respect for remembering books and keeping them relevant throughout the time where tens of thousands have been brought in and sold out.
My next stop was Hongji Seorim, right next to Hanga’s Bookstores.
Address : 106 Dongmun-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeollabuk-do
Phone Number : 063-288-5311
Opening Hours : 10:00-21:00, all week round
Parking is available.
A deep-rooted Jeonju bookstore, filled with the nostalgia of local writers.
Hongji Seorim, which opened in 1963, almost was met with bankruptcy in 1998. In that era, Jeonju-born author Yang Gwija took the helm. Choi Myung-hee, Park Bumshin, Ahn Dohyun, and Eun Heekyung, in particular, had a profound connection to this location in their writing. As I walked, I reminisced the authors who saw their visions blossom in this very location.
The bookstore has an adjacent parking lot, right behind the building.
Hanga’s Bookstore and Hongji Seorim are right next door to one another. Books for kids, books for elementary school libraries, brand new releases, and liberal arts can be found on the ground floor. Books for standardized tests, sports, and textbooks can be found upstairs. It has the same vibe as other large bookstores, but in Jeonju, ‘book-kung points’ can be accumulated and used at local bookstores. Consequently, I was able to use this to get a much more affordable purchase for my book!
Quick Tip for Literature Fans
Returning books to any of 12 metropolitan libraries in Jeonju will earn you *Jeonju Bookstore Love Point Book-Kung 20 points, and 20% of the book price can be redeemed for points when shopping at local bookstores.
Link for more info
The library’s organization made it easy to locate specific titles. A search kiosk is available on each floor for locating the books you love, and a classification table is also available for quick reference. In short, there wasn’t much of a difference from ordinary large libraries we can see today.
Address : 120 Dongmun-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si
Phone Number : 063-268-6885
Deep within the alleyway sits ‘Ilshin Bookstore’, a store for second-hand books. The bookshelves had things arranged fairly neatly, and it was easy to move around since the halls were wider than Hanga’s Bookstores.
Although I expected not to find any sort of search system in place, it was surprisingly difficult to locate any books that I liked. It took a typical customer searching through thousands of books to finally spot what they were looking for. As for me, my search was rather in vain; however, I assumed this would happen. The only downside was that people who didn’t have much knowledge about books would have to buckle for a vigorous hunt!
As I fumbled around, one customer managed to locate a book. They were probably experts in the field of book-searching, unlike me. :/
The Past, Heritage and Future of Second-hand Bookstores
Hanga’s Bookstore and Ilshin Bookstore. The only second-hand bookstore that remains in Jeonju. In a modern world where fewer people read literature and e-commerce is at its peak, we must wait and see whether such bookstores will change in time, or if they will continue to give us joy in their original facades.
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