Memos from Asia

Popular Book Cafes In South Korea

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Book cafes in South Korea are very popular among Koreans and foreigners. There are many people who love to read books over a hot cup of coffee inside beautiful book cafes. Book cafes have been around Korea since the 1980s, and have evolved to more modern styles encompassing different themes ever since.

Out of the hundreds of book cafes on every corner in Seoul, there are some that are outstanding and truly make an extraordinary experience to visit.

Here is a list of book cafes worth visiting in South Korea:

1. Coex Mall’s Starfield Library

Coex Mall has recently built an immense library cafe built out of 50,000 books, called Starfield Library. The library is extremely high and the wall almost reaches the ceiling of the Coex Mall.

Coex Starfield Library, Seoul

Two sides of the walls in the shape of towering bookshelves are covered in thousands of classic literature. Books are available for the public to read, and have a warm cup of coffee while sitting down on the tables around the library. The bookshelves have golden brown edges, which makes the display even more exuberant and beautiful for visitors.

There are often book signings, lectures, concerts, and events at the Coex Mall. The Starfield Library focuses on engaging lectures on various days, where famous writers, scholars, and artists come and speak about their life experiences.

Coex Mall, Seoul

Since the library is inside the mall, there are many activities people can enjoy outside of reading as well. There are a variety of restaurants on the lower floors, trendy clothing shops, and cafes. There are even Kpop stores that sell idol merchandise on the upper levels.

There is a wide variety of books, including magazines, classics, economics, e-books, and so much more. There is even an information booth to ask for help when searching for a book because of the variety.

2. Book Park

Book Park is also known to be a magnificent book cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul that holds a grandiose collection of books. The book cafe is immense in a five-story building that is covered in a wall of books. They have more than 3,000 books in the store, and visitors are welcome to browse their collection.

Bookpark’s amazing interior, Hannamdong, Seoul

Most recently, the bookstore started to hold book concerts, where musicians perform inside the bookstore. They have a mini stage set up next to the shelves, and people gather to enjoy their serenading music.

There are book signings by popular authors who have meetings with fans and readers. One recent signing at Book Park was with Kaist University Professor Jae Seung Jung, with his book “12 Steps.”

The book also has a cafe where you can buy delicious macarons and coffee and enjoy reading a substantial book. Many people spend hours at this book cafe, because of the immense size. The cafe also holds diy workshops, where people can make tumblers or accessories as part of a fun store event.

3. Booktique

Booktique is a trendy genre book cafe in Seoul that is unique for being designed in a classroom setting. The sitting area has concrete seats that look like a lecture area. The tables on the opposite side are made out of wood, and also resemble that of a classroom.

Booktique store front, Seoul

The remarkable part about the cafe is that the theme for the book cafe changes everyday, based on the theme of the book of choice. The cafe even holds lectures and gatherings for people to discuss the books.

Booktique holds night book meetings where customers can gather at the cafe and read all night long as a group, and special writing challenge workshops to inspire others to write as well.

The book cafe sells a variety of inspiring books such as “Becoming” by Michelle Obama translated in Korean, “Book, What Is That” by Kang Myeong Jang, and “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang. There are many Korean authors that do book signings and events throughout the year.

4. Dasi Bookshop (Again Bookshop)

Dasi Bookstore is a very cozy book cafe in Yongsan-gu district of Seoul. that is unique for selling both beer and books. The bookstore turns into a bar at night, named Telepathy, and the bookstore also sells various cocktails.

There are lively frequent visitors who stop by the book cafe to hang out with their friends and enjoy a good book over a drink. The bookshop also has a collection of records on the shelves.

Dasi Bookstore’s beautiful bookshelves, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

The bookstore is darkly lit, with the coziest atmosphere that is reminiscent of Korean Da bangs, which are snug cafes where they used to sell coffee and tea in the ‘90s. Dasi Bookstore has long hours from noon to 2 a.m.

Some popular books sold at the store are “When I start hating books” by Tae Jae, and “The city is a plant” by photojournalist Tae Hoon Kim. The book portrays the beautiful living plants and organisms around Seoul, especially the Bang Hwa district. The photos have been taken by Tae Hoon Kim himself.

5. Arc N Book Cafe

Arc N Book Cafe is an enormous cafe in Seoul’s City Hall district. Many visit to take photos of the arched book ceiling that is covered in brightly lit colored books. The ceiling is covered in thousands of books, and is known to be an instagrammable spot in Seoul.

Arched ceiling at Arc N Book Cafe, Seoul

The book cafe is designed like a bookstore and a library, with lines of tables and chairs for people to study and read. There is also a large collection of books, including motivational books such as “How to Age Gracefully” by Hayashi Yukio.

There are also concert rooms where concert pianists and musicians come and perform in front of the book cafe’s audience. There are also book talk events and signings as well throughout various days of the month.

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