Bookstore Alley

Bookstore Alley

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Not far from Eatery Alley, we discovered Bookstore Alley: a tiny road jam-packed with an insane number of used bookshops, cafes and shoppers. With a history going back 50 years, this is one of the coolest corners we found in Busan, and a great place to spend a spare hour… even if you don’t read Korean.

Book Alley Busan

Although the overwhelming majority of the books in the alley’s fifty-odd shops are in Korean, there are quite a few English titles on the shelves, and it turns out that they’re amazingly easy to spot. It’s not like having to discern between French and English, for example. Amid all those completely foreign characters, your eyes gravitate right toward the familiar. For example:

해리 포터와 불사조 기사단
위대한 개츠비
로미오와 줄리엣
Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man
전쟁과 평화
노르웨이의 숲 (소설)

Yes, Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man was one of the books I found hiding on a dusty old shelf. Picking it up, I was mentally transported back to 1986, when I would sit on the kitchen floor with a magnifying glass and a book of my hero’s adventures opened in front of me (hey, I wore glasses and didn’t have a lot of geeky heroes to choose from). I’m certain I had the same edition as the one in this Korean bookstore.

The shops in Bookstore Alley are fun to browse, but so catastrophically full that they’re difficult to move around in. I dared to ventured into one store and bumped into a towering stack, very nearly toppling it. Under the watchful gaze of the owner, I carefully backed out and contented myself with the tomes visible from the street.

Location on our Busan Map
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Bookstore Alley Not far from Eatery Alley, we discovered Bookstore Alley: a tiny road jam-packed with an insane number of used bookshops, cafes and shoppers. With a history going back 50 years, this is one of the coolest corners we found in Busan, and a great place to spend a spare hour... even if you don't read Korean.
For 91 Days

5 Comments

  • Christopher

    Okay, let’s be honest. I don’t think I would ever be able to leave this place. Unbelievable! Do you know what the pictures pinned up signify?

    May 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    • Juergen

      I actually had to drag Mike away from that alley! Those notes are “doodles” of guests of that coffee shop.

      May 17, 2012 at 1:50 am
  • guen

    hey guys where exactly is this area i mean how do i get there through train. can you email me the exact address. i’m heading down there early next year so i would want to buy some manhwa because it would be easier for me to learn their language that way.one more thing would you rather stay within the city or bear taejongdae…coz i love to try the sea food during my stay. thanks. thanks in advance.

    August 23, 2013 at 8:18 am
    • Mike Powell

      We’ve included the exact location of Bookstore Alley at the end of our post — this should make it easy for you to find. We stayed near Gwangalli Beach, and really loved the location!

      August 24, 2013 at 10:53 am
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