A bookish visit to Seoul

Yes, there are direct flights from Toronto to Seoul. So, if you ever have 26 hours to spare, why not book yourself a trip to South Korea for the Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF)?

Two South Korean book industry associations, Book Trade Promotion and Korean Publishing Research Institute, invited me to attend the SIBF and give a lecture on the Canadian book industry. Also invited were presenters from Austria, Germany, and Japan. In addition to all of the SIBF presentations, our very gracious hosts also included a tour of some book-related venues in and around Seoul. 

The Seoul International Book Fair

The SIBF is primarily a consumer-oriented fair – more like what we think of as a 'Salon du livre.' It's worth a visit if you happen to be in Seoul when SIBF is happening, but if not, the exhibition hall (Coex) is connected to a mall with a stunning library (see below). 

 Seoul International Book Fair 2018 opening

Seoul International Book Fair 2018 opening

Libraries

Seoul has some beautiful libraries that are definitely worth a visit.

 Coex Mall Library

Coex Mall Library

 Paju Book City Library

Paju Book City Library

Paju Book City

Paju Book City is an area just outside of Seoul where the South Korean book industry has chosen to locate themselves. This is a modern, planned community and all (most?) of the publishers in South Korea are located here. The area and architecture are gorgeous. There is another stunning library here that also contains a hotel where the rooms don't have televisions, only books!

 Paju Book City Hotel

Paju Book City Hotel

Kyonbo Book Centre

The Gwanghwamun location of the Kyobo book store in Seoul is beautiful, busy, packed, and has an English section if you need to reload after that long flight. This location includes food, electronics, and a massive 150-foot wooden table(s) for reading at.

 Kyobo Book Centre in Gwanghwamun (Photo by  The Korea Times )

Kyobo Book Centre in Gwanghwamun (Photo by The Korea Times)

Seoul Comics Road

Looking for a comic book, graphic novel, or some good photo ops? Then the Seoul Comics Road (also called the Cartoon Street) is the place for you.

 Seoul Comics Road

Seoul Comics Road

The Story of King Sejong Exhibition Hall

The last book-oriented stop on the trip was at The Story of King Sejong Exhibition Hall. This hall is located in Gwanghwamum and can be found underneath a statue devoted to King Sejong (the inventor of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet). When we visited they had an impressive exhibition of 'book art.'